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19 February, 2011

Ratchet Reform

The Republican Party in 1974 seemed doomed, exposed as base fascist thugs. Yet just a sneeze in history later, the Reagan Makeover had them on the offensive yet again. Thirty years later every wave of political "reform" that washed over us populace amounts to a tightening of the corporate agenda. Tinkering with the machinery of state, fine tuning the law of the land has gone from a procee involving a variety of tools and mechanics with different bents to a simple-minded ratcheting. Reagan, his Hestonian hairline bestowing on him a mythic power, teflon tonic rendering him impervious to crisitcism, primed the pump for the one-way flow of wealth upward to the richest. Like a ratchet, the belt tightened for the body of the nation, causing the head to balloon.

This week, state workers in Wisconsin registered one of the few protests that have happened since this process started. State workers because the private sector unions were busted long ago by concessions offered by unions trying to keep jobs...before the corporations shipped production overseas anyway. Ratchet. A union-busting law presented as a means of avoiding financial catastrophe--protestors branded as selfish lazy public servants who refuse to be servile and demand to live like kings. Ratchet. The very concept of collective bargaining an affront to GOP, Inc., which aims to wipe unions out once and for all, eliminate that friction on the upward flow of wealth. Ratchet.

The ratcheteers actually love this kind of battle because not only does it allow them to pose as financial conservatives, brave cost cutters, but it allows them to scapegoat public workers. This kills a few birds with one stone: vilify the government that you want to render small enough to drown in the bathtub (reduced to contract administrators to keep the government revenue flowing into corporations), increase corporate profit margins by weakening regulatory oversight, and ratchet down the power of unions and workers in general.

Besides which, unions aware of the risk, aware that the Wisconsin law is one shot of a salvo that will hit many states, are forced to spend resources fighting this. The supreme court opened the floodgates of money into campaigns, and although unions, collectives of working class people, won't ever be able to match the funding available to corporations in the next election, they'd like to bleed union warchests a bit in the meantime.

The propaganda machine purrs on: look at the state worker living fat on a pension while you, Fox viewer, don't have it so good. Why should they get special rights? They are tax and spenders, big government fans, socialists. Never mind that government workers get paid less than their provate sector counterparts, never mind that they have withstood layoffs, frozen wages, cut wages, and decreased benefits already, or that many of them do difficult jobs with little thanks. Government workers are the new face of Ronald Reagan's welfare queen.

It is extremely important to our American plutocrats, to have such a scapegoat, and to have their tea partying minions lash out loudly against it. Otherwise, people might notice that, even worse than a retired fireman getting a decent pension and maybe some health care, there are true welfare kings, guys who lost a lot of money (much of it in large retirement funds that unions sadly let turn into Wall Street gaming funds, ratchet) and were bailed out at taxpayer expense. Were the general public to truly understand how blatantly they have all been ripped off so that the Executive Class can continue to reap multi-million dollar bonuses, it could be bad for Americo's image.

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