Class Warfare:
Strategies and Their Effects

excerpted from the book

Class War in America

by Charles M. Kelly

Fithian Press, 2000, paperback


All Power to Investors; Absolutely None for Workers

If working Americans don't have collective power, they have no power. Because of conservative anti-labor legislation and the appointment of conservative judges to the courts, American corporations have been able to ensure that there is always a supply of hungry unemployed workers who will sabotage the efforts of those who have guts enough to unite and demand something more than a poverty wage.

The only reason working Americans experienced wage growth and improving working conditions from the late 1930s to the mid-1970s was that they had power.

It's only because working Americans had power between the mid-'30s and the mid-'70s, that they were able to form strong unions and as a result, had significant clout with Congress. Through legislation, unions were able to get the 40-hour workweek, the 8-hour workday, overtime pay, medical insurance, pension benefit protection, and a host of safety protections in the workplace-for all workers, nonunion as well.

Even today, after 20 years of Republican attacks on unions-and their resulting declining power-union members still make more money than nonunion workers. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 1998 union members' total compensation in private industry was $23.59 per hour; non-union workers was just $17.80. What makes these figures even more significant is that the incomes of non-union workers would be even lower than they are now if it were not for the upward pressures that unions exert on all wages.

For the real reasons financial conservatives are against unions, read the following pages. Their own words, in their most prestigious conservative financial publications, prove beyond any doubt that

* unions protect their members from the predatory instincts of investors and corporate executives, and

* unions cause the wages and working conditions to improve even in nonunion corporations and businesses.

Of course, conservatives deliberately hide these observations when they communicate about unions for widespread consumption. For a classic study of demagoguery, no publication quite matches the editorial pages of The Wall Street Journal when it discusses unions. Under the head "Time to End Compulsory Unionism," the Journal opined that

The political power brandished by the union hierarchy grows directly from the federally sanctioned privilege of compelling millions of Americans to accept union "representation" they do not want, and then to pay billions of dollars into union treasuries, or be fired...

Collective bargaining is the worker's only source of power. And -- I unions can't bargain collectively if corporations are able to import desperate people who will underbid those who insist on making decent wages:

* "Compulsory unionism" is actually the right of workers to unite and collectively bargain with corporations.

* Traditionally, those who did "not want union representation" were desperate workers who were willing to take the job of another worker-one who had guts enough to stand up for his or her rights.

* Most Republicans would love a "National Right to Work Act" because that would finish the job of destroying the unions. They would be able to pit worker-against-worker for the crumbs of employment throughout the entire U.S., and not just in the southern and western states that enacted "Right to Work" laws.

The True Conservative View of Unions

Conservatives betray what they really think about unions when they explain why wages are stagnating or working conditions are deteriorating. In reporting "Why Inflation Isn't Sprouting in Mr. Greenspan's Neighborhood," Business Week noted that "Puny pay gains among union members make it hard to see how any upward push on wages will gel among workers generally." Under the head "Shaking the Blue-Collar Blues," Fortune observed that

Even many who stayed in manufacturing lost ground when they were squeezed out of lucrative union jobs, such as those in autos and steel. Columbia's Bloom says that in 1980 only 47% of high school graduates over 25 and 40% of dropouts held union jobs. By 1988 only 31% of graduates and 25% of dropouts were paying dues.

As membership dwindles, union settlements no longer piled up wages at non-union shops. "The ethos that drove employers to treat workers more or less equally has weakened," says Brookings Institution labor economist Gary Burtless. With competitive pressures growing, companies drove wages down.

Contrary to its previous editorial, The Wall Street Journal lived up to professional journalism standards when it accurately described the deteriorating and unsafe job conditions for truck drivers, and why

"Trucking Firms Find It Is a Struggle to Hire And Retain Drivers":

What caused truck drivers' work lives to deteriorate, trucking executives say, is cost-cutting forced by intense competition. After deregulation opened truck routes to new entrants in 1980, carriers turned to cheaper, nonunion drivers and employed no-frills trucks.

Compare these three articles with the previous Wall Street Journal editorial:

* Even Business Week recognized that when unions have power they can cause an "upward push on wages to gel among workers generally." In other words, even nonunion workers benefit from unions.

* The ultra-conservative Fortune considered union jobs to be "lucrative."

* Again, note that "union settlements" created upward pressures on "nonunion shops." As unions lost their power, and became less of a threat to nonunion employers, those employers felt less pressure to pay their own workers "more or less equally."

