Waging War on American Workers

Target one is America’s middle class, endangered after decades of wealth shifts to super-rich elites besides most high-pay, good benefit jobs, offshored to cheap labor markets — a policy Washington’s duopoly endorses. It’s the most serious threat to middle America since attacks began in the 1970s.

On December 23, 1957, The Dan Smoot Report published novelist Taylor Caldwell’s (1900 – 1985) article, titled “Honoria,” the true story of a former great nation and lessons to be learned from its demise.

She explained how men seeking freedom became Pilgrims, endured terrible hardships, yet survived, prospered, and gained power. They established colonies, believed in God, hard work, public education, and transformed villages into towns and cities.

Others joined them, establishing new colonies, then uniting them. A civil war intervened. The republic was divided. A leader was assassinated, but prosperity followed conflict resolution. However, arrogance, corruption, and foreign entanglements followed. At issue – insatiable greed, not defending civilized world freedoms.

Wars resulted. Repressive laws passed, but Honoria had “a strong, industrious middle class, composed of farmers, artisans, (and) shopkeepers.” However, they posed a threat to wealth and power so had to go to let elites rule unchallenged. Targeted by oppression, they “were reduced to despair,” and began “dwindl(ing) away….Morality was dead.”

The monstrous, bureaucratic state “was happy.” People wanted entertainment, not freedom. Leaders waged more wars. Honoria became more corrupt and extremist. Its middle class eroded, died, and barbarians moved in.

Who was to blame? “Honoria, of course,” at the expense of its own citizens. They sacrificed for the common good but were betrayed. Over hundreds of years, Honoria rose and fell. Its real name? “Ancient Rome,” America its modern equivalent.

America, the New Rome

As constitutional freedoms and middle class prosperity erode, America is slowly dying. Like Rome, two empires share a remarkably common history. Both rose and prospered, then overextended, “rushed to the abyss,” and couldn’t turn back. America is on its edge. Its belligerence exceeds Rome’s. Its excesses are unsustainable. Its middle class is dying, its democracy a mere figure of speech.

Today, super-wealth rules a once great nation, malignant with corruption, delusional grandeur notions, and might ideologically triumphing over right. It’s a self-destructive path harming working Americans most, especially the once vibrant middle class, targeted for destruction. Democracy depends on preserving it as a buffer against tyranny. Slowly, however, it’s suffocating and dying, and with it the remnants of freedom.

A New Congress Highlights An Accelerated Ruinous Path

On January 3, the 112th Congress convened, its agenda accelerating America’s ruin.

In 2011, federal and state governments plan major social services cuts and other ways to address deficit and budget problems through less social spending, layoffs, and other draconian measures. At the same time, America’s aristocracy is flourishing, largely at the expense of exploited workers. Their assets flow upward to make super-rich society richer, facilitated by bipartisan political complicity and corruption.

Incoming House Republicans promise budget cuts of $100 billion, largely on the backs of working Americans who can least afford it. Given Obama’s austerity pledge, bipartisan agreement may target entitlements, including Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, as well as education, transportation, and other discretionary areas to match 2008 levels. However, achieving it requires  20% cuts across the board from the $477 billion Congress allocated in FY 2010, ending September 30.

According to House Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan, “That’s where you get the savings.” On January 6, he also told Bloomberg News that potential state defaults won’t be saved by bailouts, saying “We are not interested in a bailout.”

In 1933 at the height of the Great Depression, Arkansas was the last state to default at a time Washington rescues weren’t considered. Today, workers will be punished to assure steady debt service payments. In 2009, California state treasurer, Bill Lockyer, said only a “thermonuclear war” might force default, nothing less.

Less draconian than Republicans, congressional Democrats want FY 2010 spending levels frozen for three years, at least rhetorically. House Republicans, however, control appropriations so expect debt ceiling level confrontations. For one thing, Republicans want spending increases offset by cuts, meaning those affecting working Americans most.

