By Rita R. Robison
Life in America is good – if you have a job or enough money to pay for your food, shelter, and clothing.
As a consumer writer, Labor Day reminds me of how effective American corporations have been in turning the message about what our nation is into what’s good for them – the country must have less government spending and fewer regulations.
The continual pounding of this message in the media by the right is creating a dismal depression among Americans. The propaganda is telling people that the country is headed in the wrong direction – all so that the wealthy can elect conservative leaders who will cut regulations.
What’s good for corporations isn’t good for consumers.
I was shocked recently to learn that corporations want to keep secret how many of their workers are located overseas. Between 2000 and 2009, multinational corporations cut 2.9 million jobs in the United States and added 2.4 million overseas.
It’s troubling that corporations are doing so well while consumers continue to struggle, with 4 million people unemployed and millions losing their homes.
Is there any hope?
This week, thousands of nurses and their supporters rallied in the nation’s capital and at 60 protests in 21 states to demand that Wall Street pay for the financial crisis it created.
Led by National Nurses United, the group is asking for a half-percent federal tax on Wall Street transactions, which would generate up to $350 billion a year to help Main Street get back on its feet.
What a great idea.
Also on the positive side, Yes Magazine! offers these steps forward:
- Bills in state legislatures that support job sharing, a green economy, health care exchanges, and more show that some states passed laws to benefit consumers.
- The first law in the United States establishing rights for domestic workers – privately employed nannies, housekeepers, and elder-care providers – went into effect in New York state in November.
- After the attack in Wisconsin on workers’ rights, in state after state, the Americans whose rights and services are being cut are rising up against the decades-long shift of wealth and power to corporations and the very wealthy.
- A worker-owner catering cooperative is established in Austin, Texas.
- Seattle passes a city resolution in support of public employees and collective bargaining.
- In these difficult economic times, people are coming together in small groups – called common security clubs, mutual aid groups, resilience circles, or unemployment support groups – to form and strengthen relationships.
So, best wishes to you on Labor Day. It’s a good day to remember the labor movement, turn off the television, and get out and enjoy the end of summer. I’m looking forward to skipping the continual negative messages today put out by the media about America that are casting a pall on our nation.