Friday, January 06, 2006

If you think of yourself as a Democrat ...

rewind ...

If you think of yourself as an American, you have got to read this piece by ReddHedd at firedoglake. Here's a bit - but please go read the whole thing.

You have to have a job to make any money to live. That's pretty much a given. You can start your own business, but that requires a helluva lot of work, too, so unless you are lucky enough to be born a trust fund kid (like the ones I met when I was away in college), life requires that you get off your butt and do something to earn a living.

To what end, though? As a worker these days, you have less earning potential in a whole lot of jobs that used to guarantee a decent day's pay. And at the end of the road, you have no guarantee that the pension into which you've been paying your whole damned life will even be there - I can't tell you how many people around here have lost everything because the business for which they worked went bankrupt and the pensions got voided in a reorganization under the corporate bankruptcy laws.

But as someone who has owned her own business, I can also tell you that the owner end of things isn't all roses and profits. After we got done paying out salaries, overhead costs, state and federal taxes, business taxes, social security and workers' comp, there was not a whole lot left for my partner and myself a lot of months. For small businesses, the margins are awfully small sometimes.

For a lot of corporations, especially those industries where money pressure has really put the squeeze on things in this economy, the margins are pretty tight, too. It's not enough to just say corporations suck -- that's too easy, and too intellectually sloppy. With the increases in fuel costs this year, I can't imagine trying to work a large budget for some of these places -- my little firm budget used to give me a migraine, and we only had a handful of employees and one office building.

None of this, though, excuses treating people like dirt. Nothing does. And that's where my gripe comes in today. CEOs for some of the major corporations in this country make obscene amounts of money, all the while, in a lot of cases, running the company into the ground and then taking off on their golden parachute ride -- leaving behind the folks who are living on the margins on their $7 an hour (and that's a great salary for a whole huge group of people in this country, let me tell you) to pick the pieces out of all those broken promises.

We need a voice for those people. John Edwards picked up this theme in the last election cycle during the primaries -- with his Two Americas -- and I would love to see that discussion continued into 2006. People who make $7 an hour (or less) can't afford to hire Jack Abramoff to represent their interests to the big shots in Washington. They generally aren't in any sort of union -- which would at least give them a possibility of an organized voice of some sort (although these days, that certainly isn't assured). They have no big money voice to back them up in Washington.


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