Do you find it as charming as I do when some leisure-class corporate chieftain whines that America’s working stiffs are a bunch of slackers?
We’re hearing that now from Wall Street plutocrats, grumping that employees no longer have that old nose-to-the-grindstone, “yes-boss” work ethic of old-school capitalism that has created such fabulous wealth. Of course, “wealth for whom?” and “work for what?” are at the root of today’s questioning of the old culture and structure of work. But the grumpers don’t want to hear that, so they simply carp that America has “gone soft.”
The latest high-flying scolder is Steven Rattner, the Wall Street huckster who was fined $6 million in 2010 for running a kickback scheme and banned from investment banking for two years. But now he’s back in the financial hustle, feeling free to chastise you for what he sees as your lack of hustle on the job.
In particular, Steve is peeved at you work-from-home people, asserting with no actual evidence you’re not really working. He claims it will inevitably lead to “a lower standard of living”—a standard he measures strictly in money, not quality of life. Indeed, he says that your life should be work—pointing with envy to China’s “996” system, a grinding ethic of expecting people to work from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. six days a week. Then Rattner offers a grand solution to dissuade work-from-home arrangements: Housing. Why, he asks, have a big majority of European workers already returned to their offices? Simple, he says—most people there live in small apartments and houses, making stay-at-home work less comfortable. Voila! Put America’s workers in tiny houses and office space will fill up.
See—life is simple if you view it from the heights of Wall Street. Thank you, Steve. Now go away.
Here’s something good about Texas!
Given the rabid right-wing-ism of most Republican officeholders in my state of Texas, you might assume that the climate here is only fit for rattlesnakes, scorpions and venomous critters of pious political extremism.
Yet, the true Texas political character (historically and currently) is vehemently anti-corporate and deeply rooted in the uniting ethic of the common good. For an historic example, look to the state’s first constitution—it outlawed banks and required a two-thirds vote of the legislature to form a corporation!
And today, grassroots Texans in the rural town of Llano have just demonstrated the power of progressive community values that are common in this supposedly-conservative state. The issue was book-banning: A batch of political extremists had decided to purge the public library of 17 books. Porno! they shrieked. Yet none are pornographic. They are simply about ideas and realities that Republican culture-war zealots don’t like—namely books documenting the history of institutional racism in America and the normality of America’s LGBTQ community.
Common sense Llano locals rebelled, suing the county government for autocratically trying to control the people’s freedom to read and learn. And a federal judge has now ruled that the book-banning was flagrantly unconstitutional, ordering the targeted titles back on the shelves.
Then, in a collective spasm of knee-jerk ignorance and arrogance, the county’s book-banning officials announced that—By gollies!—they would just defund and shut down the entire library system. Yeah, that’ll teach people to respect authority! Again, though, locals rebelled, turning out in force to protest the officials’ political chicanery, forcing them to reverse their closure scheme.
The right wing will keep pushing its censorship ploy, but the people are onto them… and on guard. As one 10-year-old student in Llano succinctly testified: “It’s not the county’s job to burn the library down.
To find out more about Jim Hightower and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators webpage at http://www.creators.com. (c) 2023 creators.com