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Chinese Curses and Republican Economic Morality
By Kent Southard

Used to be we were told that one of the most important central moral principles that elevated the American system above its communist competition was that under communism everyone was paid the same no matter how hard an individual worked while in America an individual was rewarded according to his effort. For most Americans, this no longer seems true. Our increased labor productivity is already spoken for before the work is even done. Under this new administration, there's an increasingly nagging sense that workers are little more than economic cannon-fodder to be used up cheap and thrown away in a corporate system and war we barely see the outlines of.

The outlines are becoming more clear as time goes on, however. The European Union has announced that it has the goal of exceeding the GNP of the United States while maintaining its economic model of generous worker benefits and civil liberties. We need to understand that our own corporate and financial elites are at war to destroy that European model. The entrenched American corporate model is too dedicated to its own culture of authoritarianism to care much about civil liberties and too interested in the bottom line to care about the benefits that allow workers a healthy and balanced life. They are too dedicated to short term profits to compete against the depth of quality found in Europe and too invested in easy anti-intellectualism to change course and value the rigorous education that makes European quality possible.

America wasn't always like this, our manufacturing sector used to lead the world in quality and innovation and we had the world's largest middle class as the proof. But now the country is run for the benefit of an autocratic few, and for them to maintain their power they seek to undercut European (and Japanese) prices and unfortunately quality -- by outsourcing much of their manufacturing labor to the third-world. They seek to diminish our sense of equal citizenship by increasing our economic insecurity, by paying less and taking away health care benefits and a reliable retirement. All the better to create a fearful, dependent and malleable employee population. And not least, the government they put in place seeks to now mount a coordinated military campaign to dominate the world's oil supply and so control the future course of all the world's economies.

Kevin Phillips, continuing his penance for his role in the Nixon administration where he was credited with authoring the GOP's “Southern Strategy,” tirelessly writes on these issues in an effort to expose the Republican Party's and the corporate world's true motives and aims. He points out how the American economy, Wall Street and Main Street, have effectively been de-linked. This is illustrated by how the Federal Reserve and its chairman Alan Greenspan run the economy entirely for the benefit of the nation's financial elites, and furthermore how the perceived “health” of the economy is viewed only from that elite's perspective; any benefit of those at the bottom is purely incidental, probably inflationary and so undesirable. It’s most cynical expression was found in the explicit statement made to an employee meeting I recently attended where we where told that we would never get an actual raise no matter what the company's profits, because “all profits have to go to increase shareholder value.”

The old Chinese curse, “may you live in interesting times,” has never been more apt. People's perceptions lag behind developments because these developments have transpired with such extreme speed. But ever since Antonin Scalia proclaimed from the bench in the first Florida case that “There's no such thing in the constitution as the right to vote for president,” we've had sufficient evidence to understand that those currently in power are following rules that are fundamentally different from what most of us thought were in play in this country. We are living under a regime of lawless corporate power that is willing to wage war, economic and otherwise, on the rest of the world for self-serving political and economic reasons.