They’ll come at a time that the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) evaluated poverty in the “Great Recession.” Calling official measures outdated, its own analysis shows over 21% of Americans in poverty — based on after-tax market wages and salaries, excluding entitlements, welfare, and other government programs that lower the figure considerably but not for millions not helped. Then add higher cost of living expenses, especially for health, food, gasoline, heating oil, and rent at a time home prices are declining.

With planned FY 2011 budget cuts, greater poverty ahead looms. On January 6, even the Census Bureau raised its numbers, saying 15.7% of the population (not 14.3%) lived in poverty in 2009, or 47.8 million people. Moreover, despite Social Security and Medicare, 16.1% of seniors are impoverished when out-of-pocket medical and other expenses are included. Children are most impacted at 18%, nearly one-fifth of them all. A 2009 EPI report estimated one in four, and for Blacks and Hispanics well over one in three.

In fact, Census Bureau figures way understate reality. Its poverty threshold, for example, is based on an annual $22,050 income for a family of four. Yet urban needs throughout America are much higher. A Chicago family of four needs over $49,000, and in New York over $72,000.

Yet even official data offer insight into America’s worst economic crisis since the Great Depression at a time bipartisan consensus plans social spending cuts when large increases are needed. Even so, public outrage is strangely absent. For how long is at issue.

States Plan Major Budget Cuts and Layoffs

Though slightly lower than in 2009 and 2010, the National Conference of State Legislatures forecasts $83 billion in combined state deficits, requiring greater cuts than earlier, absent federal government help or too little. As a result, major public spending cuts, wage freezes, and lower benefits are planned. Moreover, public employee unions are targeted, threatening organized labor overall.

On January 3, New York Times writer, Steven Greenhouse, headlined, “Strained States Turning to Laws to Curb Labor Unions,” saying:

Faced with growing budget deficits and restive taxpayers, elected officials from Maine to Alabama, Ohio to Arizona, are pushing new legislation to limit the power of labor unions, particularly those representing government workers, in collective bargaining and politics.

Though largely weak and ineffective, private ones are also being attacked. For example, lawmakers in Indiana, Maine, Missouri and at least seven other states plan legislation to bar private sector unions from requiring rank and file members to pay dues or fees, reducing union treasury funds. Ohio’s new Republican governor, like others, wants public school teacher strikes prohibited, and in Wisconsin, Gov. Scott Walker is targeting the right of state employees to form unions and bargain collectively.

The “bottom line” isn’t putting “balance more on the side of taxpayers” as Walker claims. It crushing organized labor entirely, public and private, driving it back to 19th century impotence. According to Stewart Acuff, Utility Workers Union of America chief of staff:

This is a very serious effort by the radical right wing to cripple the American labor movement and remove it as a serious force in American life. They want unfettered, unrestricted corporate power, and the only thing standing in the way of absolute corporate domination of our society and what’s left of our democracy is the American labor movement.

Not the way it’s been run for years as a result of corrupted union bosses on the take, siding with business, getting big salaries and fancy perks, and being more concerned about their own welfare than rank and file members. Labor historian, Paul Buhle, sees organized labor in a state of collapse. In the March/April 2010 Against the Current issue, his article titled, “Labor at War or in the Tank,” explained “the shrinking world of US organized labor,” saying:

“….a paucity of anything like solidarity, let alone a strategy for a repowered, reorganized, 21st-century labor movement” haunts American worker struggles going forward. Moreover, (r)ecent reports suggest” possible bankruptcy for “any number of the international unions as well as the AFL-CIO at large, a situation made only worse by infighting. This is a bleak irony, indeed, following so much enthusiasm” over Obama’s election. All the more reason for new leadership, information and insight to “be brought to rank-and-file working people within the unions and outside.” In addition, add strong political support at a time it’s totally absent with Democrats as anti-labor as Republicans.

On January 6 on the Progressive Radio News Hour, James Petras explained. In 2008, Big Labor contributed over $400 million to Democrat candidates and tens of millions more in 2010. In return, Obama and congressional Democrats waged war on working Americans, endorsing layoffs, wage and benefit cuts, gutted work rules, lost pensions, and promised hope from the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA). The Democrat-controlled Congress rejected it.

