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The Great Recession is now the Great Restructuring Liberals and "Austerity"

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Whither the White Working Class

by Christopher Chantrill
November 19, 2011 at 2:41 pm

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THERE'S plenty of fight left in the white working class. In Ohio last week it decisively defeated the Republican plan to curb government union power. Pity it doesn't make any difference. Pity the policemen and the firemen and the teachers and the social workers and the pension fund bondholders; they are screwed anyway, because there is no more money.

All in all, the white working class has had a raw deal. First, it escaped the frying pan of rural laboring only to land in the fire of the factory system. But it didn't give up. It organized its own social safety net, with labor unions, fraternal associations, and ethnic clubs, and was well on the way to making its factory fate bearable when the Serpent turned up in the Garden of Eden, this time disguised as an educated progressive elite.

You chaps are being screwed, said the Serpent. Why, if you vote for us we will force the bosses to give you More. More unions, more wages, more health care. It seemed like a dream come true until the unionized steel industry collapsed and then the unionized auto industry went into terminal decline, and corporations started moving their businesses to non-union states or even overseas.

Not to worry, said the educated elite. You policemen and firemen are getting screwed. Why, if you vote for us we will force the taxpayers to give you More. More wages, more pensions, more health care. We will even help your schoolteacher and social-worker wives. It seemed like a dream come true until the money started to run out and taxpayers started objecting to government workers earning 50 percent more than private-sector workers.

Not to worry, said the educated elite. You health care consumers are getting screwed. Why, if you vote for us we will force the insurance companies to insure pre-existing conditions, insure the uninsured, and lower overall health costs. It seemed like a dream come true except that health insurance premiums are already sky-rocketing and ObamaCare hasn't even officially begun.

Not to worry, said the educated elite. You seniors are getting screwed. Why, if you will vote for us we will stop the GOP and their Wall Street fat cat pals from ending Social Security and Medicare as we know it. If only those millionaires and billionaires paid a little more...

Here's Malcolm Muggeridge: “People do not believe lies because they have to, but because they want to.”

At some point the white working class needs to man up and join the capitalist system. This is not rocket science. When daily personal income goes from $3 to $100 in 200 years, it pays to figure out why. Even “KISS legend” Gene Simmons, son of a Holocaust survivor, gets the picture: “Capitalism is the best thing that ever happened to human beings.” The white working class needs to stop whining about the bosses and exploitation, and accept the basic contract of the free economy. Get a skill and then offer it to the world. If you find that you don't make enough money, don't go whining to a politician. Go to school and improve your skills. By the way, in North Dakota right now the evil capitalist oil industry is begging for people with skills.

Here's the nasty truth about the last century and the travails of the white working class. When you sign on as somebody's rank and file, whether it as a union rank-and-file or a political party's rank-and-file, you better understand that you are expendable, cannon fodder just like a common soldier. Political power is a poisoned chalice and sooner or later it will poison you.

People keep complaining that the Republican Party doesn't do enough to appeal to the working class, not to mention women and blacks. But what can you do about economic deniers that refuse to look at the facts in front of their face? Nice little deal your union got you with the final year pension plus disability, Brother. We Republicans think it is time to cut back on the disability add-on.

Democratic capitalism works; it has worked better than anything else, ever. As Gregory Clark writes in A Farewell to Alms, before 1800 in Britain there was downward economic mobility as the poor had less children than the rich and got squeezed out by the formerly rich. After 1800 the poor reared more children than the rich and experienced upward mobility. What more do you want?

At some point you have to stop buying the liberal lie. People might think you are dumb or something.

Christopher Chantrill blogs at www.roadtothemiddleclass.com.

Buy his Road to the Middle Class.

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Robert N Bellah, "Religious Evolution", American Sociological Review, Vol. 29, No. 3.


Taking Responsibility

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presented by Christopher Chantrill

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