2006-07-28 / Columnists

The Progressive

American Aristocracy
By John Paul Culotta


In the American Conservative web site dated June 5, 2006 Taki wrote: "America's bipartisan elite has nothing on the French and British aristocracy of the 18th century. For years our elite has encouraged trade deficits, off shoring jobs and technology, a growing foreign debt, and unrestricted immigration. American workers have suffered immensely, with declining pay, loss of manufacturing jobs, and increasing part-time jobs without benefits. Corporate high rollers have, however done well because shedding workers is the easiest way to make the bottom line look good."

It is remarkable that this was on a conservative web site. Our economy is stated to be the strongest it has ever been. We all know many of us do not share in its benefits. Americans when polled state they feel vulnerable. Entire sections of our country are losing their youth as they leave the rust belt to live in the southern and western states.

On June 13, 2006 The New York Times reported large areas of upstate New York and Long Island are losing their college educated youth because of housing costs on Long Island and the lack of employment opportunities upstate.

Occupations and professions that generally were considered safe from unfair labor practices are no longer exempt. Our new American aristocracy is bringing unfair and deliberately harsh practices to white-collar jobs.

On June 7, 2006 the Associated Press wrote in an article datelined Seattle: "Two firms representing former employees of the Washington Mutual Inc. in New York, California, and Illinois have sued the Seattle-based savings and loan, accusing the company of violating laws by failing to pay overtime and the federal minimum wage."

Our elite also now has a Supreme Court that does not feel public employee workers' rights are necessarily part of our constitution and society's norms. The Supreme Court's ruling in United States v. Ceballos has received criticism from labor advocates. Thomas M. Devine legal director of the Government Accountability Project stated: the decision was " a very frightening signal of dark times ahead." Another critic, Stephen Kohn, chairman of the National Whistleblower Center, called "This ruling is a victory for every crooked politician in the country."

The ruling allowed retaliation of a worker for exercising his free speech rights. Public employees need protection when reporting misfeasance, malfeasance, and errors of their employer-the government. Will the elite in congress provide enhanced protection for government employees? Our American aristocracy may not allow such legislation.

Many conservatives consider the American labor union leaders to be part of the American Aristocracy. This is far from the truth. On June 9, 2006 The New York Times reported: "The A.F.L.-C.I.O. filed a trade complaint on Thursday (June 8, 2006) asking President Bush to penalize China, asserting that it violates workers' rights by suppressing strikes, barring independent unions, and letting factories ignore laws on minimum wages and child labor."

It is appropriate to cite China and other nations with trade complaints. The question we can also ask is: can this nation be cited also? For many years there has been an ever-widening gap between the rich and the poor in America.

Our political leaders have been cooperating with our greedy corporate aristocrats. Consider David H. Brooks, CEO of a bulletproof vest company who pocketed $180 million selling defective vests to our military. Sebastian Mallaby of the Los Angeles Times News Service wrote: "The United States is by some measures the most unequal society in the rich world and the most unequal that it's been since the 1920s." And the Republicans propose eliminating an estate tax for millionaires.

Why not start a Bush dynasty? We already have a corrupt corporate aristocracy! Our present president feels his brother Jeb should be considered for our highest office- THE PRESIDENCY. Maybe, a monarchy is what we need.

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