Mitchell Reports | December 11, 2012
>>> joining me in the studio for her take on what we've just heard from governor snyder and also the current state of the fiscal cliff negotiations in washington is our colleague and friend ruth marcus from "the washington post ." columnist for "the washington post ." ruth, this whole issue in the midwest, this used to be most likely in the southern states , but this really is moving, and we're seeing a real decline in union household membership about half what it was 40 years ago. it used to be 24%. now it's 11.8%.
>> unions are reeling, and the more states that enact measures like this, the more unions will be reeling. their penetration, the private sector is something like 7% of the private sector work force is unionized, and i have to say -- i don't use words like this very often, i thought some of the governor's comments were kind of orwelian to suggest this was a pro-worker move. it's clearly a move that may help businesses, but what a kick in the teeth to autoworkers unions, who as you correctly point d out, gave a lot back to help the auto industry get back on its feet, the notion that we had to do this now with this lame-duck session because they raised it in some other proposition is bizarre to me, and the notion that this is ask autoworkers in michigan whether they would be better off with or without unions, of course, their bargaining position is stronger with unions, and -- but unions aren't going to survive when people have a choice whether that anttis up the dues or to get the benefit of being free riders. it's going to be very difficult for the union movement to continue.
>> ruth, let me ask you about the fiscal cliff because within the hour john boehner was on the floor and said his meeting was nice.
>> where are the cuts? both sides saying that the other has not been specific enough about what they're willing to put on the table. the calendar now is the real enemy. they have to get some kind of outline together or else it's going to be a legislative agreement to create another commission and tregers down the road, and that is going to freak the markets.
>> we'll see how freaked the markets get. you may have better insight into that than i do. also, it's not just the calendar is an enemy. the desire to have the other side take the leap first is the enemy, and also, i think keep your eye on the debt ceiling. the president's desire to wrap this in the republicans desire to kick that can down the road and have perhaps more leverage in later debt ceiling negotiations could end up also being something that makes it very difficult to reach closure here by the time we all want to go away for the holiday.
>> you can say that again. ruth marcus , thank you so