Battle For... Pie
By Dennis Rahkonen
massive tax cuts to the rich is both blatantly unfair and
not an effective economic stimulus. The selfishness that motivates
moneyed interests to press for such reductions also features
a definite social irresponsibility that, almost always, results
in savings thereby gained being either simply sat on, or narrowly
invested in ways that have little job-producing impact.
Look at history.
When was the last time a policy-driven windfall for Big Business
and the individually well-heeled translated into a boon for
America's wage-earning majority? Certainly not during the
Reagan years, when huge breaks were granted to America's corporate
and financial hierarchy. It was a time of extended unemployment
for millions, with the jobs that were finally found providing
lower pay, fewer benefits, and worse conditions than those
Bush's ballyhooed "solution" to 6% joblessness is just so
much additional injustice dumped on top of existing injustices,
both economic and social. And it's that accumulated inequity
- the favoritism constantly shown the elite while ordinary
people's worsening needs go unmet - that lies at the heart
of our country's troubles.
You don't solve a problem rooted in millionaires/billionaires
having the unrestrained power to do what they greedily desire...
by rewarding that greed and thereby solidifying its harmful
influence on society.
I'm Your Puppet
Since day one in office, Dubya has been waging one-sided
class warfare against workaday citizens. Whenever there's
been a choice between serving the common good or the extreme
avarice of business and banking elements that contributed
heavily to Bush's election bid (with full expectation of eventual
payback), the administration has invariably, shamelessly exhibited
a profits-before-people bias.
There's never been a U.S. president so dutifully a cat's-paw
of what he's decisively helped make into an unabashed, reactionary
Logic tells us that an authentic stimulus would entail targeted
tax cuts/rebates going to families most in need, combined
with the existence of good, union-scale jobs that would give
Americans sufficient pay to buy back the goods society produces.
Those goods have been gathering dust in inventory because
so many of us are too poor to generate enough consumer confidence
to get the economy up and energetically running. Faced with
a classic "overproduction crisis," American monopoly capitalism
looks only to its short-term aggrandizement, oblivious to
the big picture and the calamity that allowing the poor to
get steadily poorer will ultimately inflict on the system
Hey, Hey, Hey, I Want Money
Oligarchs squeezing the golden goose too hard today means
it won't lay at all tomorrow. America requires more people
with more folding green or securely "current" credit cards
showing up at its malls and other retail centers. Or in automobile
Either marginal tax breaks for Joe and Jenny Average over
time, or a lump-sum outlay mailed just once, wouldn't really
do the trick. The remedy must be substantially more comprehensive.
Many of us have so many outstanding bills that we'd use whatever
we might receive just to ease our painful debt burden.
Increased minimum pay - or a true "living" wage - is the
Apples, Peaches, Pumpkin Pie
But a fundamental contradiction arises: Our economy's divisible
value, while permitting some variation, is essentially a finite
entity. Think of it as a golden pie baked in a specific pan.
Our bosses have been cutting themselves fat pieces right along,
and they're hoggishly wanting even bigger ones. From a fairness
standpoint, plus a need to sustain ourselves, we workers can
no longer make do with the small slices we've long been forced
We certainly couldn't tolerate the tiny, crumbling slivers
that would be our "reward" if Bush and Co. fully got its gluttonous
way. And neither could the nation, since we're both its backbone
and its destiny's ultimate arbiter.
We have to have bigger pieces ourselves, but will the Man,
with his tightly held spatula, relinquish it to us and permit
a righteous cutting? Not without a serious struggle, meaning
we'll have to engage in class warfare of our own, on terms
- and from positions of strength - that will assure our control
of the pie.
After all, we're the ones whose labor made it possible in
the first place. It's really our pie; the boss just owns the
tin in which it was baked.
Come Together, Right Now
What'll it take to show who's the real boss in the kitchen,
and in America as a whole?
Unity, unity, unity.
Working people have to seamlessly unite, across all differences
such as race, gender and sexual orientation, to acquire the
collective clout without which our pie pieces will otherwise
get almost too thin to see, let alone provide nourishment.
We'll also require clarity of guiding vision, enabling us
to recognize that our true enemies can be found in the boardrooms
of Enron-corrupt corporations, and on Wall Street, not in
Baghdad or the next location on Bush's foreign, imperial hit
Cohesiveness and consciousness... all for one and one for
Back before Republicans devolved into Greedicus Backwardus,
Abraham Lincoln correctly pointed out the proper relationship
between workers and owners: "Labor is prior to, and independent
of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could
never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is
the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration."
That consideration certainly won't be granted by the current
ruling structure, unless it's forced to, through a "fed-up"
rebellion of chronically ripped-off U.S. workers.
It takes a fight to win. Do we have what it takes to triumph,
or will the plutocracy permanently leave us with nothing at
all on our forks?
(Thanks to James and Bobby Purify, The Kingsmen, Jay and
The Techniques, and the Beatles for sub-title inspiration.)
Dennis Rahkonen, from Superior, WI, has been writing commentary
and verse for various progressive outlets since the '60s.
He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org