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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on September 5, 2011 4:26 AM. The previous post in this blog was Amazon vs. California. The next post in this blog is West Hills 'mills?. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Monday, September 5, 2011

Happy Labor Day

But heaven help the American worker as the money-crazed plutocracy beats him or her down further, ever further. And we're not just talking union workers -- all workers, from whatever kind of shop.

Here's some excellent, if somewhat grim, reading for the holiday. Yes, the author calls the Republicans out as the greedy, war-mongering religious fanatics that they have become, but he's also wise to the shortcomings on the other side of the aisle:

The reader may think that I am attributing Svengali-like powers to GOP operatives able to manipulate a zombie base to do their bidding. It is more complicated than that. Historical circumstances produced the raw material: the deindustrialization and financialization of America since about 1970 has spawned an increasingly downscale white middle class -- without job security (or even without jobs), with pensions and health benefits evaporating and with their principal asset deflating in the collapse of the housing bubble. Their fears are not imaginary; their standard of living is shrinking.

What do the Democrats offer these people? Essentially nothing. Democratic Leadership Council-style "centrist" Democrats were among the biggest promoters of disastrous trade deals in the 1990s that outsourced jobs abroad: NAFTA, World Trade Organization, permanent most-favored-nation status for China. At the same time, the identity politics/lifestyle wing of the Democratic Party was seen as a too illegal immigrant-friendly by downscaled and outsourced whites.

While Democrats temporized, or even dismissed the fears of the white working class as racist or nativist, Republicans went to work. To be sure, the business wing of the Republican Party consists of the most energetic outsourcers, wage cutters and hirers of sub-minimum wage immigrant labor to be found anywhere on the globe. But the faux-populist wing of the party, knowing the mental compartmentalization that occurs in most low-information voters, played on the fears of that same white working class to focus their anger on scapegoats that do no damage to corporations' bottom lines: instead of raising the minimum wage, let's build a wall on the Southern border (then hire a defense contractor to incompetently manage it). Instead of predatory bankers, it's evil Muslims. Or evil gays. Or evil abortionists.

How do they manage to do this? Because Democrats ceded the field. Above all, they do not understand language. Their initiatives are posed in impenetrable policy-speak: the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The what? -- can anyone even remember it? No wonder the pejorative "Obamacare" won out. Contrast that with the Republicans' Patriot Act. You're a patriot, aren't you? Does anyone at the GED level have a clue what a Stimulus Bill is supposed to be? Why didn't the White House call it the Jobs Bill and keep pounding on that theme?

You know that Social Security and Medicare are in jeopardy when even Democrats refer to them as entitlements. "Entitlement" has a negative sound in colloquial English: somebody who is "entitled" selfishly claims something he doesn't really deserve. Why not call them "earned benefits," which is what they are because we all contribute payroll taxes to fund them? That would never occur to the Democrats. Republicans don't make that mistake; they are relentlessly on message: it is never the "estate tax," it is the "death tax." Heaven forbid that the Walton family should give up one penny of its $86-billion fortune. All of that lucre is necessary to ensure that unions be kept out of Wal-Mart, that women employees not be promoted and that politicians be kept on a short leash.

Read the whole thing -- it's brilliant.

The Democrats are every bit as bad as the man says. But we're not so sure they're that stupid. We strongly suspect that what they're doing, they're doing on purpose.

Comments (29)

Here is another interesting read to help us all celebrate this Un-labor Day in the new America.
http://motherjones.com/politics/2011/08/nickel-and-dimed-afterword

Unfortunately, greed is a lot bigger motivator for getting out of bed in the morning than looking out for the little guy is. The opponents of FDR have waited a long time to get back to the good 'ol days. It looks like they will get their way before America figures out that the policies of Herbert Hoover didn't need to be revisited after all.

Mario Savio Quote:

"There's a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious—makes you so sick at heart—that you can't take part. You can't even passively take part. And you've got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus, and you've got to make it stop. And you've got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it, that unless you're free, the machine will be prevented from working at all." Sproul Hall Steps, December 2, 1964[6]

The most juvenile polemic I've ever read.

