Becoming Too Small to Bail? Prospects for Workers in the Current Economy and the 112th Congress - Symposium on Labor and Employment Law Under the Obama Administration: A Time for Hope and Change?
30 Pages Posted: 8 Mar 2011 Last revised: 15 Aug 2012
Date Written: February 1, 2011
The query in the title is actually a two-part question, and will be addressed as such. First, what is the current state of the economy, in particular for labor, and is there change in it that signals hope for workers, that is, do workers still need some bailing out or will the nascent recovery provide sufficient employment and income earning opportunities? Second, what, if anything can the Obama administration do with policy to help bail out workers and working families, as it had intervened to help bring the "too large to fail" financial and auto companies back from the brink? Or have workers become "too small to bail"? What can be done short term and what can be done long term to bring about further hope and change to workers' standard of living prospects in the US in the second decade of the 21st century? The answer to the first question will be yes, there are indeed some positive developments for workers' well-being in the last year, but more support is necessary so that they do not fizzle out. The answer to the second is also yes, but this might have to wait until 2013, pending the direction of the US 112th Congress, depending on whether the new leadership in the House of Representatives chooses to stymie legislative support regarding labor and employment law or redirect focus only on tax rates and budget cuts.
Keywords: Employment law, FLSA, Obama economic policy, Flexible work, Worker living standards
JEL Classification: J2
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation