In Bureaucracy, Business, Entertainment, Law, Politics, Social commentary on April 2, 2014 at 12:02 am

The events unfolding in Maryland provide yet another reason why America needs a nationwide Employers Responsibility Act (ERA).

Several weeks before the second season of “House of Cards” debued online, its producers sent Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley a threatening letter.

The Netflix series focuses on an unscrupulous politician–played by Kevin Spacey–who manipulates, threatens and even murders to gain revenge and power

True to the character of that fictitious politician, Frank Underwood, the letter warned: Give us millions more dollars in tax credits, or we will “break down our stage, sets and offices and set up in another state.”

During the legislature’s hearing on March 28, the following exchange occurred:

DELEGATE C. WILLIAM FRICK: It sounds like you are suggesting that they wouldn’t film Season 3 here after we’ve given them $31 million already.

Is it possible that they would just leave after we gave them $31 million?


DELEGATE MARK N. FISHER: We’re almost being held for ransom.

Click here: ‘House of Cards’ threatens to leave if Maryland comes up short on tax credits – The Washington Post

A nationwide Employers Responsibility Act would address such behavior–and a series of other evils for which employers are directly responsible:

  • The loss of jobs within the United States owing to companies’ moving their operations abroad—solely to pay substandard wages to their new employees.
  • The mass firings of employees which usually accompany corporate mergers or acquisitions.
  • The widespread victimization of part-time employees, who are not legally protected against such threats as racial discrimination, sexual harassment and unsafe working conditions.
  • The refusal of many employers to create better than menial, low-wage jobs.
  • The widespread employer practice of extorting “economic incentives” from cities or states in return for moving to or remaining in those areas. Such “incentives” usually absolve employers from complying with laws protecting the environment and/or workers’ rights.
  • The refusal of many employers to provide medical and pension benefits—nearly always in the case of part-time employees, and, increasingly, for full-time, permanent ones as well.
  • Rising crime rates, due to rising unemployment.

If passed by Congress and vigorously enforced by the U.S. Departments of Justice and Labor, an ERA would ensure full-time, permanent and productive employment for millions of capable, job-seeking Americans.

And it would achieve this without raising taxes or creating controversial government “make work” programs.

Such legislation would legally require employers to demonstrate as much initiative for hiring as job-seekers are expected to show in seeking work.

One of its provisions would strictly forbid the seeking of “economic incentives” by companies in return for moving to moving to or remaining in cities/states.

Such “economic incentives” usually:

  1. allow employers to ignore existing laws protecting employees from unsafe working conditions;
  2. allow employers to ignore existing laws protecting the environment;
  3. allow employers to pay their employees the lowest acceptable wages, in return for the “privilege” of working at these companies; and/or
  4. allow employers to pay little or no business taxes, at the expense of communities who are required to make up for lost tax revenues.

Employers who made such overtures would be prosecuted for attempted bribery or extortion:

  1. Bribery, if they offered to move to a city/state in return for “economic incentives,” or
  2. Extortion, if they threatened to move their companies from a city/state if they did not receive such “economic incentives.”

This would

  • protect employees against artificially-depressed wages and unsafe working conditions;
  • protect the environment in which these employees live; and
  • protect cities/states from being pitted against one another at the expense of their economic prosperity.

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 can–and do–spend millions of dollars on TV ads, selling lies.

Lies such as the “skills gap,” and how if the wealthy are forced to pay their fair share of taxes, jobs will inevitably disappear.

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

  1. This insightful blog is at it’s best, totally ridiculous ! But spoken like a true Socialist. If your illustrious federal government locked-up all of the employers and imprisoned all of the major corporations as you pretty much allude too – where the hell are you and all the other SHEEP going to continue living off the government subsidies and Food Stamps ? Like President Reagan said over-and-over, “Socialism works until you spend all of the other person’s money, and it creates a worthless society that is dependent on the government. Once you become totally dependent on the government – they control you”…..

    • To partially quote you: “If your illustrious federal government locked-up all of the employers and imprisoned all of the major corporations as you pretty much allude too”: there would be far fewer cases of corporate crime.

      Even as I type this, Congress is probing GM’s refusal for ten years to replace a faulty part that took the lives of 13 passengers. Of course, there is more than a little Congressional hypocrisy involved here–especially among Right-wingers like yourself.

      As far as these people are concerned, business exists to do one thing: make as much money for itself as possible, and to hell with everything–and everyonoe–else. It would have cost GM 57 cents to install a workable switch in these cars–but GM didn’t think the safety of its passengers was worth that.

      An Employers Responsibility Act would NOT be socialistic–by which Right-wingers mean “Communistic.” It would simply provide a set of workable standards by which employers could be judged–and by which criminally guilty ones could be punished.

    • It’s strange that you should quote Ronald Reagan as warning us about being “dependent on the government.” Reagan was one of the biggest suckers on the government tit in United States history.

      From 1967 until 1975, Reagan, a multimillionaire, drew a Governor’s salary from the State of California. He continued to draw a state pension of $30,000 for the rest of his life.

      As President, he drew a salary of $200,000 a year–for eight years. Naturally, he kept every penny of it. (John F. Kennedy, another multimillionaire, donated his salaries as Congressman, Senator and President to charity.)

      Then, for the rest of his life, Reagan lived on a Presidential pension of $99,500 a year–as well as his pension as a former governor of California. That’s called double-dipping.

      And these monies were paid ON TOP OF his signing an exclusive contract with a Washington lecture bureau, which paid him $50,000 per speech given in the United States and $100,000 overseas. This made him the highest-paid speaker in the country.

      Finally, at a cost to the government of $10 million annually, Reagan continued to receive lifetime Secret Service protection from 40 fulltime agents. He COULD have easily paid for his own protection, but it was so much easier to be part of that “worthless society that is dependent on the government.”

      You and other Right-wingers should stop canonizing Reagan and see the truth for what it is. He was just another hypocritical Right-winger who was happy to suck all he could out of the government for himself while denying help to those far less fortunate.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: