Monday, February 27, 2012

zì yóu (freedom)

In the United States unions are rapidly becoming something quaint from history like the Grange. Third world countries don’t have unions and don’t have a middle class. Union airline pilots have seen their wages and benefits slashed, working conditions deteriorate and pensions disappear into the hands of Mitt Romney and his friends at Bain.

It’s not all gloom and doom for the pilots however, the last remaining super power is rapidly expanding its airlines and will hire as many experienced American pilots as it can get. They offer 50% more pay and excellent benefits for anyone willing to relocate to the Peoples Republic of China. In fact experienced managers and technocrats of all sorts across the business spectrum can leave the Great Depression behind and find a first world career in China.

There is a small fly in that ointment however, you can bet all the co-pilots and  junior executives speak Mandarin as their first language. The children and grandchildren of these American ex-pats can look forward to jobs back in third world America. A place where non-union airline pilots make the same pay as a manager at the local “fries with that” establishment, and the pay for all middle class jobs continue to slide downward.

I mentioned the Grange in the first paragraph, they were the first large scale “union like” movement, but it was organized for farmers. They were largely responsible for pushing through the Progressive reforms in the late 19th and early 20th century. They played a big part in the New Deal which made labor unions possible. Unfortunately the Grange never really got the hang of collective bargaining despite getting a Federal law passed to make it possible for farmers. They simply faded away.

A new more aggressive collective bargaining group organized farm strikes and secured contracts in the mid sixties. LBJ used the DOJ to kill that movement with court injunctions, having the law on your side isn’t always enough. The labor unions sat on their hands while this happened, and now they are gone too. How does the parable go? Something about, “first they came for…”, you know how it goes. In this case it was, they came for the farmers, but I wasn’t farmer, I was a Reagan Democrat.

We have never really stuck together as Americans for any length of time. The billionaire exploiters have been far better at dividing the 99% into 99 factions than we have been at organizing. We can’t all emigrate to China, of course there is a pretty good chance they’ll just come here. The Republicans think they are the big dogs on the block, but they could be learning to respond to “sit, stay, and lie down” in Mandarin, and they will obey.

In 1776 it was liberals that fought the British East India Company while conservatives collaborated. Sometime in the distant future, say 2176, when the liberals rise up to liberate the American colonies and create a new democratic government, will the new Constitution be written in Mandarin? Or will it happen sooner? The Constitution we have is a pretty good one, it just needs those clauses added that the original framers wanted in it to ban corporate monopolies.


Anonymous said...

Bruce I think your great. I love hearing your stuff on Mike Malloy's show, and quite frankly it always gives me hope. Hope in the sense that someone knows what's going on and can say the way I wish I could.

Anonymous said...

"The Constitution we have is a pretty good one ..."

Yes, except for that useless 18th century anachronism which dooms us: States

All the political problems the United States now faces have one root cause: States

No other country have a manner of unequally dividing sovereignty analagous to our States. Their status should have been changed when Vermont joined, and definitely so after 1865. There is no sane reason for the continuance of the illogical fantasy they represent in the 21st Century.

prairie2 said...

No states? That's a solution looking for a problem. The War of Northern Aggression pretty much took care of that issue. You have to get down to pretty small countries before you find one that doesn't have states. Even Switzerland has the equivalent of states, and Canada doesn't even have a very strong federal government, very nearly libertarian.

Anonymous said...

No other nation has a government based upon the type of 'states' the USA has with grossly unequal population yet equal [mayhaps superior] representation granted to historical expediencies.

It is this Congress composed of unrepresentative quasi-sovereign States that makes the current non-functional government we have possible. What justification in the 21st Century makes sense for a resident of California to have only a small fraction of the say in what our nation as an Alaskan?

America's goofy concept of being a union of anachronistic states has to go before any real future progress can occur before we collapse from furthering the fantasy. Need more than mention of that nonsense know as the Electorial College be mentioned as QED?

prairie2 said...

States... you can't run a country this size on simple majority vote. States have legitimate concerns. Any problems you can attribute to this system is not the fault of states, but the corrupt politicians that answer to corporations just as they don't really answer to their states. Yes they take advantage of the Senate being apportioned by state, but if the Senators weren't corrupt, the problem wouldn't be a problem. The small states are not benefiting disproportionately from the system, money bills are written by the House. Corporations benefit disproportionately, and doing away with states would not fix that.

Dave said...

I like having different states. That way what people in South Carolina think is the way to live doesn't have to affect me that much. Conversely my commie-pinko Pacific NW ways don't have to affect South Carolina residents much either.

Majority rule is fraught with its own problems. The biggest is that the minority or individual, for that matter, shouldn't have to do what the majority wants unless there's a compelling reason why, how the majority "feels" not being such cause.