During an interview aired on Friday’s edition of Bloomberg’s “Wall Street Week,” Harvard Professor, economist, Director of the National Economic Council under President Barack Obama, and Treasury Secretary under President Bill Clinton Larry Summers stated that, given the current issue with inflation, the government needs to focus on keeping costs down and he’s concerned that attempts to try to maximize the wages of people engaging in activity the government supports, including, “provisions that seek to enshrine high wages, for example, in those who are producing goods related to the environment” could “entrench inflation through wage pressure” and harm the whole economy. Summers began by saying, “I think we have failed on labor rights in this country over the last generation. It has been far too easy to fire union organizers. We have not done enough labor law reform to support the right to organize, which I think is something fundamental to having an effectively functioning labor market, and something that is essential to having a fair and just society.” He continued, “But I do think, at a moment like this, when inflation is a crucial issue, the federal government needs to be very careful to keep a focus on all that it buys and all that it sets a pattern for to pay attention to holding costs down rather than rewarding workers. And I think there are a variety of provisions that try to maximize the wages of those who are involved in activity the government is supporting. And so, I worry about provisions that seek to enshrine high wages, for example, in those who are producing goods related to the environment. And I think the federal government has to walk a very careful balance here between restoring appropriate labor rights, which has been a real flaw and a huge problem for the last 30 years, and doing things that will entrench inflation through wage pressure to the detriment of the overall economy, including the economy of workers who work with their hands.” Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett.
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