Jeffery Hirsch savages Joe Nocera’s worthless column from yesterday, where Nocera says that Democrats cost the nation jobs because the NLRB is forcing Boeing to stop retaliating against its unions by moving jobs to non-union plants in South Carolina. In Nocera’s mind, this is not retailation because it doesn’t fall under his extremely narrow definition of the word. He’s outraged that the government is telling companies where they can hire people. How any of this means that Democrats are costing the nation jobs, as opposed to ensuring that the jobs are good jobs is beyond me.
Nocera at least said there was a “complaint” at issue rather than a decision, although he doesn’t seem to understand the difference between the NLRB and the NLRB’s General Counsel. Indeed, he states that most of the Board’s “top executives” were nominated by Obama, without recognizing that the GC is the only political appointee who has looked at this case.
Nocera also messes up the GC’s proposed order. The GC did not say that all the South Carolina jobs have to be moved back to Washington. As the NLRB’s press release clearly stated: “To remedy the alleged unfair labor practices, the Acting General Counsel seeks an order that would require Boeing to maintain the second production line in Washington state. The complaint does not seek closure of the South Carolina facility, nor does it prohibit Boeing from assembling planes there.” That may seem like splitting hairs given the economics involved, but Nocera and others are wrong to say that the NLRB is trying to take jobs away from a certain area. If Boeing wants to keep future work in SC, it can. Besides, the reality is that if Boeing were to lose, the likely result would be to pay the Washington workers backpay (and maybe some frontpay) in lieu of moving the work.
This brings me to another issue. Good lord, the Times opinion section has become terrible. Nocera and Frank Bruni have added nothing to the paper. I miss Bob Herbert. I didn’t much care for Frank Rich, but at least he represented a fairly prominent point of view. Nocera and Bruni are just vapid Beltway blatherers. I’d rather read the awful Washington Post page. They may have ever major right-winger they can find, but at least they are important people. Jennifer Rubin may be an idiot. And she may be evil. But at least she furthers a line of thinking.