Happy May Day to all you murderous Communists bastards, power-grubbing socialists, soft-headed lefties, and decent, hard-working American union guys.
It’s a shame, blue collar folks, that your supposed political allies are all such shitheads.
So, how do you really feel?
One thing I must do before I die is to visit Red Square and moon Lenin’s tomb. Ah…good times.
And many fine solicitations to you, sir, from our catbird seat at the tip of the vanguard of the proletariat!
From tundra to taiga, from factory workfloor to the scything of the fields, comes the incessant cry of those whose labor provides the surplus value upon which all feed and depend: All Power to the Sov… I mean, er, America Works Best When We Say, “Union Yes!”
red squad henry
proud AFL-CIO member since 1988
(AFSCME local 1642, CWA-TSEU)
My loathing for unions began when I worked as a Teamster at Federal Paperboard in Elkhart, Indiana.
I was always encouraged to work slower. I was always encouraged to assert my power by occasionally shutting down the line. I was encouraged to loaf whenever possible, and to sneak off in the stacks to take a nap because I could. I was nearly fired for falling asleep near the end of a 80-hour week. Not because I was noted for loafing (actually, the opposite) but because it was one of the few things the foreman could actually fire a union member for. And I had to endure the constant complaints of union members who moaned about being underpaid (and in the next breath, bragging about their new custom van) and about having their toes stepped on by management because they weren’t asked to work overtime they had no intention of working in the first place.
Oh, and that paperboard plant? Bankrupted because the zero-skill jobs in plant paid over twice the minimum wage.
The loathing was magnified when I got my first job out of college and learned the guys sweeping the floors made more money than I did. Union shop, dontcha know. I would have had to rewind my education back to middle school to become less qualified than the floor-sweepers.
As far as I’ve been able to tell, the sole purpose of unions is now to make sure the lesser talents in the workforce are paid only marginally less than the best. Unions now go on strike because the contract offered by the company is unacceptable, lose months of salary, and then go back to work for a lesser contract than they could have settled for to start with.
Unions would do well to change with the times. Unfortunately, the corrupt union leadership has a cash cow they’re going to milk until it dies.
Much better to go back to the McKinley era – when the rabble knew their places! Blast that Henry Ford for insisting on creating a middle class!
It’s a shame, spoiled trust fund brat vodkapundit, that your supposed political allies are all such heartless, greedy bastards.
It’s also Law Day!
Law Day was instituted by President Eisenhower in response to the Soviet May Day and celebrates the importance of the rule of law in American society.
This year, the ABA’s Law Day theme is “Celebrate Your Freedom: Independent Courts Protect Our Liberties.”
Is this a great country, or what?
Wow. Anon’s comment may be the bravest I’ve ever seen. He (she?) takes a swipe at Stephen, calling him a trust fund brat, assumably because of his political views and his taste for good food and drink. Then Anon refuses to post his name or e-mail address. Brave.
I’m just going to give my stock answer to people who assume conservatives are all rich trust fund brats. I’m conservative, and I’m not rich. But I’d like to be someday.
I have a plan to get there—40 years of hard work, discipline and education. I’m going to read the paper in the morning instead of eating cold cereal and watching cartoons. I’m going to study at night instead of watching reality television. I’m going to scrimp and save my pennies in my brokerage account rather than socking them into a 1.5% APY savings account. What money I do save I’m going to spend on theatre and art museums and one vodka martini a week instead of bowling or pool or 24 Nat Lights in a smoky roadhouse every night. And if I do that and work really hard and get just a little bit lucky I might get to financial independence by the time I’m in my sixties.
Once I’m there, I’m sure as hell going to feel indignant that those who chose the other path want a piece of what I worked my ass off to get. That may make me a greedy, arrogant conservative. But it also makes me hard-working, educated and cultured. I shouldn’t have to apologize for that.
It’s amazing how much higher level the discourse is here versus over at Atrios’ slogpit. Keep it up guys!
Jeffrey — I like your plan.
“I’m going to scrimp and save my pennies in my brokerage account rather than socking them into a 1.5% APY savings account.” Actually, if more Americans were putting $ into a 1.5% APY savings account, they’d be much better off. Seems like a lot more people are spending every penny brought in, plus a bunch more that they are putting on 19% APY credit cards.
So I don’t disagree that in this country, we are in part self-made people, and that good judgment is a positive indicator of wealth accumulation.
However, please don’t assume that all with wealth have earned it like you plan to. There are such things as trust fund brats, when they act like their wealth is a mark of moral superiority, it is reprehensible. Some people are born on third base; they shouldn’t think they hit a triple.
Also don’t assume that your plan will necessarily leave you in the place you want to be. Life can throw a lot of curves (uninsurable property damage, parents with Alzheimers, divorce, brain damage as a result of a car wreck caused by someone drinking too many Nat Lights or vodka martinis). Some poor are victims of circumstances not of their own making.
I’m not arguing for wholesale wealth redistribution here, but it’s not fair to start the debate with the premise that wealth and merit are 100% correlated.
My point is merely that while there are certainly conservatives who are trust fund brats, there are certainly ones who aren’t. To paint with as broad a brush as Anon chose to is, well, ignorant.
Sorry to jump into somebody else’s discussion, but I couldn’t resist.
Capitalism is not designed to reward the meritorious. Instead, it rewards the utilitarian. Hence the reason why so many of the “intellectual elite” abhor capitalism.
