Friday :: Apr 30, 2004

Blaming The Victim


by pessimist

Never let it be said that a Republican will ever accept blame for anything. There is always someone else to whom one may pass along the blame, whether rightly or wrongly. Even the nebulous 'they' can be called upon to act as scapegoat when the scurrilously socialistic and anti-wealthy accusations fly.

Such is the case currently in Michigan, once a heavily unionized state in spite of its strong conservative GOP leanings of the working class. There, a high-ranking GOP official, who happens to be wealthy employer, is laying the blame for job loss in the state on those who have no say in the decision to move.

Betsy DeVos: Michigan workers paid too much - Wednesday, April 28, 2004 By Steven Harmon The Grand Rapids Press

So, who does Betsy DeVos think is getting paid too much?

The Republican state party chairwoman raised the issue Tuesday when she issued a press release saying high wages were partly to blame for Michigan's economic woes. "Many, if not most, of the economic problems in Michigan are a result of high wages and a tax and regulatory structure that makes this state uncompetitive," DeVos said in the prepared statement.

The press release was issued as DeVos criticized Gov. Jennifer Granholm for pinning the blame on President Bush for Michigan's loss of nearly 200,000 manufacturing jobs. Granholm was in Washington, D.C. with U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow touting plans to protect manufacturing jobs.

DeVos, a longtime West Michigan GOP activist who owns the Grand Rapids holding company Windquest Group, and whose husband's family owns Alticor Inc. [The parent company of every homeowners favorite door-to-door pyramid scheme, AMWAY], said she only was referring to the realities of the global economy. "When you see jobs going to our neighbors to the Southeast -- South Carolina, Virginia and Alabama -- their economic climate for job creators is much more hospitable than ours," DeVos, of Ada, told the Press Tuesday.

DeVos said right-to-work laws must be considered, along with other solutions to regulations and high taxes on businesses. All three states DeVos mentioned are right-to-work states, which have few unions and lowered wages.
According to the Bureau of Labor statistics, right-to-work employees earned $5,333 less a year in 2001 than workers in union jobs. "States with right-to-work environments have an advantage in attracting new jobs," she said. "The fact we have high wages in some areas, there will continue to be adjustments as job creators adjust to the realities."

Realities? Try real good profits. There is no way that 'job creators' who move jobs from one state to another are actually creating any employment over all.

This is not a way to grow the economy. This is only a way to grow already bulging bank accounts. Giving more money to those who already have more than they can ever spend has been the prime motivation behind all of the Bush tax cuts. This is just a way of reducing resistance to the collection of campaign contributions - i.e., "Look at how much more money you have, thanks to us. How can you NOT reward us with ten percent of that in return?".

Now, it's obvious that this has become a symbiotic relationship whose goal is to maitain power for those involved, and the costs of this effort have to be passed along to someone else - just like the blame for all of this is passed along - to those who are victimized by it all. And yet another plant closes, costing jobs, so that the work can go somewhere else and raise profits to boot.

As the statistic from the Bush-staffed Bureau of Labor proves, union workers make more. Having more money means you can spend more. Spending is what keeps an economy in good health.

If I can boil it all down to such simplistic, easy-for-Republicans-to-understand statements, why is it that it is still such a foreign concept to most GOP supporters? Especially if they are very wealthy (see below)???

Michigan Democratic Party Chairman Butch Hollowell wasted no time in pouncing on the comments. "I hate to tell Betsy DeVos this, but high wages are not a bad thing," Hollowell said. "They're good, and we need more of them." Hollowell said he hopes Kerry will use his Michigan appearance to single out DeVos' comments on high wages.

It has been a month since DeVos and Democrats got entangled in another war of words over the economy. When it was announced that Milwaukee-based Johnson Controls Inc [JCI]. was sending 885 jobs to its auto visor plant in Mexico, where workers earn $2 an hour, Hollowell said, "If (DeVos' family) were so concerned about job losses, they shouldn't have sold it to JCI in the first place." The JCI operation in Holland [MI] was originally Prince Corp., founded by Betsy DeVos' father, Edgar Prince, and sold by the family in 1996 for $1.35 billion.

I can't say how large this family is, but it is obvious that they are down to their last mansion. No longer is it possible, thanks to the Homeland Security regulations, for them to scrimp by, utilizing illegal aliens as domestic servants. They will soon be forced to outsource all of their living quarters to places where the local government keeps the servant rabble in their place!

DeVos shot back, saying, "That is probably a commentary on what Butch Hollowell knows about business."

Such lofty vituperation I haven't heard since grade school - or the last time the Perfessor stopped by. It amounts to "I can't refute your statements - because you're correct - so I'll call you stupid instead."

Nothing Sucks Like Electrolux

Greenville [MI] refrigerator maker Electrolux announced plans earlier this year to send thousands of jobs to plants in South Carolina and Mexico [and is trying to 'convince' all of its suppliers to go with them], the latter of which pays workers $2 an hour, noted Lupe Ramos-Montigny, the Kent County Democratic Party chairwoman. "To be competitive, we have to resort to getting paid less than the minimum wage?" Ramos-Montigny said. "Is that what she's saying? If that's the case, it won't work, because people won't be able to survive."

Electrolux, which is Swedish owned, is even screwing their own country men by moving lots of jobs to Hungary - to win a contract to build fighter jets for the Hungarian Air Force!

Hollowell said DeVos still doesn't get it when it comes to the economy. "This just underscores how remote the Republican leadership is from ordinary people. ... It means the Republican Party in general just doesn't get it. The fact that we had a manufacturing economy which paid people good wages is responsible for our middle class," Hollowell said. "They allowed people to send their kids to college, make improvements on their homes, save for their retirement. That's the American dream."

With Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry scheduled to campaign today in Ann Arbor on jobs issues, the rhetoric heated up Tuesday. Greg McNeilly, the executive director of the state Republican Party, said Democrats will be hard-pressed to engage in what he suggested was class warfare. "When it comes to who's more like Michigan's working class, I'll match my $8 Supercuts haircut to John Kerry's $1,000 hair trim," McNeilly said. "Grow-up, Mr. Hollowell. Playing the 'class card' is so Dukakis."

Grow up yourself, Mr. McNeilly. Playing the 'wealth card' is SO arrogantly Bush League!

I strongly recommend that all the links I present in this post be checked out. The story that the economy is improving for the working class is exactly that - a story. Just because the economic picture for the rich is imroving doesn't mean that the rising tide is raising all boats - for some of us, the anchor ropes have no more slack, and as the tide rises, we don't.

But then, people like wealthy Betsy DeVos would just have us die and decrease the surplus impoverished working-class population. Then there would be ample berthing space for the new ocean-going yacht.


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