September 12, 2003

Turning Back The Clock
For those of you who have not seen it, the movie Seabiscuit gives one of the starkest portrayals I can remember about the reversal of economic fortunes that occurred as a result of The Great Depression. Early in the film, when horse jockey Red Pollard was still a boy, his family seemed to live the American Dream. Mom, Dad, a bunch of well-bred kids, sitting around a sumptuous dinner table in a nice, affluent house.

When the Depression hits, his parents were left with nothing but the clothes on their backs, warming their hands over fires in steel trashcans, as they tried to find the least objectionable people to at least give their children a roof over their heads.

Families destroyed. Lives ruined. A country full of desperate people willing to do anything to survive. Working slave wages just to get a can of beans.

So, imagine a world without Social Security, Medicare, Unemployment benefits, Medicaid, or even Welfare. A world with a minimum wage that would give an annual salary well below the poverty level. A world without overtime pay. A world where only the affluent can afford health care.

A world populated with desperate people.

Desperate people will work for any price. I guess, in the end, that's the point.

In this article from the New York Times, Paul Krugman studies the motivation behind people like Grover Norquist, who are providing the intellectual muscle behind the Bush tax policy. While Bush himself may actually believe that cutting taxes will someday create more revenue for the government, Norquist & his buddies are trying to engineer a fiscal catastrophy by cutting the funding far below the government's capacity to pay for itself. In their mind, the only alternative will be to cut out all of the social programs that aren't directly tied to military spending & the operations of the government itself.

Let me restate that: these guys want to get rid of the New Deal & the Great Society.

All those programs put in place to provide a safety net for the working class have an enormous bullseye on their backs.

Why on Earth would anyone want to that?

Because desperate people will work below minimum wage.

It's all about lowering the cost of doing business.

Think about that.
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