By Pat Vaughn
The saying “money doesn’t buy happiness” is usually told to us by those who have it! What does it take to be happy? The working class knows part of the answer is money... enough income to buy happy “stuff” for the family, put food on the table, have a decent home, good health care and savings for higher education for their children. We need to feel safe to be happy! For this, everyone (that isn’t living off of Daddy’s trust fund) has always needed a decent paying job, a job with livable incomes that allows for paying bills and giving our fair share to taxes that support our government.
The obvious downfall for every member of today’s working class began when President Ronald Reagan (after only six months in office) fired over 11,300 unionized air traffic controllers after they held a two-day strike Aug. 5, 1981. Nothing was done by Congress, or anyone else, to protest those firings. And so, gains by all workers (members of unions or not) began deteriorating. Thirty-plus subsequent years of no real rules, regulations or controls have lowered working conditions, including wages, and cut manufacturing jobs to the levels we see today. American workers can no longer “afford” to be “happy.” Not even those who still have jobs!
Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, negotiated with Mexico and Canada for a “free trade agreement,” aka “NAFTA.” Bill Clinton signed the agreement into law (1994) just after taking office. Congress and three presidents failed to protect the American labor from the results of this treaty. They were elected to protect “We the People,” and we expected them to be knowledgeable and have enough common sense to do so.
No enforceable rules, regulations or duties were included in NAFTA that would have protected average workers from greedy and disloyal corporate “citizens.” And so began the moving of American manufacturing jobs; first to Mexico, then China with its flaws (Communism), and now to any country that can take advantage of their poor to provide cheap labor and shoddy materials.
These “free trade” efforts (like the TPP now being negotiated in secret) are designed to make huge profits for selfish and disloyal business “billionaires” at the expense of the entire United States. These billionaires show their “cleverness” by hiding their legal and illegal “profits” from the taxable reach of the IRS. They buy off the Justice Department. This continues with no Congressional punishments or penalties being passed, or even proposed, by the Republican controlled House of Representatives.
Voters and newly aware non-voters can still correct this and improve working conditions. Become informed... pay attention! Know which of the two political parties will help and change the ongoing way of work and life. The Democratic Party stands more for workers, as it always has! Despite the ugly lies that continue to be thrown at President Obama, he leans toward the working class. It is legislative Republicans who continue to block a vote on Obama’s “jobs bill.”
Want to be “happy” again with a job? First, inform yourself (don’t just watch Fox) Then, vote! Register and vote… and fire those in every government body who care nothing for the working class.
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This column represents alternative thoughts to other published columns in the Crossville Chronicle. “We the People” is published each Wednesday. Opinions expressed in “We the People” columns are not necessarily those of the Crossville Chronicle publisher, editor or staff. For more information, contact John Wund, editor, at firstname.lastname@example.org.