And then there's this from today's Los Angeles Times:
... Supplying dealer service departments throughout Southern California, Arizona and Nevada, [BMW's parts distribution warehouse in Ontario] received gold medals from BMW for its efficiency and employed several of the top-ranked workers in the country. In the roughly 40 years its workers had been represented by the Teamsters union, there had never been a labor stoppage. ...
As of Aug. 31, the plant [will] be outsourced to an unidentified third-party logistics company and all but three of its 71 employees laid off. ...
So it's "Please lock the door behind you, and drive safely" to the three-score and ten employees of BMW out there in Ontario, and what, after all, is new? If you don't have a job, that's your character deficiency. Because it's the reality of 21st century American life.
And of course, the counter to the sad tale above, heard often today, is "Well, what you gonna do? We're broke." And it's certainly true that state and local governments are running deficits, and that the Federal Government is running deficits. But Big Business?
Economists at Northeastern University have found that the current economic recovery in the United States has been unusually skewed in favor of corporate profits and against increased wages for workers.
In their newly released study, the Northeastern economists found that since the recovery began in June 2009 following a deep 18-month recession, “corporate profits captured 88 percent of the growth in real national income while aggregate wages and salaries accounted for only slightly more than 1 percent” of that growth. ...
(When you think about it, it makes complete sense that Bob Iger, Rupert Murdoch and the rest of the corporate chieftans pull down multi-million dollar salaries. Their side is capturing almost ninety percent of income growth, so why the hell not?)
Then there's the nice little company that doesn't make cars, but airplanes, and which is behaving in a not totally dissimilar way to BMW. You might have read about it:
Lawyers for Boeing Co. and the National Labor Relations Board clashed Tuesday at a hearing on the board's allegations that the aircraft maker illegally shifted work from union plants in Washington state to a new non-union factory in South Carolina. ...
Clearly, the nasty Federal government is beating up on Boeing. But only with one hand. The other hand is being pretty nice:
In the 10 years ending in 2010, Boeing had $29 billion in profits, and paid minus-$948 million in federal taxes. ... If you include the past 11 years, Boeing's effective tax rate was positive, but only barely.
In other words, for the decade when the government launched two wars and ran up historic red ink, one of our largest companies — one that's a major beneficiary of military spending — contributed essentially zero to the ledger. ...
When I was a starry-eyed lad, growing up in the age of Eisenhower and Kennedy, big companies paid actual taxes and gazillionaires paid a a higher percentage of income, yet remained gazillionaires. But it was a simpler time then. Unions represented 40% of America's work-force. Social Security was considered sacrosanct. Moms worked at home instead of pulling in a second income to make ends meet.
Today we live in the Second Gilded Age, (except without the high growth rates). So it's only natural that companies pay nothing and lobby congress -- which admittedly, they have bought and purchased lock, stock and barrel -- for tax subsidies.
And if BMW workers get the heave ho, that's just the way it goes. Everybody's tax burdens are crushing (except not really.) And our Left-Wing, Socialist government is overreaching and imperious in its misguided quest to protect undeserving employees (except not very much.)
So it's only natural that those employees work uncompensated overtime while worrying about impending layoffs and their work getting outsourced. This is America, goddamnit!