The middle class is losing

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Tom Broderick

One View

Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital; that, in fact capital is the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not existed first; that labor can exist without capital, but that capital could never have existed without labor. Hence ... labor is the superior — greatly the superior — of capital.

Abraham Lincoln
Milwaukee, Wis., Sept. 30, 1859

The first Monday in September is "Labor Day." The first recorded "workingman's holiday" in the United States took place in New York City in 1882, where approximately 10,000 workers took an unpaid day to parade from City Hall to Union Square. The event caught hold in many locations and some states passed state labor holidays.

In May 1894, workers at the Pullman Palace Car Company in Chicago went on strike to protest cuts in wages and mistreatment of workers. Later that year, the American Railroad Union, headed by Eugene V. Debs, called for a boycott of all trains hauling Pullman rail cars. Rail traffic was effectively halted.

At the request of those who owned the railroads, the U.S. government sent federal troops to get the trains moving. Just eight years after the Haymarket massacre rocked Chicago and the world, more than a dozen workers were killed and the trains rolled again.

To make peace with a militant worker movement, President Grover Cleveland and the U.S. Congress rushed through a national labor holiday that same year. Over time, the labor movement created the first middle-class majority nation in the world. Millions of working Americans gained tangible benefits: health benefits, paid vacations, child labor laws, equal pay for equal work, safer working conditions, domestic partner benefits. But sharing wealth with those who produce it is a burden for those who control it.

In an article in Vanity Fair, economist Joseph Stiglitz wrote that the top 1% of Americans take in nearly a quarter of the nation's income and control 40% of the nation's wealth. Twenty-five years ago, the figures were 12% and 33% respectively. Over the same period, the middle class in America has seen a decline in income. Poverty is no longer a topic of conversation. This sustained wealth grab has many facets.

One is the ideologically driven debt ceiling deal. Congress voted to cut federal spending, shrink federal and state governments, gut services to the public and eliminate commercial and environmental oversight and regulation. Just as the U.S. government served the wealthy railroad tycoons in the 19th century, today's wealthiest demand the servitude of their leveraged (s)elected officials.

According to the Economic Policy Institute, the debt ceiling deal will result in 1.8 million fewer jobs due to the loss of the payroll tax holiday, the expiration of extended unemployment insurance, and near-term discretionary cuts (www.epi.org).

Americans need a serious and permanent jobs program that creates jobs that pay a living wage. We need to keep people in their homes. We need to fix the trade deficit. The debt ceiling deal is a Trojan horse.

Tom Broderick is co-chair of the Greater Oak Park Democratic Socialists of America.

Reader Comments

75 Comments - Add Your Comment

Comment Policy

Tom Broderick from oak park  

Posted: September 7th, 2011 12:38 PM

I mentioned the Economic Policy Institute in the One View. Check out their blog about something called Georgia Works. This ought to appeal to all who want to keep wages out of the hands of workers: http://www.epi.org/blog/ Or go to www.epi.org and look for their blog.

Carol from Oak Park  

Posted: September 7th, 2011 7:14 AM

Anyone else find it hilarious when "Hoffa 2.0" says something about "knee-jerk Fox News comments" immediately after he/she makes a knee-jerk Alinsky or Soros comment? To me, it's good for a giggle every time.

Jim Coughlin  

Posted: September 6th, 2011 11:06 PM

Nothing phoney?! Let's start with the dub you're using to post on this forum. What the heck does calling yourself "Hoffa 2.0" have to do with Tom Broderick's excellent report on the struggles of America's middle class? Challenge the facts he presents or offer an opinion that demonstrates a clearly reasoned thought process. Parroting the drivel offered by Fox News, Limbaugh, Beck, Rove, Palin, Bachman, Perry. etc., is not going to convince me or many others that what you stand for is relevant.

Hoffa 2.0 from Oak Park  

Posted: September 6th, 2011 10:11 PM

Jim...and George Soros and Jeff Immelt thank you. I listened to the entire speech, and Mr. Hoffa was trying to intimidate the very middle class voters that you claim unions want to help. Nothing phony about my reaction to an outright threat to my neighbors. Fortunately, most folks outside of Oak Park and union management can see through it.

Jim Coughlin  

Posted: September 6th, 2011 8:21 PM

You missed my point by a country mile, stranger. James Hoffa was speaking about the need to get out the vote in 2012. Your outrage is a phoney as this latest name you are using to post outright lies and nonsense. I still challenge you to explain how your views are in any way different from the mantra preached on Fox News and by Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck. You come off like a disciple. The Koch brothers thank you for your support.

