A Fumbled Recovery

Let’s take another look at the “recovery” that our industry leaders have been bragging about.

– Between 2001 and 2008, about 40,000 US manufacturing plants closed;
– Six million manufacturing jobs – one out of every three – disappeared in this decade;
– At least half in the US work force have been laid off, have taken a pay cut, or have been forced to work part time;
– The typical unemployed worker has been jobless for nearly six months;
– The housing collapse has destroyed a fifth of the wealth of the average household;
– One in four of those between 18 and 29 have moved back in with their parents –

Now let’s take a look at what some of those leaders are taking in as annual compensation:

– Occidental Petroleum’s CEO, Ray Irani … $ 31.4 million;
– Carol Bartz, CEO of Yahoo … $ 39 million;
– Ray Elliot, CEO of Boston Scientific … $ 33.4 million
– Larry Ellison, CEO of Oracle … $ 84.5 million;
– Randall L. Stephenson, CEO of AT&T … $ 20.3 million;
– Jay S. Fishman, CEO of Travelers’ … $ 20.1 million;
– Michael Jeffries, CEO of Abercrombie & Fitch … $ 38.5 million;
– Leslie Moonves, CEO of CBS … $ 44.1 million –

Some “recovery”. Those elite, of course, are not among the unfortunate millions who have been laid off or are taking pay cuts. You can be sure, though, that they are indeed among the number who are working “part time”. It comes with the territory. It’s what Big Money is all about.

In a Nov. 10th OpEdNews article Richard Clark tells us that, “veteran public interest groups like Common Cause and Public Citizen are aroused. There are the rising voices, from web-based initiatives such as freespeechforpeople.org to grassroots initiatives such as Democracy Matters on campuses across the country …

“What’s promising in all this,” Mr. Clark says, “is that in taking on Big Money we’re talking about something more than a single issue. We’re talking about a broad-based coalition to restore American democracy – an effort that is trying to be smart about the nuts-and-bolts of building a coalition, remembering that it has a lot to do with human nature. Some will want to march. Some will want to petition. Some will want to engage through the web. Some will want to go door-to-door – many gifts and aptitudes, but the same spirit. A fighting spirit. As Howard Zinn would tell us: No fight, no fun, no results.” –

[In order to “restore American democracy”, however, that proposed coalition desperately needs to restore American jobs, and no coalition will achieve that goal unless U.S. shipyards are revitalized.]