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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Compare these three articles with the previous Wall Street
* 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
* The ultra-conservative Fortune considered union jobs to
* 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
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
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
When Republicans and conservative Democrats create conditions
where workers cannot unionize-or if they are unionized and have
* 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
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
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
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
* "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
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
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
* 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
* 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
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
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
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
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
* 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
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
* 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
* Pit brutalized workers in other countries against working
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
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
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
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
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
* 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
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
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
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
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
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.
War in America