Hoffa 2.0 from Oak Park  

Posted: September 6th, 2011 3:36 PM

Jim...there you go again. I pulled the quote from the website of that noted right wing extremist news organization, ABC News, knowing you'd attempt the knee-jerk Fox reference again. Typical "rules for radicals" attempt to smear the source, rather than focus on the content. It's Hoffa's example of near-sighted, thuggish behavior that is emblematic of Big Labor's race to irrelevance. Enough of this...back to work so I can support more public union members!

Tom Broderick from oak park  

Posted: September 6th, 2011 2:37 PM

International Trade Agreements (NAFTA, et al) have greatly benefitted a few. They have done damage to workers, communities and ways of life. Corn ~ a staple of life in Mexico ~ has become a commodity crop creating wealth for the investing class. Workers and environmentalists across the globe want improved lives. It is easy and futile to be jingoistic and say "America First," but what's important is to say People Before Profits.

Jim Coughlin  

Posted: September 6th, 2011 1:47 PM

You heard a selectively edited version of James Hoffa Jr.'s comments. His actual words and complete speech are available on the web and via respected news outlets. Be very careful when you rely on Fox News to provide full and accurate reporting. They should not and cannot be trusted.

Hoffa 2.0 from Oak Park  

Posted: September 6th, 2011 1:07 PM

From yesterday's rally in Detroit..."President Obama, this is your army. We are ready to march. Let's take these son of bitches out and give America back to an America where we belong," Hoffa added. In a nutshell, this is why unions have lost the private workforce, and are going a long way toward losing the public one as well. Export this "courage" to China...maybe it'll do some actual good for workers, but that's not what it's about, is it?

Tom Broderick from oak park  

Posted: September 6th, 2011 12:28 PM

To John Murtagh's questions ~ It would have to be a program of the Fed. Govt. There could be national programs that states could sign on to. Same for communities. An option would be block grants to be administered by states/communities. Prevailing wages could be used as a guide for wages as these vary between locals. Ending poverty would be a goal of this program if vigorously pursued. Providing Liv. Wg. jobs for all who can work is a better goal than pitting workers/communities against ea other

Is Anyone Aware  

Posted: September 6th, 2011 7:52 AM

of the Gibson Guitar raids? The CEO has been informed by our federal govt that he can "make his problems go away by manufacturing in another country". Our govt at work for the people and working at getting them back to work. It's of particular note that the Gibson Guitar issue has been kept out of main stream news. I find that extremely disturbing. Reminds me of another time in history.

Daniel Hurtado  

Posted: September 6th, 2011 7:02 AM

Violet said, "And when the TARP projects first were enacted back whenever, WHO was doing the construction? I saw Hispanics and they were most likely not even legal citizens!" So, Just Asking, what do you think that statement implies that Obama did?

Daniel Hurtado  

Posted: September 6th, 2011 6:56 AM

So you ARE saying give money to manufacturers instead of consumers. I've shown that to be economically unviable when demand is low. On the other hand, the notion that consumers will ONLY buy from retailers who purchase inventory from other countries is absurd. But even if they did, it would keep those retailers in business and would cause them to hire more American worKers.

Just Asking from Oak Park  

Posted: September 4th, 2011 1:08 PM

Daniel Hurtado, read again what Violet wrote because she did say that, and I agreed with her. She's a she because she doesn't swing that way when asked by another female. Violet Aura Posted: Saturday, September 3rd, 2011 6:38 PM *picking jaw off floor* Wow.

Just Asking from Oak Park  

Posted: September 4th, 2011 1:03 PM

Daniel Hurtado, you are not following correctly. Your are saying give money to consumers who buy products made in China, from Walmart, so more workers are hired in China. I am saying, you give money to build manufacturing products in the USA, by American workers and sold at Walmart, and bought by American's. The money then works in an economic circle. It's not really difficult, and I know if you read it again, it will make sense to you.

Daniel Hurtado  

Posted: September 3rd, 2011 10:49 PM

I'm just playing with your semantic imprecision Violet. A citizen is by definition in this country legally, so "legal citizen" is redundant, and to the extent it implies that a citizen could be "illegal," incoherent. To be more precise, you should have said they were not "legal residents." That said, you can't tell whether someone is a legal resident by skin color or ancestry.

