We certainly don't get the credit or the money for those things. For example, I can remember working on the property of some very wealthy people that wanted me to put some new trees in for them. Some of their friends came over to visit them, and I had finished putting in the trees, and was working on cleaning up the woods on their property, clearing off the bottom growth on the red cedars there so the people I worked for could have more of the light reflected off their pond down below coming through that stand of trees, to be more visible from their house. As I was working, I heard the male of the pair telling his friend about all the work they were having done on the property and the plans for it. When he came to the new trees he said, “Hey, Bob, look at the trees here. I put these in. What do you think?”
Now, he was a very well educated man and probably had thought about what to talk about with Bob hours if not days before Bob ever got there. In fact, my putting in those trees most certainly coincided with Bob's visit. It was then I realized, workers just don't get the credit for what they do, and that is often just the way it is. He didn't put those trees in, I had spent hours in the blazing sun breaking my back putting those trees in, and setting them up for proper irrigation to help them in their new environment. But, as far as he was concerned, because he paid my services, he could call it what he pleased.
He could stretch the truth as he pleased. He could say they were imported even if they were in truth only a non-native species raised in a local nursery. It didn't hurt or make me bitter towards him in the least, as I was happy to have the job, and thankful for the opportunity to do that work. I liked working outdoors, and this job gave me the chance to do it, and make some good money – good for me at the time. It's not that he was a slouch. He came from blue collar stock, can't be denied, and the woman he fell head over heels for, and married, happened to come from old money. Even though he was a senior citizen, I'd seen him outside in the woods, chainsaw in hand working in heat that would have had most nineteen year olds sitting in the shade, VitaWater in hand.
Regardless, he didn't do the work on the trees that day. It was then I realized that's the way it works. Even for him, a guy that came from working stock, now that he was in the position he said, “I did that,” and that's in part what he paid me for – at least to his mind. I don't recall having that conversation of course. Now, I didn't suffer a bit, not even indignity. I didn't know Bob, and it was my first time working with that particular species of tree. It was my pleasure to put them in and get paid for it. In addition to everything else, it would help buy that piece of musical equipment my brother and I were saving up for, not to mention beer!!
But, it clued me into the bigger idea that I was being introduced to, something I knew about, but had never really experienced up close like that. In a similar way to what I had experienced that day, the people that actually do the work that builds the big companies making them what they are, many times, are not the guys that take the credit for it.
In fact, they rarely get the credit. If all the workers left a corporation's buildings all at the same time all on the same day, what are they going to do? Will they call their buddies and ask them to fill in for a couple of weeks? Will they call their family members and rely on blood to get those machines cranking again, cubicles filled, calls made, decisions made, etc? Did their buddies and family lay the frameworks to the buildings that house the company's various interests?
No, that's the answer. Those workers made those companies what they are. Here in the United States those workers built the companies that have become world renowned for their success. What was their payment? Their unions were slowly eroded. Their jobs were shipped overseas. Their wages were reduced. Their pensions looted through loopholes discovered by actuarial firms hired by those corporations to do just that. They were told they were obsolete and useless. They were forced to take more jobs, have their kids live at home longer, work further into their golden years to make ends meet. They watched their standard of living slide while those of other nations, where their former jobs had been relocated to, give birth to entirely new middle class populations. All told, over the last twelve years, the American middle class has watched their income levels drop and continue to recede, while the wealthy have seen theirs simultaneously explode and grow. That has happened under Republicans and Democrats and neither has taken steps to help the middle class (though they both say they do). Both have opted to sign into legislation bills that endorse a trickle down style of economics.
Who has it worked for? You? Me? Do you feel wealthier today? I feel something trickling down, but I don't think it ain't money. The majority have been on a downward spiral since 2000 kicked off by the policies of the outgoing Democratic administration that signed into law things like the legalization of credit default swaps, and helped kick off the kind of financial deregulation that just kept on going through the Bush administration. On the back of that, Wall Street built a house of cards they intended to reap billions from, knowing it would crash. What to do? Never fear, taxpayers would be forced to bail them out through financial regulation conveniently kept on the books that would bail out the guaranteed to fail mortgage bonds, the towers that there were falsely erected of these bonds built on failed honor and false credit ratings, the bets the companies made that their own mortgage bonds would fail big time and the pensions the companies would say they now could not pay.
