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.

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