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    CLASS WAR: "Whose Economy Is It, Anyway?"

    CLASS WAR: Introduction

    GOP Senators have all but declared outright that they will withhold any help in curing the overall economic slowdown unless they can first break the Autoworkers Union (UAW). In so doing, they have painted a picture of who are to be the "Haves and Have-Nots" in their new order for this economy. Class War is a series of essays prepared to first establish the background of this present stalemate along with suggestions for the best way to move forward quickly and resolve the problems that threaten our economic health.

    In this installment we look at principles of "ownership" of this economy. In addition, an initial proletariat response is suggested to those GOP Senators and others who would now wage war on the middle class workers who were instrumental in helping to build the most powerful economy in the world.


    "Whose Economy Is It, Anyway?"

    As a workingman in these United States, it was mind-numbingly painful to watch as our Senate withheld support of efforts to save many of what few family-supporting manufacturing jobs remain in this country. Indeed, it was alarming and even grossly insulting to be told by our elected representatives that these autoworker jobs were in fact a threat to them and to our economy.


    At this time of crisis in our economy, consumer purchasing is required to stir activity and to help "thaw" our frozen financial markets. But we are now told by the GOP members of our Senate that the health of our economy depends instead upon all workers in this country engaging in a rush to the bottom in the level of incomes and in the living standards they will be allowed to attain for themselves and their families.


    "Geez," one might ask, "Did we do something wrong?"


    There are alot of other questions to be asked. For example, at what point did we middle-class members of this society - the Working Class, if you will - become of such little consequence to Congress and to our corporate "citizens" that we now are to be kicked to the curb? Wherein lies the "pursuit of happiness" in being told we must meekly accept the promise given that we will be offered training and other asistance toward recycling into lower paid employment when the economy somehow recovers?


    Indeed, what kind of a beggar's choice are we offered when these Republican Senators hold hostage the economy as a whole, insisting that we must first agree to transform these jobs into lower paid employment?  "The American worker simply must become competitive" we are told.


    Competitive with whom? I ask. At what point did economic Darwinism within the proletariat become a fundamental principle in our economy? Since when has "common wisdom" determined that any laborer making a higher income than another is "overpaid?"


    Truth be told, it has historically been the other way around. In years past, the lesser paid worker was most generally perceived to be "underpaid." The labor contract - won by trade unions through collective bargaining - has always set the standards upwards for all workers (union or not) in that industry. Wages, benefits and improved working conditions were first secured through tough negotiations with the management of specific companies and these would become the standard for the industry as a whole. The non-union truck driver, for example, usually earns less than his Teamster brethren. Yet he enjoys a much higher wage than he most surely would otherwise due to the standard set by union contracts negotiated throughout the industry. The 40 hour week, vacations, health & welfare/pension benefits, worker safety provisions, child labor laws, etc., are all benefits that are now commonly offered to workers. These benefits and more were first secured through hard-won labor contracts hammered out through collective bargaining.


    For these GOP Senators to now complain that our trade unions are the "enemy" and that U.S. workers are obligated to accept the lowest common denominator in wages and benefits to be found is therefore a fundamental shift in the "rules" by which we engage the U.S. economy. And so this recent action (or, more appropriately, "inaction") in the Senate causes one to wonder just whose interests are being served by these GOP obstructionists? It also begs the question: "Just whose economy is it, anyway?"


    The answer is that in these democratic United States, our economy works best when it serves everyone's interests. It's important that all workers now make certain that everyone gets the message. So the next time a GOP Senator (or a perfectly coiffed news analyst or authoritative economist or anyone else pretending that they hold ownership of you and this economy) insists that we move forward only if the middle class takes major steps backwards, the appropriate response - offered with all due respect and in the forceful voice of the workingman - is to invite these opponents of the middle class to "Kiss my ass!"


    We need to then stand together in defiance and tell these helpless "bosses" and their sycophants to get outta' the way. After all, times wasting, and we've got work to do if this economy is ever going to get right with itself.

    Next Up -

    CLASS WAR: ROUND ONE - Reagan Lands KO Punch to the Air Traffic Controllers

    CLASS WAR: "I Ain't Your Human Resource!"


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