Illinois’s Boycott is Wrong

Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich has threatened the Bank of America:

Dec. 9 (Bloomberg) — Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich’s threat to halt the state’s dealings with Bank of America Corp. over a shut-down factory in Chicago extends a “dangerous” trend of politicians meddling with commerce, a former general counsel of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. said.

Blagojevich, a Democrat, yesterday said the biggest U.S. retail bank won’t get any more state business unless it restores credit to Republic Windows & Doors, whose workers are staging a sit-in. John Douglas, an attorney with Paul Hastings Janofsky & Walker in Atlanta, said Blagojevich and Senator Christopher Dodd — who called on General Motors Corp. to fire Chief Executive Rick Wagoner — can’t tell companies how to run their business.

Secondary boycotts are, generally speaking, illegal when used by a union against companies that do business with employers as a means of putting pressure on the employers. And in general they are immoral since they are directed at third parties to the labor action.

I believe that even the threat is immoral in the present case.

There are two additional issues that should be considered. First, if the governor makes good on his threat it could weaken Bank of America and do little to maintain the viability of Republic Windows & Doors. Banks are in the weakest condition they’ve been in for the last three quarters of a century and so far Bank of America has been one of the bright spots. While it may be a good time from the standpoint of political strategy to go after Bank of America, is it the right time from a policy standpoint?

Finally, do we really want banks making their judgments about to whom they will issue credit on the basis of political pressure? It seems to me that was one of the contributing factors in the present financial crisis.

4 comments… add one
  • Andy Link

    Populism seems to be running amok everywhere.

  • It doesn’t help that Blagojevich is a half-wit. I’d say he was an idiot but that does an injustice to idiots. He’s worse than a half-wit: he’s a son-in-law..

  • PD Shaw Link

    Son-in-law? Too politite to mention that the Governor has just been arrested?

  • PD Shaw Link

    OK, I see you blogged it.

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