* And what caused the truck drivers' lives to "deteriorate"? Companies destroyed their unions. When workers lose their collective power-pay, working conditions, safety, you name it-it all deteriorates. If companies can save money by pitting individual workers against each other, no matter how unfair or immoral, they'll do it. If a class of worker is getting decent pay (union drivers)-then corporations will abandon them for whoever is desperate enough to work for less (nonunion drivers).

This deterioration in moral standards has been a conscious conservative strategy: Destroy workers' power to collectively bargain-and, as Business Week explained under the head "Sweeney's Blitz," get at least two decades of wage stagnation and heightened inequality:

Today, though, workers may be receptive to labor's renewed message, coming as it does after two decades of wage stagnation and heightened inequality. In the 1980s, for example, the 10-year average earnings of the bottom fifth of male wage-earners plunged by 34%. Now more than half of families say two members must work to make ends meet. And constant downsizing has chewed away at pay and job stability, even among professionals....

If unions do regain power, Corporate America is certain to feel the squeeze. With just a tenth of private-sector employees in unions today, most employers have had a free hand to hold down labor costs. Reunionization would force up pay and benefits, which typically are 20% higher among union members....

Globalization and the growth of services, too, will continue. Employers still have the upper hand in most unionization battles.

In a rather comprehensive and succinct way, Business Week here summarized why conservatives hate unions, why conservative politicians enact anti-union legislation and appoint anti-worker judges to the courts, and what these actions have resulted in:

* Corporations and businesses have been able to achieve two decades of wage stagnation and heightened inequality.

* In our glorious Reagan '80s, the 10-year average earnings of the bottom fifth of male wage-earners plunged by 34%.

* More than half of families say that two members must work to make ends meet.

* Constant downsizing chewed away at pay and job stability, even among professionals.

* A flat-out admission: Corporate America was able to achieve these feats by, among other things, taking away union power- they've had a "free hand to hold down labor costs."


* Another F.O.A. (flat-out admission): If workers could unionize, it would force up pay and benefits, which typically are 20% higher among union members.

How clear can it be? The future of workers' pay, benefits and working conditions depends upon who controls our government: Anti-worker Republicans and conservative Democrats, or liberal Democrats and independent Populists. As usual, it's all about money and power, and right now Republicans and conservative Democrats have almost all of it.

Those who fail to appreciate the degenerating effects of antiunionism should look at the new conservative model for capitalism as described by The Wall Street Journal under the head "Threat of Cheap Labor Abroad Complicates Decisions to Unionize":

"You all knew what the job paid when you applied for it," Edward Hakim, president and co-owner of Monroe Manufacturing Corp., reminds about 200 workers-almost all earning around the minimum wage of $4.25 an hour- gathered on the plant floor. "There are no chains on your legs. You can go. Go ahead."

Silence. Some look down. One woman, sitting at her machine, gnaws nervously on her knuckle. No one budges. "Listen," Mr. Hakim continues, "if I can't compete in America with American workers, I'll take your jobs overseas where we can be competitive!"'

The Journal went on to report that Monroe Corporation was able to gain market share by underpricing its competitors, who were mostly unionized and offered workers health plans, pensions, and unbelievably high wages of $7 to $9 an hour. In addition, Mr. Hakim told his workers that if they ever struck they would be permanently replaced, that the union was racist (the work force is predominantly black) and that his company was bankrupt.

But in an interview, Mr. Hakim said that Monroe was "strongly profitable, virtually debt-free," and that millions spent on new machines in the past two years "came straight out of profits."

When Republicans and conservative Democrats create conditions where workers cannot unionize-or if they are unionized and have no power:

* Workers must "agree" to whatever pay and working conditions our modern barbarians offer.

* The recurrent threat, and the theme of the last two decades: "I'11 take your jobs overseas where we can be competitive!" Of course, "competitive" means that workers must compete (by sacrificing their incomes)-so that business owners and corporations can have outrageous profits.

* The conservative principle: Enable the barbarians to destroy work standards and pay levels, and thus lower costs for everyone. His "lower costs" force moral competitors to do the same or they lose market share and, eventually, go out of business. Result: Conditions and pay for all workers deteriorate.

* There are no moral restrictions on employers when they resist the efforts of workers to bargain collectively. Employers can threaten them with the loss of their jobs ("permanently replaced"), they can lie about the union being racist, and they can lie about their own financial condition.

