President George W. Bush
Dear Mr. President:
Many of us awoke this morning to newspaper headlines with photographs of you placing the Presidential Medal of Freedom around the necks of some truly great Americans and champions of freedom both in the U.S. and around the world.
General Tommy Franks, former CIA boss, George Tenet and Iraqi freedom fighter Paul Bremer, will be remembered centuries from now for their contributions to human progress. From the privatization program in Iraq that we were forced to carry out through aerial bombardment and mass destruction due to the betrayal of our old friend Saddam Hussein, to the reduction in wages, pensions, health benefits and the general exorbitant living standards of our lazy workers at home, you have proved yourself a real champion.
We know these policies would have failed without our Democratic friends and we also offer our thanks to them for playing the good cop in the nasty but necessary struggle we find ourselves in with American workers who continue to want more than their fair share of the national wealth.
With all due respect Mr. President, we would like to suggest that you offer the great gift of the Presidential Medal of Freedom to the group of people without whose cooperation the increase that we have seen in our wealth would not have been possible. Yes sir, we are talking about President John Sweeney and the entire leadership of the AFL-CIO.
We considered writing a letter of thanks to the leadership of AFL-CIO ourselves, but your public recognition of their role would be more than they could ever hope for. It would be a dream come true for these soldiers of freedom.
Mr. President, we recognize that our little group (we didn’t think it best to use the term capitalists) fought the formation of Unions with everything we had. We had our legislators make it a crime to belong to them and we even deported workers who tried to violate these legal obstacles. We shot them when they went on strike, (well, we hired people to shoot them). We called them communists and fascists and anarchists, un-American and anti-Christian. But those stubborn American workers didn’t give up and, yes, we had to accept them (Unions) in the end. We don’t condemn you for hating Unions Mr. President. But that doesn’t mean we have to hate Union leaders. Let’s briefly look at how far we have come.
Mr. President. As you were presenting your great medal to our freedom fighting friends there were other reports in the press. Consider these facts:
(1) The leaders of the United Airline pilots Union have reached a tentative agreement with our side over there and will most likely be recommending the contract to their members. At the very least, they won’t do anything to stop it. I know you don’t like to read. Sir, but perhaps Condy told you that we extracted .5bn in concessions from them last year and we want another 5 million in annual cuts in this contract. And here’s a gem, Sir; we’re going to probably renege on our pension obligations and most likely shift the cost to the American taxpayer. Heh, heh. Sorry, Sir, it’s hard to not chuckle to myself at the thought of us pushing “communist policies”.
(2) Also in today’s press we read that our efforts to eliminate retiree benefits for present retirees as well as for the future recipients, (hopefully there won’t be any), is on a roll. Last year, 10% of businesses dropped health benefits for retirees and next year that figure is expected to rise. Mr. President, hold on to your hat for this one: In 1988, 66 percent of us (capitalists, Sir, that’s us but the regular press calls us employers) who employed more than 200 of those lazy bums offered health coverage to former workers (ones we’d worn out) By this year, Mr. President, that figure had dropped to 36%. These are good figures, Sir; just check with Condy if you have doubts. Do not pay any attention to the comments in the San Francisco Chronicle from a woman whose 70 year old husband works a full-time job for an hour in order to make ends meet, Sir. If these people had worked harder or stayed in school they wouldn’t be in the predicament they’re in. If you have any doubts, Sir, consult your higher power, the one that justifies us blowing the arms off Iraqi children for freedom.
Mr. President, there are too many examples to cite here. Consider the southern California grocery strike, the present San Francisco hotel strike, or the dockworkers a while ago (dockworkers load ships, Sir). Even during the eighties when the Union ranks tried wreck our plans and overcome the obstacle of their own leaders, we prevailed. Sure it was scary, Hormel, Eastern, Detroit, Pittston. Things were tough but the AFL-CIO leadership came through for us. Today they cannot be faulted. Why, in North Eastern Indiana our politicians, at the request of the corporations there, eased our tax burden and shifted it on to homeowners. Some property taxes went up tenfold. These unpatriotic folk are complaining that they might lose their homes. Freedom dictates, Sir, that if you can’t afford a home then don’t buy one. But the best part of this is that the Union leadership has either done nothing for these folks or supported our efforts openly. There are rumors that some of these folks are organizing to protest these tax increases but hopefully it will come to nothing.
Mr. President, an army of Pinkertons couldn’t have done us better. Some of us remember how costly that method was.
If we have not convinced you to honor these fine gentlemen with such a reward we ask you to consider one more point. The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday that some of us have become so rich we can be compared to the court of France’s Louis XIV. The market for luxury yachts has tripled and the wealth held by us and our brothers around the world, (millionaires), has risen to .8 trillion. Yes, Mr. President, twenty eight trillion dollars. Paul Allen’s new yacht, the Octopus, is 414 feet long and has two helicopter pads, a basketball court, a music studio and a submarine. Paul worked hard for that money, Sir, Our friend Ronnie Perelman shouldn’t be shamed for selling his Palm beach home for million either, Sir, that’s what hard work brings; that’s what brought you the baseball team.
I think the heads of the AFL-CIO recognize this reality which is why they help us by not mobilizing the power of their members to stop us. This is why they don’t throw the weight of the Union movement behind housing activists like those in Lake County Indiana; what would they want next? Their tax money to be spent on housing, education, decent jobs, transportation. How could we do that and spend bn a week fighting for freedom in Iraq? After all, if workers were smarter and were prepared to work the long hours we do, they would have these things.
It should also be recognized, Mr. President, that as well as helping us on the domestic front, the AFL-CIO had its own department that helped us smash the development of trade Unions abroad that threatened our interests, for those that survived, they encouraged the same sell-out policies that they pushed here at home. As in the old days here, some severe measures were applied if you get our drift.
I recognize that in the past we have traditionally used our other political party to head off any opposition to our policies from the ranks of organized labor. But this is your opportunity to change the rules, Sir. John, lost the election and a good time was had by all but, to be honest Mr. President, I am not sure he was the best choice, he’s too cerebral and clever, you are seen as much more the man of the people. Either way, we can’t lose; they have no one else to vote for.
So we humbly urge you, Mr. President, to convey our thanks to the heads of Organized Labor for their assistance in helping us achieve the American Dream. Without them, the road would have been a much more difficult and certainly a more expensive one.
It is our recommendation that the entire Executive Board of the AFL-CIO receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor.
The Walton Family
On behalf of the I.A.E.F.F. (International Association of Employers for Freedom)
PS. The Wall Street Journal also mentioned the cost of a paint job for some of our yachts is 0,000 and filling up the gas tank costs as much as ,000. No need to worry about these or any other revelations about our wealth as workers don’t read the WSJ, it is our paper, Sir. But can you do something about the paint job? It’s too high.