Thursday, December 16, 2010


I'm tired of this word.  I heard it again this morning, on the news - the business leaders President Obama met with this morning claim they can't invest in the United States because they don't have "certainty."  I guess they're afraid they might have to pay a tax or two.

Well, those poor timid little souls.  These people have more money than God, and their corporations are sitting on piles of cash which remind me of Scrooge McDuck "bathing" in his money vault.  And yet, they're uncertain, so they can't invest.

Try being without a job for 2 years and wondering whether Congress will get off its collective ass and extend unemployment benefits again.  Now, that's uncertainty. 

Ideally, I'd like to see Congress tie itself in such a knot that it doesn't act at all (the House Democrats are working on it), and the Bush tax cuts expire.  We never could afford them, we still can't.  Trouble is, if that happens, the unemployment benefit extension won't happen; and on the whole, I think President Obama called it right in his tax deal.

Our brave Captains of Industry, as they were called the last time we had this level of income inequality (1928), are actually afraid they might have to spend money hiring American workers.  American workers have the temerity to want a living wage, job conditions that probably won't kill or maim them, and a decent retirement; much too expensive for our bold business leaders.  They want to hire Chinese workers who think $45 a month is good pay and only occasionally kill themselves because of terrible working conditions.  Henry Ford was an anti-Semitic SOB, but he built his company on the American worker; the whirring sound you hear is him, spinning in his grave.

I used to take some flack because my choice of reading material regularly included comic books, particularly Marvel Comics.  I wish our business leaders had read them.  From the Fantastic Four and Daredevil to the X-Men and Spiderman, the comics I read carried a major moral message:  With great power comes great responsibility.  Our bold business leaders have tremendous power (since we seem to have decided that money equals power) - and as far as I can tell they feel no responsibility at all, except to their own salary, benefits, and perks.  They work really hard to maximize those.  The people who work for them?  Trash, to be swept out of the way.  The shareholders they claim to represent?  They only own a couple of hundred shares each, who cares about them?

I agree with Robert Borosage, on HuffPo today - "American" corporate leaders are part of the problem, and Obama's fooling himself if he tries to include them in the solution.  I put them in quotes because I don't believe they care a whit about this country and its citizens. 

1 comment:

  1. You're absolutely right.

    35 years ago, I'd have said that class war in America was a distant memory, that anyone who tried to wheel that old paradigm out must be a crusty veteran of the 1930's.

    But it's still true now, and becoming more true all the time. The difference now is that it's a world-wide phenomenon. It's called "globalization" and it involves entrepreneurial capitalism zipping around the globe at a terrifying rate. Playing one country (and one population) against another. Leveraging cheap labor, cheap goods, against a relatively "prosperous" population. Driving down wages by playing economies against others. It all works for those shrewd enough to exploit it.

    China figures it out. Institute de-facto tariffs and blockade to foreign investment, and exploit the West by dumping, then "loaning" us our own capital back as purchased notes. Why the Congress or the American people don't perceive this as a deep threat is a real mystery to me. I see it as economic warfare, at the least. Much more sinister than the Soviet Union's "we will bury you" (a la Kruschev in the 1950's). The U.S. stands right now on the threshold of being a second-rate power in the world.