Attention Glenn Beck: Capitalism, not unions, is the problem

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DETROIT - People in Detroit do not usually pay attention to the senseless claptrap coming from Glenn Beck. Around the country more should follow that wise policy. However our local custom changed this past Monday.

That's when Beck on his Fox News show singled out this proud city, pronouncing that Hiroshima was rebuilt thanks to a free-market spirit but Detroit lies in ruins because it has been corrupted by liberals and unions. Beck claims those unions made Detroit uncompetitive.

You might say steam is coming out of folks' ears here over this. People are outraged in this union town, built by the toil of working people, black, brown and white. Not missed by anyone in this majority African American city is the racist inference that Detroit's residents are the root of the problem.

Now, it's true, Detroit has come a long way down from its heyday, when it was a bustling city with crowded streets, stores filled with goods and people who stood in line to buy them.

The same could be said for many other cities throughout this country. And not just the cities. One can get off most any interstate, travel the rural roads and see town after town (with mostly white populations) with empty main streets and boarded up stores.

What went wrong?

It certainly wasn't unions. They have helped keep the American dream alive longer than it would have on its own. When there were ample union jobs and decent wages, working families had the ability to jam the stores, eat in the restaurants, and go to the movies. Those jobs and the incomes they provided were the life support for many small businesses, and the big ones too. Detroiters were among the best customers for Big Three cars.

The short version of what went wrong is that capitalism and in the case of Detroit, racism, combined to set back this great city and cities and towns across the country. Capitalism's drive to maximize profits caused it to abandon this city, and globalization made the job easier. Ford found it could make automobiles in Mexico, Brazil, and many other places by paying less than the minimum wage. Same for General Motors, Chrysler and a host of other manufacturers.

Contrary to Beck, this didn't just happen in Detroit or the United States. The world over, corporations have basically abandoned their home countries and workers in search of higher profits and lower wages elsewhere.

That drive for profit also caused capital to flow from productive uses to Wall Street where higher profits could be made gambling in unregulated financial markets.

In Detroit, African Americans and other people of color experienced a double whammy: racism

From the 1930s through the 1960s the policy of redlining severely limited the housing choices for people of color. They couldn't move into the suburbs because their color alone automatically disqualified them from getting loans. Nor could they receive the loans necessary to fix up their current residences. Neighborhoods were destined to decline.

By the time the Fair Housing Law was passed in 1968, segregation and suburban sprawl were entrenched.

Today many in this city are working to help it "rise up" but help is needed. And interestingly, Hiroshima provides a good example. Why not a massive government intervention in Detroit - just like the one Hiroshima had so it could rebuild? A sustained federal government commitment to rebuild Detroit, provide jobs, and restructure the region's economy along green lines is exactly what this city deserves and has earned, through the labor of its residents that produced so much wealth over the decades.

Ending this city's jobs deficit will also help end its budget deficit as the unemployed begin earning and paying more in taxes.

Speaking of which, why doesn't Beck place demands on Wall Street and the super-rich? They are on the dole, being supported with our money. Isn't it time for us to stop being so "liberal" with our cash?

That day is coming closer. As the demonstrations in Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana and Michigan have shown, people are indeed growing tired of far-right extremism, scapegoating of unions and the racism, hatred and division coming from people like Beck.

Organizing for 2012 is already getting started. Let's add him and his right wing Republican friends to the unemployment rolls.

Photo: Andrew Ressa // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

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  • Love this silly, childish argument. Even those of you with the lowest IQ can't help but notice that every union state is up with the highest unemployment numbers.

    To claim that all the union states went under for reasons unrelated to being union and having artificially high pay and benefits is like stating that the artificially inflated prices of housing had nothing to do with the housing market collapse.

    I don't mind when simple minded people get together and deny reality. Otherwise the world would be boring. We need people like you, Holocaust deniers, truthers, birthers, pro-communist nuts, etc to make the things more interesting.

