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Hedges writes: "The most effective weapon we have to liberate ourselves as well as the 30 million Americans who make up the working poor is a sustained movement to raise the minimum wage nationally to at least $11 an hour."

Truthdig columnist Chris Hedges. (photo: Truthdig)
Truthdig columnist Chris Hedges. (photo: Truthdig)

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+22 # Allen 23 2013-02-04 17:59
Whatever you want to call it, its here.

First, they don't care what you and I say. Its moot. Words have no bearing on
what they do. They already control what the MSM says and have already
struck fear into enough people that the "wrong" things aren't spoken by
the masses.

They make war at will. They print money at will. A few corporations control the banks, medicine, media and food. They also operate with no oversight, poisoning people, the economy and the environment--at will. You and me, are simply a means to make money off of. Warm bodies to to simply run products through--trinke ts for our amusement, processed and factory-farmed/ frankenfoods to keep us alive and media to see that we are kept both violent and fearful. We are not
human to them in any moral sense. We are human petri dishes for them for exploitation.

Our political process offers no control over them, no choice of an alternative. If someone makes it through, they are rendered ineffective--or in some cases, disposed of. No one represents the majority. Worse, they operate on a global scale, directing their operations electronically- -from the highest ground
possible:space. They operate with deadly force and ambivalence towards
the people afflicted by their greed of money and insane lust for power.

If its not fascism, or a new strain of it, exactly what is it, then? We probably need a new description/ter m at this point, anyway.

And we're out of time--completel y.
0 # WestWinds 2013-02-07 08:10
Corporate Dictatorship comes to mind...
+16 # maddave 2013-02-05 01:54

Mr. Hedges! Do you know what you are trying to do to We-The-Affluent with this a nonsense about a 50% hike in minimum wage for 30,000,000 people ... more like 35,000,000 if you include sneaky illegals seeking a piece of this proposed (after-tax) $120,000,000/ho ur windfall.

Every penny of this new "street money" will necessarily be pried from the fists (or picked from the pockets) of caring management and honest bankers & hedge fund perpetrators (sic) who already have problems of their own. Are you aware that good Iranian caviar, if you can find it, sells for over $100/ounce? Or that a liter of properly aged single malt Scotch can set you back $450? And forget about finding a drinkable Montrachet at below $2,500 case. It doesn't exist!

Taken to outrageous extrames --- seriously: when fully implemented this proposed wage increase would pump $250B/year OUT of corporate coffers and into the economy ... where even the dumbest economist will admit that the $250B will quickly wind its way back up the economy and right back into corporate coffers, with dividends.

It's my "Gush up" theory which directly contradicts the GOP's 1980's era (Alzheimers'-be gotten) "trickle-own" theory. Simply stated: "Gush" states that, left to itself, money naturally flows up, passing shit which is about all that's flowing down anymore.
+6 # Depressionborn 2013-02-05 02:36
Who do you think controls the corporations and the government?

And $11.00 is not enough. At least $20 before being allowed to work would be good. The government could pay it by taxing business and borrowing money.

My first 8 hour job was $.25 an hour.
I should have been forced to stay home.
+11 # Oracorf 2013-02-05 03:00
All this is fine and good, but Mr. Hedges fails to answer the very simple question of HOW?

Even worse, he close by trashing the one lever of power workers have, union, by stating that they are corrupt and their bosses are bought off - at staggeringly low prices, I might add: "five times what rank and file make". Wow!! are they fabulously rich! That's a whopping 35 bucks an hour!!! Rather than shitting all over them, shouldn't you ask them? Maybe, just maybe, it's because they have a bit of the security to be able to fight for the rest.

I am a member of my union and even sit on the work and safety commission. It would help ME enourmously if I didn't have to deal with this sickening backlash against unions, coming from the left, no less. With friends like that, who needs enemies?

It would be nice if at least one leftist writer would point out that the CGT and FO, the two most important unions in France had at least enough self respect to refuse to sigh tne latest capitulation treaty served up to them by business.

It would be nice to show how rank and file unions are doing what they can to stem the tide. It's awefully little. But as you pointed, no one is joining the unions. And why should they?