It would have been the first pro-labor reform since the landmark 1935 Wagner Act, letting workers for the first time bargain collectively with management on even terms. Though modest by comparison, it promised progress at a time organized labor is virtually impotent, because union bosses, like Democrats, side more with business than their own rank and file.

Compounded by huge budget cuts, layoffs, and other social sacrifices, American workers face greater poverty, extended hard times, disenfranchisement, and bleaker futures. Moreover, their pensions are under attack. In December 2010, the Brookings Institution’s, Douglas J. Elliott, headlined, “State and Local Pension Funding Deficits: A Primer,” saying:

By some measures national shortfalls exceed “$3 trillion or more than two years’ worth of state and local tax revenues.” Today’s economic crisis revealed “the severity of the investment risks by very substantially increasing the gap between the value of (pension) assets accumulated (and) the value of pension promises” already made. Major underfunding and eroded investments are core issues of the problem. No easy solutions can resolve them.

Even at today’s overvalued levels, “the stock market would have to almost triple” to close deficits “as measured using risk-free discount rates.” Reforms are also needed, including in “accounting and actuarial rules so that state and local pension plans report liability levels and deficits that are consistent with economic reality,” such as discounting “the uncertainty of the liabilities rather than the expected return on the assets” that don’t materialize in hard times.

A Final Comment

Working Americans, especially middle class ones, are being downsized toward extinction through loss of high pay/good benefit jobs, labor rights, political empowerment, standard of living gains, personal freedoms, and retirement futures.

Replacing private pensions with 401(ks), IRAs and similar schemes failed. Public pensions now face a similar fate, states wanting liability shifted from them to workers, leaving them vulnerable on their own. It’s consistent with destructive neoliberal “reforms,” wanting all public benefits eroded and eliminated. The scheme is venal and underhanded — to create a ruler – serf society, America reduced to third world status super-wealth and growing poverty extremes. Bipartisan political support endorses it.

Stephen Lendman wrote How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized Banking, Government Collusion and Class War. Contact him at: lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. Also visit his blog site and listen to The Global Research News Hour on RepublicBroadcasting.org Mondays from 11AM-1PM US Central time for cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests. All programs are archived for easy listening. Read other articles by Stephen.

18 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. Don Hawkins said on January 8th, 2011 at 8:24am #

    Aha still thinking inside the box. It will take a lot of us working together not to regain the middle class but to survive. Granted as it stands now a few castles in a sea of slums. Once on time delivery is not on time it will happen in month’s.

  2. Don Hawkins said on January 8th, 2011 at 8:35am #

    Another idea who will get to live in the Castle the camera man or women at Fox New’s or CNN the writers in Hollywood the carpenters your average broker on Wall Street siting in front of a computer all day the police the fireman and on and on I think not tell them. Although they probably somewhat know this. Off in the balloon, bye bye folk’s I don’t know how it work’s. That is one lousy plan to say the least. So let’s stop all this class warfare ok where do we start.

  3. bozh said on January 8th, 2011 at 10:56am #


    “Target one is America’s middle class, endangered after decades of wealth shifts to super-rich elites besides most high-pay, good benefit jobs, offshored to cheap labor markets — a policy Washington’s duopoly endorses.”

    yes, duopoly! however, not washington’s, but god-devil’s duopoly or by the will of a suprahuman-infrahuman duopoly.
    according to devilgod monopoly or god-devil duopoly [take a pick] some people are suprahuman and all others…. take a guess, please!?

    but even if we view what washing or wishing town does or wishes to do, we still see only one WILL, not two! id est, it still maybe called a monopoly– never ever a duopoly!

    PLEASE call it anything but duopoly. duplicity, simplicity, sheriffdom, might even be better.
    whatever gives u the idea that our masters are twowilled? ok enough for now! tnx

  4. Don Hawkins said on January 8th, 2011 at 12:41pm #

    Turn on CNN this second and after the last few years and just the amount of money spent on what can best be described as hate, nonsense I wonder who’s shoulders this will fall on?

