Progressive Programmer

Progressive Politics or idle geek banter. What's on my mind when I'm irked, intrigued, bored or up too late.

Location: Michigan, United States


Labor Day - GOP celebrates by stomping on it

Labor Day was not intended for this.

It was intended to appease labor. It was intended to help get Grover Cleveland reelected (it failed). But over time, it was looked at as a reminder, that just as we thank our veterans on Memorial Day, without labor this country could not be.

Bill Frist might disagree.

Bill Frist worked the system this year to pass a bankruptcy bill (joined by some aisle-crossers well-deserving of rebuke) that wiped out some of the gains labor had made over the last century. Frist and his minions would that you be sentenced to pay for the rest of your life in the event of catastrophic injury that forces bankruptcy. No matter that 50% of bankruptcies result from medical bills. You got sick. You can't pay. And now, you can't declare bankruptcy to be absolved of that debt. Too bad. Get a 2nd job.

Nevermind that one of the reasons we have these laws was the abolition of debtor's prisons. Frist wanted the prisons back without the electricity bill. And the Credit Companies don't want anyone to escape, especially the high-risk people they continue to push offers to.

And now Frist, with deplorable timing that makes one ill at the thought, wants to repeal the "Death Tax". Which is not a death tax at all. It's an Estate Tax that helps ensure the likes of Paris Hilton don't get to inherit the world without giving the feds a couple bucks. What's wrong with that?

Nevermind that it will have the awquard side-effect of gutting charitable organizations at a time when they're doing extraordinary good.

I often argue that The Federal Government is a giant insurance company--It protects you from invasion, guarantees your loans, helps you when you're out-of-work, picks you up during the aftermath of a *cough*natural disaster*cough*--, and the more material things you have, and the easier you have it, the more you should have to pay. Seems fair. The nicer car you drive, the more the insurance company charges you for that insurance. I think we can all agree Ms. Hilton could spare a few dollars of her inheritance.

7 years since a raise in the minimum wage. 5 years of raises for Congress. Nice how that works.

Rick Santorum put an amendment into a minimum wage bill this year that would modify overtime pay requirements--Rather than everything over 40 hours/wk deserving overtime pay, he thought it made more sense if everything over 80 hours for a 2 wk period deserved overtime. Can you imagine the 69 hour work wks being dished out? An employer could simultaneously avoid both overtime and health benefits. A WalMart dream. Now this guy wants your vote for President. Gee thanks, Buddy.

Bush, and the rest of his inept administration, have chosen to celebrate labor by ignoring sizable numbers of the workforce as it teetered near death on the gulf coast this past week. There were WWII memorials and fundraisers. Guitar picking and cake-eating. Shoe sales and broadway plays. There was press conference after press conference assuring everything that could be done was being done. Cheney finally shuffled back into the office late this week.

See, Bush doesn't "get" labor. How could he? He's been failing upwards since birth. No one that takes 5 week working vacations "gets" labor. No one that breaks Ronald Reagan's vacation record for 8 years... in under 5... "gets" labor.

Bush's tax cuts, just as Al Gore harped in 2000, overwhelmingly favored the rich. Bush has successfully steadied our economy after 9/11, but he has done so in slow motion and with no beneficial effect on labor. Unemployment is down, but workforce participation is down as well. bonddad at DailyKos has documented this more than once. Fewer people even consider themselves part of the work force. The economy has grown, but real wages have actually gone down.

CEO salaries, on the other hand, are shattering previous records of CEO/worker salary ratios. Up from 301-to-1 in 2001, they are now 431-to-1. I know CEOs can make or break a company, but so can labor. Is a CEO really *worth* 431 employees? But under Bush you see which one makes out.

Trickle Down economics. Supply-side economics. Bush still believes in this nonsense, even though Reagan--yes the "great" Ronald Reagan--even buckled and levied some taxes. But not W. Never. Not in a million years. Send money to the red cross, because the Feds sure as shit aren't paying for this hurricane relief crap. They might throw up a levee or repair a road, but no way in hell are they gonna ask someone to help shoulder the burden of a bunch a poor folks with nowhere to do the three "S"s.

Labor, to Bush, is a grunt. Labor is the type of person you send to Iraq without ever meeting them. Labor carries the bag on the course. Labor is the person whose death-notice you sign before jaunting back to Crawford for a few days. Labor is those guys in that helicopter crash in Baghdad. Labor is those guys the Secret Service spirits out of the way as you approach. Labor, frankly, is no one he understands.

On Labor Day today, as you're relaxing in your la-z boy or out for the last jaunt around the lake or, let's face it... working, you should think about your job. You should think about Bush's job. And you should think about whether he really cares about what you think. Because he already knows what he thinks about you. So does the entire GOP. Not much.

I'm not liberal, I'm just paying attention


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05 September, 2005 07:49  

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