Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Profits > People: Part 1

Christmas is here. In the United States, what is it really about? Is Christmas about worshiping or paying tribute to your god or has it become a capitalists dream?
I argue it has become the latter.

The capitalists (yeah, the 10% that control 71% of the wealth), probably have their eyes glued to the T.V or to their stocks portfolio hoping for the markets to rise or for their corporation to bring enough profit to pay for the $9.00/hr workers salary plus a huge profit for them (CEO).

Make no mistake about it, there is nothing wrong about being rich. But being rich and sacrificing someones safety, livelihood or family is not right. Take a few examples: Bernie Madoff who stole 50 billion dollars off of a phony ponzi-scheme. This guy is the definition of what happens when capitalism is unregulated and when President Bush's SEC Chairman is asleep at the wheel. As a result, people are losing their family savings and retirement accounts.

Second example: Wal Mart. Wal Mart just a lost a 640 million dollar lawsuit because they failed to pay employees overtime, worked employees off the clock, and failed to give employees a break. This is just a drop in the bucket for Wal Mart because they're worth around 380 billion dollars! Watch the movie "The High Cost of Low Price" for more Wal Mart wrongdoings.

Over the last 8 years we've watched workplace safety decrease and workplace deaths increase, wages decline for the middle and poor class while wages rise for the wealthy 5%, factories being sent overseas as our trade deficits widen every year while sweatshops in China become common, and labor union membership plummet!!

Objective complete for President Bush and his allies. (Well almost, Enron got caught)..BUT anyway, the Bush Crime Family have single handily taken the United States into a corporation-dominated state, (Fascism).
Example: AIG and JP Morgan needed a couple billion, when and how much? and sure here you go! But John the union pipe fitter just got laid off and Cindy the accountant just lost their jobs and won't be able to buy Christmas presents- too bad find a job this isn't socialism, says Bush and his allies.

So on this rainy Christmas eve night, how could these few capitalists at the 'top' sleep at night knowing that they've sacrificed millions of Americans well being?

Monday, December 22, 2008

Welfare Capitalism: Part 1

It must be nice to have that kind of privilege. Yeah, the kind of privilege that Wall Street has received as a result of the 700 billion dollar bailout. If every working poor and middle class citizen in American evenly divided up that 700 billion, if we took some of the CEO pay and gave it to the 200,000 (or so) homeless people in this nation, ALL of the Republican right-wingers would be PISSED. They would be saying something like: "Lazy, Socialists, all they want is a hand-out! Get a job!!!"

But here's the double standard. When Wall Street and these welfare CEOs come to Washington with their handout they hear, "Okay, how much?". When GM and the UAW come to Washington with their handout they hear, "I dunno, how bout' payin' dem' Union folk a lot less, ya hear (slang)". So next, this big lie floats around that UAW wages pay $ 70/hour with benefits. All of the right wingers and free marketeers jump on this rumor. In short, that statistic is true if you add in ALL of the retiree benefits, but that's not how you calculate average wages -- that's how you propagandize statistics.

A dozen or so Republican Senators pledged to filibuster and oppose this automaker bailout merely for a political trick. A memo went out that the UAW President received which stated that the Republicans should oppose this LOAN to stand up to unions and Democrats. Forget the 3 million jobs on the line or the heart and soul of the middle class diminishing, the Republicans wanted to make a political statement. AND, they succeeded. Only with the mercy of the Bush Administration (who got us in this mess) the automakers got 17 billion dollars.

There's a catch? Oh, what catch? The simple provision that states UAW workers must take a cut in pay in line with Honda and Toyota workers. The problem? Some Toyota and Honda workers make more than UAW workers, BUT overall, UAW workers have a better pension, better/cheaper health insurance, and start their employees out at $2 more on the hour currently.

The question then becomes: What if Toyota/Honda drops wages? What if Toyota/Honda outsource more factories? Should the UAW drop wages and outsource factories?
Oh, and the news today is some 600 executives received a total of 1.6 billion dollars from the 700 billion dollar BAILOUT. I guess they deserve it for running these financial institutions in the ground (sarcasm).

Beyond this, we now live in a corporatist society in which a UAW worker earning $60,000/year is viewed as the problem. Where as a CEO making $1,000,000 +/year is not blamed for the company going belly up, yet is viewed as part of that "special privilege" that ECONOMICALLY defines the term: "Corporatism / Fascism".

Disaster capitalism has arrived.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Anti-Union Model

There seems to be a common connection between Republicans and Unions. They hate them. Forget the fact that the average union worker makes 10 dollars more on the hour than a non-union worker, or 80% of workers in a union have free health insurance compared to just 49% of workers not in a union, or the fact that 68% of workers in a union have a retirement pension compared to just 14% of workers not in a union. ( ;

Just analyzing labor union and worker's rights policy, the Republicans have always tried to shape foreign nations into an anti-worker nation.

In 1953, a CIA led coup under President Eisenhower's reign ousted the pro-worker right's President - democratic elected Mossadegh and installed the Shah of Iran. In short, the Shah was a ruthless dictator who killed leftists, socialists, communists, and those of Mossadegh's Tudeh Party that supported labor rights. Needless to say the Iranians haven't been big fans of the United States since.

In 1973, another CIA led coup in Chile under President Nixon's reign
ousted and killed President Salvador Allende and installed Dictator Augusto Pinochet. Besides the fact Pinochet tortured 30,000 communists and Marxists, he ran the economy in Chile based on Milton Friedman free market principles. He trampled over trade union rights, abolished the minimum wage, and privatized almost everything. Sounds like something the modern U.S Republicans wish they could do, eh? As a result of Pinochet's free market obsession, 45% of Chile residents were living under the poverty level in the 1980s.

More recently, President Bush's war in Iraq is nothing short of what Bush would want in a nation. Although he isn't the Prime Minister in Iraq, it seems that Iraqi workers are experiencing what us Americans witnessed throughout the late 1800s into WWI and WWII - more strikes, sit ins and protests.

New collective bargaining agreements need to be enacted to protect the workers of Iraq from falling wages and poor working conditions. Union benefits will not be earned so as long President Bush has a stake in Iraqi policy. Do you think someone like Bush would support trade unionists in Iraq when he doesn't even support trade unionists in America?
President Bush's direct record with labor unions is disgraceful. In 2005, he tried to remove collective bargaining rights in the Department of Homeland Security, but more recently he signed an Executive Order which denies new employees at the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms to join a union.

Although those are just a few examples of Republican relationships with labor unions, those particular examples show at which costs they will go to impose their pro-corporation, anti-worker policies.