Tuesday, April 06, 2004

Soapbox time again!

I had an urge yesterday to jump up on my soapbox but my sore knee made it hard to take the step (and my aching shoulder and back would have prevented me from gesticulating wildly, which is essential on a soapbox). But I'm feeling better today, so ...

This sentence in an LA Times article yesterday made me chuckle: "The stock market is finally getting what it wanted, as the economy begins to show robust job growth." I just got tickled at the idea of "The Market" as this entity making demands, and I had this image of a huge stone statue breathing fire in a temple high above a village while guys in suits do a ritual dance outside. Soon the high priest comes out of the temple and says "He likes the new jobs but now he’s threatening to raise interest rates. We must feed him more poor people!" So the suits do the layoff dance while their henchmen drag some villagers into the temple to toss them into the flames. Soon the statue is spitting out gobs of money, which the suits gather quickly before any of it can drift down to the village below.

And apparently they've been very adept lately at snatching up the cash, according to an op-ed piece in yesterday's NY Times about a study showing that workers have crap to show for the recent "recovery." Instead, most of the gains have gone to "boost profits, lower prices, or increase C.E.O. compensation." According to the study's author: "This is the first time we've ever had a case where two years into a recovery, corporate profits got a larger share of the growth of national income than labor did. Normally labor gets about 65 percent and corporate profits about 15 to 18 percent. This time profits got 41 percent and labor [meaning all forms of employee compensation, including wages, benefits, salaries and the percentage of payroll taxes paid by employers] got 38 percent."

Meanwhile, the bosses' lies (and their thugs) are working overtime to keep workers from unionizing, which is the first step workers can take to get the wealth their labor has earned.

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