When you think about it, rewarding the meritorious can only be attempted through communism. After all, somebody has to decide what’s “meritorious”, and that somebody ends up being the state, who goes about taking from the “rich” and giving to the “meritorious”. Individuals decide what is useful to them. Tyrranies decide who is meritorious.
As for trust fund brats…yes they certainly do exist. Yet I have never seen a cogent argument as to why anybody else is entitled to ownership of even one red cent of somebody else’s inherited wealth. You say you are not for “wholesale wealth distribution”. Just how much would you tolerate?
Jeffrey — Agreed. (Also, there are liberal trust fund brats.)
Michael — It’s not a closed discussion; you’re welcome to join.
I’m certainly not suggesting a system of wealth distribution based on centralized decisions of merit. I’m just saying people who have more wealth tend to believe they merit it, and it’s not necessarily the case.
How much redistribution? In all, less than we have now (If you can afford Cinemax and cigarettes, you don’t need assistance), but not much less (I don’t want to return to Dickensian scenarios). Of course it partly depends on what you consider redistribution. I think public schools should be funded by the government, and that requires that some people put in more than they take out.
Not much of an answer, I know, but it’s an exceedingly complicated question, and I can’t devote the time to it just now.
As this site’s self-appointed, unofficial, token soft-headed leftie, a couple of thoughts.
I certainly sympathize with Mr. Perron’s views, but working in the public sector here in an environment that is very anti-union (Texas), I have to say that I’m sure glad for the union representation I’ve had. Given the level of potential liability I work around, the legal protection they provide me is invaluable.
In the evenings, I fart around in the entertainment business, where I also have to work with other unions, Teamsters included sometimes, and I know there are unions and there are unions, just as there are many flavors of “democracies” represented at the UN. In business, you have to deal with a lot of different flavored industries, too – as Rodney Dangerfield’s charcter explained to an econ prof in “Back to School”: “Hey, pal, that’s the concrete business, and it ain’t exactly run by the Boy Scouts, ya know.”
A propos the more recent comments on redistribution – I should think unions represent an important part of that balance striking Denise is talking about. Public schools, representing the interests of children, and unions representing “just folks” allow for collective determination of economic outcomes, which are just as important as solely considering individual interests.
Oh, and if you can afford Cinemax, and appreciate it, then you know that while some unions may tolerate or encourage loafing, the closed union shop that is Hollywood makes a lotta fine Cinemax material, and hauls in a nice $4 billion dollar trade surplus for the good ol’ USA.
Q: How many Teamsters does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A: [grab front of shirt rudely, bring face within one inch] Seventeen! Godda problem widdat?
That quote went down like a shot of Mac 18. Smooth, with just the right amount of bite.
Good form, Henry. Would that we (including, especially, myself) could all disagree as gracefully.
Granted, my narrow union experience was about 20 years ago. Granted (and point taken) also that not all unions are alike. Granted most of all that I’m sufficiently disconnected from unions in my current career-path to not know what the hell I’m talking about.
If you stop by San Francisco, I’ll buy you one of those vodka martinis. It’s good to read about other Americans making their way in the world in a manner that would make the founding fathers proud.
Salute. Prost. Cheers.
I am not a trust fund brat.
However, I think it’s important to recognize that my parents wanted us kids to be trust fund brats.
That’s why they emigrated here—to make a better life, not just for themselves, but most of all for us, their kids.
So, they took incredible risks (my father swam to a fishing boat to escape Communism), and came here. Yes, for freedom. But yes, too, so that they could make money, buy a home, and leave it to us children.
And while they didn’t make enough to leave us kids trust funds, they left us enough so that we didn’t have to start at the bottom of the barrel, either. They showed us what people who came here w/ literally NOTHING, not a penny, could achieve, by dint of hard work, saving, and effort.
Which doesn’t make ME morally superior to anybody—just incredibly lucky.
And angry enough at the likes of Anon, who know nothing but to whine. For such as you, FOAD. (Sorry, Vodkapundit, but I just figgered that needed to be said.)
Why does it matter so much what some “trust fund brats” believe about their situation? How they act is hardly the point. Redistribution is hardly justified to “get back” at those who act snooty because they’re rich. And the “Dickensian” scenarios you deplore were eliminated by capitalism, not socialism. And Dickens’ time, in the eighteen hundreds, was marked by unprecedented population growth and prosperity. Before his time, you didn’t see poverty because people lived – and died early – on farms.
Denise, you may have good intentions, but I think what you propose is wrong.
The question you must answer is this: why is it right for government to take money away from someone who earned it (either through work or investment) and give it to someone who did not earn it? Isn’t that just a form of slavery — you work and I eat, you earn the money and I take it?
I am a self-made millionaire, and did it through a combination of hard work, self-discipline, and good luck. I put myself through college, working 30-40 hours every week while I earned an engineering degree. I am supporting myself, my wife, and my children to the point where none of us will ever have to take a dime of money from the government, and actually pay far more in taxes than the overwhelming majority of people. You’ll have to explain to me why it’s right to take any of that away and hand it to someone who didn’t bother to educate himself, didn’t discipline himself to save for his retirement, and didn’t take advantage of any of the opportunities that came his way.
So what if some people inherit their wealth? It was earned by their parents, for the sole purpose of supporting the family. I dare say, the overwhelming majority of wealth in this country has been created in the past 25 years, so it’s largely within the generation that created it, so not much has been inherited. But even so, it was earned by members of a family to be given to the family…there’s nothing smug or insidious or remotely evil about it.
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