  5. Don Hawkins said on January 8th, 2011 at 6:47pm #

    Sheriff Dupnik of Pima county Arizona just a few minutes ago did something the system doesn’t like he told the truth on National Television. Let’s see how National Television the media handle’s this one. Tomorrow it’s only a day away. I see the House canceled the vote on repealing health care. Maybe a week or two will tell us some of the story although the darkside is strong in sort of a nonsensical way.

  6. hayate said on January 8th, 2011 at 6:59pm #

    Sheriff Clarence Dupnik: “Not convinced” gunman acted alone

    Posted: Jan 08, 2011 5:25 PM PST Updated: Jan 08, 2011 5:45 PM PST

    “Sheriff Dupnik also confirmed that two individuals at this crime scene tackled the suspect. He said there is reason to believe that the gunman came to the location with another individual. Dupnik told reporters his office has pictures of a “person of interest” in this case.

    Dupnik described the tragic event as a day of “personal sadness for all of us in the room.” He went on to say he “hoped all Americans are as saddened and as shocked as we are. I hope that most of them are as angry as I am. I think it’s time as a country that we do a little soul searching. Because the vitriolic rhetoric that we hear from people in the radio business and from some of those in the TV business…this is not the nice United States that we grew up with.”

    Dupnik went on to say that “pretty soon we are not going to be able to find willing decent people to subject themselves, to serve in public office.”


  7. hayate said on January 8th, 2011 at 7:01pm #

    Posted that in the wrong area, I thought Don’s comment was after another article.

  8. Don Hawkins said on January 9th, 2011 at 4:06am #

    “When you look at unbalanced people, how they respond to the vitriol that comes out of certain mouths about tearing down the government. The anger, the hatred, the bigotry that goes on in this country is getting to be outrageous,” the sheriff said. “And unfortunately, Arizona I think has become the capital. We have become the mecca for prejudice and bigotry.”

    Well didn’t have to wait two week’s or even a day to see how a few would handle what the sheriff said on National Television. Tearing down the government now there is an interesting subject to say the least. After the sheriff said that I watched CNN and they ran a clip of the sheriff talking and kind of didn’t show the above part and the so called journalists seem to be in a reflective mood. Then an interview with a person from Arizona who said almost the same thing as the sheriff. Then went to Fox New’s to stay somewhat fair and balanced and two of there journalists a man and a women after the sheriff’s talk were talking and had on a psychiatrist I think he is a psychiatrist I saw him on Glenn Beck and he’s no DR. Phil then the women so called journalist after the psychiatrist talking said well some people are just crazy. After a few minutes I somewhat recovered from hearing that and my first thought was ok how many people are crazy maybe 95% of us but after reading maybe Glenn Beck’s book’s and watching Fox New’s will be the start of our recovery. It always’ does amaze me to watch these head doctors try and help people in the land of Oz. I forget what channel but someone said well after this shooting America could change as it’s a representative government and this could make it harder to talk to the people they represent. They will still I’ll bet be able to talk to the people they represent am sure in the land of Oz. For me am going to watch the weather the next few day’s as the Earth that’s Earth third planet from the Sun seem’s to be teaching us a few thing’s alright well if you watch the History Channel; know your history.

  9. Don Hawkins said on January 9th, 2011 at 5:06am #

    I wonder how this will play out is America going to become a kinder gentler Nation maybe are representatives will move to the center work together and all become pal’s heck maybe the new EPA rules and the new financial regulation rules can take effect. The new EPA rules will it work do any good well remember the law of gravity? Ok cap and trade and make Wall Street more money something they all seem to like do any good that darn law of gravity. The new financial regulation rules that darn law of gravity does keep coming up on the third planet from the Sun. Yep I’ll bet this very day PR firms that probably includes psychiatrists and sociologists heck maybe even a few make believe scientists had to get up early this morning as we all go down the drain in not such slow motion. There are a few things that could help reason, imagination, focus total focus, knowledge the real thing not illusion and the big one work together using all of the above but I guess much to simple is it to early to start Christmas shopping? I know I need help does Dr. Phil have a new book out as I just read again how to win friends and influence people and such knowledge hard to take it all in. Maybe I’ll read Atlas Shrugged again and see if I can understand why we can’t build the motor.