    Also, you make us rational, intelligentsia feel even more superior and intelligent.
    ;)

    Posted by LOL, 02/20/2012 8:30pm (3 years ago)

  • I suppose those White Capitalist went to dark skinned countries so they could put money in the dark skinned peoples pocket and their economy. Woops racism at its best. Now our people of all colors are hurting because our Federal Government supports the out sourcing to foreign countries of our industrial base.
    Those of the Wall Street crowd are certainly making a buck with the prices of our goods being the same inflated prices as they were when produced in America. Now the PROFIT Margins are really great.
    Thank your politicians for encouraging our Manufacturers to take their companies to non-union countries with no OSHA and federal regulations to bother them.
    It is time to put out American worker back to work and stop being a world empire.

    Posted by SwampFox2U, 03/07/2011 5:11pm (4 years ago)

  • Right on, John

    Posted by charles, 03/07/2011 8:09am (4 years ago)

  • Wake-up! You guys have your heads in the ground. Detroit is almost a ghost town due to the unions and it will stay that way as long as the unions control Detroit, Michigan and the North. In today’s business world, why would any business move to Detroit and face the raft of the unions?

    Corporations, companies and/or the private sector discovered years ago they would not be able to afford not only the Pension Plan but also all of the required benefit plans of the unions in the future. The Federal, State and Local Governments got the same message but due to the vote and political power decided not to listen. This is why our Federal, State and Local Governments are broke and are faced with outrages take home pay for the socialistic undeserving!

    Back in the 80’s, the private sector was told by every actuary who calculated annuity rates or Pension Plans that the end was near due to not being able to afford the payout anymore. Due to individuals living longer and unions demanding higher salaries, health insurance, Pension Plans and now 401K Plans, the private sector knew they could not stay in business at these rates of expenses and be competitive nationally and internationally. Therefore, due to these demands, the non-union private sector replaced their Pension Plans with a 401K Plans and started having their employees pay part of their own health care plan. The companies still under the hammer of the unions either closed their business, started going overseas for non-union labor or are putting up with the unions and planning on moving overseas or a state without unions.

    The private sector made the changes but the Federal, State and Local Governments did not. Politicians and the unions engaged in the old “scratch my back, and I’ll scratch yours,” which meant: If you back us next election, you’ll get your raise. This is a true bribe, not a union negotiating with a government official. Three of the top 10 spenders in the most recent elections were unions. Yes, unions! It really sounds like those union dues are there to pay-off brides instead of helping its members.

    We now know what has caused our country and our government’s faith, so it is now time to wake-up and make the necessary changes to our over spending and $14 trillion in debt.


    Posted by Russell, 03/06/2011 1:32pm (4 years ago)

  • Glenn Beck is accountable under the law for dishonesty to the U.S. public and global public.

    Glenn Beck is proof that Capitalism is unhealthy.

    Posted by Akif Eisa, 03/06/2011 11:28am (4 years ago)

  • Great article. Your right on when you point out that racism and capitalism as the cause of the economic distress of Detroit and the working class. We need more articles in the PW that explains the cause of this crisis as the crisis of capitalism.

    Posted by Greg, 03/06/2011 10:41am (4 years ago)

  • Appreciate your comments Larry. Yes, we could learn a thing or two from the workings in the natural world. Good to hear from someone way up North!

    Posted by John R, 03/05/2011 2:31pm (4 years ago)

  • Hi! Yep, well said, John. Capitalism, or to say it even purer, the rat-racing over ownership and control (of money, power, and stuff)... has left many-a town gasping for survival. Its caused by a "get a leg up" attitude, which is a pyramid-climbing thing, and the Columbian Free Mason pyramid scheme symbol is right there on the back of the USA dollar. Nobody gives it much thought. The USA gov is in a district of Columbia and not part of the USA proper. Nobody gives it much thought. Capitalism is seen to be packed to the gills with servitude, forced joining, Chicago mob-like pay-up-or-starve/die, and many other felony extortions and forced religion (into a competer's church). Nobody gives it much thought... except we anti-capitalism folk.

    You did something very refreshing and wise here, John. You blamed a system instead of the drunken role-playing steering committee(s) OF the system. But take it a step further, J. Capitalism is caused by what? Yep, the using of economies (ownership, money, price tags, affording, etc). Not a single other living thing on the entire planet... uses economies/ownershipism. Not a single other living thing makes other living things work FOR them instead of WITH them (servitude). No deer carries a wallet, no raccoon issues invoices, no butterfly goes shopping in stores or does the buyer vs seller US/THEM wars across the border called a store counter.

