Wednesday, February 16, 2011

SANCTITY OF CONTRACTS: Wall Street execs vs. Wisconsin public workers

If you recall, after Obama was sworn in, people asked if he would add some strings to the no strings attached bailout of Wall Street to the tune of $700 BILLION, like capping executive compensation or cutting those bonuses that surely no one deserved if their company needed a bailout. Obama's excuse for not doing so was those Wall Street execs had CONTRACTS, gosh darn it, and we can't violate those CONTRACTS even if we want to.


If he really believes that, he SHOULDN'T be freezing the salaries of federal workers many of whom have unions and are under contract, and SHOULD be backing the public workers in Wisconsin to the hilt and unleashing his Labor and Justice Department on the governor of Wisconsin the way Eisenhower, Kennedy and Nixon went after governors in the Jim Crow states since the governor is trying to nullify all those contracts.

I'm not hearing much noise like that.

What is the difference between the two sets of workers besides that one works in the private sector and one works in the public?

It can't be that one involves individuals making contract with employers as opposed to large groups making contracts with employers because our government doesn't seem to mind mergers of corporations for more bargaining clout--why should they mind the merger of individuals for more bargaining clout?

The private versus public sector distinction was wiped out by the bailout. Every bank an brokerage that got taxpayer money was a de facto public entity until that money was entirely repaid. If they hadn't gotten the money, many of them would have gone under, which is worse than what Wisconsin or any state faces since they have the power to either borrow with bonds or raise taxes.

It can't be that all contracts are not created equal, with the contracts of the wealthy being more valid than contracts with the working and middle class?

It can't be that the only difference is that public workers don't have as much money to contribute as individual Wall Street execs, or that public worker unions can't offer megabucks jobs as lobbyists, CEO's or do-nothing board members after politicians leave office can it? Or that they can't offer those kinds of bribes to politicians' family members while the politician is still in office like Wall Street can?

If that was the case, how can we accuse any other government of corruption, even our own oil company consultant, brother of a drug lord puppet in Afghanistan?

In reality Obama has shown repeatedly that the contracts of middle class workers are only fit to wipe his ass with. Obama had no trouble demanding concessions from the autoworkers union to bail out Detroit, so those private sector contracts didn't seem so sacred.  And Obama's education secretary made his bones in Chicago with union-busting (and therefore contract-busting)  mass firings of teachers to clear the path for for-profit charter schools and education management companies. Those teachers were also middle class people.

The White House and Congress could at least be honest with the working and middle class and say, ''This is what Wall Street is paying us to screw you. If you can scrape together the money to top that, we can talk,'' instead of just assuming we can't pay.

Or maybe we have to figure out a way to get closer to one person one vote instead of one dollar one vote before most of us end up living in cardboard boxes and sifting throw the garbage and sewage of the rich to survive.

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