In addition, the bigger question there is why employers feel entitled to employ people, often at low wages, without providing healthcare for them. Is the idea that when they get sick or die, they'll be replaced like lab rats? That's a pretty diseased view of how capitalism should work.

The "blame Obamacare" meme has one origin, and it's not the economic impact of one new, modestly sized policy. Instead, there's an underlying streak of smugness that overtakes corporate executives after enough big bonus checks and trips on the private jet: they start to believe that success is in their control, while failure is due to evil outside forces. When companies are earning a lot of money, it's because they're smarter and better. If they're facing rough times, it's because someone – usually the government – is thwarting the purity of capitalism.

It's all bunk, of course. Nearly all the roadlocks put up by government – taxes, gridlock, policy failures – are easily hurdled by today's megacorporations. Government also provides enormous practical subsidies – in agriculture or for minimum wage workers – that somehow corporations never seem to complain about.

Boeing is the aerospace and defense industry’s largest company, with its highest profits. In 2012 just the increase in Boeing revenues alone, $13 billion, would be equivalent to the 15th largest company in the industry. With a $319 billion backlog of orders  - about 3,700 planes – the company is set for years and is outpacing its only competition, Airbus. Last year, Boeing made $6.3 billion in profits and rewarded its CEO $27.5 million in compensation, a 20% hike from the previous year.

Historically, Boeing’s Seattle workforce has shared in that wealth. With a 100-year history in the Puget Sound region, Boeing is still the area’s largest employer, its 70,000 employees dwarfing the 40,000 who work for Microsoft. Boeing workers are anchors of Seattle communities, both economically and civically.  And with good schools and colleges, transportation, and stable communities, the Seattle area has provided key public structures that have enabled Boeing to prosper.

But none of that matters – the high profits, the educated workers, the civic history – to a modern corporation that is driven only to maximize profits for its shareholders and pay for its top executives. Boeing moved its headquarters to Chicago in 2001 and decided to build its new 787 Dreamliner in South Carolina, with the first planes rolling out in 2012, assembled by 6,000 workers who earn $15 per hour, almost 50% less than what Washington assembly line workers earn.

The United States is a very unequal country. But how much does it differ from other industrialized countries?

Where the United States does stand out is in the level of inequality after taxes and transfers. Judged by this metric, the United States is the most unequal of all the twenty-two countries. As Gornick said at the conference, what this means is that, contrary to popular perception, our system of taxes and transfers does less to ameliorate inequality than the systems other countries have. Take Ireland, for example, where government interventions reduce the level of inequality

15 dollars an hour to build the most modern and most expensive jets in history? WTF! That south carolina plant needs to unionize now! they are selling their labor for nothing, that isn't even double the minimum wage in Washington state.

My lord read all of the articles here- including the one on income inequality.


Originally posted to csainvestor on Tue Nov 19, 2013 at 09:19 PM PST.

Also republished by In Support of Labor and Unions.


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