…parade of the charade…Posted: 2014-01-28
…How such a farcical event can continue does defy logic. However. viewing is unnecessary – there will be the obligatory ‘props’, for each of whom there will be some ‘touching’ vignette; there will be the number of scripted standing ovations; there will be the number of scripted spontaneous applause. And the telling teleprompter. There, all of the ‘State of the Union’ that will capture TV screens. And since ‘vita brevis est’, we appreciate more the value of some good music and, if no good conversation, a good book…
Inequality will be ‘front and centre’, since a minimum wage (of US$10.10!!!) will star – curiously, even the aristocratic government in the UK has recognised the need for a higher minimum wage there. Unmentioned will be the ‘agreed’ sizeable cut to one social programme.
As incentive to better appreciate one’s valuable time and one’s own ignored importance, we look at two posts. Over at truth-out, Dean Baker has observed in his post, President Obama’s Inequality Story,
Unfortunately, full employment does not seem to be on anyone’s agenda right now. The budget cuts that slowed the economy and cost us millions of jobs over the last three years are now largely behind us, but no one seems prepared to push an investment agenda or the sort of trade policy that can bring us back to full employment any time soon.
That means we will see little real progress in addressing inequality based on President Obama’s agenda. An increase in the minimum wage is an important goal with substantial benefits but it should not be confused with an inequality agenda.
[As Baker observes, the minimum wage in the US should have been above US$10.10.]
And, from an ‘establishment’ man comes this from the former Secretary of Labour in the first Clinton Administration, Why There’s No Outcry, an article thought-provoking for those who have been somewhat distracted.
People ask me all the time why we don’t have a revolution in America, or at least a major wave of reform similar to that of the Progressive Era or the New Deal or the Great Society.
Middle incomes are sinking, the ranks of the poor are swelling, almost all the economic gains are going to the top, and big money is corrupting our democracy. So why isn’t there more of a ruckus?
The answer is complex, but three reasons stand out.
First, the working class is paralyzed with fear it will lose the jobs and wages it already has.
In earlier decades, the working class fomented reform. The labor movement led the charge for a minimum wage, 40-hour workweek, unemployment insurance, and Social Security.
In his article Prof Reich still seems predisposed to indict only one of the two corporate parties for the plight of the increasingly downtrodden of the US, ignoring the farce of a two-party democracy. And that is where ‘party loyalty’ unnecessarily undermines rigorous analysis.
The Guardian puts the human face to those sentenced to survive at the margins and below. Faces of the part-time economy: how to survive without full-time work. Couple excerpts,
The rocky recovery since the Great Recession has been marked by fewer full-time jobs, lower wages, and the rise of part-time work. “Since the end of 2007, the number of employed workers who work part-time but want full-time jobs has increased about 4.3m, or more than 70%,” Brookings pointed out recently.
The real-world dynamics of living on part-time work, however, aren’t told in the statistics. Some take part-time work because they can’t find full-time jobs; others, because they’re going to school; others yet, because they fell into the part-time life and liked it better. We talked to some part-time workers to find out how they make it work.
And, as we see, the event did not occur when Pope Francis pronounced on it but rather dates more tragically to 2007, and before. All of the ‘breathless urgency of now’ not even Captain Renault would dare attempt, despite that epic moment at Rick’s.
Which raises this question, if this is the fate of so many US citizens, of what value then is the great unwashed ‘outsider’ to the plutocracy?
…as homage to the social conscience and civic mindedness of Pete Seeger (RIP), ‘black listed’ by Joseph McCarthy, we listen to the wind,