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Monday, June 14

With apologies to Sesame Street.

One of these things is a lot like the other;
One of these things is kinda the same.
Can you tell which one is a lot like the other,
Before I finish my song?

In the late 70s and early 80s, American Steel manufacturers, independently of course, decided they could make more money by closing their plants in the east, laying off the union workers and relocating to the mid west and south. They also sought new agreements with the new cities and lower wages with the local unions in exchange for the extortion of moving into those cities. Thousands of steel workers lost decent paying jobs with good benefits because American Business was greedy.
It would have been somewhat acceptable if the cost of the products that used steel lowered because the new plants saved the Steel Bosses money. The move might have made sense. But they didn’t save consumer any money. Instead business that relied on steel increased their prices. Windfall capitalism at its best.
What about the lost jobs? Well, with a bit of an outcry, Congress in its finite wisdom created something to try to placate those who lost their jobs. They offered retraining. Whoppie! But most of the retraining resulted in positions that didn’t pay as well as those the workers formerly held. Not only that but many of the newly trained clerks and typists and stock boys and girls had substantially reduced medical and retirement benefits. But business had its plan and was moving full speed ahead. Steel moved west and the rust belt was born.
Then St. Ronnie screwed the Air Traffic Controllers to break their union. Worked real well. Business got on board. Hundreds of workers lost decent paying jobs and were replaced with employees the businesses wouldn’t hire because they didn’t qualify…then. But after Ronnie killed the union, competence? No problem. Money saved by business. Did prices go down? Nope. Did profits go up? Greed is good!
The steel workers and controllers who lost their jobs created a domino effect on their communities. Small businesses that depended on those workers went under. Whole communities suffered. Did business care? Nope. Did the champions of small business, the Republican Party, care? Nope.
Now we have a situation in the Gulf created by BP. Although it probably wasn’t intentional, BP’s incompetence makes it no accident. If you drive 80 mph through town and know you have no brakes, when you hit something or someone, it’s no accident. Same with the lack of safety BP instilled in its work.
Thousands of workers will lose their livelihood because of BP’s incompetence and greed. I’m sure there will be some sort of compensation for those workers, maybe along the line of what Republicans call welfare. Oh, they won’t refer to it that way at first but after a couple of years when most of those fishermen can’t find jobs and have to apply for assistance, the Right will again complain that they just don’t want to work.
Barry will set up some kind of retraining for these people since fishing will undoubtedly take at least a couple of weeks to get going again. (That’s sarcasm for the reality impaired.)
Will these retrained people get jobs that were as sustaining as their old ones? If you believe that, you can buy that bridge in New York.
No, what will probably happen is a tremendous reliance on IMPORTED seafood. Seafood from companies owned by American Business in countries that pay less than pennies per hour to those who toil in jobs worse than slaves but still the Americans will charges top dollar for shrimp, crab, lobster, etc. Guess who benefits from BP’s accident? Yep! American business. Guess who suffers?
Now Barry is talking about making BP pay for everything. But what is everything? 80 billion, 100 billion 150 billion goes to where? The families? Probably some, but most will never reach those who need it. Can you say Katrina?
Imagine you’re a Congress Ass and all of a sudden 150 billion you didn’t expect is available. Of course you HAVE to spend some on those poor, affected people. But we’ve seen time and again what happens to Congressional priorities when extra money is available. Don’t you have a bridge to build in your district? How about that new Post Office that just has to be built and named after you? How much would you like to bet that most of the money from BP, IF BP ever does pay, is installed in some scheme by Congress Fools to make it look like it will benefit the people of the Gulf but will be managed by, gee, third party financial wiz’s? And not just local wizzers, but those on Wall Street since they “have the know-how.” I’m sure Timmy and Benny and Larry will be more than helpful in setting something up…along with The Republicans and Blue Dog Democrats.
The money that MAY come from BP will be made to look like a godsend by the complicit media. But I’ll bet a shiny new Reagan dime most will go to big business.
Tell me I’m wrong.

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