Thursday, June 14, 2012

Private Sector Doing Fine


When we talk about the state of the economy in America, what we really mean is the state of private, corporate profits. We mean Wall Street, the stock market.

There's been some commentary trying to explain that when President Obama said the private sector is doing fine he was talking about the fact that jobs are being created in the private sector but being lost in the public sector, which is true. If not for all the layoffs of teachers, firefighters and janitors by state and local governments, the unemployment rate would be 7 percent or less, not 8.2 percent.

But what kind of jobs are being created? Low wage and part time hobs. With union membership at an all time low, there's no place to work but at low wage jobs. There's no reason employers have to pay decent wages. There's a bill, dead in congress, called the Employee Free Choice Act. Unions and Progressives wanted this bill very badly. It would have removed some of the legal barriers to union organizing and helped offset the tremendous advantage corporations have in fighting an organizing drive. Although elected along with majorities in both houses of congress, President Obama did nothing to support this bill. He just let it die, and Democratic co-sponsors of the bill, like New Mexico Senator Jeff Bingaman, backed away from the bill, too.

The attack on unions is centered right now in Wisconsin, where Democrats suffered a humiliating defeat last week in failing to recall a union busting governor. While rich Republicans spent more than $100 million helping the governor survive, President Obama never set foot in Wisconsin. He didn't make an appearance, didn't make a speech, didn't stand on a stage next to a Democratic challenger. His contribution to the effort to save the union movement was a tweet on his Twitter site on the last day.

$100 million versus a tweet. Which side do you think Obama is on?




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