Whoredom is optional
Are we not the whores of big business, selling our product for their
When George Bush spoke at a maritime training center in Piney Point, MD on
Labor Day, 2006, ostensibly he was a respected leader paying tribute to the
hard-working men and women forming the backbone of the nation’s economy.
In reality, Bush is a pimp for the moneyed interests and corporations who wield
most of the wealth and power in the United States. Bush, his administration
and Congress represent the interests of this tiny slice of the United States
population with unwavering dedication. Money, profits, and property are the
paramount elements in their perverse system of values. And by their reckoning,
people are commodities. Those amongst the population who are fit to work are
whores who exist to service their needs and satisfy their desires. And the aristocracy’s
goal is to entice or extort their whores to perform as cheaply as possible.
Disabled, infirm, elderly, and unemployable individuals are “useless eaters”
who have no intrinsic value because they cannot produce profits. Ergo federal
programs supporting their meaningless existences are rapidly shrinking.
Consider this excerpt from Bush’s laudatory speech (even a whore needs
to have their ass kissed once in a while):
Today, on Labor Day, we honor those who work, and we honor those who
work because, in so doing, we recognize that one of the reasons why we're the
economic leader in the world is because of our work force. And the fundamental
question facing the country is, how do we continue to be the economic leader
in the world? What do we do to make sure that, when people look around the world
next year, and 10 years from now, they say, the United States is still the most
powerful economy in the world? I think that's an important goal to have, because
when we're the most powerful economy in the world, it means our people benefit.
It means there's job opportunities. That's what we want. We want people working.
We want people to realize their dreams.
Bush wants to keep the “people working” so he
and “his base” can continue to “realize their dreams”.
Wage slaves in the United States who still believe they can achieve the American
Dream are chasing a one in a million shot. Not unlike a gambling casino, the
odds they face are tremendous and the house almost always wins. Almost no one
successfully scales the craggy peaks separating the poor fro the rich in the
United States. Yet like those who run the gaming industry, the aristocrats atop
the economic order need that occasional “big winner” to “prove”
that the system is still a meritocracy.
“One of the reasons why we’re the economic leader in the
world is because of our work force.”
In an exceedingly rare moment, truth actually slipped out when George Bush
opened his mouth. As he stated, our work force in the United States is indeed
one of the principal reasons that this nation is the economic leader in the
world. Bush and his people know that if the work force acted in unison and ceased
performing for its paymasters, the merciless machinery of corporatism and predatory
capitalism would quickly grind to a halt. And the parasitic three to four million
who comprise the “uber-class” would realize their worst fear. Stripped
of their tools of domination, they would experience the quiet desperation members
of the working class perpetually endure as they scramble to satisfy their families’
If the man had an ounce of integrity, instead of delivering his disingenuous
monologue trumpeting opportunities that barely exist and dreams principally
reserved for “his base”, George Bush would have been begging forgiveness
for his numerous serious transgressions against We the People and laying out
a plan for wholesale changes in domestic economic policies. Our socioeconomic
and political systems are almost hopelessly awash in corruption. If the United
States has a prayer of avoiding a cataclysmic upheaval, the powers that be need
to make significant changes in their exploitative and rapacious laws, policies,
and behaviors. In other words, major corporations, wealthy elitists, and their
proxies in DC need to start giving the Proletariat healthy doses of Aretha’s
R-E-S-P-E-C-T and economic justice.
What are some of the specific factors driving the need for significant changes
in the prevailing socioeconomic paradigm in the United States?
Let’s dissect and analyze:
While New Zealand enacted the first minimum wage law in 1894, it took the “land
of opportunity” until 1938 to permanently establish a minimum wage. In
1968, the purchasing power of the United States minimum wage was $9.12 per hour.
