Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Who's Bilking Who?

"They face the same enemy: unchecked corporate power and super profit taking."
"Profit, not weapons of mass destruction, was the motive for our incursion into Iraq."
"President Bush and his cronies have bilked the American people out of hundreds of billions of dollars that they funneled into private profit."
"The lust for corporate profit has driven the immigration tragedy..."
" free trade agreements...keep the third world enslaved by the first world and allow super-profit taking by first world-based transnational corporations."
"So Halliburton is making huge profits off the backs of the undocumented."

These are the words of Horlick High School teachers Al levie and Ryan Knudsen in a commentary in today's Journal Times. My turn.

"We face the same enemy: the unchecked political power of the teachers union."
"Profit, not education, is what motivates the teachers union."
"Al, Ryan, and their cronies have bilked the residents of the Racine area out of hundreds of millions of dollars that they have funneled into private profit and elaborate health benefits."
"The lust for referendum cash has driven our education tragedy."
"Our so-called school board, the teachers union and RUSD administration...keep our poor children trapped in failing public schools that allow for super-profit taking for RUSD employees." "Al and Ryan are making huge profits off the backs of the uneducated."

That was too easy. Is Unified hiring?


eric said...

Hey Denis, long time, no blog. This return to college stuff is fun, but way busy. I too read Ryan and Al’s commentary yesterday and was struck by a few things. First, the abbreviated version of the headline is, stand against war and poverty. Who’s not against war and poverty? The authors tell us that the current war and immigrant poverty are caused by corporations – they name Halliburton, Wal-Mart, and Tyson; and go on to indict institutions like IMF/WB and NAFTA/CAFTA as contributing to the problems. I have other friends who feel corporations are the root of most of our problems. I always ask them what principles guide them, what alternative to corporations do they offer, how would they institute their ideas, and would it impact us all. The main criticism of the commentary is that without offering alternatives it’s comes across as whining. I know it’s meant to be a call to action, but what action, specifically? Just what constitutes humane immigration policy? Are just a few of the thousands of corporations bad, or is the whole large corporation concept flawed? Do we just need legislation/regulation targeted at a couple companies, or are we advocating socialism? I know Ryan contributed to your blog before and maybe he’ll share some more details of what he’s thinking.

A couple observations on immigration, some personal. My wife’s a recent immigrant so we’re somewhat familiar with the process. Living in Scotland as a young man I entertained the thought of being an illegal immigrant in the UK, but after weighing all the ramifications, returned home to the US. My family originates from one of the two poorest counties in Appalachia. Our family is familiar with poverty and immigration issues, and I’m guessing there are a lot of other American families that are too. We don’t wish ill on the new immigrants. It’s nice to see them, when it’s done legally. There’s no point on having laws that you don’t intend to enforce, because that condition eventually leads to problems. The whole immigration issue is moot until we decide, do we enforce a closed border, or take NAFTA to new dimensions and (ala the EU) open the border legally. If I were an immigrant advocacy group I would be pointing out the huge number of working illegals here is evidence the US economy needs them and that US immigration is drastically under-resourced to satisfy US needs. Asserting a right to be in a country for which you lack citizenship and entered illegally won’t cut it, anywhere. But you can point out how your further presence is a benefit to the country.

One minor point in the commentary dealt with military recruiters. I served in the military for 21 years and the recruiters certainly have a reputation as being the car salesmen of the military. In the era of an all volunteer force they have become more important. They go everywhere, and most where the volunteer market is. I served with several folks who became US citizens as a result of their service in uniform, so I’m not real sure how illegals are being “tricked” to enlist. On the one hand recruiters are salesmen, but on the other they offer a possibility of US citizenship to illegals.

I hope Ryan is reading and will respond. Denis, I apologize for putting 2 months worth of entries into one blog response, but the original commentary was provocative and deserves discussion.

Denis Navratil said...

Welcome back Eric. You make many interesting observations. It is clear after reading the commentary by Ryan and Al that they have a disdain for both corporations and profits. It seemingly is not limited to certain corporations or ill gotten profits. I too wondered what they would prefer. The opposite of corporations and profits would seem to be joblessness and losses. Why would this be good for anyone? Their attitudes are especially ironic given that they probably enjoy the highest standard of living of any public school teachers in any country, ever. And their high wages are of course only possible because of a mostly capitalist economic system that generates huge amounts of profits to be taxed. And this is who is teaching our children.