* And the owner's increasing millions that came "straight out of profits" are irrelevant to workers' low pay and deplorable working conditions.

England's prestigious conservative financial publication, The Economist, gave its analysis of why the rich got richer, and the poor got poorer in the '80s:

All countries have been buffeted by the forces of changing technology and stronger global competition. So why should wage differentials in most of continental Europe have changed by much less?

The answer is that deregulation in America and Britain has allowed market forces to do their work, whereas in continental Europe powerful trade unions, centralized wage bargaining and high minimum wages have propped up the wages of the low-paid.

Indeed, pay differentials narrowed through the 1980s in western Germany, where trade-union membership has held steady at around 40% of workers over the past 20 years; in America, membership has fallen from 30% to 12% since 1970. A study by Richard Freeman of Harvard University confirms that, in general, wage inequalities are smallest in highly unionized countries.

Again, a conservative publication tells us that global "free trade" and weakened unions are major reasons for the income and wealth disparity between the rich and everyone else. A "lightly regulated labor market" means that the government has given corporations the freedom to ruthlessly control wages and working conditions.

Republicans have convinced working Americans that the biggest reason they are losing the race with inflation is that the government is taxing them too much. It's true that conservatives have shifted the tax burdens from the rich to middle- and low-income Americans.

But, as The Economist points out:

* The major reason for the wealth disparity between rich and poor is "wage differential." Not surprisingly-and despite Republicans blaming the financial problems of the poor and middle class on taxes-income is the primary determinant of financial health.

* "Market forces doing their work" in America and Britain means that conservative politicians passed laws that gave corporations the power to relentlessly control those forces.

* The governments in continental Europe, on the other hand, allowed workers to organize ("powerful trade unions"), to bargain collectively ("centralized wage bargaining"), and to insist on "high minimum wages-- for workers.

* Want more proof that unions help minimize income and wealth disparity? The Economist gives it, via Harvard University: "Wage inequalities are smallest in highly unionized countries."

America's Third-World Values

It's a shame what has happened to our country. The U.S., traditionally a leader in the moral treatment of workers, is now the world leader of greed and materialism. The Wall Street Journal inadvertently highlighted what is happening as the United States sells-out its workers. Under the head "In Employment Policy, America and Europe Make a Sharp Contrast," it explained that "U.S. spawns jobs, but often ill-paid; Germany offers high pay, few openings":

Although there are poorly paid workers everywhere, only the U.S. tolerates having millions of its people accurately classified as "the working poor." On the other hand, chronic unemployment is an enormous problem in Europe but less of one in the U.S.

Thus, in confronting a common problem-waning demand for low-skilled workers-the U.S. and Continental Europe have responded in very different ways.

The U.S. creates lots of jobs. But by weakening unions and failing to adjust the minimum wage for inflation, it has allowed the wages of those at the bottom to fall. The result is companies that are more globally competitive, but also a widening gap between rich and poor and an uncomfortably large number of workers living in or near poverty.

Continental Europe is now the defender of the values of fairness and justice for workers, and the United States has become one of its major anti-worker antagonists:

* The Journal subhead, "Spawns jobs, but often ill-paid; Germany offers high pay, few openings," indicates that Germany and Continental Europe are losing the "jobs war." Does that mean that the U.S. is doing it right?

* No, the opposite is true: The United States is the one that sold out its workers. The U.S.-along with such morally principled countries as Indonesia, Guatemala, Mexico, China, Haiti, and other Third World countries-undercut the moral positions of the governments of Germany and Continental Europe in order to rob them of their exportable jobs.

* It's the same old story: Immoral businesspersons-or countries-will drive moral persons, or countries, out of the job market. When greed and materialism are the only criteria, anything goes. Those who most brutalize workers get the jobs.

* The Journal's observation that "By weakening unions and failing to adjust the minimum wage for inflation, (the U.S.) has allowed the wages of those at the bottom to fall"-isn't the half of it. Republicans and conservative Democrat politicians deliberate) caused wages to fall! And destroying unions was a significant part of their strategy.

Working Americans should read The Wall Street Journal every day. It's a textbook illustration of conservative propaganda techniques, and it clearly describes which politicians actually fight for their rights. According to the Journal:

* Protecting workers is never "protecting workers," it is a "nod to organized labor." This automatically leads the reader to react emotionally to union "bosses," dues, and all the other phony distractions that have been created by the Republican right wing.

