Dec 17, 2001
The holiday mood is not exactly filled with hope and cheer this year. Across the country, few workers’ families are planning big celebrations. We are not going out and spending a lot on presents. Many fewer of us are planning a trip out of town, or even to go out to a decent restaurant or show.
Is this because of September 11, as a lot of commentators and politicians keep saying? They certainly want us to believe it.
The fact is that we don’t have the money. And you can’t blame that on the terrorist attacks of September 11 – as much as the politicians try to blame everything that’s wrong on September 11.
All across the country, big companies and small are laying off workers in droves. The ranks of the unemployed have ballooned by over 2.5 million people in just one year, the biggest annual increase in over 20 years. The bosses are closing factories and offices. They are cutting shifts, with the threat that this could be the prelude to new plant closings in the future.
Where did this all come from? Quite simply, they are doing what they always do, trying to squeeze more production out of fewer workers. Whether they call it “lean production” or “total quality,” it all amounts to the same thing – fewer workers are putting out more production. And this means job cuts. Eventually, as those laid off reduce their spending, it rebounds and causes drops in sales, drops in production and then more job cuts – a vicious cycle.
All the companies are crying poverty today. Over the last 10 years, these same companies made record profits. Executive salaries and bonuses and stock options produced untold wealth: new mansions, limos, private jets, yachts, jewelry, etc.
We did not benefit from this wealth – in fact, going into this recession, there are many fewer good-paying jobs than there were going into the last recession.
Now today, these same bosses are telling those of us still left with a job that we will have to accept even more job cuts in order for their companies to stay competitive.
So, no, there is not much to celebrate this holiday season.
Yes, the attack on September 11 was outright terrorism – disgusting. But the attacks that the bosses are carrying out right now are also a form of terrorism, economic terrorism. They are threatening to take away the roof over our heads, food from the dinner table. They are threatening the well-being of our families and the existence of entire communities that depend on those jobs and that income. Isn’t that terrorism?... and on a far greater scale than anything an Osama bin Laden could ever carry out!
George Bush, who is such good friends with Enron, who took all that campaign money from Enron executives, and who passed so many laws that favored Enron, wants to blame the layoffs on September 11.
No, put the blame where it belongs, on the biggest terrorists of all: our own bosses and the politicians who do their bidding.