Daniel Hurtado  

Posted: September 3rd, 2011 10:43 PM

I have no idea what the racial/ethnic composition of the construction workforce is. But first, I don't know what that has to do whether economic stimulus is a good idea. Do you want the federal government to have a quota system regarding who the contractors it engages can and cannot hire? Second, the last thing we need to do is foment dissension among the various minority groups in our society.

Daniel Hurtado  

Posted: September 3rd, 2011 10:35 PM

"He did do what you say." Could you translate? Violet didn't say anything about what Obama did. She/he only speculated regarding the ancestry of people who work on construction projects. Other than that, your arguments are getting increasingly difficult to follow. You want the government to give money to manufacturers rather than consumers? If you give money to manufacturers, they are not going to increase their output unless they anticipate an increased demand for their products. Which means they are not going to increase their workforce unless they anticipate an increased demand. But if you get money in the hands of consumers, the will purchase products from Wal-Mart, if you will, which in turn will buy more products from the manufactures, which will cause the manufacturers to hire more workers to meet the demand. That's how the economy works.

Violet Aura  

Posted: September 3rd, 2011 10:15 PM

Yes, there are ILLEGAL HUMAN BEINGS! They are human beings who are in a space not designated for them. When they go back to Mexico, Poland, etc. they magically become legal again! LOL!!!

Violet Aura  

Posted: September 3rd, 2011 10:13 PM

@Daniel: Thank you for not pouncing over my misuse of TARP as the term. I did wonder if I had that right but I couldn't think of the other name! I listen mainly to WVON, which is a Black talk radio station. I have heard Black contractors and construction workers gripe about the lack of opportunity, how many Hispanics are doing those road jobs, and how the Hispanic contractors DO NOT HIRE non-Hispanics. Look around you--who is doing all the repaving in your local parks, etc.? They are Hispanic!

Daniel Hurtado  

Posted: September 3rd, 2011 10:07 PM

So what exactly is your point Violet? That you approve of government stimulus to jump-start a recessed economy, but don't approve of HOW the last stimulus was spent? (By the way, TARP was not the stimulus. TARP was the bank bailout. I'll assume that was an inadvertent mistake, and not an indication of your lack of knowledge concerning this topic.) I'll grant you that it was not well-targeted. Indeed, it was not targeted to infrastructure projects, even though it should have been. In any event, are we to understand that you have traveled the country and can accurately assess the racial and ethnic composition of the construction workforce? There are probably more than 40 million Americans who are of Hispanic ancestry, so what does it say about you that you assume Hispanic construction workers that you "saw" are not "legal citizens"? (Btw, is there such a thing as an "ILLEGAL citizen"?)

Just Asking from Oak Park  

Posted: September 3rd, 2011 9:37 PM

Violet Aura, you are right. He did do what you say. Daniel Hurtado, people build a bridge, take the money to Walmart, and purchase products made in China. The money goes into the pockets of Walmart, and into China. You create manufacturing, and sell it at Walmart, the money goes back to American manufactures who make more American products. All the rest falls into place. That is how an economy works.

Violet Aura  

Posted: September 3rd, 2011 8:36 PM

And when the TARP projects first were enacted back whenever, WHO was doing the construction? I saw Hispanics and they were most likely not even legal citizens! Give Black American contractors a shot, man! Give women contractors a shot! I am sure there are a few of those, too! And how about money for education so that those of us who don't know how to do construction can get hired, too? LOL

Daniel Hurtado  

Posted: September 3rd, 2011 8:22 PM

No, I am not saying the Gov is giving money to McDonalds. The idea is to get money into the hands of consumers. You can do that by giving it to them directly, as in with unemployment benefits, or the government can hire people to work on government projects, or can fund infrastructure projects, such as repair of bridges and highways. The contractors for the infrastructure projects will in turn hire workers, who in turn spend the money they earn, and the increased consumption (demnd) will cause other businesses to spring up or expand. And so on. After awhile the economy will be running on its own steam again and the government can pull back on its spending, while tax revenues will increase because of the growing economy. That will result in the narrowing or even elimination of the deficit.

Violet Aura  

Posted: September 3rd, 2011 6:38 PM

*picking jaw off floor* Wow. Dropping bombs is great for the economy?! What is that--the Satanic Doctrine of Economics? How horrifying. Obama extended the Patriot Act. Obama okayed the drones (how disgustingly cowardly and evil) to drop bombs on innocents under the auspices of NATO (a bogus organization). Obama didn't stand with labor in Wisconsin and other states. Obama didn't advocate for either single-payer or public option. Ergo, Obama SUCKS!

