Archive for October 2nd, 2012|Daily archive page


In Business, Law, Politics on October 2, 2012 at 12:31 am

Do employers have a social and economic responsibility to create jobs?

Yes, said the late Wallace C. Peterson, George Holmes Professor of Economics Emeritus at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

“Government through the 1946 Employment Act has a major responsibility to promote conditions that make full employment possible.

“Workers have a major responsibility to educate and train themselves for the jobs that become available in a society characterized by rapid technical change,” wrote Peterson in a letter to this columnist.

Turning to the subject of how an Employers Responsibility Act could promote fulltime employment, Peterson stated:

“Such an Act would require employers to demonstrate as much responsibility for hiring as job-seekers are expected to display in finding work.”

This “is certain to be controversial, but it adds yet another dimension to the debate on how an adequate number of good, well-paying jobs can be created….

“An Employers Responsibility Act, in combination with existing legislation such as the 1946 Employment Act and the 1935 National Labor-Relations Act, could be a powerful force in moving labor-management relations in this country away from its current adversarial character, toward a more harmonious and cooperative climate.”

And Tommy G. Thompson, a Republican candidate for U.S. Senator from Wisconsin, had this to say about the feasibility of an ERA:

“I have read your proposal and it is clear to me you have invested a great deal of thought in this issue,” he wrote in 1995, while still Governor of Wisconsin. “I have asked my staff to study this approach to welfare reform.”

* * * * *

For thousands of years, otherwise highly intelligent men and women believed that kings ruled by divine right.

That kings held absolute power, levied extortionate taxes and sent countless millions of men off to war–all because God wanted it that way.

That lunacy was dealt a deadly blow in 1776 when American Revolutionaries threw off the despotic rule of King George III of England.

But today, millions of Americans remain imprisoned by an equally outrageous and dangerous theory: The Theory of the Divine Right of Employers.

Summing up this employer-as-God attitude, Calvin Coolidge still speaks for the overwhelming majority of employers and their paid shills in government: “The man who builds a factory builds a temple, and the man who works there worships there.”

America can no longer afford such a dangerous fallacy as the Theory of the Divine Right of Employers.

The solution lies in remembering that the powerful never voluntarily surrender their privileges.

Americans did not win their freedom from Great Britain–-and its enslaving doctrine of “the divine right of kings”-–by begging for their rights.

And Americans will not win their freedom from their corporate masters–-and the equally enslaving doctrine of “the divine right of employers”–by begging for the right to work and support themselves and their families.

And they will most certainly never win such freedom by supporting right-wing political candidates whose first and only allegiance is to the corporate interests who bankroll their campaigns.

Corporations spend millions of dollars on TV ads, selling lies–such as:

  • the “skills gap” between what employers are seeking and what American job-seekers can provide;
  • if the wealthy are forced to pay their fair share of taxes, jobs will inevitably disappear;
  • corporations don’t have enough money to hire more employees.

Of this last lie, Rana Foroohar, Time‘s assistant managing editor in charge of economics and business, wrote:

“There is a fundamental disconnect between the fortunes of American companies, which are doing quite well, and American workers, most of whom are earning a lower hourly wage now than they did during the recession.

“The thing is, companies make plenty of money; they just don’t spend it on workers here.

“There may be $2 trillion sitting on the balance sheets of American corporations globally, but firms show no signs of wanting to spend it in order to hire workers at home.”

In short: Giving even greater tax breaks to mega-corporations–the standard Republican mantra–has not persuaded them to stop “outsourcing” jobs. Nor has it convinced them to start hiring Americans.

But Americans can choose to reject those lies–and demand that employers behave like patriots instead of predators.

Until they do so, for those jobless Americans seeking employment, it won’t matter who becomes President.

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