Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The tightest union

With all the union bashing going on—and as a private sector worker I am aghast at what public sector union members get in pay and benefits—still, it strikes me as misplaced.  A relatively small percentage of the work force is unionized in historical context.

The tightest union in America is the ruling class, with its lap dog politicians and captive media, all spouting about the un-Americanism of raising taxes on those highly productive rich people, even as CEOs and Wall Street executives take greater and greater multiples—hundreds of times—of the median family income home in pay each year, because they and their board friends say they’re worth it.  They weren’t worth it thirty years ago, when the spirit of shared sacrifice of World War II still lived in the hearts of the ruling class, and CEOs worked for 30 times the median family income.

And the tightest union is international.  As capital moves, so do they and their minions, ready to bash labor wherever it has the temerity to protest (except perhaps in China, where the authorities understand that in the long run, the country that coheres will ultimately win, because they can still work together productively). 

Paul Craig Roberts, who has been one of the most eloquent in upbraiding the American rich and their useless wars and idiotic policies (see this)—even Roberts cannot let go of his Reaganism (he was a Treasury official under Reagan) and admit that tax rates are too low on the ultra-rich.

The administration seems to understand all this.  Shared sacrifice has been one of their themes from the beginning.  They would like to leave the Bush tax breaks on the middle class in place and raise taxes on the top few percent.  I just don’t think the ruling class will stand for it.  And another nail will be driven into the coffin of the American social contract.

Via:  Bloomberg

Ultra-Rich in Finance Are Meaner Than Rest of Us: Matthew Lynn

By Matthew Lynn - Sep 6, 2010

Bloomberg Opinion

There is something surprising about a private banker warning his colleagues about the rich. It would be like a director of Volkswagen AG casting doubt on motorists, or the boss of McDonald’s Corp. distancing himself from people who eat fast food. Rather like valets, the main aim of the private banker is to court the wealthy.

At a conference in Zurich last week, the head of Barclays Wealth Management’s private-banking unit, Gerard Aquilina, appeared to issue a red alert about the richest of clients.

“Beware of the complexities of dealing with ultra high net worths,” Aquilina told his audience. “Demanding and often unreasonable” requests from them may create “impossible demands on the organization.”

Such as? Help with getting children into the right school, securing credit to buy property, or obtaining last-minute concert tickets, for example. Even worse, the richest of the rich turn out to be pretty stingy as well. They don’t even want to pay the full fee for all the services they demand.

It was strong stuff. But it was also an insight into the way the rich have changed over the past decade. They are, it turns out, a nasty bunch of people who are only getting nastier. And the banking industry only has itself to blame. […]

1 comment:

  1. I used to think 'how can people be so stupid to fight so aggressively against their own self interest?'. But it's hard to think any different when you've been spoon-fed so much propaganda and brainwashing from the time you were born and constantly distracted by never-ending wars and entertainment parading as news and politics.

    Although with the internet, there's just no reason to be so ignorant any more. Although religion fights pretty hard to keep people ignorant and I don't think the status and relationship of religion in the usa is coincidental.

    Incidentally this whole push to cut entitlements and wages of the few who've been able to maintain them against the corporatist onslaught reeks mostly of jealousy. And once the last of the middle-class are also stamped into the mud we'll all really be neck deep in shit.