Great read to start the Labor Day holiday. Thanks!! ;)

Oh look, we are all racists again, because we won't fall in with Obama.
Where was this guy when Senator Byrd (D) WV was hanging out in the Senate a true racist?
Same ol' tired crap from the same ol' tired brainiacs.

The Chinese understood the innate duality of the universe and called it yin and yang. You can talk about how US politicians are all the same (and to some extent that's true because they all operate within the same system) but the GOP and the Dems represent the poles in our political culture. There is no perfect world. But if the Democrats are doing what they are doing on purpose toward the end of creating the kind of big-government socialism that is collapsing everywhere else in the world, then I'll take my chances on what the GOP is doing on purpose, simply because I understand it better.

Like old Cheney says, out on his book tour, "I don't need everyone to agree with me, just 51 percent + 1.

That should be "50 percent + 1" Sorry Dick

You would think that after how well it worked out for himself and his brethren old Dick would remember that one doesn't even need that 50%, much less +1. Seems he should be spewing "just need some inane S.C. Justices to agree with me".

Well, at least he seems to have one thing right - Neithr party, Congress or the President seem to have a clue on what to do.

The Ds want to spend more even though the $4T so far seems not to have made one bit of diff to middle-class workers, but this time it will really, really be used to train workers and build roads.

The Rs all of a sudden seem to think the deficit has some importance (though it didn't when things were good and Bush was president) and that we need to cut it all right now.

As far as Obama - He's looking for the next thing to blame after Bush, tsunamis, earthquakes and the Euro.

I'm kind of thinking just give govt enough for programs like SocSec and toher benefits for those that need it - Then tell them to cut their own salaries.

Maybe we should "outsource" Sens & Reps to save money.

The Dems and the GOP are like an old married couple, simply growing further apart as the years pass by. Money issues and disagreement over plans for the future only go toward driving the wedge even deeper. The arguments have become ugly, and the split is inevitable.

.....and of course we are the affected children. Not really caring anymore what all the bickering is about. Not exactly un-informed, just tired of listening to them argue.

I agree with a lot of this, but it goes way wrong on the issue of free trade. Any person who has taken a decent economics class knows that free trade is a net benefit for both nations involved - each side gains net jobs doing the things they do best.

And it always frosts me that the supposed "progressives" who hate free trade don't seem to mind grinding poverty staying entrenched in the poorer nations we don't trade with - perhaps better to foment the "class revolutions" they fantasize about. The ridiculous sugar quotas in place, which enrich already wealthy American farmers at the cost of higher sugar prices for U.S. consumers and stunted agriculture in poorer nations, is a great example of the "wonders" of economic protectionism.

"That should be "50 percent + 1" Sorry Dick
===

Actually, in his last job he only needed 50 people to agree with him. As the President of the Senate, he broke the ties.

Hello Gordon , your wonderful free trade is not all that great for us 25% out of work , and sure we would all love to save the world , but it is hard to do when we can not feed our kids.

each side gains net jobs doing the things they do best.

Whatever your theory, it didn't happen -- and many people predicted it wouldn't. Gordon, in your case, Perot's "giant sucking sound" is your head being sucked into a hole.

Any person who has taken a decent economics class

That doesn't impress me at all. Over-reliance on economists is a large part of what's wrong with this country.

"Any person who has taken a decent economics class knows that free trade is a net benefit for both nations involved - each side gains net jobs doing the things they do best."

Any person who has taken a decent history class knows that free trade has never worked that way. Like many textbook fantasies, though, it's a cute myth when played out with imaginary island nations trading coconuts and bananas.

I'm stunned, really, that people still proclaim the 'invisible hand' while, like a good fundamentalist at a tent revival, carefully overlook the original words and intentions. Adam Smith, were he to appear today, would say--I'm paraphrasing here--WTF?!?

http://www.econlib.org/library/Enc/FreeTrade.html

Basic idea that people don't get - free economic trade is NOT a zero-sum game.