Just Asking from Oak Park  

Posted: September 3rd, 2011 4:32 PM

You say cutting spending means reducing demands, it would reduce jobs. Are you saying the government is giving money to McDonald's to keep people working? Business just doesn't work that way. Daniel, I know you are very knowledgeable, and I appreciate what you have to offer. All we can do is continue to follow our President, with hopes that he can get us out of this mess, because this mess has been a long time coming, that he needs to deal with.

Just Asking from Oak Park  

Posted: September 3rd, 2011 4:31 PM

The prisoners/detainees were picked up during the invasion, sedated and shipped around the world. Why close Gitmo? Because you either bring them to trial, or you don't. You don't keep people as detainees indefinitely. It goes against what we believe in as human treatment. I can tell you from another place in another time, when you are fighting in someone elses country for your countries own cause, the people will fight to the last, because it's their country. continue above....

Just Asking from Oak Park  

Posted: September 3rd, 2011 4:30 PM

Keeping car manufactures afloat is nothing new. Chrysler was loaned 1.5 billion dollars in 1980. 1983, 7 years ahead of schedule, Chrysler paid back the loan and the government made 660 million on their investment. How did it work out this time? Do you recall watching the news feeds when the invasion first happened? People were rounded up, sedated and sent around the World. Bush wanted war, and he knew that if you have prisoners, then you have a war. continue above....

Just Asking from Oak Park  

Posted: September 3rd, 2011 4:30 PM

Lacking innovations/inventions, skills or organization, are paid higher wages and lack raw material. Obama knows this, so if he wants to talk about the need to get American's back to work, then he needs to start the measures to make that happen. Our government needs to reinvest in America, because the citizens can't and big business won't. This has not been an Obama accomplishment if all that is being considered is pouring money into the "Economy", without a real plan. continue abov

Just Asking from Oak Park  

Posted: September 3rd, 2011 4:29 PM

Daniel Hurtado, the opposition to Obama, are puppets being supported by people behind them, it's smoke and mirrors. Obama is a smart negotiator and hasn't taken anything he didn't want. If he doubled or tripled the amount of money, put into the "Economy", it would not work shown from the current results. As for creating jobs, there are basically four reasons an industry or business can not compete. continue above...

john murtagh from oak park  

Posted: September 3rd, 2011 4:11 PM

Tom - In your last paragraph you state "Americans need a serious and permanent jobs program that creates jobs that pay a living wage." Would such a plan be federal, state, or individual local governments. How could it be fair and balanced considering that wages vary greatly? Who would administer it -- the Fed, State Gov, local Gov, business, labor units, the individual workers? Would it end poverty? Would it create a constantly spiraling base wage? Would every person have to have a job?

Daniel Hurtado  

Posted: September 3rd, 2011 2:08 PM

Deficit spending is precisely the way to help bring an economy back. That's because government is the only source that is able or willing to inject money into the economy during a severe recession. The government gets repaid when the economy recovers and economic growth resumes. To cut spending now would be virtually suicidal because it means reducing demand, which reduces jobs, which further reduces demand, etc. In my view Obama has made to large mistakes that I am willing to hold him accountable for if there were a suitable alternative come primary time or general-election time. One is that he allowed the conversation to shift from stimulating the economy and jobs to the issue of the deficit. There other, is that he allowed the budget negotiations to be connected in any way with the vote on the debt ceiling.

Daniel Hurtado  

Posted: September 3rd, 2011 1:53 PM

"Ending shooting and bombing means ending munition sales to the government. Our munitions are Made In America, and they are the best. What would happen to the workers making munitions if there was no longer a need? We rely a lot on Military spending to keep a lot of people employed. President's have advisers that a President relies on." What is your point here Just Asking? That we should maintain, if not expand, our military ventures?

Daniel Hurtado  

Posted: September 3rd, 2011 1:50 PM

As I'm sure you know "Just Asking," the opposition I am talking about is a refusal to negotiate AT ALL, and an agenda that consists of defeating Obama's agenda regardless of substance. The current level of intransigence on the right is unprecedented. That said, I agree that Obama could have taken stronger starting positions and refrained from negotiating against himself. He also could have made more of an effort to make his case to the voters. But whether any of that would have changed the outcome is unclear. With all due respect, your statement that "[t]economists that thought there wasn't enough money used to stimulate the economy are wrong" is just a conclusory assertion without persuasive value. Without getting into weeds about the trade balance (or imbalance), that is an issue that has developed over many years. What does that have to do with your question regarding whether Obama has accomplished anything? If your point is that you didn't want Obama to bail out the carmakers because they have invested in China, then you're free to not count it as an accomplishment. But I submit that it is an accomplishment to the extent that it did save jobs for American car-workers, who then had money to inject into the economy. Regarding Gitmo, you will recall that the issue was what to do with guys like KSM. We couldn't turn him over to some foreign country, yet there was a great furor about imprisoning him (and other Gitmo detainees) anywhere in the United States. As you say, it comes down to politics, and politics involves negotiation and compromise. Tell me what you think Obama should have done, short of being the dictator that we all agree a president should not be.