The Union bosses are corrupt.

So thanks for the latest kick in the nuts.
+6 # maddave 2013-02-05 10:15
". . . no one is joining the unions. And why should they?
The Union bosses are corrupt."

You have half of the story right, Oracroft . . .

The unions are suffering from a compounded double-whammy:
First, Corporate America is perpetually engaged in an ancient, well financed and highly propagandized holy war (jahid) against Workers' solidarity and the economic power in the hands and hearts of focused, well run and honestly unions.
Second, there being money to be made from controlling unions, and their dues, contracts and pension funds, criminals & (if you believed Bobby Kennedy) organized crime co-opted many (not lll) unions and operated them as "Mafia profit centers". Some portion of those illicit profits comes from cutting sweetheart deals with Corporate America . . . at the expense of union members.

In the Post WWII "Golden Age of Labor Unions" it was said: "Management gets the union that they deserve." This has now been replaced by the cavet "Unions get the unions that they deserve" . . . or more optimistically, "Unions can (still) have the unions ---and the benefits appertaining thereto --- that they deserve IF they can clean up and fight to maintain them!"

Wake up guys, Gals! We are deep into a (so far) bloodless revolution in which Corporate America is trying to drag us back to the 19th Century. Don't walk into the boxcar willingly!
0 # Oracorf 2013-02-06 10:34
Oracorf. It's a long story.

I'M not saying the bosses are corrupt, it's what Hedges implies. And it irks me. I work the floors of the musée d'Orsay and stand as a workers' representative (CGT) and what I get for it is the implied accusation that I'm therefore corrupt. I get it from collegues, competing unions (not the most surprising, really) and from writers like Hedges here, no less.

It doesn't help. He only amplifies the general attitude of apathy and strengthen the general hostility, which in fine serves corporate interests.
+1 # WestWinds 2013-02-07 08:26
If a union is corrupt, then it is up to its members to make the necessary changes to free it from its corrupting force. Vote the corrupting people out, tell them you'll all go on strike and pay no more dues until the mess gets cleaned up. Stop accepting the garbage. Take charge and make the changes necessary to get your union back on track. Unions are wonderful tools when properly implemented. The corporations know this so they hire trouble-makers, infiltrate and take over. AARP used to be a Senior activist group, now it's an insurance company. This is how the corporates roll and they aren't going to stop unless we stop them.
+1 # WestWinds 2013-02-07 08:19
Actually, MadDave, they are trying to take us back to the 18th century. The disparity between the rich and the poor that we have today was only experienced before by us in 1774.
+8 # WestWinds 2013-02-05 03:54
What I still don't understand is what someone called "our cursed capacity for acceptance." Whatever that factor is, I believe it has operated in ever holocaust known to human beings. What size building has to fall on us before we stop accepting, adopting and adapting to these horrors?
+10 # Kumari 2013-02-05 06:59
Actually you need to do a lot more than raise the minimum wage to $11. Try $18. You also need to institute some protections for workers - no more at will terminations, proper paid annual and sick leave, paid maternity leave, and unemployment pay as an entitlement not an insurance product at the whim of the employer. You also need a single payer heath payer health insurance system, because whatever the hell you raise the minimum age to, low pay workers will be screwed out of a decent living by being forever gouged by PHI premiums. It's high time Americans woke up and smelled the roses. Far from admiring them ,the American public has no idea how the rest of the industrialized world pities them for what they are missing out on and for the fact they can't see beyond the end of their collective free-market/sma ll government/dere gulation/tax cutting/anti climate change/anti intellectual/gu n toting/ creationist noses.
-17 # edge 2013-02-05 07:19
Naive to say the least!

There is no magic pill and the law of unintended consequences normally makes things worse for those you are trying to help.

Why stop at $11 dollars? Why not 20 or 30 since you seem to think it can only help??

In the REAL WORLD what will happen is more of the low paying jobs will leave to go to Mexico, China or some other emerging economy, that is a fact!
You also will be encouraging these low paid people to not get better educated, not increase their job skills, etc.

