I was happy to watch the announcement Friday of the middle-class task force to be headed by VP Joe Biden. I’m familiar with the old adage about forming committees, but this is no joke. The middle-class has been getting hammered over the past decade, and its time to take care of the people who really do the heavy lifting in this country. As Obama stated, labor is not the problem, it’s the solution. It was unions that brought human rights into this country, and finally gave workers what they deserved for their toil. I recognize the downside of unions, but in choosing between management and labor, I will always fall on the side of workers. Without them, nobody would be wealthy in this country. This should be acknowledged more often, and I’m grateful we have an administration who may finally recognize the everyday contributions of the lower- and middle-class to the economy, our values, and our character as a nation.
We are currently seeing the results of what happens when we don’t build from the ground up economically. When the workers of this country aren’t getting what they need, spending stops. Confidence drops, stores close, companies lay off more workers, and the spiral continues. Without disposable income, every sector of business is affected. In my area we have Circuit City closing, as well as a string of restaurants and long-held family businesses. Three major plants owned by RCA, Lucent, and Corning shut down years ago. The times of getting out of high school and getting a job with good pay and benefits seem to have disappeared. The changes need to be addressed, and this task force may bring the focus thats needed to transition to better circumstances. The $18 billion in bonuses handed out by failing companies points out how management operates, and it’s not good for anyone but these select few.
Senator Claire McCaskill took the podium yesterday and dressed down these executives as ‘idiots’. She then laid out a novel idea: No executive receiving bailout money could earn more than the President: $400,000 year. I know these boot-lickers in Congress won’t go for it, but I wish they would. What could the execs do? Go somewhere for a higher salary? Where? Who would have these incompetents? I’m sure it will be very hard for us to find a genius who can run a company into the ground, and pay him only $400,000, but we should give it a try. The ‘free market’ crowd says “We won’t get the best”. Maybe we should settle for someone who might like to do a good job, for the sake of dignity. They couldn’t possibly do any worse.
Let’s hope this task force doesn’t turn into another committee.
source: Senator Claire McCaskill, New York Daily News, CNN Wire, January 30, 2009