  10. Don Hawkins said on January 9th, 2011 at 6:38am #

    Now color me crazy but I think people at Fox New’s read DV. The psychiatrist that was on last night was on again this morning and the so called journalist he to was on. Just on the off chance Fox New’s people ever see the movie “What About Bob”? Heck watch it again and the ending was wonderful. Making light of a situation well ever read any Plato as some of his thinking on light was very good. That’s not how the real world work’s, really so how does it work old boy’s? Yes just once to hear a so called leader in all there shapes and sizes read Plato on TV that would be the day alright. I guess we are far beyond Plato more on the lines of drill baby drill, it’s about my kid’s and there kid’s stop the spending, the Earth is 8,000 years old so much to learn.

  11. Don Hawkins said on January 9th, 2011 at 8:08am #

    Repeat the obvious and darn it I missspelled among that should read among us.

  12. beverly said on January 9th, 2011 at 10:35am #

    “Yet even official data offer insight into America’s worst economic crisis since the Great Depression at a time bipartisan consensus plans social spending cuts when large increases are needed. Even so, public outrage is strangely absent. For how long is at issue.”

    Ignorance is bliss. Some watch Fox, the others CNN, a few who think they’re “smart” catch NPR. All of them don’t have a clue as their media sources keep them uninformed and misinformed. This is the big reason public outrage remains muted. People have been so brainwashed and conditioned to believe these so-called “trusted” sources that they are almost incapable of seeing the reality. Blame whichever kleptocratic party is in power and vote for the other one come election time. Perhaps when unemployment reaches 75%, Social Security checks get cut big time, more dead birds and fish accumlate, and tent cities increase will the sheeple get outraged. I’m not holding my breath that this will occur. However, I will bet good money that we’ll see more shootings such as what happened yesterday in Arizona. In the aftermath, politcos and media flacks will frame conversation around some Kumbaya moment – the need to come together, spirit of bipartisanship, stop the hate, stop the racism, yada freaking yada. The conversation will not include greed, corruption, State’s war on dissent, war in general, unemployment, despair, etc. that are the roots of the train wreck this society has become.

  13. hayate said on January 9th, 2011 at 11:06am #


    That’s about how it works.

  14. Don Hawkins said on January 9th, 2011 at 3:17pm #

    War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength.
    George Orwell

    That’s about how it work’s, the need to come together, spirit of bipartisanship, stop the hate, stop the racism, yada freaking yada. It’s already started………………………………?

  15. hayate said on January 10th, 2011 at 12:44pm #

    Why Socialism?

    by Albert Einstein

    Monthly Review – 1949-05-01


    “I am convinced there is only one way to eliminate these grave evils, namely through the establishment of a socialist economy, accompanied by an educational system which would be oriented toward social goals. In such an economy, the means of production are owned by society itself and are utilized in a planned fashion. A planned economy, which adjusts production to the needs of the community, would distribute the work to be done among all those able to work and would guarantee a livelihood to every man, woman, and child. The education of the individual, in addition to promoting his own innate abilities, would attempt to develop in him a sense of responsibility for his fellow men in place of the glorification of power and success in our present society.”


  16. Don Hawkins said on January 10th, 2011 at 2:02pm #

    In such an economy, the means of production are owned by society itself and are utilized in a planned fashion.

    That’s a big one and energy production and soon or the rest is academic.

  17. Don Hawkins said on January 10th, 2011 at 2:34pm #

    Here’s a big one the first site is the Earth the second site where the picture came from and a very good way to look and more knowledge. Galileo; know your history.



  18. Don Hawkins said on January 10th, 2011 at 4:29pm #

    Just watched Glenn Beck on the fair and balanced channel man here we go. Beck offered a challenge today and was 100% looney tunes, nonsense, status quo. Here’s a challenge for beck and Fox New’s face the problems use reason not ideology use knowledge not illusion and what are the problems well am sure you know what they are it’s the answers you all seem to have a problem with. Granted you are not the only ones well be the first. Would you have to clear it with headquarters first give it a try. Repeat the obvious I find it helpful.