Just Asking from Oak Park  

Posted: September 3rd, 2011 12:07 PM

I'm think that our government already knows the direction they want to take us in, but what direction that may be, may not be liked by everyone. I liked the idea that if you voted democratic, your vote was a vote to help all as American's, not a vote just for the few. Who would be a good candidate for the democratic party? I would select Hillary Clinton, she knows politics very well. But who will win? Obama.

Just Asking from Oak Park  

Posted: September 3rd, 2011 12:07 PM

That person miscalculated the debt-ceiling fiasco, and Obama must not have questions the validity of it, although with our country so dependent on it, you would think he would have. You can outspend a recession and even a depression if you know how you are going to make the economy repay it back. There is absolutely no way the way we are now as an economy to pay it back.

Just Asking from Oak Park  

Posted: September 3rd, 2011 12:06 PM

Ending shooting and bombing means ending munition sales to the government. Our munitions are Made In America, and they are the best. What would happen to the workers making munitions if there was no longer a need? We rely a lot on Military spending to keep a lot of people employed. President's have advisers that a President relies on.

Just Asking from Oak Park  

Posted: September 3rd, 2011 12:05 PM

China tossed the bicycles in exchange for American automobiles, and America is parking the cars for bicycles and saying it's all about going green, which is very positive direction to go in. You can reduce in Gitmo, but the Commander in Chief, the most powerful person in the World, can not close down a Military Base. I have to disagree with you on that one Daniel. What that comes down to is politics.

Just Asking from Oak Park  

Posted: September 3rd, 2011 12:04 PM

There is another advantage to American businesses doing business with China, China has 1.3 billion potential customers. McDonald's is really Lovin' That! When the government stepped in to save the auto manufactures, that was a good deal for the auto manufactures. They could now use found money to invest in manufacturing in China. When Buick was asked, why are you building cars in China, the reply was, when America starts buying car's, we will build them here.

Just Asking from Oak Park  

Posted: September 3rd, 2011 12:03 PM

The most well known product from Stanford, that use to be manufactured here, is manufactured in China, sent to Mexico for assembly and shipped back into the U.S.A., for sale. That product is the Sharpie. Products being made in China, brought their economy up quickly, and regardless that they are a communist country, our American corporations are willing to do business with them.

Just Asking from Oak Park  

Posted: September 3rd, 2011 12:02 PM

You say you can't fine Made In America? That's correct, because we supported other countries and put out American's out of a job. Businesses could no longer manufacture here, so they joined with other manufactures and sent the work to foreign countries. Stanford use to manufacture products just a couple of towns over from Oak Park. The company was bought by Newell Rubbermaid.

Just Asking from Oak Park  

Posted: September 3rd, 2011 12:01 PM

Our economy is no longer our economy. We rely on other countries to produce and sell goods to us. We made that possible each time we bought a foreign made product at a reduced price compared to our American counter-part. Businesses like Walmart would lure in shoppers to expose them to amazing savings with foreign made products with leader items like toilet paper. Sounds simple doesn't it? Take yourself, you are an American consumer. How many things do you buy that are Made In America?

Just Asking from Oak Park  

Posted: September 3rd, 2011 12:00 PM

Being a President, opposition is for our own protection as American's in a democracy to prevent a President from being a dictator. A good President, knows how to negotiate well with his or her opposing party because every politician needs to give something back to their party for election time. That is simple politics, but knowing how much is enough is what makes a good President. The economists that thought there wasn't enough money used to stimulate the economy are wrong.

Daniel Hurtado  

Posted: September 3rd, 2011 10:42 AM

... in the current climate?

doc walsh from woodale  

Posted: September 3rd, 2011 10:37 AM

we must get congress to play on the same team and not two different teams

Daniel Hurtado  

Posted: September 3rd, 2011 10:01 AM

@Just Asking. I am very frustrated with some aspects of Obama's presidency. Yet, I think it is unfair to completely discount his accomplishments, particularly in view of the economic crash that shortly preceded his installation as President, and the rabid opposition he has encountered since day one. Most economists agree that the stimulus and TARP staved off the equivalent of another Depression. The way a stimulus is supposed to work is to inject money into the economy, which creates demand, which creates jobs, which creates demand, etc. Once the economy starts humming on its own again, there is no need for continuing stimulus. In this case, according to economists I respect, the stimulus was neither large enough nor sufficiently well-targeted to get us on the path to sustained growth, but nevertheless was adequate to avoid a much worse recession or depression. TARP saved the banking system, though I still scratch my head at the fact that the banks were not required to start lending money, etc. Obama saved the auto industry with little cost to taxpayers. (Somehow, supporters of TARP opposed the auto "bailout.") Obama got the ACA passed. Whether it will accomplish its purpose remains to be seen, and I would have preferred a public option or even single-payer, but could someone else have done better under the circumstances? Obama got rid of DADT. The Gitmo population was greatly reduced, but Congress stymied Obama in his efforts to close Gitmo completely. Though I disagree with much of Obama's foreign policy, particularly regarding Afghanistan, I do think we have a higher standing in the world as a result of the Obama presidency. Like many people, I am frustrated that he has not used his monumental rhetorical skills to be a better advocate, and I think he badly miscalculated the debt-ceiling fiasco. But let me ask you this: Can you identify a potential candidate that could have done better under the circumstances and who would be electable in the

Just Asking from Oak Park  

Posted: September 3rd, 2011 12:22 AM

Jim Coughlin, they knew at the time stimulus money would only carry for 1 to 3 years then they would be laid off. Health Care Reform has not worked for decades. Bush kept his dignity with all problems he caused. It's built into the make up of people who want to be leaders. Some say dignity, some say no feelings to what they have done. What has he done for our future? You are giving me rhetorical campaign language. I believe in the democratic philosophy. We need a real democratic president.

Jim Coughlin  

Posted: September 2nd, 2011 4:19 PM

Vote for President Obama, Just Asking. I support him for his efforts to reform health care despite a corporate sponsored campaign that sought to scuttle the legislation. I support him for acting to provide stimulus money to state and local governments which prevented massive layoffs of police,fire, public works personnel and teachers. I support him for maintaining his dignity while facing unprecedented obstructionism from the GOP and Tea Party. I support him for believing in our future.

Just Asking from Oak Park  

Posted: September 2nd, 2011 3:35 PM

Not buying the stimulus package as preventing anything except raising the debt, but lets entertain that for a moment. What did that do to prevent anything, and how much worse would we have been in from where we are at now? Stimulus money is suppose to stimulate, grow, not stand off something for a little while. Anyone have anything else? I'm a democrat. Someone explain why I should vote for Obama, and not bcause he needs another 4 years to do something.

Tom Broderick from oak park  

Posted: September 2nd, 2011 2:49 PM

I think his stimulus package prevented greater global financial damage. There should have been more control over the use of the funds. The financial industry (?) is keeping our bailout money pretty much in limbo ~ unproductive money. This industry has strengthened itself to our disadvantage. It has paid outrageous bonuses to itself. Most of the world has been kept out in the cold, but as backhanded as this sounds, I think the globe would be in a much worse financial situation if he hadn't acted.

Just Asking from Oak Park  

Posted: September 2nd, 2011 2:29 PM

Jim Coughlin, when he speaks to the American people and Congress next Thursday, it will lead to the same. Just talk, and vote for me again. Help me understand what he has done for us, so I can consider voting for him. I just can't think of anything he has done which he said he would do.

Jim Coughlin  

Posted: September 2nd, 2011 2:15 PM

Tom, it's true that not enough has been done to address unemployment but I believe that President Obama will call for immediate action when he speaks to the American people and Congress next Thursday. Organized labor must be prepared to join with him and fight for working families. We all lose if the GOP wins. They will crush the middle class,tax the poor and elderly, gut Medicare and Social Security,ruin the environment and eliminate all reproductive rights.

Just Asking from Oak Park  

Posted: September 2nd, 2011 1:13 PM

Can anyone say what Obama's accomplishments have been? We all know Bush/Cheney got us into the Middle East, made Homeland Security, brought in a bunch of people called the TSA, to violate travelers, created laws to make searches legal without warrant, spy on American's, probe bank accounts, turn the NSA spy camera in space onto America, hold people in Gitmo without any trials, etc.. Bush/Cheney accomplished a lot. Now what has Obama done?

