Friday, August 13, 2010

The Conservative Call to Lower Wages and our Standard of Living should Outrage Voters, but Doesn't.

Just to prove how out of touch the Republican and tea party voters are, they’re still trying to take their country back from the big government politicians. Their aim is way off. They don’t seem to recognize that the financial class has already won the war on working class Americans. Big government lost.

The latest fight to take our country back is the bizarre demand by conservatives to lower wages and benefits so we can compete globally with Vietnam and China. The conservative call to fire public employees because of their high wages and generous benefits really says it all. It’s not that public employees are paid too much; it has more to do with the private sector cutting wages and benefits to the bone. It’s remarkable that voters aren’t appalled by the conservative call to lower their family incomes and living standards. For instance:

Employees of Wolf Appliance said "no" to a proposal to take a 20 percent cut in pay and benefits, leaving the future of their jobs in doubt and raising questions about jobs at a sister company, Sub-Zero. About 200 members of Sheet Metal Workers rejected the concessions by a "very close" margin, Sub-Zero/Wolf, a family-owned Madison company, had told the union that without givebacks, manufacturing of Wolf's high-end cooktops and ranges could be moved to Richmond, Ky.

It's the roar that made Milwaukee famous -- the distinctive throaty rumble of a Harley-Davidson motorcycle. But that much-loved racket could be rumbling away to another state if the company cannot bring down its labor costs.

So what’s really going on?

More than one in five Americans in 2009 suffered a household income loss of 25 percent or more over the previous year, according to a new report sponsored by the Rockefeller Foundation and entitled “Economic Security at Risk.” The report documents a steady increase in economic insecurity since the 1960s, and concludes that annual income losses of 25 percent or greater increased by 49.9 percent between 1985 and 2009. The report states, “approximately 46 million Americans were counted as insecure in 2007, up from 28 million in 1985.”

The study notes that a staggering 60 percent of Americans experienced at least one income loss of 25 percent or more over the 1966-2006 period … The sharp rise in economic insecurity documented by the Rockefeller Foundation study is the outcome of a three-decade-long offensive by the American ruling class against the jobs, wages and living standards of the working class.

This assault has only intensified since the eruption of the financial crisis in September 2008, which ushered in the worst recession since the 1930s … the drive to offload the crisis onto the working class has been stepped up, in the form of wage cuts, speedup and savage cuts in social spending at the state and local level … the intention of the ruling class to use mass unemployment to permanently lower the wages and conditions of American workers toward those of impoverished workers in Asia … the Wall Street Journal ran an article noting that the financial markets are generally punishing companies that report expansion plans and rewarding those that plan either no new hiring or further layoffs.

The conservative call to lower Americans living standard by cutting their wages and benefits, while shifting the cost of Social Security and Medicare to the elderly, should be enough to shock voters into the realization that there has got to be a better plan.
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