Luke Goldstein at The American Prospect describes “How Noncompete Agreements Hamstrung America’s Pandemic Response.” Long story short: noncompete agreements prevented physicians from going where they were most needed during the pandemic, even to pick up extra hours or volunteer. Of course, noncompetes also prevented health care workers from leaving chronically-understaffed workplaces for nearby better ones, which also didn’t help us when a pandemic hit. The lengths to which some corporations will go to enforce noncompete agreements is yet another argument that such agreements shouldn’t exist – and also, possibly, that their executives should spend eternity encircled by fire.
Kari Lydersen at In These Times makes “The Case for Nationalizing the Railroads.” It’s actually a pretty simple case: wherever private corporations fuck shit up, our government should step in, on our behalf and using our taxpayer funds, to fix it. You could make the same case for most of our health care system. And I wouldn’t make too much of the “folly” of giving more power to the “most pro-labor President America’s ever had,” because a) it wouldn’t be his power, but ours and b) private corporations’ mammon-worship has led to workers who can’t get a damn day off and trains that fly off their tracks and hurt and kill people and obviously these two things are intimately related. No, even this Department of Transportation couldn’t do worse than private corporations have already done.
However: the good folks at The Lever remind us that although Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg acts like he can’t do anything about trains derailing and polluting our air and water, actually, he can. Nice how Mr. Buttigieg says the Trump Administration’s repeal of a train-braking rule – a rule his department can bring back, even though it takes time – ties his hands, but he doesn’t mention (for example) that he already has authority under our laws to widen the definition of “high-hazard flammable train” so trains carrying five tankers full of a flammable carcinogen can meet that definition and get more stringent regulation. Our Glorious Elites apparently want the next Democratic President to be someone who can be routinely outclassed by the likes of Marco Rubio and J.D. Vance – though we can’t discount the possibility that the current Democratic President may have given him this job to prevent that from happening.
Robert Reich laments “The Death of Shame,” and though I’ve been doing that for close to two decades now, Our Glorious Elites sure do seem to have even less capacity for feeling shame than they did when I launched this ministry. It doesn’t help that our last President yelled evil, noxious crap at the top of his lungs for years on end, but he wouldn’t have gotten away with it if he didn’t have about a quarter of the electorate cheering him on. In my more generous moments, I locate their evil in actual pain – namely, the pain of Our Glorious Elites slowly and systematically stealing the social contract they worked for and counted on, a contract President Biden has (perhaps too slowly) started to reconstruct. In the meantime, though, they act as shamefully as the politicians who egg them on.