* Do congressional Republicans believe that companies should be able to have an unsatisfactory record of employment practices- and still get government contracts? Of course they do. Because then, unscrupulous businesses, by ruthlessly cutting labor costs, will either get all the government contracts, or they will drive down wages generally. Either way, our richest citizens will save on taxes and wages-and the only persons to suffer will be the workers.

* The Journal and the Republicans not only want to allow unscrupulous businesses to get government contracts, they want to have the government finance their fights with the unions!

One would think that the massive leverage corporations now have over unions would allow them to relax a bit their hell-bent single-minded urge to totally destroy them. Sadly, not so. In a commentary for Business Week, Aaron Bernstein updated the 1999 conditions for union certification, and explained why "unions only win half the elections held at private companies, but are voted in 85% of the time by public-sector employees":

What is the probable cause? The increasing use of antiunion tactics by private employers. According to analyses of data from the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) by labor researcher Kate Bronfenbrenner of Cornell University, companies are increasingly using every weapon- legal or not-to thwart attempts to organize their workers.

A third of the companies in the NLRB study illegally fired union supporters during elections, Bronfenbrenner found. That was up from a mere 8% in the 1960s. Half threatened to close facilities if the union won...

American corporations have found-after over 20 years of conservative legislation and the appointments of conservative judges to the courts-that present pro-labor laws have no teeth, and the courts are decidedly biased in favor of business. The penalties for firing union sympathizers are incidental and quite affordable, and the new free trade laws allow them to threaten workers with impunity.

Even with their severely reduced power, unions are still feared by America's conservatives-and their publicly stated fears prove the positive effects that unions still have on workers' lives. In September, 1999, Barron's was still warning its readers about how unions might increase wages:

Then there are the recent rumblings on the organized labor front. After years of defeat and paltry wage gains, some unions are winning hefty pay increases, raising the specter that our historically tight employment markets may finally cause wage inflation.

In one marquee-caliber victory, machinists at Boeing won a 10% bonus and annual salary increases of 4% for two years and 3% in the third year. In another, Northwest Airlines offered flight attendants pay raises averaging 25% over five years and an average 80% boost in pension benefits.

The articles quoted in this chapter represent a tiny fraction of hundreds of similar articles that explain why the Fed doesn't have to raise the prime interest rate to keep wages from going up. In almost every case, the weakening of unions is listed as a major cause of wage stagnation and the deterioration of worker protections-and the record corporate profits-for the past 20 years.

While conservatives delight in their victory over American workers, they are often remarkably frank in admitting the unfairness of it all-"years of paltry wage gains." They chalk it up to the nature of free markets, totally ignoring the fact that they strictly control those markets.

Despite the fact that conservatives and their corporations have gained overwhelming power over unions, our "family values" Republicans in Congress continue to attempt to further weaken the power of workers to collectively bargain for fairer pay and more humane working conditions.


The Victimization of American Workers and the New American Morality

Beginning in the 1930s, and into the '40s, '50s, '60s, and '70s, working Americans had some semblance of power because unions were gaining strength, trade with other countries was managed so as to protect American jobs from unfair labor competition, and in the U.S., greed was still considered a vice and fairness a virtue.

Since workers had power, investors-through their corporate executives-had to get what they wanted from workers by persuasion and by making promises. They said:

* Work with us.

* Be loyal to us and we will be loyal to you.

* Give us your best ideas.

* Help us develop our technologies.

* Make us more productive and profitable.

* Make this nation the best in the world.

* We will enter a new era together, in which

* you will share in our prosperity,

* wealth will "trickle down" to you,

* we will all be better off, and

* technology will free us all from drudgery, give us more time for recreation, self-development, education, and quality family time.

These promises appeared genuine. After all, during those years most persons considered the U.S. to be a Christian nation with high moral standards. You can trust people with high moral standards, so American workers cooperated and made this country the most competitive and most prosperous in the world.

Workers mined the metals, made the machinery, produced and

serviced the products and sold them. They not only did all the "hands-on" labor, they willingly contributed their creative talents to give us the world-best production techniques and processes. What they didn't have in great abundance, however, was the money to buy politicians.

Wealthy investors did have the money. And by spending huge sums of it for propaganda, they began their rise to power. Republicans and conservative Democrats gained control of our government, and all their promises to workers-the people who built this country-were forgotten.

Once investors and corporate executives got control of the political process, their attitudes changed drastically. They didn't have to make false promises anymore. They could openly proclaim that:

* Fairness to workers is no longer a moral standard. All that counts is "the bottom-line"-profit for investors.

