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Scapegoats in Wisconsin
Why is the middle class demonized when Wall Street is the probleM
By Mark Erlich
February 23, 2011
WE ARE in the third winter of the recession; 26 million Americans are out of work, cannot find full-time work, or have given up looking for work, and $11 trillion in household wealth has vanished.
As winter turns to spring, there is an evolving perspective on the crisis, shifting from an attempt to identify the causes to blaming the victims.
Congress is aggressively looking to eliminate regulatory excesses that are presumably hindering economic recovery only weeks after the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, appointed by Congress in 2009, issued a report concluding that the crash was caused by 30 years of deregulation, the stripping of key safeguards, and an overly optimistic reliance on self-regulation by large financial institutions. If the Republican approach were part of a homicide investigation, it would be as if the detectives had removed the smoking guns from the perpetrators’ hands and arrested the corpses.
Wisconsin is only the most dramatic site of a broader strategy of absolving Wall Street and scapegoating public employees and their unions. While there are legitimate and critical public policy issues about education reform, spiraling health costs, and pension liabilities at a time of state and municipal budget deficits, why is the fault laid at the feet of teachers, police, and firefighters? Today’s pension obligations are the product of massive investment losses, not excessively generous public pensions that, in fact, average about $19,000 a year. For that matter, a 2010 Economic Policy Institute study showed that, controlled for educational achievement, public sector workers actually earn less than their private sector counterparts.
With corporate profits at record levels, strong bank balance sheets, along with the return of large compensation packages in the financial sector, the commission’s reminder that the continuing devastation of the crisis was entirely avoidable is worth remembering. It was not the invisible hand of the free market but rather “the result of human action and inaction,’’ a reckless environment in which the five major investment banks had leverage ratios (assets protected by capital) as high as 40 to 1.
For a brief moment after the economy fell off the cliff, the excesses of financial manipulations put broader social and economic questions back on the table. Why, for example, does the United States rank 31st out of the world’s 33 most advanced economies in terms of income inequality, more unequal than Third World countries such as Guyana, Nicaragua, and Venezuela? Why, according to the Census Bureau, has inequality increased by 22 percent, and why have the wealthiest 5 percent expanded their share of total income by 32 percent since 1980? And why, during the same period, has average family income climbed less than 1 percent a year, especially when there are far more two-income earners in most families?
The emergence of an American middle class coincided with the growth of unions, and the rise in inequality has accompanied their decline. The myth of the American dream, of the United States as a meritocracy in which economic opportunity is universally available, has never been more in question. Children from upper income families are now 20 times more likely to have high incomes of their own than children from low income families. Classic rags-to-riches stories are limited to professional athletes, celebrities, and fortunate individuals who manage to beat the odds.
Why does the gulf in economic equality matter? Research has repeatedly shown that negative indicators for health, educational performance, economic mobility, and a broad array of social issues are correlated with income inequality. The more unequal a society, the less likely its citizens will have a stake in pulling in the same direction. A generation ago, non-union workers often welcomed news of improved wages and benefits for unionized employees, recognizing that a rising tide lifts all boats. But today’s waters are murkier. At a time of sacrifice and insecurity, many would prefer to sink their neighbor’s slightly bigger boat while wistfully hoping for a glance at a yacht in a gated marina.
The demonization of public employees is a calculated strategy to steer the political spotlight away from those who brought us the recession. If the focus is not shifted back to the root causes of the crisis, in the words of the commission, it will happen again.
Mark Erlich is executive secretary-treasurer of the New England Regional Council of Carpenters.
© Copyright 2011 Globe Newspaper Company.
note: rather than devising a strategy to deal with 45% Unemloyment in NERCC, or work with the Fed's to recover the $760M in stolen/embezzled/illegally invested monies for the Pension & Annuity Funds under ERISA/EBSA reg's, this is what the EST-CEO of NERCC spends his time doing....cut & paste and plagiarizing of others work product & calling himself an author & labor historian.
Past this, sign building, handing out stickers & t-shirts for the never-ending campaign cycle, these boobs haven't an ounce of real world business experience & like Obama could not run a lemonade stand. Like NYC, they are busy behind the scenes, through the newly found auotcratic & dictatorial powers of the latest CBA, wherein he rescinded all E-Board powers & kept them to himself ala Hosni Mubarek, Mohammar Quadafi, declared himself the supreme ruler & is cutting deals with GC's & Sub's for 60%, 70% & 80% rate jobs.
The BA's continue to turn the other way when 1099 illegals run amock all over NERCC & the Contractors pay them cash off the Books & Defraud the Benefit Funds. The EST is aware of it & does nothing, thereby encouraging it all the more!
Andy Silins - time to have him put the papers in for retirement & hire someone with brains to turn this sinking ship around, you know - before the Fed's figure it out & start issuing subpoenas etc
Again; Ted hits right there.
Circumstances led astray by greed all over. As to the Union, - viola Luchassen forfiet to Mccarron by default going on 20 years now, and now your UBCEO's also.
Listman - the first read, the avg. guy goes....wow, he's brilliant, what a command of the english language, the issues....yada, yada. Then you read between the lines, realize the duplicity and lies in his piece.
Erlich is a committed DSA-marxist/socialist in the classic sense. This letter to the Op-Ed Liberals at the Boston Globe, where he has a seat at their table with Deval Patrick & the Imam from the Supreme Mosque in Roxbury, MA are the same people championing the Imam when he tells his flock to take up the Shovel, the Gun & the Sword against their oppressors - the people of the city of Boston?? (Infidels)
Currently, a half a dozen Mosque members have been brought up on Patriot Act charges for terrorist activities sponsored directly through the mosque, including one individual who was involved in the failed bombing attempt in NYC.
Being a dopey liberal and a fool, Erlich wrote the piece to support Wisconsin Public Sector Union employees, fails to realize that the very same people that NERCC sponsors along with Patrick & Obama are the ones who will kill every single liberal when they don't convert to Islamic Rule or Shariah Law. When you take UBC Union Members monies to support a Governor, who supports the Imam and that very same Imam who now takes that money, UBC money to provide sensitivity training to the Mass State Police there is a problem.
So, right there, if you are his boss (Andy Silins) you have to question the mans ability to lead.
When he readily derides the USA with the false claim of ranking 31st in income inequality and compares us to Guyana, Nicarauga & Venezeula (commies & dictators, 3rd world hellholes) the reader has to recognize this for what it is....a classic liberal move of tearing down & destroying America. This is what Socialists/Marxists & Lib's do best.
The line "The myth of the American Dream, of the United States as a "Meritocracy" in which economic opportunity is universally available, has never been more on question".
Fact, the USA is a democracy, a Judeo-Christian nation, we are not a meritocracy. Simply put, a man doesn't work he doesn't eat....and that makes the Lib's furious, for they want all the lazy bastards to have the same benefits, advantages, homes, cars & money as someone who works their ass off....and that just ain't gonna happen in America, nor should it.
FACT: Chris Dodd, Teddy Kennedy & Barney Frank all of whom are classic Lib's like this fool Erlich, pushed for two pieces of legislation which led directly to the Economic collapse & the prolonged recession, except that now out of guilt, desperation & confusion Mark Erlich who directly & indirectly supported all three has to "scapegoat" someone else for the policies/laws which brought America to where it is today. He was one of those idiots thus resonsible, but when proved wrong blames others to cover his tracks.
The GLBA of 1999 allowed Banks & Insurance Companies to merge, then came the Commodity Futures Modernization Act (cute name) which deregulated Wall Street & bucket shop legislation allowing Wall St to pretty much become a casino with investor money. These two laws combined with lax or no oversight by the SEC were pushed through by Democratically controlled Congress under President Clinton.
The reason they were pushed through, was so Dodd, Kennedy & Frank could realize their dream of making homes available (affordability had nothing to do with it) to everyone, regardless of their ability to pay, save, work, hold down a job or whether or not they were on welfare or could prove their income or that they in fact saved the 20% down payment required for a home....the American Dream that Erlcih now derides as a myth.
The myth is not in the desire for having a home of one's own in America. Rather, the myth is in the Socialist Utopia & the untenable mindset fo Liberals/Progressives that the ability to pay, scrimp, save, having a work ethic does not enter into the equation; and, accordingly - it blew up in their face.
Lax or simply zero oversight by Freddie & Fannie (Barney Frank in control) in approving any Loan to any such individual, regardless or race, ethnicity etc. (have to point this out now, because I will be called a racist straight out of the liberal playbook) sealed the deal in the pending Economic Collapse & burst of the Housing Bubble which was & remains entirely predicatable.
