Thursday, December 23, 2010

Class War

¡Hola! Everybody...
Trying to get some things done, like getting a haircut, etc. Then it’s off to see moms!
First, some Nuyorican music (played by a combination of Puerto Ricans, Dominicans, Panamanians, whites... etc):

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-=[ Excavating the Future: Class War ]=-

The only thing worse than a knee-jerk liberal is a knee-pad conservative.

-- Edward Paul Abbey (1927-1989)


Knee-pad conservatives love to spew the fave talking point that “liberals want to take money from some people and give it to others.” What they fails to understand is that the “some people” they’re referring to are the richest 1% who now own about 70% of the wealth (I’ll have to check for the exact number, but trust me, it’s not that far off).

This kind of wealth gap hasn’t been seen since the great Depression. Is it no wonder that we’re all struggling today? As billionaire, Warren Buffet has stated, there is a class war and the rich are winning it.

Let me roll back a little right now...

When I was a young child, my class went on a class trip to New York’s World’s Fair. What I saw there was the promise of a future in which technology would make our lives easier and the increase of leisure time would free all of us to pursue the lofty goals of the further reaches of human development. There were moving sidewalks, automated homes, skyways, and trams. There was modern architecture and a moonwalk on a roof. At that time, young president stood up and proclaimed to the entire world that we would set foot on the moon before the end of the decade. As a young child, I remember thinking this would be the world I would inherit.

It was a different time, a time of hope and optimism.

And why shouldn’t it have been so? Our country had overcome a major depression, won (and paid for) a global war, created the finest educational structure the world had ever seen, financed an advanced education for millions of GIs, and built a large number of innovative and effective corporations.

People then still remembered the sadistic excesses of the wealthy and powerful of earlier times and, through visionary politicians and legislation, created an economic system that was fair to both investors and workers. Not only did investors become wealthier and more numerous, but a typical working-class American -- working a 40-hour week -- could support a family of four.

The huge income gaps of the 1920s had been slightly reversed in the 40s and 50s, and were largely held at bay in the 60s and 70s. Except for people of color, this can be rightfully considered the greatest Golden Age for the middle class ever.

But that wasn’t all. In those days, corporations were more progressive in their thinking -- there was a moral force helping build a climate of fairness and openness. People took pride in and saw their organizations as part of their community. They saw closeness between their own interests and the interests of their companies. The implied promise of the corporate executive or business owner then was, “Work hard with me, grow with me, and you will share in my prosperity.”

Then in the 1980s, a new kind of political life form arrived with a vengeance. Apologists for the wealthy and the powerful sold a new set of values to the public that allowed pro-business, anti-worker politicians to get elected. They, in turn, changed our economy from one that benefitted both the investor and worker classes, to one that today benefits investors at the expense of workers.

Today, investors regularly plunder the workers, the professionals, and low-level managers that have produced over the decades and they invest those stolen assets outside our country -- purely for their own benefit -- with no regard for those who work hard or for our society.

It gets worse. No matter how much time and effort workers expend in improving equipment or increasing efficiency, they don’t share in the benefits. As a group becomes more effective, it increases the chances that some of the other workers will be fired, and those who remain will have to work harder than they did before, with incomes that don’t keep pace with inflation. The middle class is told that “competition demands it” -- despite record corporate profits and astronomical incomes for investors and golden parachutes for corporate executives.

Of course, the executives and stockholders exempt themselves from the cost-cutting competition and get filthy rich in the process. As a result, between 1979 and 2000, the stock market rose over 1,100%, but real wages for the middle class didn’t keep up with inflation. In terms of opportunity, the U.S. no longer leads in terms of upward mobility. Several advanced nations leave us in the dust (France being one).

This increase in the disparity in wealth and income between the ultra-rich and the poor-and-middle-class is not, as knee-pad conservatives and lower life forms will tell you, because the wealthy work harder or are more successful on a level playing field. It’s because corporations now have all the power, and they have conveniently shifted their values from fairness to survival of the fittest.

