Monday, May 16, 2005

Capitalism Red in Tooth and Claw


The Neo Darwinists working with the Neo Cons are creating America in an old image: the Robber Baron Era when America went around attacking natives across the planet, on the continent as well as overseas, seeking empire as the capitalists at home struggled to create interlocking monopolies and cartels that were unregulated and that used the imperial powers of the government to kill workers and keep them disorganized and poor because these older Neo Darwinists believed that survival of the fittest equalled survival of the most powerful.

Everyone is grist in their Mill which will grind everything to dust so that it can become gold like in the ancient Norse myth.
In his time at United, which began shortly before the airline filed for Chapter 11 protection, Mr. Tilton has - wittingly or not - used bankruptcy protection as a competitive tool. And he has gained respect in the industry, however grudgingly, for doing so.

If nothing else, United has made itself an airline to be reckoned with - not in the traditional way, through strong operations, but in a completely new way, by leveraging its weakness.

United's bankruptcy, which has lasted longer than any airline case since 1989, has given the company the opportunity to take steps that other carriers have found difficult, if not impossible. Cutting wages and benefits, for one. Renegotiating and rejecting aircraft leases, for another. And the biggest step: terminating its four employee pension plans.

"United has become a much more formidable competitor than we were" when it filed for bankruptcy protection, Mr. Tilton acknowledged in an interview.

These capitalists love a mean man. "Mean and lean" is praise. The "lean" part always refers to worker benefits or pay or numbers. This view of humanity sees them as dross and excess. Work the fewest the longest and pay them the least is the philosophy of these men as they themselves take long vacations and play golf and go to parties while deducting all as "work related", yeah, right. It is hard work figuring out ways to weasel out of one's obligations!
"They're seen as being strong because they're in bankruptcy," said Gary N. Chaison, professor of industrial relations at Clark University in Worcester, Mass. "It's a remarkable use of bankruptcy as a strategy."

Sigh. Just this month Congress passed a bankruptcy bill forcing the little man and woman to pay up or else. Can't run away from obligations! Meanwhile, these same monsters in industry who pushed this bill are admiring how United is using the cover of bankruptcy to be lean and mean and ruthlessly going for the jungular! Hooray for them. Onimously, we also see the capitalists running America salivating over the idea of our country declaring bankruptcy and then out competing the competition in Asia by ruthlessly shedding all obligations at home and becoming overnight a sensation with all of America working desperately for pennies, the elderly and poor dying rapidly, making America stronger again via the Neo Darwinian mechanism of survival of the fittest.

Yes, this is their game plan.
Last week's court decision permitting United Airlines' parent to dump its pensions on the federal government is part of a sweeping trend that could make the nation's employers more competitive, but at the cost of leaving workers and their families bearing big new risks.

In a nutshell, a broadening swath of corporate America is retreating from the safety-net business and is shifting responsibility to employees.

The decision by a Chicago bankruptcy court focused on the problems of a company strapped with $6.6 billion in pension costs. But the court's solution is one that even healthy firms are seeking to copy in one fashion or another, shifting benefit costs away from themselves and making fewer promises to their employees.

As detailed here at Culture of Life News, Bush has said out loud he intends to reduce Social Security Disability and Survivor benefits. He has no intention of allowing these needy people who are presently covered, staying alive. If they can't work and their families can't keep them alive, off you go! Die.
"People like to think of employers as social welfare organizations, but they're not," said Sylvester Scheiber, a partner with the financial consulting firm of Watson-Wyatt and a member of President Bush's 2001 Social Security Commission. "In an increasingly competitive world, they don't have room to do much else but focus on the competition."

Here it is again. Some fancy panty effete male working for Bush talking about how companies need to stop helping workers and start exploiting them with ruthless vicious intensity. This well fed man who is supported by American tax payers in his mission dares to tell us in our faces that our corporate entites must work us to death and provide zero services and benefits because of "competition".

And what is this competition?

It comes from very unionized socialist Europe and "we will never lay off or fire our workers" Japan and communist China. The Chinese have embraced the capitalist system but even they acknowledge this is temporary, the goal is to imitate Europe. We refuse to understand this. We think we should be imitating the Chinese, struggling up from great poverty.
The number of big company employees (those with 200 or more workers) in line for retiree health benefits has plunged from 66% in 1988 to 36% last year, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health research group in Menlo Park, Calif. With health insurance rates for current employees posting double-digit jumps, employers have shaved an estimated 5 million workers from their insured rolls since 2001. And they have passed along many of the recent cost increases by nearly doubling the amount — to $222 a month — that employees must kick in for a typical family plan, according to Kaiser.

In addition, some companies have turned to health savings accounts. These were proposed by the president and approved by Congress in late 2003 and became available last summer. They have some of the same characteristics as 401(k) accounts in limiting firms' responsibilities and leaving it up to individuals to manage the money in them.

The number of people covered by health savings accounts has more than doubled from 438,000 last September to more than 1 million, according to America's Health Insurance Plans, the industry's Washington-based trade organization.

In a little-noticed report last year, the American Benefits Council, chief lobbyist for large corporations on benefit issues in Washington, offered a 10-year vision of employees replacing employers as the chief providers of retirement plans and health insurance.

"Individuals … should assume primary responsibility … for their own financial security," the report said. "Employers should be primarily responsible for sponsoring programs that help workers … in their efforts to achieve and maintain personal financial security."

All the Red Teeth Red Claw men are out in force telling us this is a great thing, being "personally responsible" for keeping ourselves alive when we get sick or injured. Not one of these men or women preaching this garbage is self insured. All of them are well covered. They know they and cynically ignore this just like Congress ignores its benefits and plans all generous and totally protective.

They have an umbrella and are handing us a lightning rod.

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