Class Warfare Blog

November 9, 2012

How Obama Won (It’s Effing Brilliant!)

I have finally deciphered how it was that the President captured a second term.

Stay with me, now. The first election after the Citizens United Supreme Court decision that opened the floodgates of political money (from corporations and “one percenters”) was the 2010 mid-term elections and the Democrats were kind of swamped by the amount of money the Republicans raised. But this forewarned them as to what was needed to secure President Obama’s re-election.

So, they raised money and raised money. But so did the Republicans, but so much money was spent during the primaries that Mitt Romney emerged almost broke, so more money needed to be raised, and so they did. Which, of course, the Democrats had to match.

The result was over 2 billion dollars was spent in the presidential campaign alone. Two billion dollars spent at printers, on aides, for TV ad time and creative people to make those ads, on bunting and pizza and myriad other things. And those people took their money and went out and spent that money and the people who got that money spent it too. (It’s called the multiplier effect—look it up.)

The result? The injection of 3-4 billion dollars of spending tipped the unemployment rate from just over 8% to just under 8% and the President’s re-election was secured.

Citizen’s United and a boatload of Republican spending stimulated the economy, thus neutralizing what they thought was their trump card in the election.

It’s brilliant, I tells yuh! Brilliant!

November 8, 2012

Is That Not Government Support of a Religion?

Filed under: Politics,Religion,The Law — Steve Ruis @ 12:38 pm
Tags: , , ,

Apparently the Catholic Church’s bishops of the U.S. are peeved that President Obama was re-elected in that Mr. Obama is such a staunch attacker of our constitutional freedom of religion.


Oh, apparently the ruckus is about the bishop’s problem with their church’s secular institutions (not the religious institutions, mind you) being required to provide birth control support as part of their employee’s health benefit packages. Never mind that their secular, profit making endeavors are tax exempt for reasons that are beyond me. I can read the Constitution and recognize the founders not wanting the State to start it’s own religion. I can see that (so can you, it is just “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;”) but I do not see how it is that profit making enterprises of churches should go untaxed.

But I divert myself. I assume these bishops intended us to disregard the many instances in which their health insurance policies already provided such service. (A local loud condemner of this provision of Obamacare, Wheaton College, was chagrined to find out their policy has covered contraception for years, for example.) I suspect that they intended us to ignore the statistics that show that 98% of non-Catholic U.S. women avail themselves of some sort of birth control during their lives and that 92% of Catholic women do so also.

What the Catholic bishops want is for the federal government to enforce a policy of theirs that they themselves cannot enforce.

Is that not a request for government support of a religion?

Possibly we need a constitutional amendment protecting us from religion.

November 7, 2012

Trade Deadline, Bah!

I want to make a trade. Now! I will trade Columbus Day as a holiday for Election Day. I am sure that this will piss off Italian-Americans, but Columbus Day already pisses off Native Americans (in that Columbus Day lauds a monstrous oppressor of Native Americans), so that is basically a push.

This country is a massive experiment in self governance and sometimes we forget that. The U.S. was the first country to establish that the collected will of all Americans was to rule, not some king or other potentate. Nobody had pulled this off in the prior history of the world. Since we established the pattern, many others have followed and have even superceded us.

But, the price of liberty (from princes and potentates . . . and plutocrats!) is eternal vigilance.

In this election cycle, we actually had one of the two major political parties trying mightily to disenfranchise the likely voters of the other side as if this were some game to be won by changing the rules, as some kind of electoral Kobayashi Maru.

We need to repudiate these efforts. We need to make it easier, not harder, to vote.

I say, dump Columbus Day, and take Election Day off. If you want to keep Columbus Day, how about every other year we make the swap?

November 3, 2012

It Didn’t Have to Be That Way

The History Channel is currently running a program, called “The Men Who Built America,” which is focused on the lives of the business “titans” of the Golden Age, the second half of the 19th Century. We are talking about the likes of John D. Rockefeller, Andrew Carnegie, J.P. Morgan, etc.

This is pseudo history at its worst, re-enactments, commentary by the likes of Donald Trump, etc. but, to give them some credit, they are including their warts along with everything else. What I object to is the glorification of these individuals.

The sheer rapaciousness of these men was astounding. Often they were driven by envy or greed. One episode showed Andrew Carnegie driven to repay Rockefeller for the death of his business partner (presumably due to a business reversal that he blamed on Rockefeller), but to extract his revenge his fortune would have to exceed Rockefeller’s. Huh? I can think of a dozen different ways to smear the man’s reputation up to the point of assassinating him, but out gross him?

These men, in order to make even more money, when they already had more than they needed to live a very wealthy existence, were more than willing to drive their workers to their deaths under appalling working conditions in order to so. And they were willing to hire mercenaries to break strikes, using lethal force if “necessary.”

The commentators inject their opinions as to what great risk takers these men were. But they were risking their money, while their workers were risking their lives and their families ruin. There was no “safety net” for the poor. The death of the wage earner, the husband, left the wife and kids in very dire straits. And there was little “Christian charity” to be had either.

And while the new “titans of industry” (Donald Trump?) can only laud the persistence and courage of the older mega-industrialists, they miss the bigger point: it didn’t have to be that way. They imply over and over if those men hadn’t been the “way they were” this country wouldn’t be the “way it is now” and they are right, but they leave out the fact that it could have been much, much better.

What would have happened if one of these vicious men would have embraced a more modern philosophy of “we are all in this together” and treated his workers better, paid them better, helped educate them and their children? Oh, but the costs would have driven them out of business, you say. I say poppycock! In order to back up your claim, you would need to know “the numbers,” that is their costs and profits. These men made billions of dollars (in today’s currency) for themselves while paying pennies to their workers. Better pay, education, all of these things were really quite inexpensive. Yes, profits would have been less in the short term, but there would have been offsets. Progress might not have been so fast, but so what? Would you rather have a job done right or done quickly?

And when it comes to competitiveness, what do you think the labor benefits would be for such an employer? Workers would flock to such companies. They would have their choice of the best workers.

Even Henry Ford, one of the same ilk as the men in this series, understood some of this. He paid significantly more to his employees than did the other auto makers, because he wanted to be able to sell his cars to his employees. Working for Ford back in the day was a plum job and nobody slacked at work because they didn’t want to lose a great job.

The attitudes of the day were that workers were like small children, they had to be watched like a hawk or they would drift off. They weren’t the better sort, don’t you know, so it was okay to exploit them. But not everyone was driven this way, and it didn’t have to be that way.

So why are we still glorifying the worst behavior?

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