Seriously, what did the Libtards, Dodd, Kennedy, Frank & Erlich think was going to occurr, when you had people with 6th grade reading levels on average, without a job or any form of savings or down payment when they went into a bank looking to get into a home which they clearly could not afford or qualify for?
To dissuade their loon followers that it was not their fault, they then shifted into high gear while Bush was dealing with two wars placing the blame for this fiasco, which they created via legislation they authored & pushed until Clinton signed it into law (a month before Bush was elected) & they have repeated the lies so much now that the average dope on the street believes it to be true....it was Bush's fault, it's the Republicans fault etc. It was clearly not, yet, the lies persist because the very same people the Lib's champion as being worthy of home ownership did not read the laws let alone have the ability to comprehend them or the common sense to get a user friendly $25 Financial Calculator at Walmart.
Now that the backdrop is in place, as to who Erlich stood with & why he did so, we can address this line:
"Today's Pension Obligations are the product of massive investment losses, not excessively generous public pensions that, in fact average about $19,000 a year".
What? Another bold face lie! The obligation to pay the Pension has absolutley nothing to do with massive investment losses. Rather, it has to do with the decision to hire the individual in the first instance. The 40 to 1 leverage ratios he derides as the invisible hand of the free market and the reckless environment created were resultant from the Dem's desire to put unqualified individuals in homes. Republicans cause 9-11 too, right? Wrong....woosman Clinton had a half dozen opportunties to take Osam Bin Laden out & failed to Act, thus emboldening him....not to mention countless other terrorist attacks on our embassies & serviceman where he did nothing!
The fact is is, the Senators noted & the Lib's did not think past their Socialist Utopia wherein someone who was a 2nd, 3rd or 4th or 5th generation welfare addict, who never held a steady job their entire life, who never developed a work ethic, who failed to save was somehow equally qualified with those who did & should thereby be "entitled" to the same advantages in life afforded to those who managed their affairs and life properly.
The Liberals in Congress and Clinton supported this legislation and with all of their combined wisdom, knowledge & fancy Ivy League educations. Yet, Mark Erlcih would have you believe that not one of them was smart enough to realize that when and uneducated fool walked into a bank and did not have a job, money down or the ability to verify income or pay back a no-down, interest only loan or one with a teaser rate that wouls spike 24-36 months later that it was not entirely predicatable & avoidable and that it would not lead to problems?
Again, all of it was entirely predictable, both cause & effect and the piece by Erlich is just one of his latest attempts at diversion, obfuscation and a campaign of misinformation to deny real facts and in so doing, to justify his own job.
Moreover, as was stated before, Mark Erlich hasn't a clue on how to turn the sinkng ship around as he has spent his entire career doing the endless political campaign cycle. He does not know the difference between a bond or a balance sheet & does not comprehend free markets, capital or anything related to running a business.
Teachers, Cops & Fireman should not be equated with any tradesman as they have full time year round employment & do not work out in the elements in a seasonal industry in the same manner as a construction worker - so Erlich is comparing apples & oranges, one has nothing to do with the other.
His letter should be read: I write this because I don't have a clue how to help my own members, so I must appear to be doing something, anything, to feign that I am. In short, he is running away from the problem of 45% NERCC Unemployment simply by writing the letter....it is an admission of incompetence.
Andy Silins of the UBC International....get his check....time for the "nationwide search" for a competent executive to run NERCC, to turn the sinking ship around.
In reply to: "Fact, the USA is a democracy, a Judeo-Christian nation, we are not a meritocracy. Simply put, a man doesn't work he doesn't eat....and that makes the Lib's furious, for they want all the lazy bastards to have the same benefits, advantages, homes, cars & money as someone who works their ass off....and that just ain't gonna happen in America, nor should it."
Pie chart of the religious groups in the United States:
When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. Leave them for the poor and the alien. I am the LORD your God.
Jesus looked at him and loved him. "One thing you lack," he said. "Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me."
In reply to this post by Ted
Collectivist anarchism, also known as anarcho-collectivism, is a 19th century anarchist doctrine that advocated the abolition of the state and private ownership of the means of production, with the means of production instead being owned collectively and controlled and managed by the producers themselves. Workers would be compensated for their work on the basis of the amount of time they contributed to production, rather than "to each according to his need" as in anarcho-communism. Collectivist anarchism is most commonly associated with Mikhail Bakunin, the anti-authoritarian sections of the First International, and the early Spanish anarchist movement. Other prominent proponents of collectivist anarchism included the German anarchist Johann Most before he became an anarchist communist.
