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EDITORIAL COMMENT: Maybe it works politically to get elected, but this attack on workers looks like scape-goating to me, and a pretty effective attempt to distract from reality with the myth that workers, homeowners and pensioners caused the historic financial mess that was in fact created, promoted and allowed solely by Wall Street with the blessing of our government.

These events where long-standing historical pictures of workers doing their work are torn down, destroyed and put away, is like the editorial says, shades of measures you see in third world countries with ruthless dictatorships changing “reality” at will. For it isn’t a matter of the extent to which collective bargaining rights should exist or be regulated, it is something entirely different.

This attack to score political points is shooting all of us in the foot. All of us are walking down a dangerous path of economic chaos and destruction — whether we are rich or poor, and whether we wish to acknowledge it or not. The facts are there for anyone to do their own analysis. World events have accumulated to the point where it is absolutely certain that nobody can be certain about how anything is going to turn out. We can only hope or fantasize.

Political expediency always trumps right action. So instead of coming together and finding ways where we have each other’s backs, we are continuing the decades long trend of pulling apart and finger pointing. Here is a fact that is incontrovertible: if workers in the U.S. were fully employed with reasonable compensation and coverage of all the physical needs for themselves and their families, the entire economy would be booming. Here is another one: putting working class people lower on the social scale into near slaves will cause them to do other things — people don’t like to be treated that way, especially Americans.

These attacks are simply impractical regardless of how much you believe workers deserve to be treated this way. without them employed, earning money and leveling out income inequality, there will be nobody to buy anything, make anything or do anything in America except trade paper on Wall Street. “Anything” includes especially homes whose bottom is still not in sight simply because our politicians lack the “vision” to see what is right in front of them.

At this point I don’t care who goes to jail or even who deserves to be blamed. I want out of this mess. The enormous collateral benefits conferred on Wall Street did nothing to increase liquidity or allow an economic recovery that ordinary people can see on their dinner table, if they have one, in their home, if they have one. The table is tilted on an extreme angle away from the ordinary citizen and toward about 400 people who basically have or control most of the wealth in this country. When you are talking 400 versus 300,000,000 citizens, things have gone too far.

Continuation of this scape-goating, and avoiding the realities of our ailing economy will only prolong and deepen the pain. We’ve been attacked by a common enemy — Wall Street. I thought Americans pulled together and responded to such attacks in unity and always won against the aggressor. This time, maybe not.

He Dreamed He Saw Kim Jong-il

As Republican governors vie to become the most anti-union executive in the land, Gov. Paul LePage of Maine has stooped to behavior worthy of the pharaohs’ chiseling historic truth from Egyptian monuments. Mr. LePage has ordered that a 36-foot-wide mural depicting workers’ history in Maine be removed from the lobby of the state’s Labor Department.

The reason? His office cited some complaints from offended business leaders and an anonymous fax declaring that the mural smacked of official brainwashing by North Korea’s dictator.

This is what’s passing for democratic governance in a state with a noble workers’ history. The mural honors such groups as the state’s shoemakers and the women riveters who kept the ironworks going in World War II. Key workplace moments depicted include a paper mill strike against harsh working conditions and a tribute to pioneer lumberjacks.

All too “one-sided,” decreed the governor, who also ordered that the agency’s seven meeting rooms no longer be named after figures from workers’ history. The nation’s first woman cabinet member — Labor Secretary Frances Perkins — is buried in her beloved Maine, but her room name won’t survive. Nor will state residents be reminded of William Looney, a 19th-century Republican legislator who fought for state child labor reforms.

Mr. LePage’s acting labor commissioner suggests replacing the mural with neutral paint and naming the conference rooms after Maine mountains.

To be fair, Mr. LePage does retain a sense of workplace opportunity. After his election last November, he named Lauren, his 22-year-old, fresh-from-college daughter, to what was termed an entry-level job as assistant to the governor’s chief of staff.

At $41,000 a year, the post offers $10,000 more than the pay for workers who pass the teacher and police tests. That’s on top of Ms. LePage’s free room and board at the governor’s mansion.

4 Responses

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  2. This is one of the main reasons the Banksters are not giving loan modifications. They know nobody can afford them. Most people will either loose jobs or get substantial salary cuts. That is the way the cycle works.

    There main crime is that they did it on purpose. They knew what was happening and still gave people loans.

    That is Fraud.

  3. The Pension Fund managers must invest the money put in by union employees. Does anyone want to hazard a guess where that investment goes?

    One could make the case that the desire for a solid return on pension funding may have led to the accelerated growth in manufacturing in other countries.

    Is it possible that union workers have inadvertently stuck it to the private sector by using pension funding to invest in manufacturing growth in places such as China?

    The lack of clarity over how pensions work, how much they pay out, and for how long, is what I find the most suspicious aspect in the current struggle between collective bargaining and state governments.

    What if union workers simply received social security like everbody else, but had been paid an extra 20% each and every year they actually worked?

    There would be less state budgetary pressures to reduce spending, and workers would have been paid 20% more over the past 20 or 30 years.

  4. The editorial comments state; “At this point I don’t care who goes to jail or even who deserves to be blamed. I want out of this mess.”

    This is a reflection of the desperation many of us have. Those who are personally familiar with the subject matter of this site recognize the dire potential for all society if practices which have been honed on stumbling home-owners are extended to everyone that has something of value.

    Ironically, the Japan nuclear debacle underscores the societal risk of hugely disproprotionate wealth ownership. The “firefighters” in Japan on the front lines in the nuclear disaster–wading into radioactive pools to connect electric cables, operating fire-hoses to douse nuclear fires and attempt to cool down melting fuel rods. Basically to commit suicide for the greater good–if the readings are wrong, or a spike occurs as happened yesterday.

    Now we all know that US facilities in particular have accumulated spent fuel rods, employ similar technology and face at least some of the same risks of danger. Is it possible the plant operators cut back on maintenance to save money? Is it possible that US regulators were overworked or otherwise distracted from employing best practices? Is it possible that Toledo Ohio firefighters would be called upon to sacrifice themselves at Davis Bessie or that Harrisburg Penna firefighters and emergency workers would similarly be called to their deaths at Three-Mile Island?

    What will their answers to those desperate demands be if the previously disdained —now KEY-MAN–is facing the abuses of foreclosure run amuck. If he/she suffered the loss of 50% of the IRA in 2008–now suffering cutbacks in medical, pension and pay? Will the Governors call back those who were laid off? To climb into the deadly pools to protect Warren Buffet’s billions?

    Will they offer double-time if radiation levels exceed 100 times safe levels? Will they pick up a larger piece of the deductible on medical insurance for the dying heros–or just sing their praises and call them heros for a day, then return them to the heap of Americans that are today adjudged to be merely ungrateful welfare recipients despite years of loyalty and risk-taking–ungrateful for asking what was promised to them.

    Societies that allow 2008 to occur lack the maturity to assure the 40-60 years plus economic, social and political stability to attempt to control the power of God.

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