What did we get for our troubles of working hard to build these corporations? We had to pay for the bailout of the impending crash that was said would ruin all industries in America, not just the financial ones. We had to pay for the dual wars that were going on while all that was happening, even though one of them was a mistake as there were no WMD – the premise for our going in. Our boys and girls, not those of the executives at and owners of wealthy corporations that benefit monetarily from the wars, died and were permanently injured. We were forced to pay to fund US military bases on foreign soil to protect foreign based American corporate interests, not those owned by you and me, but of wealthy corporations.
Those factories in East Asia and Southeast Asia that got our good paying jobs, adding to the downward slide of the US middle class, are being protected by taxes we are forced to pay for. They East Asian worker that has your job is being protected from having their job taken by the local competition via your tax dollars. Where's your taxpayer job security, and if you don't get it why should they? They aren't even American.
Sure, we want to pay to better educate our kids. We want to pay to ensure our roads, bridges and highways are drivable. Yes, we want to have well running emergency services. Absolutely we want our military robust at home and protecting our borders from real threats – not the people picking lettuce for less than minimum wage that private prison industry dollars have the anti-immigration activists on the right so riled up about and Democrats so afraid to act on when they had the super majority in 2009.
Are these US military bases on foreign soil, places for protection from terrorists, or places for helping wealthy corporations do business? You decide. As you ponder, ask yourself why some of these overseas military bases need golf courses so lavish, some of them cost over a million dollars annually in taxpayer cash for maintenance fees alone. (http://www.lawsuitagainstuconn.com/golfcourses.html) Who is that for? The grunts? If so then why don't all the US military bases on foreign soil have golf courses that cost that much a year to maintain? And why are we expanding in the Pacific sending more money where those factories that took our jobs are booming?
We didn't get help for our unions from either party. Both party's refused to stand with ordinary workers as they suffered in their time of need. When the unions were being stripped of their rights to even collectively bargain, neither party came in and stood on those picket lines with them. When the president said he'd put on a pair of comfortable shoes and walk that picket line with them during the campaign for the White House, that was part of the deal, it was part of the bargain – votes for help. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SA9KC8SMu3o) When ordinary people needed him, he wouldn't stand with them.
No GOP obstructionism could keep him from making good on that promise. No filibustering kept those comfortable shoes off his feet. He did. He did not show up and said hardly a word by choice. That was his decision. They needed him, and it wasn't only in Wisconsin this happened. The workers stood out on the line waiting for him with a hand out knowing the GOP was already saying “now we can get rid of those unions with all the big corporate dollars we have behind us currently.” Where was any national level big name politician on that picket line when the workers cried out to have the right to be able to bargain?
Even though those were state workers, it was another blow for unions everywhere in America. It was another blow for the middle class only those unions built. When Mitt Romney and President Obama say together jobs left and they won't be coming back, they are both lying. Remove the currency manipulation deals with the nations those foreign factories opened up in, and remove the military guns keeping those corporations from having to play in the “free market” over there and they'll be running back to us screaming “the horror, the horror!!! with 'Al Qaeda was here' tattooed on their foreheads” begging for help to open their factories here again.
Neither party will stand with American workers on this. The education for those jobs they keep talking about that will replace all the lost factory jobs? Have you seen where we stand in the world with regards to K-12 education? Where is that training? Where is this all showing up in our bank accounts again? Where is all this in anything more than talk again?
Will we get worker focus from moneybags Mitt? Will we get it from no unions Ryan. Will we get it from the corporate banana republic I'll do anything, I'll say anything until when we get in office Vice President? Will we get it from the say no free ride to Halliburton contracts while on the road, then give free rides to Halliburton contracts once in office, current president?
While the drama goes on up here on the stages you watch during these conventions remember America, workers still suffer the same as it's happening, and the high will wear off, and the honest to God truth is neither party will do a thing to change things. That's why it's time for additional parties to be elected to put a check on these two guys. With the two of them we have lost and the rich have gained. It's a business to them and they make six figures while in office and get cushy jobs with those Washington connections after they leave.
That is definitely not public service. Ask Michelle Obama. She'll tell you.
To read about my inspiration for this article go to www.lawsuitagainstuconn.com.