The Bishop and the Butterfly: Murder, Politics, and the End of the Jazz Age
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    CLASS WAR: Bailout Questions From The Worker's Perspective

    This is the 4th blog post in a "CLASS WAR" series. The others can be found by scrolling through the other "CLASS WAR" posts here.

    We are told that we cannot presently consider repealing the Bush Tax cuts that were recently passed in support of the wealthiest among us. After all, we need to keep money in the hands of consumers so they will stimulate the economy. This prompts a number of follow-up questions that are raised within five different categories:

    Productive Stimulus or Circle Jerk?

    Does this increased personal wealth that results from the lower taxes paid by the upper few percent of the economy translate into an increase in consumer spending? Aren't these people more likely to invest this money in the bonds the government is selling to cover the hundreds of billions of dollars that are being offered to the financial markets and now the Big Three Automakers? Are we not therefore essentially giving this money to the wealthiest class of people in this economy and then subsequently paying them for the privilege of borrowing our money back from them to then fund a stimulus plan? Is this a wholly productive economic stimulus plan or simply a stimulus plan preceded by a circle jerk for the wealthy and their subservient pols?

    "Autoworkers, Unite!" Solving the Competitiveness Dilemma.

    If it is truly in our interest to keep money in the hands of consumers to stimulate the economy, why should we not compel the other automakers to pay a UAW wage rather than compel UAW members to take a major reduction? Wouldn't the workers' "competitiveness" be restored in either case, with the universal UAW wage providing additional stimulus as required?

    Tax Subsidies for Foreign Car-Makers: Asking US Workers to Purchase Their Own Noose Via Redistribution of Their Tax Dollars

    In his TPM Blog, Kenneth Thomas shows that the foreign automakers who have built plants in the US have received over $3.3 billion in government subsidies. Shouldn't it be a requirement that any manufacturer seeking such government subsidies must agree to pay the prevailing wage? Does it really make sense to instead spend our tax dollars on subsidies that actually encourage these businesses to undercut the present earning capacity of American workers?

    Economic Stimulus Plan Requires a Further Widening of the Disparity of Wealth Between Upper and Middle Classes?

    If we cannot repeal the Bush tax cuts because we now need to keep that money in circulation to stimulate the economy, what is the possible justification for making it a requirement of the loan to the Big Three that the UAW members must now take a cut in pay for "the good of the economy?"

    Can We Effectively Leverage These Billions We Are About to Loan to the Auto Industry?

    Of the three major players at the table (The Automakers, the Government, and the UAW) negotiating the Big Three loan package, the UAW members are the least culpable for the problems faced by our car industry. They have shown up for work making cars and have had nothing to do with the lack of oversight on Wall Street that has made a criminal syndicate of our financial markets, nor have they participated in the bad business decisions of the Big Three Management and its shareholders. Yet, of these three groups, the UAW is expected to make the greatest sacrifices to gain loan assistance from the government that is required to keep the industry afloat. Would it not therefore be proper for these loans to be offered to the UAW members instead of to the Big Three directly for purpose of letting the UAW members buy the companies in exchange for their sacrifices? Why is it a foregone conclusion that this money must go the shareholders and not the employees when arguably the latter group has a more vested interest in doing whatever it takes to make the industry viable?


    I look forward to the discussion. I can't say I know all the answers, but I think it is time someone began asking the right questions.


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