Obviously not all jobs will leave so what happens to the guy/gal that is making $11 or $20, or $30 right now...they want a raise because they are more skilled, have a better education , work ethic, or whatever got them to the pay-scale that they have.

This happens all the way up the line so that the ration between the low wage earner and all of the pay-scales above them stay the same.

So YOU say that is OK because now the low paying guy has more money...WRONG!
Companies will raise their prices and the low paid guy still can't afford to live a reasonable life.
+7 # dkonstruction 2013-02-05 11:58
Many, if not most low-wage jobs that still remain in this country are jobs that cannot be "outsourced" and moved abroad such as service jobs in the food industry or agricultural sector. At the same time, many of the jobs that have been "outsourced" are higher paying jobs such as manufacturing.

One solution is to make it more expensive for employers to outsource jobs abroad than for them to employ people here instead of providing tax breaks to employers for shifting jobs overseas?

Your position is the same as those that opposed any minimum wage law and have cried that the world would end or the entire economy collapse if we ever raise it none of which has ever come true of course.
-6 # edge 2013-02-05 14:01
Quoting dkonstruction:

Your position is the same as those that opposed any minimum wage law and have cried that the world would end or the entire economy collapse if we ever raise it none of which has ever come true of course.

You and Obama have your "STRAW MAN" lie down pat!

I never said those things so don't put words in my mouth!

Perhaps you should research the cost of living a year or so after each increase in the minimum wage...
+1 # dkonstruction 2013-02-06 08:09
Quoting edge:
Quoting dkonstruction:

Your position is the same as those that opposed any minimum wage law and have cried that the world would end or the entire economy collapse if we ever raise it none of which has ever come true of course.

You and Obama have your "STRAW MAN" lie down pat!

I never said those things so don't put words in my mouth!

Perhaps you should research the cost of living a year or so after each increase in the minimum wage...

I was not trying to put words in your mouth but all you did was seem to object to Hedges support for increasing the minimum wage. And, if you are suggesting that there was some big spike in the overall cost of living i.e., inflation after the minimum wage has been raised it simply is not true (either on the federal level or on the local least where i am in NYC).

So, again are you saying that there should be no raise in the minimum wage even though it has not kept up with inflation/cost of living or are you suggesting it should be pegged to inflation? unclear what your position is but to blame inflation/cost of living increases on a rise in the minimum wage simply isn't true.
+9 # Vardoz 2013-02-05 08:24
Economic bondage is not freedom. I emailed Obama and asked when you talk about "We the people" ehich people are you referring to? Thank you Chris so much for taking action.The corporations are holding the majority of Americans hostage as they keep us poor. I have also called the Obama hot line 202 456 1111 asking him to restore our right to due process. We voted for him but it is outrageous that we talks about we the people as he is supporting our rights and civil liberties taken away!
-19 # JTHinSD 2013-02-05 08:54
Good Lord, the failure of Mr. Hedges to understand basic economics is astounding. How does he garner his soapbox, displaying his ignorance so prominently?
+6 # dkonstruction 2013-02-05 11:59
Quoting JTHinSD:
Good Lord, the failure of Mr. Hedges to understand basic economics is astounding. How does he garner his soapbox, displaying his ignorance so prominently?

And, what "basic economics" is Mr. Hedges failing to understand? Be specific otherwise it's just an empty rant.
+1 # WestWinds 2013-02-07 08:30
Chris Hedges and Matt Taibbi are two of the finest journalists out there. You criticize but offer no specifics.
+10 # engelbach 2013-02-05 08:57
The direness of our condition has only become apparent to many people in the last four years, when Obama and the Democrats, thought in 2008 to be the force to turn the tide of the Reagan-to-Bush years, showed that they were part of the same system and proceeded to carry it even further.

Some people are starting to realize that there is no relief to be found in politics, that no one in power, save a few isolated progressives, cares about them.

