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I've worn many hats in my life. I've sat in boardrooms while company executives crowed about beating the union. "Let them picket an empty building!" they said. The trucks came in and moved all the machinery to a newly constructed building in a right to work state. Having been raised in a union family I thought to myself, "So, you weren't really bargaining in good faith then, were you?"

It was more important for the good company men to get one over on the union, to be a good overseer on the plantation and to teach those uppity slaves a lesson. The company abandoned their facility in Milwaukee and left the environmental cleanup to the fine citizens of Wisconsin. But the new facilities seemed to be experiencing problems; quality was suffering because of short staffing and inexperienced workers.

About this same time the company took on a Japanese product line that was said to compliment our own American-built products. The Japanese product line gave us a 45 percent discount on parts and 35 percent on engines. So we dutifully went out and established a dealer network for the Japanese products alongside our American products. Then the large corporation that owned the small corporation that I represented was found guilty of supplying defective guidance systems for the minuteman missile. The fine levied against the company was the largest fine for a military contractor in history.

To pay the fine the large corporation sold the small corporation to another corporation that used it as a cash cow. All of those well-paid, snickering executives were fired and replaced by junior executives eager to please the boss and at a new, lower salary. After five years the company was sold again to a venture capital firm.

This was the late eighties and Reaganism was all the rage and liberals like myself were seen as out of date. The venture capitalist firm owned the company for six years and in that time they spent not one dollar on new equipment. They spent not one dollar designing new products. They had cut the advertising budget and fired all but one of the engineers. They depended more and more on the revenues from their Japanese product line.

The contract with the Japanese corporation was coming up for renewal and abruptly the Japanese company announced that it would not renew the contract because they were displeased by the way the American company was managing their product line. Ironically, the Japanese company then offered leadership positions to the executives of the American Company.


The executives jumped from the sinking ship and we received a letter from the Japanese company thanking us for our past service and welcoming us as distributors for their new product line. We were assured that everything would remain as it was except the 45 percent discount was now 35 percent and the 35 percent discount on engines was now 25 percent.

The American company filed for bankruptcy and was sold on the courthouse steps to one of its vendors. It is a story filled with bitter irony as the company sought to beat the union and the right to work states offered tax breaks to help them do it. The company was passed from capitalist to capitalist like a cheap hooker and in the end almost everyone lost their jobs and few if any taxes were ever collected. The Japanese company did poorly as a stand-alone company and was eventually reorganized.

This is what FDR meant when he said, "Plenty is at our doorstep, but a generous use of it languishes in the very sight of the supply. Primarily this is because the rulers of the exchange of mankind's goods have failed, through their own stubbornness and their own incompetence, have admitted their failure, and abdicated. Practices of the unscrupulous money changers stand indicted in the court of public opinion, rejected by the hearts and minds of men."

The "rulers of the exchange of mankind's goods have failed." Of course that would mean Wall Street and bankers, but it also means that our government has failed us as well. Our government continues to fail us, the Federal Reserve continues to lend billions to the banks at one quarter of one percent interest and the Treasury issues bonds to cover those loans at 3.5 percent and the difference is passed on to you to pay the difference.

It's called the free money policy, and as the President insists that the economy is improving the Federal Reserve and the banks say we must keep this policy in place or else. In the morning they complain about big government and social programs while at night they cash government checks. Imagine borrowing a million dollars for 2,500 bucks!

The states of this union find themselves in serious financial trouble. Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell called it "a disaster," saying in Pennsylvania that without further aid from the federal government 20,000 teachers, police and government workers will be fired. Nationwide, without additional Medicaid funding, 200,000 workers will be terminated.

Bloomberg-"We need more help from Washington to protect against job cuts and health-care cuts," Illinois Governor Pat Quinn, a Democrat, said on July 10 at a Boston gathering. "If we don't do that, we're following Herbert Hoover economics." (Gee, why didn't I think of that?)

Tax revenues are falling due to rising home foreclosures, higher unemployment and falling property values.

"Property-tax collections fell in the first quarter for the first time since the onset of the real-estate market's crash, to $107.7 billion from $108.4 billion a year earlier," the Census Bureau said on June 29.

All across this country tens of thousands of workers are going to be cashiered to protect an arbitrary line in a balance book. State governments are forced to choose between aiding their citizens or paying back the banks.

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I who am I? Born at the pinnacle of American prosperity to parents raised during the last great depression. I was the youngest child of the youngest children born almost between the generations and that in fact clouds and obscures who it is that I (more...)
 

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