Skip to main content

The Washington Post ran a very revealing online chat  yesterday with one of their business columnists, Steven Pearlstine.  He was quite open that what the "economy" [business leaders, I guess] needed now is a working class with a reduced standard of living that will compete with third world  labor.

He was using the Delphi, and the automotive industries' debacles, as his example.  The answer to all the problems is to knock back the workers' wages below "middle class" standards, and reduce their benefits, particularly health care.

To all comers who brought up the facts that Delphi managers had deliberately underfunded pensions, had stolen funds from the company, had managed it poorly, and, finally, had awarded themselves bonuses even as they demanded that workers take wage cuts, Pearstine responded:  But that doesn't matter.  The basic truth is that the workers, all workers, must work for less pay so that their companies will still be competitive with overseas labor.  (About the bonuses, all he could bring himself to say was that it was bad PR).

He said (I'm paraphrasing here) that citizens who don't complete college or earn a trade skill must not expect to live a middle class life, and that the middle class itself will shrink further, but not disappear.  

Several responders raised the question of the US's lack of national health insurance and the handicap it imposes on the economy, to which he responded by simply saying the US wasn't ready to accept that.

To me this chat was a rather open statement that the business class expects the US to reorganize itself as an oligarchy with a more classic "proletariat" than has existed previously.  I'm not sure how they expect consumers to keep propping up the business economy in this scenario - that wasn't addressed.

If the era of middle class workers is to be ended, then it gives us a chance as well.  We can demand a more European style (actually, global, not just European) health care and pension system, and we can make the case that this kind of capitalism does not work for all Americans.

This, to me, is class war.  I do think this kind of capitalism is finished.  

I'd like to see some creative "buying strikes" that would send a message to the economy.  Actually, what I'd like to see is that people deliberately (along with the many who are unable) underspend their Christmas budgets and send a message that the US citizens are what keeps the economy afloat.

Originally posted to Pellice on Thu Oct 13, 2005 at 03:25 AM PDT.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Meteor Blades, Leslie in CA, colleen, Magenta, Ottoe, ChicagoDem, Alumbrados, Right Thinking American, vicki, coral, IdiotSavant, jillian, pb, Inky, Odysseus, matt le w, matt n nyc, vivacia, Rayne, liza, slip kid no more, gogol, joejoejoe, Tulip, iowaboy, lrhoke, Raybin, tiggers thotful spot, badger, 2pt5cats, Nina Katarina, Gooserock, kellymonaghan, mem from somerville, maynard, ScientistMom in NY, emal, Alexander, RunawayRose, TGeraghty, psychprof, sphealey, Disillusioned, furryjester, SoLeft, Lipstick Liberal, cotterperson, byoungbl, spacebaby, DCDemocrat, bellatrys, ThatTallGuy, GayHillbilly, Troutfishing, tryptamine, movie buff, MarkosNYC, HootieMcBoob, Rat, figdish, Richard Cranium, Cambridgemac, d3n4l1, Lawyer to Capitalists, pseudomass, HarveyMilk, DemInCville, lawnorder, caliberal, marjo, voltayre, Erin, object16, exNYinTX, givmeliberty, Poika, jancw, nightsweat, Jerome a Paris, Christopher Day, geordie, RubDMC, humbucker, fabooj, cosmos, bara, eyeswideopen, mlafleur, concernedamerican, calipygian, pecos, Slacker Gal, RichardG, JR Monsterfodder, indybend, justme, scionkirk, mentaldebris, bonddad, uncommon crow, gaspacho, mayandjay, bluesteel, shock, Scoopster, buckhorn okie, Appalled, Aquarius40, chimpy, Prove Our Democracy with Paper Ballots, javelina, Ignacio Magaloni, oslo, garbo, luku, Fe, Rona, luddite, d503smith, thingamabob, Jesterfox, Eleanor A, Siusaidh, antirove, Alna Dem, ginatx, dksbook, CapnCanuck, SneakySnu, cathy b, BurnetO, NYC Sophia, Dallasdoc, realitybased, nj mom, bogdanmi, coldwynn, DianeL, ghostofaflea, kenjib, roseeriter, hoolia, Theolog, Crimhead, cosette, yet another liberal, churchylafemme, Ahriman, waf8868, Persimmon, NYFM, cat chew, mrsnart, Expat Briton, osf, lecsmith, Eddie Haskell, Liberaljentaps, Green Tea, Rxtr2, dcookie, One bite at a time, bwintx, Bluefish, MyPOV, dft, cinnamongirlthree, mattes, DrReason, Steven D, bluebird of happiness, TexasLefty, HK, NambyPambyPinkoCommie, rickeagle, We hold these truths, Benito, drewvsea, Gowrie Gal, rapala, madaprn, danz, chumley, Bluesee, JSiq, pattyp, rstnfld, bellevie, liberal atheist, el dorado gal, Elise, BrianK, LarisaW, Chinton, irate, Louise526, Doc Sarvis, Ari Mistral, station wagon, citizenx, ThunderHawk13, juliesie, Brooke In Seattle, Calvin79, eru, Mz Kleen, Mikado, TOTO rules, Morrigan, majcmb1, SaraBeth, tutone, singing bridge, jimreyn, dunderhead, cassidy3, Overseas, ThisIsJohn, Caleb G, el zilcho, stentor196, Cory Bantic, proudprogressiveCA, viscerality, melvin, Paper Cup, Ian H, SSMir, Nessa, harrietshubby, TheGerman, pije

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site