Seldom a day goes by that I don’t hear nostalgic lamentations from the left about “modern republicans.” It’s as if we have forgotten the near domination of American politics by Republicans from the civil war and the rise of the robber barons through the gilded age and the depression, being interrupted only in 1932 with the election of FDR. They remain the same old GOP.
Republicans and Democrats (or reasonable facsimiles) have been fighting the same battles over the same issues for much of our history. Republicans have always been Republicans. I’m more nostalgic for the days when Democrats didn’t try so hard to pass themselves off as Republicans. We have all too many of those critters in the party today.
As an illustration here’s Harry Truman speaking on the stump for Hubert Humphrey in 1948:
Harry S. Truman: Address in St. Paul at the Municipal Auditorium October 13, 1948 (more…)
Linda McMahon, the billionaire running for a US Senate seat in Connecticut on the uninformed idiot program initiated this election cycle by the Teabagger wing of the GOP says that the minimum wage should be reviewed.
This woman, who hauls in about 50 million bucks a year from her business of parading large, steroid ridden guys in bikini underwear around a “wrestling” ring, while talking adolescent trash in theatrically loud gravelly voices thinks that $7.75 an hour may be overly generous.
She wasn’t sure what the minimum wage actually is nor could she say whether or not she had any employees who were paid the minimum.
Her level of knowledge of America’s workforce, including her own employees dovetails quite nicely with that of other Teabagger candidates in the race, some of whom are at this moment staring intently at monkeys, watching for evolutionary change. (more…)
In a “News” story in The Washington Post this morning “An Estate Tax Twist Reverses Party Roles On Minimum Wage” Staff Writer Jeffrey Birnbaum leads with one of the most disingenuous paragraphs I have read in a major newspaper in awhile:
For years, organized labor has worked hard to raise the minimum wage, while business groups have campaigned to block such a change. This week in the Senate, however, the AFL-CIO is pushing to kill the wage increase while practically the entire business lobby is demanding that it pass.
Perhaps the word disingenuous isn’t strong enough, in fact my departed Quaker Grandmother would have said, “why that Jeffrey is full of beans.” My equally departed Grandfather would have agreed with her, but not being cut from quite the same Quaker mold as Grandma, he would have differed with her somewhat on the nature of Mr. Birnbaum’s stuffing.
I stopped by yesterday to visit my friend Jane who I wrote about a few days ago in “Class Warfare At Big Flo’s Diner, Let Them Eat Hash.”
I thought it was her day off. I was wrong.
She was amazed, as was I, that so many people, hundreds, took the time to comment on our portrayal of her dilemma, and did so, for the most part, in a positive and supportive fashion.
There are a few ironies involved in this story that I didn’t report as I felt that they had nothing to do with the “guts” of the story which, I believed, was the rampant and criminal exploitation of the working class, specifically, of my friend Jane, by the criminal class that is corporate America.
I suppose that the major irony, and I’m sure that many have already guessed this, is that when Jane arrived at “Big Flo’s” ten years ago she was a disaffected Democrat who had become a Reagan Republican and voted for George HW Bush and would later vote for his addled progeny, Shrub.
She is open about her disdain for, and disappointment with, our minority party over the past decade and more, and at times in that period was enthusiastic about her support for Bush.
Her enthusiasm though, has steadily waned as her financial condition has weakened under the pro business anti labor policies of the administration of “Bush the Lesser.”
Jane says she will probably return to the Democratic fold in this coming election as she comes full circle and accepts her new mantle as a “Disaffected Republican” ( I like that phrase, I find it … musical, almost joyful.)
I’m sure that Jane is just one of millions of working class people who have spent a great deal of time and energy since the Reagan era, voting for people who despise and neglect them, publicly supporting policies that abuse and impoverish them, and finally gently stroking the gloved fist of the masters who beat them.
I have a feeling that this fact speaks, certainly, to a large amount of political naiveté in our electorate, but even more points to the enormous strength of the Republican, Corporate, Religious propaganda machine that with the almost limitless funds at it’s disposal, successfully disseminates lie after lie in their education of … well, Jane.
The minimum wage battle continues, with unions and workers fighting for an entry level raise for honest American workers that has been denied for nearly a decade while the dispassionate empty suits of business, their lackeys in local and national Chambers of Commerce, and the evil lick spittle minions they have purchased wholesale in our government at all levels, make pious pronouncements about the “marketplace” and the peril of allowing the government to regulate wages.
In the meantime, I’ve been talking to my friend, Jane.
Jane is a hardworking person, a decent, honest, American citizen, whose children are grown and now, divorced, has found herself forced to stay in the workplace to support the cost of her health insurance.
Jane has worked in the service sector as a Server in various restaurants for many years. As I say, she has a good work ethic and goes in every day, works hard, hustles and takes care of her customers, many of whom are regulars and patronize the restaurant in large part due her friendly attitude and the good service she provides.
The company that Jane works for is a large one with more than twenty five thousand employees working all over the country in various restaurant enterprises as well as other areas of the industry. (This ain’t Ma and Pa Kettle’s Corner Choke and Chew.) They are a very successful company and make a lot of money. A whole, big, heaping lot of money.
Their upper management is exceptionally well compensated and middle management is able to live very comfortably. The individual managers make a decent living, but, being at the bottom of the management food chain, they are often taken advantage of with long hours, chronic micro-management and the ever present threat of uncertainty in their continued employment.
And then there’s Jane. Jane worked thirty five hours last week, from four in the afternoon until closing time, which is usually around eleven in the evening. She works five shifts a week, bustling around performing all the functions expected of her by a demanding management and an often more demanding clientele. She does her job as a Server well, with an easy grace and earns decent tips. (Note the word decent.) (Also note the word earns)
Jane manages, on the tips she brings home after taxes, to support herself in a small apartment, drive the twenty five mile round trip to work in an older model used car of somewhat questionable reliability, and rise each day to iron a fresh uniform to do it all again. She has worked for this particular company for ten years.
For the services she provides to the company, let’s just call them “Big Flo’s Diner and Steam Table Amalgamated International Restaurant Barons and Bloated Plutocrat Chop House” they pay Jane two dollars and thirty six cents an hour. That’s $2.36 per hour and Jane is a “Team Leader,” the others on her team,, the “Team Members” make $2.13 per hour.