Friday, July 02, 2010

Corporations and Employment

Yesterday, I read a diary posted by lanae of Dailykos regarding the loss of unemployment benefits brought about by Congressional Republicans who are blocking their extension. The diary is unique in that it highlights the devastation the GOP’s action is having on Republican voters as well as Democrats. The recession, or jobless recovery, (whatever) is beginning to affect traditional Republican voters also, but to hear them whine like they have accused Democrats of doing, though comical, is no less heart-breaking.

The diarist states that 200,000 people per week will lose benefits if this legislation doesn’t pass, one million per month until the elections in November. Perhaps this might be the impetus needed to bring about the realization by the Republican electorate that their elected leaders’ only concern is, and always has been, for the corporations and the extravagant wealth at their disposal. Let me quickly add that the Democrats in government are nearly as bad and attempting to surpass their GOP colleagues. The problem in Congress is not one that recognizes any Party distinction, but is an all encompassing disease.

Consider that while a huge number of Americans are out of work and running out of benefits that keep them from being homeless and going hungry, major corporations are posting the largest profits in their history. Worse, these businesses have publically acknowledged the advantage of the current situation from the business perspective, specifically the availability of cheap labor due to so many people out of work.

Corporations exist on another level from the rest of us and their motivation is pure gluttony, the desire for all they do not presently have. Individual, civil and human rights mean nothing to them; in fact they are impediments to corporate goals. Those at the top of the corporate ladder, or nearing it, think of themselves as royalty and above the work-a-day world of the rabble they consider less than human. Remember when there was a Personnel Department instead of “human resources”? Is there any better indication of how corporations consider those they employ than to devote a department to the control of human resources as they would for, natural resources, or mined resources, or agricultural resources.

Without legally enforced regulations, corporations would still be employing child labor, unrestricted work hours, horrific working conditions, no minimum wage, harmful and dangerous work environments, even slavery. All of these practices and more were used by corporations until they were forced to stop. Unions led the fight against unsafe working conditions and excessive demands by employers which jeopardized the health, safety and lives of workers.

We as citizens, tax payers, consumers, even employees, have complained of the inequity of corporations avoiding payment of US taxes by maintaining an off-shore PO box, but the laws allowing this were passed by Congress, the people we elected to represent us. And if many major businesses do not contribute to the tax base then the citizenry has to make up the difference in revenue for the government to keep running. Tax money is used to build new, and repair old roads, but businesses use the roads freely and with greater wear and tear due to the size of their vehicle fleet and non-stop (24/7) operation. Government oversees domestic and international traffic at airports, railroads and ship harbors, but if corporations aren’t paying taxes we are paying for the commerce traffic never used by individuals. Yet, if corporations find themselves in financial jeopardy for any reason they run to the government for a bail-out at the tax-payers’ expense. Corporations have been able to socialize the cost of doing business while privatizing the profits.