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View Diary: Peasants as far as I can see (169 comments)

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  •  Hmm, Didn't Feel Like Wages Stagnated As Early (19+ / 0-)

    as the 50's; for example the big wave of middle class kids not financed by the GI Bill going to college began in the 60's, but we definitely hit stagnation by the end of the 60's when the Vietnam War was underway and under-financed.

    The liberation of the rich began noticeably under Carter and took off like a rocket with Reagan. The earlier stagnation was a problem, but the liberation of the top end was a real nation killer.

    Pretty much everything listed after the 60's started or was amplified by the Reaganomics of our two political parties. I agree with the Republicans that Reagan should be on Mt. Rushmore as he has become the Stepfather of His Country. For my money, they should carve him out of the figures already there, because they are becoming irrelevant to our posterity.

    We long ago reached the point where there wasn't enough socially redeeming value to wealth at the top end. The people have so little capacity to buy more that there's no use investing in more production. So the wealth at the top now is used mostly to gamble on other investors, or to capture productive businesses and destroy them to harvest their wealth.

    I don't see a change without some kind of severe discontinuity.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 07:27:09 AM PST

    •  Taft Hartley Act of 1947 (19+ / 0-)

      That's when the power of the Unions was curtailed and after that it was all downhill.  Until the Taft Hartley Act is repealed we will never have strong unions.  

      You CANNOT restrict the ability of the Workers from withholding the only thing they have - Labor.  We focus so heavily on Capital and the Entrepreneurs and not at all on Workers and Labor.  The Entrepreneurs can withhold Capital but Workers are increasingly in a position where they are being prohibited from withholding Labor and if they do they're just replaced by someone else who won't.

      How quickly do you think Dickless Snyder would do a 180 in Michigan if every worker in the state withheld Labor and went on strike?  Bring Michigan to a halt.  A day?  A week?  Definitely not a month.  He can sign a Right-to-work-for-less
      bill into law because there are no real long lasting repercussions if he does.  Until that changes we will continue seeing these attacks on Workers and Labor.  Step 1 should be repealing Taft Hartley.

      This is your world These are your people You can live for yourself today Or help build tomorrow for everyone -8.75, -8.00

      by DisNoir36 on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 07:45:36 AM PST

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      •  The Democrats had a huge chance to kill Taft (24+ / 0-)

        Hartley in 1965. With 68 seats in the Senate, 295 seats in the House, a master legislator in the White House, the Congress that passed Medicare, Medicaid, the Voting Rights Act, Higher Education Act and Freedom of Information Act.

        The decline of unions was already apparently at the time. Union membership as a percentage of the workforce had peaked 10 years earlier. As early as 1960, some experts had identified a weakness in private sector unions' structure that only allowed them to survive under oligopolistic conditions.

        The unions were not asking for a repeal of Taft Hartley, only a repeal of section 14(b), which allow states to enact right to work laws outlawing the union shop and agency shop. Without union shop, unions are faced with the so called free rider problem where non union employees can benefit from union bargaining without paying union dues.

        Unfortunately, Democrats missed their chance as an alliance of Dixiecrats and Republicans blocked the bill. Without the filibuster it would have narrowly passed. At that time Congress was dominated by this so called 'conservative coalition' and had been since 1938 and to some extent would continue to be up until the present.

        In 1968 the unions backed Hubert Humphrey. At that point a huge rift had opened up between the unions and the then ascendant New Left. After HHH lost the General, the so-called McGovern-Fraser reforms took power over the nomination process away from the urban machines and eventually into the hands of primary election voters. The short term impact was the unions didn't back McGovern in '72. The long term impact was the monetary cost of running a successful campaign skyrocketed, particularly due to the need to run television advertising. As the party machines lost power, individual candidates came increasingly to rely on large donors and expensive television and direct mail campaigns, where union money was quickly drowned out by a much larger volume of corporate money. And the rest is history.

        "It is, it seems, politically impossible to organize expenditure on the scale necessary to prove my case -- except in war conditions."--JM Keynes, 1940

        by randomfacts on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 09:05:21 AM PST

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      •  So can we help people move out of Michigan (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        into states nearby, to deprive Snyder & Company of property and sales tax revenues?

        LBJ, Lady Bird, Anne Richards, Barbara Jordan, Sully Sullenberger, Ike, Drew Brees, Molly Ivins --Texas is no Bush league! -7.50,-5.59

        by BlackSheep1 on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 09:59:41 AM PST

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      •  Point taken, however, (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        NoMoreLies, lostinamerica, mrkvica

        with only 17% or so of the workers in Michigan belonging to a union...they are vastly outnumbered.

        We are being outmaneuvered because the argument is being framed as a private vs public employee benefits war.

        The top has succeeded in this regard.

        When you have the people turn against one another rather than join forces across the board for better working conditions and wages for us all, we have a major problem on our hands.

        Even President Obama's lukewarm 'right-to-work' statement moves me not. I mean, it was nice and all for him to say it, but what can he do about it?

    •  Tax policies: (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mrkvica, happymisanthropy
      I don't see a change without some kind of severe discontinuity.
      Provide incentives to grow wealth instead of cash in, to take calculated risks instead of gambles, to invest in hard assets instead of extra zeroes.

      I'm living in America, and in America you're on your own. America's not a country. It's just a business.

      by CFAmick on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 10:57:30 AM PST

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