Since 1997 the real amount of the minimum wage has remained frozen at $5.15
per hour. An employee working full time at minimum wage earns less than $11,000.00
per year. That is $8,000 below the federal government defined poverty
level. France, Australia, and New Zealand each require employers to
pay their employees at least $10 per hour. Obviously, they lack the heartlessness
to be “the economic leader in the world.”
While the United States’ predacious form of capitalism inflicts horrific
damage on people of other nations, many people in the United States are not
exactly “sitting pretty”. Thirty million people working full time
live below the poverty level. That is almost 10% of the US population. Both
the US Census Bureau and the Department of Health and Human Services have agreed
that a family of four living on less than $18,000.00 per year is impoverished.
[Note concerning the federally-determined poverty level: “In
1964 the government's poverty level was arbitrarily set at three times the estimated
cost of modest food purchase requirements for a family. The official rate is
now below the amount required for basic necessities, and far below what is needed
to function adequately in society.” World
In a shameful testament to the avarice and cruelty of the United States’
socioeconomic system, impoverished families of four “raking in”
less than $18,000 a year (and even “low income” families earning
up to $36,000.00) suffer needlessly in the wealthiest nation in the history
of humankind. According to studies by America’s Second Harvest, 36% of
families seeking food from their relief pantries included at least one working
adult. 32% of those seeking help from Second Harvest faced the cruel choice
between buying food and obtaining medical care. Second Harvest also found that
in 2002, 25% of low income families with a member working full time experienced
food and shelter insecurity. The United States Conference of Mayors did a study
which determined that 40% of people requesting emergency hunger relief were
From 2004 to 2005, the number of US Americans without health insurance climbed
from 45.3 to 46.6 million. One of every six US Americans faces the most expensive
health care system in the world (both per capita and as a percentage of GDP)
without the safety net of insurance. A shamefully low 60% of US workers receive
coverage from their employers. Lamentably, over 11% of children in the United
States have no health insurance.
To add some perspective, the 46.6 million uninsured are or represent:
Over 12 times the number of millionaires (3.8 million) in the United
Almost equal to all Americans age 65 and older (35.9 million)
12 million more than the population of Canada (32.2 million)
Nearly 7,500 uninsured Americans for each hospital in America
Over 84,000 uninsured Americans for each Member of Congress
(Thanks to the Center for American Progress for the above information)
Increasingly empty wallets and hunger pangs are painful reminders that corporate
America has shredded the social contract with the working class in the United
States. Organized labor struggled for over a century to pry job security, fair
wages, and benefits from the greedily clenched fists of the bourgeoisie. Ronald
Reagan initiated an assault on unions that has virtually erased over a hundred
years of progress in less than a third of that time. Employing tactics which
are extremely averse to the working class, pathologically acquisitive multi-national
corporations have taken their quest for global domination to new heights with
disastrous results for human beings around the world.
Thanks to the zealous efforts of moneyed interests, a growing number of people
in the United States are exchanging their blood, sweat and tears for slave wages.
Forget the American Dream of picturesque homes in quiet suburbia, the annual
rite of experiencing the “new car smell”, 1.5 healthy children,
college educations for everyone willing to work hard, and a “happily ever
after” existence. Over ten million US Americans are engaged in a struggle
for their very survival. Their American Nightmares include periods of homelessness,
food pantries, soup kitchens, the isolation of urban ghettos, and choosing medicine
for baby over dinner. And these are the working poor of the
United States of America.
So the next time Bush crows about an unemployment rate of 4.7%, remember that
an additional 10% of the US population is working and wanting
for basic human needs.
And when Bush boasts of the “robust economy”,
why doesn’t someone scream at him that the fruits of this “robustness”
are being devoured by a relative few? The 30 million working poor, 16 million
unemployed, and 46 million uninsured obviously aren’t accessing the cornucopia.
So what of the rest of the working class?
According to an Economic Policy Institute study:
Wages stopped rising and actually began losing ground starting in 2001,
despite continued growth in productivity and corporate profits, according to
an analysis of government data in "The State of Working America: 2006/2007"
From 2000 to 2005, US American productivity increased 18.6%.