Tom Broderick from oak park  

Posted: September 2nd, 2011 12:22 PM

A couple of blogs that either have a labor focus or offer writers who focus on labor: www.talkingunionwordpress.com and www.workinginthesetimes.com As to Obama, my guess is that many who were motivated to turn out and vote for him during his last campaign will not do so this time around. He inherited an economic disaster. But his campaign was heavily funded by Wall Street and he surrounded himself with an economic team tied to Wall Street. "HOPE" will not cut it.

Violent Aurora  

Posted: September 2nd, 2011 11:34 AM

@Agree Disagree, no Obama did not START the Libyan Civil War. As the rebels were getting their butts kicked by the Libyan army, US/NATO was pulled into it to provide air support for them, kicking and screaming, by, among others, the French. Do not let the facts get in the way of your ideology or a good rant. PS, you want good wages in US? Take the former union guy's advice below and tell SEIU, UAW etc to unionize China, etc. once that happens there will be more incentive to mfg here...

Jim Coughlin  

Posted: September 2nd, 2011 11:27 AM

Agree, I'm not sure you can say that there was really a Democratic majority in Congress during the first 2 years of the Obama administration. Corporate-owned legislators like Blanche Lincoln, Joe Liebermann, Ben Nelson, and several others blocked any meaningful health care reform. I think you also might agree that the GOP has sabotaged much of the President's agenda by using a variety of parliamentary manuevers. Mitch McConnell announced that his only goal was to make Obama a 1 term president.

Agree Disagree from Oak Park  

Posted: September 2nd, 2011 11:18 AM

When Obama won, he didn't waste time, he got to work months before on how to change the country. That was very positive and showed that he had plans to make this country better and correct the course Bush/Cheney had it going. Then he became president, and well, how are things in this country can explain how well he did. Oh yes, he had a democratic house and senate for the first 2 years.

Agree Disagree from Oak Park  

Posted: September 2nd, 2011 11:15 AM

Violent Aurora, you should really pay attention more often. Verify what Violet Aura wrote, and you will find it stands up. Obama has followed suit with Bush/Cheney. The bombing in Libya was to kill the leader and to let rebels win, but this country still doesn't know what the rebels stand for. Anyone being hired in this country at a real living wage? Obama always talks about needing to focus on the unemployment problem. Yeah, lots of excuses why things don't work out.

Violent Aurora  

Posted: September 2nd, 2011 10:47 AM

Obama really "started a THIRD WAR IN LIBYA"....did not know that....thought it was a civil war that occured in conjunction with the Arab Spring....Learn something new every day....NOT....

Violet Aura  

Posted: September 2nd, 2011 8:50 AM

Oh and seen the latest news? 100former Obama workers and volunteers are protesting this tar sands pipeline. It's so sad to even imagine that a Democratic president would think about a thing like this. And are you happy with the healthcare "reform?" I'm not! I am sure the insurance companies are gleeful at having a captive customer base. Obama didn't support the labor protests in WI and OH. Nope, he's a Republican in sheeple's clothing...

Violet Aura  

Posted: September 2nd, 2011 8:44 AM

@Jim: Yes, Dubya was the culprit of this economy, but Obama has taken not stepped up to the plate to deliver much "change." He has Goldman-Sachs peeps in his administration all over the place. That is suspect. He not only added troups in Afghanistan, but didn't close Gitmo and started a THIRD WAR IN LIBYA! Besides the absolutely unacceptable reasoning for this moral failure, it is expensive. Each of those drones' bombs cost a million dollars. And it is a sin to kill innocents.

Carol from Oak Park  

Posted: September 2nd, 2011 6:54 AM

Tom B., exactly. Solidarity.

Tom Broderick from oak park  

Posted: September 2nd, 2011 6:41 AM

Today, as we enter the Labor Day holiday, we will get the newest jobs report/unemployment report from the federal government. The One View I wrote is focused on workers and their contributions to this country (and by extension, the world). Instead of looking to beat American workers down to the suffering of workers in other countries, people who work for a living because they have to, should be looking to make common cause with all working (paid and unpaid) people ~ unionized or not. Solidarity.

