These days with sophisticated advertising campaigns, it can be difficult to separate the truth from the lies. For example, watching the avalanche of television ads for or against one candidate or another can be discouraging.
There is little doubt that the economy and the lack of good jobs is the primary issue today. The real question is how can more good jobs be made available.
There is plenty of talk about the so-called “job creators,” those captains of industry who own or manage the businesses of our society. Much is made of how difficult things have become for these people to create any jobs – much less good jobs.
We are told that to turn our economy around we must give them all that they are asking for. Namely: tax cuts, less or no regulatory oversight, the weakening of worker rights, an immediately balanced federal budget.
We are asked to believe that taxes are bad, that government is inept, that unions are corrupt, that the poor are lazy, and that the “job creators” have everyone else’s best interests at heart. We are simply asked to believe that the “job creators’” needs come before all others and that they know what is best for the rest of us.
This is of course absurdly false. Nevertheless, that does not deter virtually every Republican and a few Democrats to urge all of us, in one way or another, to believe it too. We are asked to suspend our common sense, to obey and to serve the “job creators.”
The truth is both simple and complex: it takes everyone to make our economy. There is certainly a role to be played by the “job creators;” to use their vision, skill, determination and hard work to make our economy work. However, others have important –if not more important – roles too.
The government educates our children, builds our infrastructure, regulates business, ensures justice, etc. President Obama had it right when he said no business became successful on its own. We all have had help from the collective citizenry to be successful.
Moreover, workers play a huge role. The men and women who work for someone else produce more in value for their for-profit employers than they get paid for. If this were not so, then there would be no profits for any business. Why should workers “sit-down and shut-up” when it comes to the economy?
The last group our economy relies on is customers. We all are consumers. If we don’t have the income to spend, we can’t buy. If we don’t trust that a product won’t make us sick or injure us, we won’t buy.
The attempted take-over by the “job creators” over all of these other sectors of the economy will end by not creating more good jobs. Further, no business can succeed without the government, with enslaved workers, or with fearful and impoverished customers.
Working people need to make a stand against this assault on our democracy, our economy, and our liberty. Essential to defeating this attack is for working people to join with the labor movement, main-street businesses, and other groups that believe that we are in this all together.
Voting only for candidates who will work for the interests of the 99% over the interests of the 1% is crucial. But it is not enough. This threat demands that we build a movement to reform our politics and our economics. It is time for us to become the next “Greatest Generation.” The challenges before all of us demand nothing less.
Mark Anderlik is President of the Missoula Area Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO