Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Uncovering a Home Creepo

As you probably know, one of the most frequently trotted out arguments against unions is that they take members' dues and use them to lobby politicians, and the members have no say in what happens. This is a problematic argument for a bunch of reasons, not the least being unions lobby politicians to make laws favorable to union workers, so in essence they shouldn't have anything to complain about. But big business and employers are all about choice, after all. They own the company, so it's their choice to hire complaisant people, to pay them whatever they want, to insist on bad working conditions. That's what capitalism is all about--freedom is bought by the dollar.

All this is a long-winded introduction to just the latest outrage from the Bush Bailouts (e.g. "I give my rich friends more of your money as I leave DC, hehe"). According to the Huffington Post:

Three days after receiving $25 billion in federal bailout funds, Bank of America Corp. hosted a conference call with conservative activists and business officials to organize opposition to the U.S. labor community's top legislative priority.

Participants on the October 17 call -- including at least one representative from another bailout recipient, AIG -- were urged to persuade their clients to send "large contributions" to groups working against the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), as well as to vulnerable Senate Republicans, who could help block passage of the bill.

So that means our tax dollars, in the form of the bailout, are going to companies who, without any oversight by us, will use that money to fight labor. Which is us, btw. (All apologies to the many extremely wealthy people who read this blog, or have it read to you by peons.)

The story gets "better," to the point where you almost imagine Wendy McCaw had to be on the line too:

Bernie Marcus, the charismatic co-founder of Home Depot, led the call along with Rick Berman, an aggressive EFCA opponent and founder of the Center for Union Facts. Over the course of an hour, the two framed the legislation as an existential threat to American capitalism, or worse.

"This is the demise of a civilization," said Marcus. "This is how a civilization disappears. I am sitting here as an elder statesman and I'm watching this happen and I don't believe it."

I missed the part in Edward Gibbon about unions, but maybe I wasn't reading too carefully. OK, Marcus didn't say "empire" he said "civilization," but we live in an age where "democracy" is defined as "capitalism," so excuse my perhaps slippery equivalencies, I'm just trying to mirror what I sense around me. While Marcus can see an increase in unionism as the end to civilization, someone like Robert Reich sees it as the end to the recession.

I love this passage, though:

Donations of hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars were needed, it was argued, to prevent America from turning "into France."

After all, there's no place where civilization is less evident than France. Damn them and their Louvre, Eiffel Tower, and fine food.

At least we have some action points. Although he's retired, no doubt he has plenty of Home Depot stock, so in honor of Bernie Marcus, we all have to stop shopping there. And as for Bank of America, everyone has to start banking elsewhere.

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6 Comments:

Blogger Smitty said...

I blew a gasket when I read that. We paid these guys taxpayer money to bust unions and jeopardize more jobs.

Not one more dime to these asshats.

7:49 PM  
Blogger Mike said...

George, calling them the "Bush Bailouts" lets the complicit Dems off the hook. Barney Frank was beating the drum as hard as anyone, and the rank-and-file got in line REAL quick, doing nothing to foster debate, analysis, or procedure.

In fact, Obama along with McCain, supported this monstrosity from the get-go. In fact, the only people who even tried to stop it were a small cadre of Congressional Republicans.

The villains in this sordid tale: Paulson, Bernanke, Geithner, Bush, Cheney, Frank, Pelosi, McCain, Obama. A pretty non-partisan crew.

Wall St. and the BIG Money cross all political lines. The true division here is the Thieves vs. The Crime Victims.

We're all victims.

4:15 AM  
Blogger CLD said...

This crap is what happens with no oversight on bail-outs. This is absolute BS.

Home creepo indeed. Please tell me no Lowe's corporate wugs were on the call. I'd have to repair everything at home with duct tape and bungee cords.

6:18 AM  
Blogger regina said...

So, those in unions pay money to BOTH:
* the unions to represent them AND
* pay taxes which fund bailouts and folks trying to bring down the unions.

*bangs head against wall*

10:09 AM  
Blogger George said...

Mike, ok, but that ruins both my further demonization of you know who and the alliteration.

10:39 AM  
Blogger Mike said...

that ruins both my further demonization of you know who and the alliteration.

I hear you on the alliteration. INOTB is all about the writing. You're excused; carry on.

7:12 AM  

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