Friday, April 01, 2011

The Unbearable Cruelty of Republican Toadying

I long ago stopped trying to chronicle the many outrages against humanity committed in the last year by the ideological extremists of the Republican party, aided and abetted by the corporatist/conservative wing of the Democratic party. But one odor wafts higher than every other stink being emitted by the ALEC-seeded legislation now being flung like shit from the monkey houses of states' capitols right now: the war on working people:
The Florida House of Representatives approved a bill in March that would establish the deepest and most far-reaching cuts in unemployment benefits in the nation. Like the law signed in Michigan on Monday, the measure would reduce the number of weeks the unemployed could collect benefits from the standard 26 weeks to 20.

But the House proposal in Florida — in a high-unemployment state that already has some of the lowest benefits — takes it one step further by tying benefits to the unemployment rate. If the rate falls, so do the number of weeks of benefits. If the rate dips below 5 percent, the jobless would collect only 12 weeks of benefits, the lowest level.

This has workers worried in Florida, where the unemployment rate, while continuing to inch down, is 11.5 percent, considerably higher than the nation’s rate of 8.9 percent. Michigan’s rate is 10.4 percent...

The House version, which would take effect Aug. 1 if signed into law and affect people who apply after that date, would also make it easier for businesses to fire employees, who would then not be eligible for unemployment benefits..
This, in a state with 11.5% unemployment. I won't even go into the heart-breaking vignettes the story outlines for the age 60+ Floridians living this nightmare; you can read them for yourself. The clown behind this brainstorm claims creating jobs is the most important goal (this is the usual doublespeak parroted by these ALECheads just before they turn the screws on the working classes), and to do that, "business" needs help from the state. Help like throwing everyone off the dole and into the street, so that now-desperate people who line up by the hundreds for a shot at a couple dozen jobs will become even more desperate.

Make no mistake; this is not about creating jobs, this is about wage repression. Business has made record-level profit and sat on record excess money and capital during this ghastly period, while avoiding hiring by squeezing the last drops of productivity out of its skeleton crews of employees. Every excuse business has given for why it hasn't been hiring has been exposed for the lie it is. As those reasons have been eliminated, one after another, by a servile Congress and administration, hiring remains anemic.

Contrary to the propaganda vomiting out of the US Chamber of Commerce, business is NOT about creating jobs. Business is about making profit for those at the top, and payroll is an inconvenient barrier to this goal. If business could entirely eliminate all payroll, all employees, and carry on entirely with machinery instead, it would do so in a heartbeat. In the interim, what business wants is the elimination of its taxes, the elimination of all labor, safety, financial and environmental regulations, and the elimination of its workers' rights and safety nets. Helpless workers are the next best thing to serfs, and in this regressing-to-feudal culture, serfs are blessedly cheap, interchangeable, and disposable to the puppet-masters who pull the strings of the kept politician.