In a piece for the NY Times about a year and a half ago, Ben Stein quoted Warren Buffett.
“There’s class warfare, all right,” Mr. Buffett said, “but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.”That's always been the case--it's just unusual for someone on the winning side to acknowledge it so openly.
If there were any doubt that the class war still rages, let it be dispelled. Unionization has been one of the working and middle classes' best weapons in the class war, and big business has done a lot, with the help of Republicans in Congress and the White House, to shatter its effectiveness. But they're scared now.
In recent weeks, thousands of Wal-Mart store managers and department heads have been summoned to mandatory meetings at which the retailer stresses the downside for workers if stores were to be unionized.Wal-Mart, by the way, is one of the few non-oil companies making money hand over fist right now. They're like the repo-men of retail--they do better when poor and middle class people do badly. And considering that their anti-union tactics are already often illegal, it should be no surprise that their corporate loyalties lay with the Republican party, although that's changing.
According to about a dozen Wal-Mart employees who attended such meetings in seven states, Wal-Mart executives claim that employees at unionized stores would have to pay hefty union dues while getting nothing in return, and may have to go on strike without compensation. Also, unionization could mean fewer jobs as labor costs rise.
The actions by Wal-Mart -- the nation's largest private employer -- reflect a growing concern among big business that a reinvigorated labor movement could reverse years of declining union membership. That could lead to higher payroll and health costs for companies already being hurt by rising fuel and commodities costs and the tough economic climate.
Twelve years ago, 98% of Wal-Mart's political donations went to Republicans. Now, as the Democrats seem poised to gain control in Washington, 48% of its $2.2 million in political contributions go to Democrats and 52% to Republicans, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonpartisan organization that tracks political giving.Wal-Mart is hedging its bets. It's hoping that if more Democrats are elected this November, some campaign cash might keep that legislation from making it to President Obama for a signature. And it could work--that's the real pisser. But we have a better chance to beat them now than we have in nearly three decades--let's not miss this chance.
Here's the Random Ten--put your iTunes on party shuffle and post the next ten songs to appear, even if you've been "Set Adrift on Memory Bliss" this P. M. Dawn. There's nothing wrong with sampling Spandau Ballet, as long as you wash up afterward.
1. Aqui No Sera--OzomatliWhat are you listening to?
2. If I Had Possession Over Judgment Day--Robert Johnson
3. Weep No More--Carmen McRae/Dave Brubeck
4. I Will Always Remember--Datarock
5. Istanbul (Not Constantinople)--They Might Be Giants
6. Jumpin' At the Woodside--Count Basie
7. Letting You--Nine Inch Nails
8. All I Want--Toad the Wet Sprocket
9. Easy Goin' Evening--Stevie Wonder
10. Magnolia Soul--Ozomatli