Meanwhile, average family income diminished by 6.5%. Corporate
profit share is at its highest level in the United States since the 1960’s.
And what of the employees producing these profits for their corporate masters?
Salaries and wages now represent the lowest percentage of GDP since the government
began tracking such statistics in the 1940’s.
And for a real eye-opening statistic, consider that in 2005 the average CEO
received compensation that equaled 821 times that of a minimum wage earner and
262 times that of an average employee. At that income level, the CEO accrued
enough pay by noon of their first day to eclipse the minimum wage earner’s
annual salary. By the end of that day, the CEO racked up enough pay to surpass
the yearly salary of their average employee.
Unions, the driving force behind the movement for workers’ rights, continue
to experience plummeting membership. From its soaring heights in 1960 (when
33% of the work force was unionized) to its pathetic low (in 2005 about 10%
of the working class belonged to unions), organized labor faces the real possibility
of forced extinction in the United States. Feeble enforcement of labor protection
laws by the federal government coupled with abusive and illegal anti-union tactics
by corporate behemoths like Wal-Mart have virtually crushed the organizational
power of the US American work force.
It is not looking too robust for the rest of the working class
Yet We the People are not powerless. Consider some ideas for individuals or
groups to pursue, implement or demand:
1. How about increasing the minimum wage to a level that would
at least put a full time worker receiving minimum wage above poverty level and
tying automatic increases to the consumer price index?
2. On 10/5/06, The
World Can’t Wait campaign is calling on workers, consumers, and students
to engage in a mass strike and boycott. Participate and cripple the corporate
3. Join and form unions when possible.
4. Engage in massive long-term boycotts to support striking
unions and to oppose corporations that are hostile to workers’ rights.
5. Push the development of an effective and efficient national
health care plan back to the forefront of the domestic agenda. The United States
has the most expensive healthcare system in the world but ranks 37th in terms
of quality. “Capitalized medicine” is an abysmal failure to humanity.
If water distribution warrants public management, so does a basic human need
like health care.
6. Organize and/or participate in a mass drive to add a Constitutional
amendment eliminating corporate personhood, a Constitutional amendment barring
corporations from engaging in the political process, and legislation imposing
heavy taxes on corporate profits (which would decrease proportionally with the
distribution of corporate profits amongst ALL of a corporation’s employees).
7. Buy goods and services from small entrepreneurs in lieu
of corporate chains when it is feasible.
8. Drop out of the culture of mindless consumption to the
extent it is possible. Don’t buy much beyond what you and your family
9. Resist the lure of using easy credit to live beyond one’s
10. Reject the lies of the corporate media. Turn off the television
and educate yourself by reading a book or scouring the Internet for information.
11. Push for state and local laws to enhance the rights of
working people and diminish the rights of corporations.
12. Press hard for the impeachment of the Bush administration
which would rid the White House of the cockroach-like infestation of corporate
interests, war criminals, and traitors to our Constitutional republic.
13. Visit, utilize, and support Barbara Ehrenreich's new venture
called United Professionals.
Barbara utilized seed money from the Service
Employees International Union to create this organization to lobby Congress
for universal health coverage, "livable incomes, benefits and social
For the time being, a degree of wage slavery is probably inevitable (barring
a major revolution to subvert the deeply entrenched corporatism to which even
some of its victims stubbornly cling). Family obligations, basic human needs,
and the extreme rarity of Horatio Alger successes leave the working class with
little choice but to submit to the ruling class to some extent.
However, We the People are not powerless. A measure of obedience may be unavoidable,
but whoredom is optional.
Jason Miller is a wage slave of the American Empire who
has freed himself intellectually and spiritually. He writes prolifically and
his essays have appeared widely on the Internet. He welcomes constructive correspondence
or via his blog, Thomas Paine's Corner, at http://civillibertarian.blogspot.com/.
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