Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin (D) delivers a very succinct smackdown of the right's "we can't pass EFCA because the economy is in the shitter" argument:
"In a time when we have an economy that's already struggling, we can't put more burdensome regulations on employers," said Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.). "This is a job killer for our economy when we really don't need it."
The bill's supporters are pointing to the downturn as the ultimate proof of their arguments that labor's decline has helped put the economy out of balance and that only by restoring workers' purchasing power can the nation return to broadly shared prosperity.
"In 1935, we passed the Wagner Act that promoted unionization and allowed unions to flourish, and at the time we were at around 20 percent unemployment. So tell me again why we can't do this in a recession?" said Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), invoking the pro-labor changes of the New Deal. "This is the time to do it. This is exactly the time we should be insisting on a fairer playing field for people to organize themselves."
Put another way, we don't have the leeway to pass EFCA despite the bad economy, we have the imperative to pass EFCA because of the bad economy.