Bailout Kings Goldman Sachs is a major shareholder in Burger King? Who knew?
Brave New Films and the SEIU did, and they're not pleased with the fact that Goldman Sachs has been converting billions in TARP bailout funds into executive bonuses (read: stealing the money) while the workers at one of their big investments are getting killed with poverty level wages.
It's apparently not enough for these guys that they're living the high life off of this investment by squashing wages flat and skimming the "savings" for themselves. Now they're picking your pocket, too. And you don't even get a Whopper in return.
Sometimes, even though the connection is reasonable enough if you really think about it, these kinds of arguments strike me as a little too tenuous to really sink in with the public. But I think the recent bailouts put things in a different light, and there's a real opportunity for people to think seriously about the commercial connections that otherwise get dismissed, either as "just business," or just too complicated to contemplate.
The whole reason we're in the position of "having to" bail out financial giants who've spent the last several decades skimming the fat off of the American economy and keeping it for themselves, most recently in the form of truly obscene executive compensation schemes is because at bottom, the whole fabric of our economic system is interwoven with the way they manipulate capital. If their schemes for "wealth creation" out of debt instruments is allowed to crumble as the normal laws of economics would ordinarily dictate, the sheer size of the collapse threatens the integrity of the monetary system itself. If the instruments and "securities" now rendered worthless were really allowed to be worthless, you'd have to barter with your local Burger King for that Whopper (assuming you want one, which is maybe no better an assumption than any of those that have been at the heart of this idiocy all along), because your scrip's not worth a damn.
So since we're being forced by circumstances onto that square where we're all bound to recognize that our fates are all interconnected, from top to bottom, I think it's about time we thought about how they're also connected from bottom to top.
Jobs that provide poverty-level wages kill workers' ability to pay mortgages, rent, credit card debt, or hell, just about any other kind of bill. Jobs that provide no health benefits force workers into expensive and inefficient emergency care, often only once it's too late to keep the problems small and manageable, too. There are a million problems that arise from the drive to cram wages down as low as possible, and it's historically been all too easy to ignore them as the outgrowth of practices that are dismissed as being "just business."
But you know what else is "just business?" If you bet the farm on bullshit debt instruments and you go bust, you're fucked and that's that.
Even if you're wearing a suit when you do it.
Unless, of course, someone else wearing a suit says, "Just kidding."
But nobody ever says, "Just kidding" for Burger King employees, do they?
I think BNF and SEIU are onto something, in that regard.