Glenn Beck, the supposedly middle class hero, turns out to be a hollowed out Tin Man. Lately, we noticed that this self-style man of the people likes to attack unions, who are merely organizations of people…not hugely wealthy individuals or giant corporations…who assemble together to get good wages for the hard work that they perform. How could a “man of the people” be against that?
He’s found a way. Typically, Beck starts out by taking a quote from someone else. In this case, it was Robert Reich, the distinguished economics scholar, former Clinton Administration official with the record of the longest sustained period of economic growth—not disaster, as Bush-Cheney left us—in the country’s history.
Beck, the economic genius, the never-educated, drug addicted, alcoholic, drifter…the con man…the pitch man…the former, trick-playing, sadistic, loudmouth disk jockey, the “Lonesome Rhodes of the Tea Party fake populists, the hero of the hicks—gives Dr. Robert Reich, perhaps our most enlightened economist lectures on employment, and labor relations? We are now officially in the “bizarro world” where up is down and down is up.
Dr. Reich has pointed out that unions are very good for the country because they protect and sustain workers’ rights and offer the country a workforce with purchasing power and longevity. That is good for the economy because citizens can then afford more quality goods, which keeps prices at a rate that helps sustain the domestic economy.
Because unions encourage sustainable wages and benefits—which all union workers have, by the way—workers are able to purchase more goods at a price which strengthens domestic-based companies and that helps non-union workers as well. When wages are competitive, a large segment of the population with good wages means that wage competition will create higher wages for all.
Despite what genius Beck will tell you from his high-school-educated economics perspective, higher wages and good prices do not necessarily mean inflation or any other kind of economic disaster. They often mean simply a good, strong economy.
Beck says that he took some time to think about Dr. Reich’s comment and thought to himself …“if unions are so great wouldn’t that mean that Detroit would be Disney world?”
This is not any more logical than saying that if Beck and Limbaugh are on television and radio, then all Right Wing commentators must be drug addicts who failed in every previous endeavor. There are many Right Wing propagandists who were not total losers before finding the path of gold to the arch-conservative money tree.
Not to mention the fact, of course, that all kinds of jobs in Detroit—and everywhere–are in trouble, not merely union jobs. Not to mention that the automotive management of the last quarter of the 20th Century is universally considered to be the most reactionary in the entire history of U.S. manufacturing. They allowed foreign auto manufacturers, using the advanced Deming manufacturing techniques developed here in the U.S. to come in and demolish the U.S. auto industry by creating a better automobile.
Not only did union workers not cause this, they in fact saved the auto industry from complete annihilation several times by reducing wages, repeatedly reducing benefits, while top management somehow, in their total failure, “deserved” salary and bonus increases. Beck is a wonderful showman for the hicks, but he is a simple-minded fool when it comes to economics.
Not just in Detroit, but universally union workers have and still do live very comfortable lives, have good jobs with good pay, good benefits and some money put aside for retirement, despite the effort of the Right Wingers like Rush Limbaugh and the Koch Brothers and the Karl Roves and Dick Cheneys of the world.
It should be noted also, that in most industries where the workers are organized, the non-union workers also have the same benefits, the same hours and the same rules about working conditions. The unions have made untold numbers of non-union workers’ lives better through their many sacrifices and courageous stands on fairness in labor practices.
The unions are the key to good employment. They keep corporations honest.
On the issue of labor, Beck has turned to someone by the name of Tim Phillips, President of Americans for Prosperity for comment. Americans for Prosperity is the front for the Koch brothers multi-million dollar Neoconservative program known as the Tea Party. They are the ones who hired Tim Phillips and pay his salary. They are the ones who paid Dick Armey to spin off another group from Americans for Prosperity called FreedomWorks to hold marches and town halls to protest and spread lies about health care reform. They support loony Tea Party candidates to disrupt the political process.
The Right Wing now sees that there are still a large number of bigots in the Southern states. These people, largely uneducated, still believing in the more unorthodox Christian myths of Jesus. Despite all evidence to the contrary, they still see him as a white man with a brown beard coming to take them right out of their clothes to someplace called Heaven.
These “fundamentalist” Christians believe that civilization on earth is about 7,500 years old and that we are descended from two human beings who magically…they would say mystically…arrived on earth from somewhere, bred children who intermarried incestuously for several generations and then all somehow eventually became the self-enlightened, chosen people who owned slaves in the Southern part of the United States.
These are the dummies, apparently in large enough numbers to influence elections, to whom Beck and Limbaugh appeal. If you are wondering what all this means, the answer is, yes, you are in for a rough 21st Century…a return to the dark ages. Let’s hope that it is only temporary until somehow education and enough self-doubt changes the next generation. For now, media ownership in the hands of super-wealthy, super-conservative people pushes this Right-Wing anti-Middle Class propaganda into the population.
Americans for Prosperity headed by Tim Phillips, is an organization for prosperity for the richest Americans only. They started and still fund the organization. They do no like unions. They do not like taxes. They do not like regulations and they do not like being told which neighborhoods should be free of cancer-causing pollutants…for which they are repeatedly fined by the federal government.
They sponsor candidates like Sharron Angle, Christine O’Donnell, Michelle Bachmann and promoters like Sarah Palin who want to do away with…you guessed it…environmental regulations, taxes, the IRS, any kind of progressive education, and Social Security. Unions? You’ve got to be kidding. They’d like to make unions illegal.
