Angry at work? Voters have work to do

I saw this New York Times article after it was discussed in an anonymous comment in the excellent blog watching Gannett, and it’s actually an excerpt of a book entitled The Big Squeeze by Steven Greenhouse. After reading the excerpt that accompanied the Times’ review, the Gannett Blog commenter is correct — how can you not get angry at a scenario like this?

But what’s most sad is that Hillary is using her own ambition to play Culture War with Obama during the Primary end-game. It’s a divide-and-conquer approach that has worked for most Republicans since the Reagan Revolution.

Instead of voting their economic interest, a should-be opposing candidate merely needs to say certain culture-divisive buzz words and the economy (and their status in it) is suddenly forgotten in the minds of many swing voters. Phrases like: minorities, elitism, rap music, abortion, religion-bashers, patriotism, anti-America. Get abused by your boss at work? So what, because everything from Family Values to invoking RFK’s assassination suddenly distracts you from remembering that while you’re working, you’re still stuck at the poverty line.

Far be it for a cynic like me to sound like a True Believer, but I think Obama will overcome Hillary playing the Race Card in Appalachia and the coming culture battle in the fall. He has to, if we’re going to salvage any self-worth that still exists in America.

Meanwhile, I don’t know where to stop linking to this Times excerpt. Here’s another one, about how almost one in four American households spend at least 40 percent of their monthly income paying down its debts.

Or you can just read about how middle class husband-and-wife teams are working three months more per year than they did 25 years ago.

While we’re at it, remember this next March when all the predictable press releases and ensuing articles come out bemoaning the decline of worker productivity during March Madness: the excerpt states that with worker productivity up 60 percent since 1979, hourly earnings have risen only one percent for 80 percent of American workers.

What’s worse, the courts seem to be backing and encouraging this kind of corporate greed. Read the beginning of the book review again and see what I mean.

Based on the review alone, I’m ready to buy Patagonia (if I could afford it) and shop at Costco (if there was one near me).

But it’s not going to be an easy sell, despite the review’s closing on this sentence: “Even so, it’s little wonder that surveys find so many American workers yearning for an election that could produce genuine change.” Because once the culture attacks come out, the economy is usually Swiftered under the table. Let’s hope it doesn’t work this time.

Meanwhile, to just sum it up, this quote, from the excerpt:

For millions of low-income workers, the promise of America has been broken: the promise that if you work hard, you will be rewarded with a decent living, the promise that if you do an honest day’s work, you will earn enough to feed, clothe, and shelter your family.

Somewhere, David Simon is nodding in agreement.


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