The collectivist anarchists at first used the term "collectivism" to distinguish themselves from the State socialists associated with Karl Marx. In the name of liberty, Bakunin wrote, "we shall always protest against anything that may in any way resemble communism or state socialism," which Bakunin regarded as fundamentally authoritarian ("Federalism, Socialism, and Anti-Theologism," 1867).
The anti-authoritarian sections of the First International proclaimed at the St. Imier Congress (1872) that "the aspirations of the proletariat can have no purpose other than the establishment of an absolutely free economic organization and federation, founded upon the labour and equality of all and absolutely independent of all political government," in which each worker will have the "right to the enjoyment of the gross product of his labours and thereby the means of developing his full intellectual, material and moral powers in a collective setting." This revolutionary transformation could "only be the outcome of the spontaneous action of the proletariat itself, its trades bodies and the autonomous communes." A similar position was adopted by the Workers' Federation of the Spanish Region in 1882, as articulated by an anarchist veteran of the First International, Jose Llunas Pujols, in his essay, "Collectivism."
By the early 1880s, most of the European anarchist movement had adopted an anarchist communist position, advocating the abolition of wage labour and distribution according to need. Ironically, the "collectivist" label then became more commonly associated with Marxist state socialists who advocated the retention of some sort of wage system during the transition to full communism. The anarchist communist, Peter Kropotkin, attacked this position in his essay, "The Collectivist Wages System", which was reprinted in his book The Conquest of Bread in 1892.
The Lib's..always lieing in wait ready to attack & defend their failed policies & principles.
Newsflash - the U.S.A. is the most generous country on the face of the planet....try staying on the subject....is Erlich qualified & competent to lead? Does he have a clue about what he is there for? Does he know how to generate work for his men?
We are not paying him to produce puff pieces for the Boston Globe, for Dissent Magazine, for Mass. Inc, or to run to the Imam of the Mosque with the Governor & sit in lock-step in support of a bunch of religious whack-jobs who supported the 9-11 massacre at the WTC, the Pentagon etc, nor people who tell their flock that the citizens in Boston are their oppressors & to take them out with the shovel, the gun or the sword.
Get your head out of your ass & deal with reality. Erlich is not fit to lead & cannot handle the job - period!
In reply to this post by Ted
Green company's/jobs started w/stimulus $$ have gone overseas, Is this Government stupid or what ?
No riders or clauses.
Wealth was made & hoarded when bail out $$ was passed out, and it threw us further into debt.
Thery blame a benefit stranglehold by all too powerful & corrupt unions,
Thats right they are corrupt. Cut the expense of twenty years post 94 decree failed oversight,------ Raises for everyone.
Bolsheviks take power of the Soviets
The Bolsheviks manipulated their way into positions of leadership amongst the working classes; factory councils were a good way of doing this. These factory councils were set up by workers in order to protect their neighbourhoods from unsocial elements, and more importantly their jobs and wages. However they were infiltrated by the Bolsheviks who used them as weapons of the party, which made no secret of their intentions to seize power through violence if necessary.
By October the large amount of workers who were calling for soviet power, this was essentially translated in to support of the Bolsheviks, who were the only party that provided this translation in their political programme.
The Bolsheviks called for ‘Bread, Peace and Land’ the three basic needs the nation wanted, making the party incredibly appealing
Peace, the only party to constantly oppose the war.
Bread, the Bolsheviks promised they would deal with the problem of insufficient food, a problem the government wasn’t.
Land, many were furious with the government for not redistributing the land, especially that, that had belonged to the aristocracy.
On September 24th the Bolsheviks won 350 seats out of a possible 710 in the Moscow Municipal elections. On the 25th of September Trotsky was elected leader of the Petrograd Soviet, and a Bolshevik named Nogin was elected leader of the Moscow Soviet, the Bolsheviks now had the power of the peoples party . After this Lenin declared, “The Bolsheviks, having obtained a majority in the Soviet of Workers’ and Soldiers’ deputies of both capitals, can and must take state power into their own hands”
"The Honorable Robert C. Byrd, United States Senator from West Virginia, speaks on "The Senate of the Roman Republic," a series of 14 lectures on the history of Roman Republic and the relevance of history to our modern times. This video was purchased from C-SPAN, which provided footage of the floor of the Senate as a public service."
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