Monday, January 24, 2011

Shut in No More - Why I Created

As President Obama prepares for his State of the Union address I don't think anyone would be too surprised to find that the focus of his speech will be centered on the need to get Americans back to work. I suspect the unofficial title reads something like, "Jobs. Jobs. Jobs". Though, if James Carville had his way there would probably be a massive banner hanging in Congress that simply reads: "It's the Unemployment, stupid".

Get people back to work and the rest will follow. It sounds so simple, yet much of the anger in this country and around the globe centers on the very real shortage of gainful employment. The inability for people to feed their families, provide shelter, health-care and a decent education for their loved-ones.

What happened to our ability to successfully employ our citizenry? Was it the closing of factories and reopening them in third world countries for cheaper labor and even cheaper materials? The loss of manufacturing industries? Importing more than we export? Market bubbles produced by fraudulent corporate shenanigans designed to hide our lack of economic stability? Or, is it a lack of innovation and initiative in moving ourselves into the next era of energy collection, storage and utilization for fear of losing our strong-hold in a carbon driven global market?

I think most people would agree the answer to all, or most, of those questions would have to be "yes". The underlying factor of our woes ("our", meaning the teaming masses) is "Profit Over People"...crunching numbers and crushing people in the process.

Oil, because it is finite, dwindling and stone-age, means destabilization and war. Solar, wind and thermal, because they are all renewable, in need of creative solutions and forward thinking, means jobs and innovation which provides a path to Peace.

But jobs will not lead to Peace unless there is a foundation of justice for the labor force. An agreement to ensure that all workers have the ability to support their families and build infrastructure in their communities. The right to a Universal Living Wage.

The biggest argument for giving in to corporate pressure is the oft-heard excuse that we have to make our state and nation business-friendly or corporations will simply take their business elsewhere. But what if they couldn't?

What if corporations were bound by good neighbor laws? The basic understanding that you can't rape a community for profit then simply move on to the next town. What if we take away that "next town"?

That is the idea...the hope...the dream behind - that we are all in this together and it's about time we act on that truism.

At least, that's the way it seems to me,


  1. Hey Annie,
    I am trying to look at the work force problem from the other side...the business owner side. When these entrepreneuring individuals have a business idea and a business loan to 'make it happen', go out at risk to hire a work force to do various needed jobs to grow their idea. Ex..What I see evolving are workers initially happy to sign on to do the entry level jobs at minimal pay. They continue to work at this still company needed entry level job that has not become any more complex; but the workers soon demand more money for doing the same job. Most cases, the management will relent and give them a raise. Management then faces higher wage cost cutting into the profit margin. Higher costs generally leads to likely price increases and a less competitive market position. The decisions to outsource some jobs appear to be management's last ditch efforts to keep the over all 'cost' of the product at a competitive level. It is very difficult for many businesses to annually add dollars to the cost of labor without cost cuts in other aspects of production process. I am afraid our workforce has fallen into an "expectant" or "attendance prize" position when it comes to wages. A few are inclined to go the extra mile to make themselves more valuable to the company; but most are content to remain in the same job and demand more dollars without more value to the production process. With Unions bent upon 'championing' the little guy in the menial job and extorting the company for more benefits, more pay and less work, we have set the course for doom from as long ago as the 50's. I witnessed the Pittsburg steel workers go on strike every three years for higher wages, eventually driving the cost of steel so high, their main customer, the auto industry, could no longer build a competitive car and were forced to look elsewhere for the same product for much less overseas. We are currently experiencing this process made necessary throughout our existing businesses in todays economy. I don't feel the worker base cares about, or has big picture vision that their demands for more pay/benefits eventually is leading to pricing their company out of business. The business owners who take the all the risk to start a company should be entitled to any rewards that come from it's success. I don't know how well I explained it, but I feel our own individual greed and the well intended but unnecessary worker unions have helped fuel the inflation we are living with today. Sorry for the rambling, I would be happy to discuss any part of this with you if it does not make sense. I also would like to explain my "baseball theory" to you if you care to hear it. Pop

  2. My intent is to advocate a minimum wage for people who are taken advantage of by forces greater than themselves.

    Unions came into being to protect workers who were being worked to death by large industrial companies without adequate pay. Workers heads were being bashed-in with ax handles by Pinkerton Agents that had been hired by these companies to keep their employees, whose families were starving, from striking.

    Unions don't generally ask for more money unless profits have increased. They feel they should share in the profits that came about as a result of their labor commensurate with the cost of living. Obviously, I would not approve of a work force that demanded more than that.

    But, remember, most complaints made by CEOs, investors and stock-holders are directly a result of their desire to increase profits. Their belief that people who invest should just be able to sit back and get richer while employees do all the work is the real greed.

    It's good and well to invest in a company and do everything possible to make it work but to have the expectation that it is going to be a cash-cow from which to extract profits without regard to its work force it to lose sight of the reality that employer and employee are mutually dependent.

    I'm looking forward to hearing your "baseball theory" :)