Are BushCo Using the Economic Meltdown to Rob Us Blind?
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Obviously conservatives and Republicans in Congress are throwing tantrums about how any additional provisions to the $700 billion blank check are partisan maneuvers to take advantage of a crisis. They say this as if Hank Paulson isn't a conservative Republican asking for $700 billion for his conservative friends on Wall Street. This is an ideological war and they are assaulting America. I'd call it treason but it's legal.
On the flip side, this crisis is our chance to thrash the conservative movement and it's one Democrats should jump on. I've had anti-corruption fighter David Donnolly note that this is a good moment to get public financing through, since it's obvious that our political system is totally corrupt and needs systemic reform. This is a good moment to reform the Bankruptcy code. And it's also a good moment to really shift the rules and help labor (where the hell is labor, by the way); here's a note from Joshua Zeitz, candidate for Congress in NJ-04.
No one is even broaching the topic of unions. Ironicaly, given my trouble with labor, this is the point I'm going to hammer home this week. Thanks to the Bush visit, I'll have a microphone.
During WWII, the U.S. government offered industry a deal: cost-plus war production contracts and expansion capital in return for closed shops. Ford, GM, &c. refused to switch to war production until they were offered these cost-plus contracts, and ultimately, Congress and the Roosevelt administration were able to use both the carrot (massive investment of pulic funds in the construction of privately held plants) and stick (the threat of nationalization) to force the unionization of heretofore non-union shops.
The $700 billion bailout plan is comparable insomuch as it will create a massive infusion of public funds into private firms. Unions are dying, and this is a chance to extend them a life saver. There should be a mandate that any firm accepting the federal funds/buyout of securities unionize its support and clerical staff, sign agreements to use only unionized workers when building new facilities, use unionized (domestic) call centers , &c. This is a once-in-a-generation chance to use government leverage to open the door for unions. Democrats need to hammer that point home. It's how we began raising the prevailing wage and benefits in service industries. This is important.
Matt Stoller is a political activist/blogger in DC, and was an editor at MyDD from November 2005 until June 2007. He also consults for the Sunlight Foundation , FreePress.net, and Working Assets as well as proactively networking other progressive bloggers/internet activists and progressive professionals.