    I live in Bessemer MI, which was once a mining town. The capitalism harvesting machine (the mower) came through here and essentially built the town to facilitate the mining (and logging) craze. When it became inini (infeasible'n'implausible'n'impractical) to do maximized-profit mowing here, the industry (mower) left for greener grasses. A vacuum happened in the wake of the exodus, and the town is now, essentially, a pile of Earth-mower exhaust carbon and harvesting debris... which is a much more natural state of affairs. At least no more intense mowing is happening here, and the nature has come back... and the air smells cleaner. But still, the jobs left with it, and more importantly, so did the survival coupons (money). Having jobs happen here ever again... is pretty much a worthless endeavor, but we, and Detroit... still need to get some of those AmWay (American Way) survival coupons or they/we lose our houses and can't eat. They're/we're SO broke that they/we can't move, either. We are stuck living in the exhaust/sewage pile of the mower that left 30 years ago.

    We don't need jobs, we need survival coupons. And if we can't get any free-marketeers coupons, we'll soon make our own(ed) legal tender survival coupons. There's no reason why we should be ONLY using AM(erican) WAY coupons (greenbacks), and THAT company (the free marketeers/FM's) should not have been allowed to get the "exclusive" on being the only survival coupons allowed in survival supply depots (stores). Yet we force our 18 year olds to JOIN OR DIE (get a job/slot aboard the free marketeers pyramid scheme... OR STARVE). Nice. Yay capitalism, eh? Yay pyramid schemes!

    The herd will continue to bash each other instead of bashing a system invented long ago by now-dead-of-old-age free masons. Yeah, capitalism made America great... FOR AWHILE... and in ONLY ONE WAY... monetarily (pyramid scheme popularity). In the myriad of OTHER-THAN-MONEY criteria of measuring greatness... morals and logic for two... the USA has done a blatant face plant and gravel chowing. We now have a runaway enjoyments and empowerments addiction... eating, shopping, motorsports, owning, being somebody, etc... that is soon to come to a screeching halt. Even though we non-racers know better than to do rat-racing/pyramid-climbing, most of we meek/non-pyramiders... never had a chance. Almost everything was "own"ed when we arrived. Affording was the blockade of the times, and "thoust shalst not walk around on the planet and explore". Its fenced and posted no trespassing. "Thoust shalst do your learning from the indoctrination system... our schools/churches". Yikes! People will believe (-in) anything, huh?

    I could go on forever about the disgusting pyramid scheme called capitalism, or how very wrong and monetarily discriminatiing economies and ownership really is, but what good would it do? The capitalism users are far from ready to "own"-up to the mistake they made when they bought-into the free markleteers pyramid scheme. Just like the childhood get-a-leg-up pyramids we ALWAYS FAILED-AT as children in the playgrounds... it will take a collapse and weight-of-the-world's-knees-in-back -crushed bottom kids... to learn the lesson. Capitalists play smashmouth football (an owning/land-grabbing game), and nobody will be heard talking smack about the home team. Its the US-THEM wars, and US are always the good guys, and THEM are the terrorists/evil... just like the buyer-seller wars. Capitalism lovers won't hear me, but we'll tell them again anyway... competition is NOT healthy, and never was. Only cooperation is healthy, and cooperating (communes such as the military supply system and public library system) means...

    ...taking down the fences, taking down the WORLD borders, taking down the store counters, removing the locks and entitles of ownership, removing the no-trespassing signs, outlawing monetary discrimination and affording, and stopping the general addiction to owning/controlling. Capitalism would die without a whimper... if people would stop joining it and hugging it. But that's not going to happen when we force our 18 year olds to join it or starve. So, we continue with the great de-BSing project, eh John? *nod*

    Thanks for your piece, John. Good thinks and words! Its going to be a long hard battle... against a system's credentials.

    Larry "Wingnut" Wendlandt
    MaStars - Mothers Against Stuff That Ain't Right
    (anti-capitalism-ists)
    Bessemer MI USA

    PS: Admin, would you PLEASE get some CSS on this comment area and captcha thing. We who use black backdrops on Windows... are having to type black text on black background here and in the captcha box. PLEASE???

    Posted by Wingnut, 03/05/2011 8:37am (4 years ago)

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