The Free Agent hasn’t thought about the most righteous hit “Two Princes” since she wore out the cassette in the 90s, but it’s played through her head all week as she’s listened to Mister Obama and Tim Geithner explain their financial overhaul legislation. The White House website’s summary includes one obvious dirty bomb, “financial firms won’t be allowed to grow so large that if one fails, it will affect the entire system” and the ninnyism, “No more taxpayer funded bailouts. If a company can’t make it, it will have to liquidate.” Finally, AIG’s power to tax has been repealed! Why is The FA taking the unusual step of awarding this bill a theme song? It was sung by those adorable, Peruvian ski-capped alt-rockers, The Spin Doctors.
“Roseanne” is one of the top 10 sitcoms in history by The Free Agent’s reckoning, so she was surprised to learn this week that the series wasn’t about what she thought it was about. Series creator Roseanne Barr told TV Land the show was about the loss of union jobs, with their pensions, and the consequent destruction of the American working class.
She is right that union jobs have declined dramatically, but not just because they deny economic realities. The Bureau of Labor Statistics puts 2009 union membership at 12.3% of American workers, more of half of them being government employees, a significant plunge from the high-water mark of 32.5% in 1953. In the private (aka real) economy, workers have been scraping off union certification like barnacles from a boat hull: even during the recession of 2008, just over half of the decertification elections in the fifteen most active unions were successful.
The only union that won every single one of its challenges—the Association of Federal, State, and Municipal Employees.
By the way, the salad seems to be flying out of Roseanne’s spinner.