Jim Coughlin  

Posted: September 2nd, 2011 12:11 AM

Agree that Obama has not delivered but he was handed a mess. Remember Bush/Cheney put Iraq and Afgan wars on our credit card. And both should be tried for war crimes. I detest that the Wall St. crooks got to sail away without even a slap on the wrist. Still, it's tough to govern effectively when GOP and Tea Party are fighting him at every turn. My big concern is these thugs' assault on the Voting Rights Act. To save the Republic, we need real campaign finance reform. I enjoyed our back and forth

Agree Disagree from Oak Park  

Posted: September 1st, 2011 10:50 PM

Jim Coughlin, I agree totally about what Bush and Cheney did, but my question is, what has Obama done about it? He hasn't ended Gitmo, there are still a minimum of 50 thousand troops in Iraq, Afghanistan is a mess, and no problem with letting American led NATO, shell Libya. Not to mention to economy is a disaster, the deficit as quad-tripled since he took office. Lets stop the Bush/Cheney disaster and stay with what is now. We need someone else running on a democratic ticket.

JIm Coughlin  

Posted: September 1st, 2011 7:45 PM

Please share your opinion of the graft,incompetence and total ambivalence that we all witnessed during the Bush/Cheney adminstraton. Did you look away when they lied us in to an illegal invasion of Iraq, engaged in war profitering, condoned torture, used FEMA as a patronage pound, etc.,?

Jim Coughlin  

Posted: September 1st, 2011 7:37 PM

Card carrying member of IAM Local 48 here, stranger. How about you? Please share.I noticed that you don't deny that you rely on Fox News to feed you with information. Big mistake.Tagging me and Tom with Karl Marx and Saul Alinsky is right out of the Roger Ailes playbook and I sense you also share a special kinship with Glenn Beck. As for being a liberal, I think most would consider me to be a radical when it comes social and economic policies. You likely embrace Tea Party views. True?

Hoffa 2.0 from Oak Park  

Posted: September 1st, 2011 6:34 PM

I win! When an OP liberal throws out the knee-jerk "too much Fox News" line, you know they are out of substantive arguments. (Of course, so is MSNBC!)I wonder, have Tom or Jim actually ever been members of a union, or do the just romanticize them based on their infatuation with Marx & Alinsky and some false image? My stance on US unions was gleaned by my ten years as a real live union member. I saw first hand the graft, incompetance, and total ambivalence to the good of the membership.

Tom Broderick from oak park  

Posted: September 1st, 2011 5:45 PM

Consider checking an article by June Carbone regarding this subject: http://www.populist.com/11.15.carbone.html

Jim Coughlin  

Posted: September 1st, 2011 4:21 PM

Wrong on all counts,stranger. So many of the workplace benefits you enjoy are the result of collective bargaining. Turn off Fox News.

Hoffa 2.0 from Oak Park  

Posted: September 1st, 2011 4:14 PM

Support couldn't be more correct. US unions don't stand for working men and women, and haven't for decades. They stand for union leaders, democrat party politicians, and the mafia. Period. Any middling effort on behalf of workers has been done by accident, for $,or to keep up appearances with their friends in DC. I don't doubt the courage of individual workers. I support the workers, I don't support the union. It's just like supporting the troops, but not their mission, as OPer's are wont to do.

Support Taxpayers from River Forest, Illinois  

Posted: September 1st, 2011 3:34 PM

Couglin's comments, like the author's are nothing if not consistent. If Labor was smart, they'd heed Hoffa's point and look to 3rd world countries where they can enrich the lives of the worker in the private sector. But no, protesting in Madison over entitlements as about as much as they can fathom. All that gets them in an entre into liberal politics, and state gov't. Think about that on Monday in the world's largest service economy. China, indeed.

Jim Coughlin  

Posted: September 1st, 2011 3:27 PM

Never doubt the courage of organized labor. They stand for working men and women.

Hoffa 2.0 from Oak Park  

Posted: September 1st, 2011 3:15 PM

OK, I'll give the US labor movement it's early 20th century accomplishments. Organized labor's issue in the US today is that for most folks it has rendered itself irrelevant. The US workforce is largely educated and independent in relation to its 1920's counterpart. The private labor movement today is a Model T, and the public unions, with the exception of police & fire, are a drag on the economy. Will Big Labor evolve to do the heavy lifting in China & 3rd world? I doubt it has the courage.

Jim Coughlin  

Posted: August 31st, 2011 11:20 AM

Bravo! People sometimes take for granted that most of the benefits they enjoy are the result of labor unions standing up for worker rights. Collective bargaining does produce trickle down effects. A 40 hour work week, the minimum wage act, overtime pay, safety in the workplace, child labor laws, sick and maternity leave, paid vacations,etc.,. are just a few of the ways that organized labor has helped working people in our country and around the world. There is still much to done to protect the m

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