By James Wilburn
It is time for working women and men in the United States to declare their independence from their government. A recent Supreme Court Decision recognizes corporations as people with free speech rights that have a devastating effect on the rights of working people. Corporations control a lot of money. Money buys elections.
Democracy is a government by the people for the people. An oligarchy is a government by a few. A plutocracy is a government by the rich. What type of government do we have and how much do working women and men control? We are supposed to have a republic where representatives make laws for the common good. The two parties work hard to get reelected. What type government will there be when one party eliminates the other?
Money pays for the information in the media to argue which person to elect. The arguments are repetitive. Repetition is remembered and believed over time. Working women and men are fed fallacious propaganda. Are we educated well enough to recognize them? Following are some examples.
An embezzling banker held the bag of money in his lap in a scene of the 1939 movie Stage Coach. He complained about the national debt being as burden to taxpayers. The character was a fictional 1880s banker but the complaint is real and continuing. The Speaker of the House of Representatives recently resurrected the argument as a means to make the President look bad. This octogenarian recalls warnings of doom about the debt during 1940 presidential election. Politicians blame the other party. The debt continues to rise when either party is in control. The debt is a straw man argument that misleads voters. Working women and men, politicians are not bank embezzlers as characterized in Stage Coach, they are real and they increase the debt.
Working women and men, do something for your children and eliminate both public and private debts! The tremendously high interest rates are usury.
The Banks and Wall Street were bailed out with money that belonged to working women and men. In the 1950s, the United States Senate investigated the misuse of union money by greedy union bosses. The Labor Management Reporting and Disclosure Act became law and regulated union funds.
Interestingly, corporations do not believe in regulation for themselves. The market will take care of that. The current recession is an example of how the market handles the embezzling bankers.
Use credit unions! Why support managers and CEOs who make millions of dollars in annual salary. Credit unions are controlled by those who use them. Why use credit cards that pay a few top managers millions of dollars yearly salary?
Illness is inevitable. Insurance corporations bet that working women and men will get sick. Top management of the insurance corporations salaries are millions of dollars a year. The premiums paid by working men and women pay for these exorbitant salaries. Regulation is a dirty word for health insurance corporations.
Working women and men need to be aware of where their health care money goes. A 2008 program on public television showed an ex-manager from a prominent health insurance corporation tell about extremely high salaries as well as use of corporate jets for vacations. A CEO of another health insurance corporation told of spending twenty-four million dollars for campaign donations during that election year. A recent Supreme Court decision says these corporations are people. A corporation lives only to maximize profits, not to trade goods or services fairly. Regulation is a dirty word.
Working women and men could assemble as members of a health care assembly. Assembly is an important term. The U.S. Constitution guarantees the right to assemble. The assembly could operate similar to credit unions where the members control. The members would realize they are their brother’s keeper. Illness is a bane to us all because it has no discrimination.
Working women and men who are parties to a bargaining unit contract must now consider how safe that contract is. Wisconsin public workers lost their contract to an arbitrary decision by a governor. A lot of money was spent to save that governor’s job. Bargaining units are in danger.
Guilds were craftsmen who united to protect the quality and price for their skills. Artisans, shoemakers, tailors, carpenters, teamsters, and all sorts of workers were members and they protected one another. They were their brother’s keeper. Today, working women and men can unite to protect one another to have affordable, competent health care and working conditions. The same research skill labor unions use to determine arguments for working conditions can provide information to a health care guild. Members of the guild can determine who manages money for health care. Working women and men would determine who works for them and how much they will be paid.
No doubt, the proposals in this essay will precipitate cries of socialism and communism plus other unpleasant epithets from the top one percent with the money. Working women and men deserve a fair return for their labor. Corporations may control the money but working women and men by their great numbers control the ballot box. Do it now!
To aid working women and men, must be informed. Politics, economics, medicine, foreign policy, are important knowledge. Learn about communication, argumentation and debate. Evaluate ideas. A willingness to evaluate comprehensively doesn’t mean one needs to give in to another’s argument, it means that one can look for the best solution. Working women and men can do it. Unite as working women and men who will make our world better!
Expect that those in control of the money will spend a lot to debunk the rights of working women and men. Those interests must control the people as well as the money. Read labor history in the Unites States and Europe to learn their tactics. Above all, be your brother’s keeper. If you don’t take care of the other person, there will be no one there to take care of you.
This day of celebration of adoption of the declaration of independence is a good day to end this essay. Now it is up to the working women and men of the United States. The people who do the menial tasks that keep the United States great can do it!
James Wilburn is a Local 1245 retiree and self-described octogenarian. He penned this essay on July 4, 2012.