* Only investors and business owners have rights; workers and their communities have none.

* The cutthroat competitive environment for workers in the Third World is now the new standard for American workers also. To give this new standard a positive spin, modern management gurus call it "empowerment," which, of course, translates to "ferocious competition between individuals," both within this country and with other countries.

... Republicans and conservative Democrat politicians deliberately and consciously glorified the values inherent in a Dickensian mentality. They brag about how their policies have made our economy grow, made our corporations more productive and more profitable, and have benefited customers in the process.

However, they never talk about those who made all the sacrifices that were required to achieve these goals. Conservative "family values" have returned us to the work standards of Charles Dickens' 1800s-when the royalty of society lived like, well, royalty. And workers at the low end of society were treated less well than machines. (Employers took reasonable care of their machines.)

The infamous tobacco industry's moral standards of deceit, and their sanctimonious protestations of virtue, are now characteristic of corporate executives generally. How else could these practices be tolerated without any hint of complaint from the spokespersons for

American industry? Where is the U.S. Chamber of Commerce? Where is the National Association of Manufacturers? Where are the members of Personnel Associations all across the country? Where is the Christian Coalition?

The people who run these organizations read the Journal, as well as Forbes, Fortune, Barron's and Business Week, which also occasionally publish similar articles. They are unequivocally not members of "the biased liberal news media." The members of Congress also read these conservative financial publications. Yet Republican politicians resist every effort to protect workers in manual labor jobs. They know these things are going on! How can they possibly claim the "family values" label?

Republicans want "states' rights" because, without national standards, each state is forced to lower its standards for workers to the lowest possible level in order to compete with the least progressive state in the country.

By destroying what few national standards we have left-"giving power back to the states"-Republicans ensure that workers will eventually have no protections. This, in a nutshell, is the Republican strategy:

* Pit southern workers against northern workers,

* Pit non-union workers against union workers,

* Pit nonunion ("right-to-work") states against states that will allow workers to form unions-and if all that fails,

* Pit brutalized workers in other countries against working Americans.

And "you don't have to be a rocket scientist" to know that, as a planned result of all this, working Americans are losing their standard of living;.



The Coalition from Workers' Hell: Republicans and Conservative Democrats

That same coalition had previously passed the Taft-Hartley Act in 1947 over President Truman's veto. Taft-Hartley allowed states to pass "right-to-work" laws, which made it almost impossible for unions to gain a foothold in them. The southern and western states that passed these anti-worker laws were then able to attract industry from other states that didn't offer corporations a union-free environment, with its guaranteed low wages and draconian working conditions.

Thus began the exodus of industry from the North to the South, and the degeneration of pay and working conditions in the North. This very same coalition, Republicans and conservative Democrats, has done it to workers again. NAFTA and GATT are today's equivalent of the Taft-Hartley Bill of 1947. Except now, the strategy of pitting workers from different states against each other has been extended to the world "free market." Apparently, today's voters have been conned into believing that it is a good idea to pit workers of the world against American workers.

Clinton: A Moderate Republican

Truman also attacked Wall Street, and "the profiteers and the privileged class." "Those Republicans are cold men...they want a return of the Wall Street economic dictatorship." He referred to them as "selfish men who have always tried to skim the cream from our natural resources to satisfy their own greed."

Contrast the worker's spokesman, Truman, with President Clinton, the new Republican who won the presidency again in 1996. Since the Republicans also won Congress, the continued growth of the wealth and income gaps between the rich and middle-and-low income Americans was assured.

Those who think it's a stretch to say that Clinton is a Republican should go to the November 7, 1996 issue of The Wall Street Journal. According to A.B. "Buzzy" Krongard, Chairman of the Securities Industry Association and head of Alex Brown, Inc.: "We have a great Republican president now."

In the same Journal article, read the opinion of Hardwick Simmons, Chief Executive Officer of Prudential Securities Inc.: "Here we are dead set in the center with a big long leash around President Clinton."

According to our number one daily conservative financial newspaper, voters wanted Clinton to balance the extreme tendencies of both the Republicans and the Democrats in Congress.

In other words, The Wall Street Journal and America's right wing have successfully changed our definitions of balance and moderation. Traditional "Eisenhower republicanism" (Clinton) is now considered moderation and is almost nonexistent in the Republican party. Traditional "Truman liberalism" is now considered extremist and is increasingly rare in the Democratic party.