Love,

Eddie

5 comments:

  1. Great piece as usual, Eddie. How sad that it is also quite spot-on.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Constructive FeedbackDecember 26, 2010 at 10:44 PM

    [quote]But that wasn’t all. In those days, corporations were more progressive in their thinking -- there was a moral force helping build a climate of fairness and openness. People took pride in and saw their organizations as part of their community. They saw closeness between their own interests and the interests of their companies.[/quote]

    My Friend Eddie Blue Eyes:

    I knew it all along.  You are a Tea Party Member. This is proven by your quest to make reference to BACK IN THE DAY!!!

    Unfortunately your depictions do not map to reality.  What happened to all of those "Wildcat Strikes" during this time of corporate bliss?
    WHY was the EPA needed in the early 70's to provide regulation to "our friends" in the corporation at this time?

    When you look at the US Census numbers which point to a mas exodus from the "Progerssive Mission Accomplished" states where the political and regulator victory has been won?  

    After favorable people took over the key institutions in these places why was there not more ORGANIC COMPETENCY developed as a means of enhancing the people's productivity and earning power?

    I am quite disturbed by your arguments of an "Income Pie".   Tell me - if this is true WHERE did the "Pie" that was in Milwaukee, Buffalo, Cleveland, Detroit and Newark vacate to?

    The truth is, Eddie - INCOME is GENERATED from a SYSTEM of VALUE CREATION.  Indeed there are certain constructs - such as collective barganing which allow the workers to receive a LARGER SLICE OF THE PIE from the production process.

    This does not address the failure of those who persued a course of political and ideological take over to build up ECONOMIC PRODUCTIVITY where they now stand in power.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I find it utterly hilarious that you "pretend" to pose a question, when in fact you want to ramble on. Your syllogism is fucked up.

    Your "premises," if one call term that (I would term them talking points in lieu of actual anaylsis) are rambling, unclear, and sloppily constructed. This form may work for you elsewhere but not here.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Constructive FeedbackDecember 27, 2010 at 11:24 PM

    I humbly reframe my question, sir:

    How do you justify your theory that there is a fixed "income pie" that at present is distributed to the wealthy on the basis of an overview of the present economic facts around the nation?

    It appears that you seek to have government policy to regulate and redistribute income to be more "fair".   If you look at how this same theory is applied at the county level (Metro-Atlanta is an exellent laboratory to see a series of relatively independent counties that have different economic policy prioriites) you will see that in raising taxes in one district that seeks to retain a certain standard of living per government services indeed triggers a response from individual and corporate residents.

    A far better strategy to achieve what you want is through the CONJUNCTION of increased productive output and direct competition against those who you see as your competition.  In this case it appears to be the American corporate establishment.  

    ReplyDelete
  5. I'm on vacation, and you're not really addressing my points, so don't expect much in terms of a reply. I don't like coirrectiong people's logical fallacies.  So,m this is my lat response.

    "<span>How do you justify your theory that there is a fixed "income pie" that at present is distributed to the wealthy on the basis of an overview of the present economic facts around the nation?"</span>

    Ummmmm. because trhe DATA shows a clear correlation over thrirty years of diminsishing incoime for the middle class. Sometimes you need to amke the effort to understand something before launching an ad hominem attack. also, it's impossible to disagree with something you don't understand.

    "<span>It appears that you seek to have government policy to regulate and redistribute income to be more "fair".   If you look at how this same theory is applied at the county level (Metro-Atlanta is an exellent laboratory to see a series of relatively independent counties that have different economic policy prioriites) you will see that in raising taxes in one district that seeks to retain a certain standard of living per government services indeed triggers a response from individual and corporate residents."</span>

    First, I never made such a statement. I never said government should (or shouldn't) "redistribute" income. This is YOUR strawman. Simply put, I emphasized a statistical point: that there is a string correlation with lassez faire economic social policy DECISIONS and redistribution of income UPWARDS. This didn't happen by accident, it was  a clear agenda by the right: less regulation in order to free the "free" market and allow the resulting economic activity to "trickle down." As an economic policy, this has been DISASTROUS.

    You have explicitly made the statement that we need more of the same.

    SMH

    If you have FACTS or data (from a credible source) the contradict my position (that the middle class and working poor have seen their incomes steadily decline at the SAME TIME that conservative economic policies have dominated), I would love to see them. But I've seen where even the architects of the supply-siders are now contrite.

    ReplyDelete

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