Friday | August 01, 2003
A job for John
By Steve Gilliard
My friend, Bill Lessard sent me a link to a webpage about a guy who got fired from his job last week and coincidentally, decided to follow a caravan of Bush's economic advisors around.
Now here begins the truely weird part: my car is totally out of cupholders at this point so I park and walk around to the back to throw a Target bag full of soda containers in the dumpster... and what do I see? It's like Madison Avenue! Snow and the whole team is doing interviews BEHIND the restaurant, behind the garbage bin, totally out of the public eye. For God's sake … and the SS agents wouldn't even let me use the dumpster!
I walk back across the parking lot toward my car and see this guy wearing a press badge so I go over and we start talking. As we talk it becomes apparant that I have kind of taken him "out of the Matrix" of the media event. I'm unemployed. I'm real. It's clear that the press folk are being told that the chanting mass on the other side of Culvers are "just disaffected Democrats." Ya sure.
How did being unemployed and pissed off about it in this country become such a big secret?! Since January of 2000 there's at least 3 MILLION more of us!
Now I came across a link from Atrios from a group called conceptual guerilla
They have a phrase they used called "cheap-labor" conservative. I like it, because it's true. We live in a country which is creating a ruling class of business elite and their spawn. They are creating wealth for generations from paper transactions. While robbing you of your future to do so.
It was bad enough when they took the blue collar jobs away to Mexico, now it's white collar jobs to India.
These people don't care about the security of the US as long as they make a profit. If we all work in Wal-Mart, fine company that it is, it will not matter to them. The fact that the social damage from living on debt and working 60 hour weeks is killing families and increasing various forms of dysfunction. But as long as there are people who will help create these massive profits, they just don't care.
Of course this can't last. Something will have to give and the days of raiding the treasury for the rich are going to end because Americans are falling behind in their living standards. Sixty hour weeks and no job security is what caused unions to be formed in the first place. People will fight back because they won't have any choice.
As it stands, most Americans live in an economic fantasy world where they think they're in the top one percent of income and a steady diet of famous people make it seem like it's ok. You can't hate the working class Ben Affleck, can you? You have to care about his romances and gambling, because he's famous. Well, Ben Affleck isn't rich. Oh, he has money, but he and his kids will never be part of America's elite. A fact he is aware of because his dad worked at Harvard, as a janitor.
Who will be? The children of the do-little managers of America's corporations. What is the price of this? Economic stability for the rest of us. Why do we get such poor economic reporting? Because the news anchors are millionaires and the reporters make hundreds of thousands of dollars a year. How in God's name can a person who went from suburban high school to Harvard to a network job, never once missing a meal, understand the constraints most of us live under.
We get ignorance in economic reporting because it works for everyone, advertisers, executives and managers. Not for readers or viewers, but then they aren't really demanding more than stock prices.
People aren't stupid. They know the tax cuts are a reckless fraud, they know they live on a sea of debt. Yet they feel powerless to stop this stuff.
In my experience in reporting on companies, most people never, ever do the one thing which would save them much agony. Check out their own companies. They take word of the company's condition on faith. When it comes to their jobs they are less curious than a crooked cop checking out those who bribe him. Yet a simple look at public information, like insider stock sales, would give them real, useful facts.
People have to realize that the way Bush and the neocons are running this economy, they're risking our entire future on failed or dubious theories. Tax cuts for the rich help the rich. American corporations betray the basic promise of capitalism with an informal kind of insider dealing which enriches the CEO and his cronies at the cost of everything and everyone around them.
It will not matter who is elected in 2004 if some of the ground rules about the economy do not change. And the first thing has to be an end to exporting our economic security so a few people can become obscenely rich while most of us are barely hanging on. The other is to demand basic corporate honesty and responsibility. You can't have capitalism if some folks play by socialist rules and protect themselves above everyone else.