And I thought over-reliance on lawyers was a large part of what's wrong with this country :)

Gordon - I'd love to see the fiction you'd spin about H1B visas. Full of fallacies at the least.

Aw, Gordon linked to the Great Libertarian Mind. C'mon, Gordon, why link to someone who's professed privately funded aim is essentially free market capitalism?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liberty_Fund

I'd be interested in cogent counter arguments, White Meat, as opposed to ad hominem (or ad organizationum) attacks in response. Blinder makes good arguments - let's see if you can counter them with something other than smears.

I'm with you Gordon. I can't come up with any reason why the government should prohibit me from trading legal goods with free and peaceful people.

"I'd love to see the fiction you'd spin about H1B visas."

What fiction is that? The reason most H1B visas happen is if employers can't find enough qualified US Nationals (especically in engineering.)

If you'd rather they just send those jobs overseas to foreign nationals and forego them getting paychecks here and paying income and property taxes here, let me know if that is your better choice.

Steve - Spin it baby but it doesn't fly. There are tens of thousands of out of work IT employees in the US. But H1B visa holders are getting the bulk of IT jobs because they are cheaper than the unemployed Americans.

And the larger joke is that some of the H1B visa holders working in IT in the US have degrees in mechanical engineering and geology (oil exploration). I've worked in IT for well over 35 years and I see it all first hand.

As for cheaper, well when it takes 2 of them to do what one American would do, that kinds of kills that argument.

What I'd like to see is that every unemployed IT and other tech worker get jobs before any H1B visas are allotted.

"But H1B visa holders are getting the bulk of IT jobs because they are cheaper than the unemployed Americans."

Again, why not just leave the jobs overseas and save all the headlines? I know H1B workers at Intel (albeit anecdotal) and they are equal in terms of pay and benefits.

I think a bigger issue is the realtive shortage of engineering graduates here. If there were sufficient engineering graduates, I don't think we'd need H1Bs.

"What I'd like to see is that every unemployed IT and other tech worker get jobs before any H1B visas are allotted."

Then they should apply at Intel.

"well when it takes 2 of them to do what one American would do"

I'd rethink that. I've met graduates of Indian Institute of Technology and they are on a par with Stanford and American engineering school graduates. In addition, if you look at most engineering schools now, a very high percentage of students are foreign nationals.

I won't deny a lot of the lower tech jobs (like solar panel assembly) can get done in China by two cheaper people instead of one min wage person here, but we can fix that with large tax subsidies.

In the end, if we don't want to make ourselves better, I don't think you can pass a law to make it happen.

"What fiction is that? The reason most H1B visas happen is if employers can't find enough qualified US Nationals (especically in engineering.)"

Having worked for Intel--the most frequent sponsor of those kinds of visas--I can tell you from firsthand experience that that's not only wrong, it's little more than propaganda.

As for "Proof" about conomics, Gordon, get over it. You're an ideologue, it's painfully clear, and you're not interested in information--you're interested in confirmation. Besides--pasting in an ideologue's website doesn't qualify as "proof" of anything, Gordon, except the ability to cut and paste.

"I'd rethink that. I've met graduates of Indian Institute of Technology and they are on a par with Stanford and American engineering school graduates. In addition, if you look at most engineering schools now, a very high percentage of students are foreign nationals."

No, it's not, and you prove it with the second part of your statement. And that second part of your statement's been true for *decades*. It's true of most engineering programs around the first world, though, because the first world is where the money for universities is.

"No, it's not, and you prove it with the second part of your statement."

I'd still disagree. The issue is that American schools are a heckuva lot easier to get into. When you get 100 apps for 3 positions at IIT, you're still missing some of the top of the crop.

I'm not saying IIT is top of the heap, but they turn out a good quality product competitive with the rest of the world.


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