The Koch family, who funded and continue to support Americans for Prosperity, want all regulations banished so that they can continue to pollute. They own oil refineries and have been fined more often than they can remember. Any other progressive ideas, like good health care for average Americans are also against their plans, which is why they also helped found FreedomWorks to spread lies about health care reform being a “government takeover” and being involved with “death panels.” All good slogans to rouse rabble…which, of course, is what the Koch family apparently envisions the average American family to be or wants them to become.
Their stooge Phillips says that states where people are not allowed to unionize are those states where jobs are growing. In other words, in Right-to-Work states. Right-to-Work is actually a term that in reality means, “Prevent-from-Organizing.” In other words, the net result of Right-to-Work is no unions.
The fact is that the agricultural and ranching states of North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Montana, Nebraska and Iowa are the fastest growing states in job creation. Not total numbers of jobs, but only in percentage of jobs, because there are far fewer people in Wyoming or Nebraska than there are in New York City. So naturally when you have only a dozen jobs and you add six more, your percentage of job growth is fantastic.
Texas is growing jobs. But the jobs in Texas, as in Iowa, are energy related. In Texas, it is the refining of oil, the management of off-shore drilling projects as well as any remaining small domestic drilling that still takes place. Most has to do with the 60% of oil converted to gasoline and other uses that we import from foreign countries. That is where your money goes when you buy gas…to Canada, Mexico, Brazil…and the Arab countries.
In Iowa, the jobs that are non-agricultural, have a lot to do with ethanol. Huge government subsidies have produced 40 or more corn-based ethanol refineries where ethanol is produced as a vehicle fuel additive to reduce petroleum imports. Hardly makes a dent. Since ethanol has been at peak production, gasoline has still gone to as high as $4.00 a gallon. The oil companies can charge whatever they want. It is a monopoly.
Since, if I take away your car you won’t be able to get to work, you’ll pay just about whatever the Exxon/Mobils, and the BPs and the other gasoline producers decide to charge you. Americans for Prosperity and Glenn Beck are paid handsomely by these people to see that you don’t rebel against this fact or even think about it.
Union jobs are not going away because unions are bad, or because union jobs are less efficient or have any negative consequences whatsoever. As a worker in a hotel who cleans toilets every day will you, it is much easier to take hard work when there is at least a living wage, and some meager benefits and some hope that at age 65 or 66 there will be some small amount of money to live on in old age.
Here is what is so difficult to believe and why so many people do not vote in their own self interest. It is hard to believe that perhaps a thousand to five thousand families in this country, and the people that they hire to run their corporations, and the people who follow them, like many highly paid surgeons, accountants, corporate attorneys and other wealthy professionals do not want the average man to make a decent living.
These top 1000 to 5000 are so wealthy that if they spent not one million dollars a year but 100 million dollars a year, they could never spend all the money that they have. And most of them had nothing to do with the huge prosperity of the companies that continue to provide them with that income. They inherited that wealth and yet, in their need for more money and more power, they envy even the slightest advance in the minimum wage or in a living wage and job security from union participation.
In order to keep that level of wealth, all of it, rather than sharing 35% of it at most with society for the infrastructure and security of which they take most advantage, they spend hundreds of millions, even billions in the aggregate to prevent others from having union jobs, from having a minimum wage, (even at its below-poverty level) from having reasonably priced health care, from having Social Security or having Medicare.
By the way, these people now want to take away or reduce Social Security, which costs government nothing and which has nothing to do with their taxes but which has always been completely funded by personal contributions. The only reason that the age to receive Social Security is now being considered to be moved higher is that the money we all contributed was stolen by the Federal Government under Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and George W. Bush (and Dick Cheney.) They used our Social Security funds to pay for wars, and to transfer that money back to these 5000 families in the form of tax rebates.
In other words, we are in debt almost exclusively except for not even $1 trillion of the $13 trillion because of the Republicans. They took Social Security money which we put in, and which should still be there, our money, to run wars and to give tax cuts to the wealthy. Then they borrowed money from China and elsewhere on top of that.
Now, they want to take some of Social Security and add more costs to the elderly for Medicare co-payments, while not asking the rich, these 5000 families and the corporations that they own to pay anything. Not only that, they want to continue to give them more tax cuts paid for with more stolen Social Security money.
Meanwhile, Beck’s hicks, just average American stooges, so dumb they can barely find their way to the menial jobs that they hold, think that Glenn Beck and Americans for Prosperity…working against unions…are actually on their side.
While the Bush Administration was allowing Wall Street to subtract trillions from jobs, from pensions, from home equity by creating literally fraudulent mortgage documents…unions have been trying to get the average worker better job conditions and more job security. And now they rightfully want the Employee Free Choice Act.
Unions want to be able to say to workers…here is a card. If you want to have a vote to have a union, say yes, and turn it in. If you don’t, say no, and turn it in. That simple step, which is the crux of the new Employee Free Choice Act, would stop union-bashing in its tracks and give hundreds of millions of American workers the chance to, once again, create a domestic workforce that would restore our economy.
That is what Glenn Beck and Tim Phillips are against. As unbelievable and as un-American as it seems, that is what the Koch family and their friends are against. If you are against Americans having good jobs and against restoring America, you are with Beck and Phillips.
If you are for the average man having good wages, good benefits, training, highly honed skills and some retirement security, then you are on the same page as every hard working union man and their union leaders. You need to fight for them and with them in the coming elections. Before it is too late.