This means that corporations, Republicans and conservative Democrats (i.e., "big money") have been able to convince the American voter that:

* Workers' wages are low, not because they lack power, but because they are uneducated and poorly trained, and our economy isn't growing fast enough.

* Labor unions are bad for workers, the economy and the country.

* Unmanaged free trade will eventually benefit all Americans.
* The growing wealth and income gap in our society is good because it is fair the wealthy work harder, have more talent and better genes), and it will eventually benefit everyone.

* The more money our richest citizens take out of our corporations and our society-and invest overseas-the better off everyone will be.

* High taxes on our richest citizens are unfair and would cause the economy to slow down and would destroy jobs.

* And, in general, people who don't believe these absurdities are socialists or even worse.

If current trends continue, America's investors will continue to get richer, they will give even more money to their propagandistic think tanks, and America will continue its drift to the far right.

Always Two Parties in the South

Contrary to popular belief, there have always been two political parties in the South. Prior to the 1960s, the two southern parties consisted of the "Bourbon" Democrats and the liberal Democrats. The Bourbon Democrats represented the interests of the land owners, the big farmers, the corporations and the wealthy in general.

The liberal Democrats represented the interests of working-class Americans and were more receptive to civil rights. The real election in the South was not the national election; it was the primary election when voters chose which kind of Democrat would represent the party.

In the '60s, to take advantage of southern resentment, Republicans correctly blamed civil rights legislation on liberal Democrats. To defend themselves against such attacks-even to join in the attacks- the Bourbon Democrats became Republicans and the national shift to conservatism began in earnest.

Not surprisingly, many of the liberal Democrats who supported civil rights lost their elections. By turning workers against the "biased liberal news media" (who were supposedly telling lies about the deplorable conditions for blacks in the South), "pointy-headed liberals," and the liberal Democrats who supported civil rights, conservatives were able to sweep the South.

Unfortunately, too many workers failed to realize that the politicians who fought for the rights of minorities were the same ones who had always fought for pro-worker legislation. Republicans and Bourbon Democrats-who had always supported anti-worker, proinvestor legislation-became the workers' newly adopted anti-civil rights heroes.

As a result, many of today's southern Republicans used to be Bourbon Democrats, and many conservative "Democrats"-who never switched parties-are closet Republicans. They talk "worker" in their speeches, but they practice "wealthy investor" in their legislation and their policies.

In the areas of the financial markets, some aspects of big business and free world trade, Clinton is a classic example of a closet Republican. The Wall Street Journal reported on a meeting of frustrated Republicans who met in January, 1999 to seek "a message and a messenger":

Imagine Republicans' funk. From all the states, party leaders have come here this weekend seeking a message and a messenger, only to find that the closest they can get is: President Clinton.

"He has co-opted so much of our agenda," bemoans Michael Hellon, Arizona's state party chairman and member of the Republican National Committee. "You might say he's the most articulate spokesman we have for Republican issues."

On other popular 1999 issues, such as the environment, worker health and safety, gun control, education, and social security, Clinton acts more like a traditional Democrat. For example, while he supports more funding for government programs such as OSHA, the Republicans continue their strong opposition. Under the head, "Business Groups and Allies in Congress Seek to Block OSHA Ergonomics Plan," The Wall Street Journal reported that:

Mr. Ballenger, [R., NC] a business owner who heads a House subcommittee on workforce protection, said he and other House Republicans would vigorously fight the OSHA plan unless "sound research" is presented to justify such a move....

From 1996 to 1998, congressional Republicans had passed spending restrictions prohibiting OSHA from studying, drafting or implementing an ergonomics standard.

So, while the Republicans are, and it looks like they always will be, totally Republican-Clinton is wrong only half of the time. Of course, in the case of OSHA it was an easy slam-dunk for him to be a traditional Democrat. After all, OSHA was proposing the humane, moral, and economically sound protection of an estimated 25 million workers in production jobs, as well as an undetermined number of secretaries, data processors and others who work at keyboards.

And the Republicans-after having denied the agency funding for research, then opposed its ergonomics plan because of a lack of research-raised the standard for sanctimonious hypocrisy to a world record high.

Still, despite their obvious anti-worker biases, Republicans and conservative Democrats dominate American politics. How they've been able to appeal to working-class voters and get them to vote against their own best interests is a classic study of the demagogic effectiveness of deliberately deceptive propaganda.

Class War in America

Index of Website

Home Page