How to mobilize 30 million people is the question.
-1 # WestWinds 2013-02-07 08:33
You make a really important point here. At least, by making this point, you are demonstrating that some of us are waking up to the reality of our dire situation. Good on you.
+2 # jky1291 2013-02-05 09:32
While the insidious objectives of the Republicans and their corporate owners are more subtle than those of the Nazis, they are more brutal because they are relentlessly entrenched by the power brokers in society and their effectiveness over the decades has evaded notice because they spend millions on public relations and misinformation in the media to dupe the undiscerning public. One only has to observe the most expensive political campaigns in this country's history to realize there is no depth to which corporate special interests will not stoop in order to preserve their ill gotten privilege to keep exploiting and abusing the socio-economica lly disadvantaged for their own enrichment. For anyone dissatisfied with current conditions, there could be no question of their insanity or their terminal stupidity to support anyone advocating to reinstitute on steroids the proposals that created the current conditions. Why would anyone believe that a 1%er, who does not believe in government, has any incentive to improve conditions for the 99% by being elected to govern? The Republicans are determined to undo the results of the American Revolution and the Civil War by reestablishing the MONARCHY OF WEALTH in order to ENSLAVE US ALL!!!

+1 # politicaleconomist 2013-02-05 09:52
There is a problem with this proposal which a similar proposal by Dr. Wray has circumnavigated : raising the minimum wage by this much would likely lead to a rise in unemployment. What Wray of the MMT school (Modern Monetary Theory) has proposed instead is to have the Federal government be the ELR--the employer of last resort. Look it up at New Economic Perspectives; even my conservative relatives appreciate this idea as they know people often family members who really want to work but cannot find a job or who suffer with underemployment .
+3 # jky1291 2013-02-05 11:13
Quite the contrary, employment would be increased exponentially by the massive increase in economic activity from consumer spending finally meeting the needs for subsistence for all workers. The resulting inflation would be tempered by the fact that most of that increase would still be directed toward essential goods and services which traditionally have low profit margins, not inflated luxury items. For the wealthy who have no concern for any of this, it is called "EARNING A LIVING!"
-1 # WestWinds 2013-02-07 08:37
This government needs to change the bloody trade tariffs in favor of the US instead of China, India and anywhere else the outsourced corporations went. Simply changing the tariffs would go a long way to stimulate the growth of industry here at home.
+6 # DurangoKid 2013-02-05 11:33
We hear a lot about the minimum wage. What about a maximum wage? Better still we could index the maximum wage to the minimum wage by some factor, like 6 or 8. No more CEO's making 400 times the guy/gal on the shop floor. No more banksters skimming the economy with $20,000,000/yea r salaries. And along with the maximum wage, a financial transaction tax of maybe 0.1% or 0.2%.

The rich will always have enough money. All we're talking about is redirecting some of the excess profits through a few more hands before they wind up in the same hands.

And as long as we're wishing, I want a pony.
+5 # reiverpacific 2013-02-05 13:37
This is all part of a vicious cycle which only Capitalism can bestow (a kind word for "dump us with").
The recent, lingering big bank-caused depression has ruined the chances of recovery of many small businesses and laid off workers by ruining their credit ratings, itself a ruinous, corrupt, unforgiving and incompetent, privately-owned impenetrable systemic racket of bureaus that makes the mob seem relatively benign and which plays directly into the hands of same big banks.
Combine that with the massive but mostly unreported by the owner-media bankruptcies caused by the criminal for-profit health don't-care non-system extant in the US and it is obvious why debt penury exists and whose pockets it is lining and why the economy is still stagnant from lack of employment and small business growth.
And as some of you state, I really don't see any practical solutions from Mr Hedges here, much as i respect him generally.
Like how do I get a re-fi on a used van got at ruinous interest rates because of my wrecked credit rating, for my decimated business when I owe less that the normally required $7,500 balance but it is older than 2006? I've looked all over the web.
And that's just a start. Try defaulting and you lose all you already paid + the goods.
No jobs + ruined credits= no recovery; but I never hear economic pundits even touch on that one, as if the damn lousy credit bureaus are unimpeachable and untouchable holy grails (of corruption).
0 # Oracorf 2013-02-06 10:36
I agree. This piece is a rant with no serious alterantive offered in place.

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