Monday, September 1, 2014

The Real Labor Day

I've come to the only sensible conclusion about how Labor Day should be observed: anyone who casually rails against unions, works for an anti-union organization, or supports elected officials who oppose a fair minimum wage and other benefits provided by just about every other country in the world, including some not-so-free ones, should go to work on Labor Day and stay there until they've put in a full eight hours, right, with the lunch hour not counting.

A perfect example of anti-labor vitriol can be found in the endless disputes about what kind of schools we need. Teachers unions are blamed for the idiotic administration by incompetent and politically-wired local school boards or state boards. Charter schools as a whole have not shown themselves to be any more effective at educating children than public schools, but the great and the not-so-good looking to make some quick bucks urge us to expand them without any proof of real success. They seem to be good only at turning over their complement of teachers almost annually instead of developing skilled, experienced teachers.

All the propaganda put out by corporate America has had an impact: people really feel that the market system is how to run anything. In many places, we once had excellent public schools. I went to them. Then when white people fled the inner city and the inner suburbs, the administrators stopped paying attention to the schools. Some of education's problems were brought upon it by reliance on trying to implement one faddish scheme after another with no time allowed for evaluation and assessment.

But the public as a whole has been conditioned to accept the outrageous pay of CEOs--who take it because they can,whether they are successful or not. We of course have a Congress, both parties, totally in thrall to major donors, who want tax breaks so companies can do better by moving overseas. And despite the excellent analysis of Paul Krugman and a few others, the conventional wisdom purveyers want our policymakers to focus more on inflation than employment. All the  deficit-cutting hawks were proven wrong but they still get treated more than respectfully.

People wonder why the middle class has been hit so hard and that the only people who benefit in our society are the rich. They should consider every time they've disparaged the idea of a union and start thinking about how none of the Wall Street scoundrels who brought us economic disaster have gone to jail, or even paid any significant price for their crimes against our society.

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