Sunday, December 07, 2008

My Thoughts Exactly

Why the rush to bail out the financial industry, but not manufacturing? As far as I'm concerned, this column from the Washington Post hits the nail right on the head.

And I'm 100% with the Electrical Workers Union in Chicago (story from The Nation via Yahoo.)

I think I need to go re-read me some Howard Zinn.

4 comments:

junior_goddess said...

I don't agree. And I have NEVER earned more than 70K a year in my life.

I think in some instances the unions are overblown-Michigan has been in a tough spot for a long time. It's hard to bring in new business when the wage standard is so high. They need to consider opening up some other types of business. I know it might not be a ton of $$, but it beats the heck out of holding out for a job that ain't coming back.

I don't know what the Chicago strike at the plant hopes to accomplish. They should get a permit to demonstrate at the BANK. The plant is paralyzed. They might actually WANT to stay open too-but the workers demonstrating there is like preaching to the choir.

kmkat said...

Coupla thoughts.

I have said for years that if we are going to have a global economy, it is inevitable in my mind that we will move toward a global wage. And that wage, while perhaps higher than is presently earned in Myanmar and Bangladesh and Indonesia and China and all those other places where our goods are made, it will most definitely be lower than is currently earned in the US.

BAGnewsNotes.com, a blog that focuses on interpreting the connotations in the photographs we see in the media, pointed out a week or so ago that the photos of the Big 3 automaker executives who came to Washington to plead their cases all were represented in some posture of shame, whereas we never saw that attitude in the photos of the Wall Street geniuses who started/triggered the financial debacle.

Unions may have overreached themselves in the past 50 years; certainly they are seen by some of the general population as having done so. I don't honestly know. But without unions, people in the US very well might still be working under sweatshop conditions with little or no industrial health and safety measures in place and at desperately low wages. Some kind of labor organization is probably necessary.

The Washington Post article is very, very interesting. Thanks for linking to it.

Linda L. said...

Interesting comments. I agree and don't agree.

I was brought up by the daughter of a factory worker and the son of an insurance inspector. Mom is a retired speech therapist & librarian; Dad is a retired broadcast engineer: both college-educated. One thing I heard throughout my childhood (and I know I wasn't the only one) was that I'd better do well in school so I could go to college, because that was the only way to get a good-paying job.

So I did, and then the 1987 stock market crash happened during my senior year. After ten different jobs in ten years, hotel front desk (3x) to tv/appliance/furniture service scheduler to music store accounting to hotel accounting (2x) to copy center staff (x2) and copy center manager, I now do administrative work for the inventory department of a regional copier & business equipment dealer. I do not think I am entitled to $70,000 a year; not because of my education or my light-blue-collar position. (I barely make 40% of that.)

But it's that sense of entitlement that is the root of our economic troubles. The financiers think they're entitled to a bailout - and without restrictions as to how the money is spent (can you say AIG corporate retreat?); the auto industry thinks they are entitled to the same (and the government mandate for a business plan is just a knee-jerk reaction to the bad PR from the financial bailout); the CEOs think they're entitled because they're CEOs; the unionized think they're entitled because their contracts shouldn't be violated.

I'm not saying that we should disregard the American Dream. I believe that we should be able to reap the rewards of hard work. But all too often nowdays that reaping is more like raping, as Americans don't seem to care who they trample to get what they want. As long as that attitude prevails, this crisis will worsen.

So how do we solve this? The violent overthrow of the out-of-touch rich people who only want to remain rich and keep the workers down? The last time I heard about that, it was called the French Revolution. And as those Long Island Wal-Mart shoppers demonstrated, large groups of non-rich people can turn into a mob in an instant.

(Sorry so wordy. That's what happens when I miss Last Saturday Knitting!)

MollyBeees said...

Am I the only one that thinks Big Oil should bail out the auto industry? Seems obvious.