Tuesday, March 8, 2011

It Wasn't Not Capitalism!

Thank you David Cay Johnston for pointing out what anyone with a cursory interest in economics- which we all should have as we are pulled around by it- should understand; that once you pay public workers, be that in benefits or wages, the money is theirs, not still yours.

Is it that hard to understand? If you go to a Yankees game once, you can not forever claim that A-Rod is taking Madonna on dates with your money. Bill Gates isn't giving out vaccinations with your money. You paid for a service they supplied, which they negotiated a contract to work for, it is their money. Is that difficult?

To not understand this simple point is either willful ignorance or a deep misunderstanding of the economic system which you claim to be so strongly allied with.

If you skip the whole article, I will point out what shouldn't need pointing out; health benefits and vacation days are not presents from your boss, they are compensation. Workers negotiate a mixture of salary and benefits and that becomes the conditions that they work under. To pretend that it is the bosses magnanimity that grants vacation and benefits is insulting. But, what really is new there. The new, angry conservative makes their bones in the insulting. They wallow in it like a dog on a rotting corpse and then prance around talking about how good they smell.

If we are to believe that corporate CEO's wages must be kept high to insure interest in the position from qualified people, are we supposed to think that the government wants to discourage qualified teachers and public workers? Almost assuredly, they do. Or just want to roll the dice on getting them on the cheap, which is the situation I am in.

Yet again, there is no internal logic in the conservative position.


Anonymous said...

David, again:
My theory is that it is so not about money per se, as much as the strangely revisionist idea of American individualism that wants to wreck all public expenditure and all government, based the on the strangely naive idea that the individual is the second strongest force in public life after the state, and that if we can just eliminate the state by starving it to death, we will control all the capital and ourselves more fully. These people believe, against all reason, that they are either outside of history and economics, or that they are better represented by a corporation and it's CEOs than they are by a government and their peers. I think that the conservative myth of self-invention is to blame: that nothing you learn in high school matters, that taxes are merely a burden where you pay for others and that one doesn't benefit from the common good, being no commoner one's self.

wwc said...

I think you are absolutely right, which is why the arguments neither have nor need any internal logic. A good deal of current conservative ideology requires one to believe that they exist outside the forces of economics and history, that the world exists only at this moment-the moment that they are living-and sense they are exceptional they are naturally a part of this power structure that is actually dominating them. I think a lot of stereotypical, depressed teenagers are going through this break, of realizing that they are not the center of the universe and that everything was here before them and will be here after them, but there is a large group of people who never go through this. I would assert that that is the appeal of evangelical Christianity, a large part of it anyway. I am going kind of far afield here, but I think it relates. One can say, "Sure I am a capitalist, but I don't know what that entails. The rules don't apply, this is my drama."

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attempting to silence the voices in my head.