Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Welcome to the Jungle

Just as Darwin discovered the law of evolution of organic matter, so Marx discovered the law of evolution of human history.
Friedrich Engels (1820 - 1895), socialist

G.M. plans to eliminate more than 20 percent of its blue-collar jobs in the United States. It would seem to me that it would make more sense to reduce executive salaries first and make them earn their salaries and bonuses by bringing the company back to profitability without continual layoffs.

General Motors Corp. chief executive Rick Wagoner received a $4.66m salary and bonus last year, an 8% decline from what he was paid in 2003, according to the automaker's annual proxy filing. In addition to his unchanged $2.2m salary and $2.46m bonus, down from $2.86m for 2003, Wagoner also received options on 400 000 GM shares and about $160 000 in other pay.

Let’s see with Wagoner’s bonus alone that could keep approximately 40 people employed making roughly $50,000 per year. The announced layoffs are just a precursor to far more insidious cuts such as going after the retired workers health benefits, which will be followed by defaulting on its promised pensions. However, let’s make this perfectly clear; Wagoner and other executive level officers will have to give up one thin dime.

Don’t look for the Bush gang to offer any relief. Hmmm. I wonder how many of those tough talking assembly line workers are happy they voted for George Bush now.

The Bush gang has offered a plan that would sharply increase premiums charged to employers that operate traditional pensions. The plan would also tighten pension-funding requirements, especially for financially weak employers.

Unfortunately, employer groups say Bush's plan would raise the cost of pensions more than necessary, encouraging employers to terminate even healthy plans.

Our social safety nets are being dismantled and the Bush gang and Republicans in Congress could not be happier. I wonder who they will blame once the people wake up and see that inequality is wider now than any time since 1929 -- the liberal media, the unions? Maybe they should look in the mirror.

7 comments:

Devo said...

Good ol' Feudalism is makin' one helluva comeback! Soon we'll all owe our allegiance and lives to regional governors who will rule with fear...

On NPR this morning they were talking about how both candidates for New Jersey governor are financing their own campaigns. Both are millionaires. Even NPR mentioned how much our electoral process is beginning to resemble feudalism.

Add to that the fact that world military spending has reached Cold War levels for the first time since it ended, and you've got scary stuff.

The Misanthrope said...

It's all very scary. We are heading into a cold war of sorts with China as they continue to build their military. Once it is big enough they will decide that they want Taiwan back and we will not be able to do a thing about it.

Devo said...

If there's one thing I learned from A Princess' Bride, it's "never get into a battle of wits with a Sicilian"! Or... wait... no... that's not it. Something about a land war in Asia...

Chandira said...

Sick, isn't it? I can't see HOW those Bush voters can't see it. I really can't.
YOu've got Kerry pledging to keep jobs in the US and invest in alternative fuel sources, and duh! They go vote for Bush..Who also immediately cuts war vet benefits, to add insult to injury.
People are so stoooopid. Baaa Baa!

Devo said...

Y'know, Chandira, I think maybe the inability to understand where so many Americans are coming from will be what costs "rational thought" the next election. Obviously the Republican party is connecting very strongly with a very large portion of the American public. Why?

George Lakoff has proposed that most people don't vote on what they intellectually think will result in superior policies coming from DC. They vote based on their identy and how well it meshes with the identity of the politician they eventually support. Look at the geographical areas that carried Bush to victory. Texas, Ohio, Florida, Indiana, the entire Southeast US... these are places that certainly need the attention that Progressive Policies will give them, however, they do not identify themselves with those needs (inferior education systems, rampant poverty, lack of sustainable agruculture, etc). They would prefer to identify themselves as Christian Americans who want to improve their economic standing by paying fewer taxes. They are most likely intimidated by hyper-intellectual Harvard economists who try to tell them how fewer taxes will eventually result in fewer public resources that we all need and take for granted. The kind of reasoning it takes to appreciate that kind of argument is very far removed from the fact that such-and-such a family just had to take out a second mortgage to afford their kid's overpriced college education.

Add to this the fact that the hyper-conservative right wing is stacked with millionaires who are very willing to devote millions of dollars to very intelligent think-tanks that figure out how to simplify very complex economic theory and then manipulate this simplified theory to communicate misleading ideas to the millions of Americans who are concerned with THEIR lives, here and now, about how their policies will help them regain a foothold in these tough times. Sure, they're lying, but the lies are based on solid intellectual research and pandering to a captive audience.

If we continue simply pulling our hair out over how asanine the "bad guys" are being and we don't take a chill pill and start learning, we're doomed to fail. Furthermore, insisting that the hordes of people who fell for Bushco's deceit are a buncha inbred morons is CERTAINLY not gonna win the "good guys" any brownie points with 'em. They already have one helluva head start on us. It's time we started making up for a thousand wasted opportunities.

Chandira said...

You have some good points Devo.

I still am banging my head against the damn wall though. It's not THAT hard to see that Bush is a lying *******..
I can't see that discrepancy making sense, to the religiously minded, and/or working class, for too long.

I grew up in a very working-class environment, and my whole family would probably be Bud-drinking Bush-voters over here, but the system's different in England, thankfully. Labour/Democrats are much more similar, but Labour has always up until recently made a reasonable attempt to support the working class, rather than rub their noses in their own shit, like the Reps do here.
And England's religious culture is very, very different than it is here. I'm struggling with it. It's a very hard mentality to understand for a foreigner.

Anonymous said...

the most likely intimidated by hyper-intellectual Harvard economists who try to tell them how fewer taxes will eventually result in fewer public resources that we all need and take for granted. The Bush gang has offered a plan that would sharply increase premiums charged to employers that operate traditional pensions. The plan would also tighten pension-funding requirements, especially for financially weak employers