I will protect your pensions. Nothing about your pension is going to change when I am governor. - Chris Christie, "An Open Letter to the Teachers of NJ" October, 2009

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Inside the Head of a Corporate Shill

Corporate shill Chip Hallock, President and CEO of the Newark Regional Business Partnership, has a take on the world that's rather - interesting...
It’s amazing some people persist with “the corporations are the root of all evil” myth while turning a blind eye toward the reality that we have more government than we can afford.
In their Labor Day oped “An economy that works for all” (Sept. 6), AFL-CIO officials lambaste the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and criticize CEOs of two disaster-wracked companies, proclaiming, “Those are the people to blame for our economic crisis.” If viewed honestly, there is plenty of blame to go around — overreaching consumers, flawed government regulation, changing world commerce, union wage and benefits demands that outpace productivity and, yes, bad business decisions.
Gosh, how generous of you to include "bad business decisions" on your list, Chip. I mean, all right-thinking corporate apologists know "overreaching consumers" were behind the Deepwater Horizon cataclysm, not "bad business decisions," right? And I don't even know what "changing world commerce" means, but I'm sure it was much more important than any "bad business decisions" that lead to the deaths of 29 people in that Massey Coal mine disaster.

In spite of yourself, Chip, you do stumble on to the root problem: "flawed government regulation." The flaw, however, is in letting these industries regulate themselves. They lobby hard and pass out campaign cash, for which they get to make regulations that exempt deep water drills from having safety outlets, or pass out slaps on the wrists for repeatedly violating mine safety regulations, or allow insane financial transactions to occur with no transparency.

But the thing that really kills me here, Chip, is that you actually believe one of our problems is that workers in America are getting paid too much! Perhaps you haven't heard about growing income inequity in the US:
It's generally understood that we live in a time of growing income inequality, but "the ordinary person is not really aware of how big it is," Krugman told me. During the late 1980s and the late 1990s, the United States experienced two unprecedentedly long periods of sustained economic growth—the "seven fat years" and the " long boom." Yet from 1980 to 2005, more than 80 percent of total increase in Americans' income went to the top 1 percent. Economic growth was more sluggish in the aughts, but the decade saw productivity increase by about 20 percent. Yet virtually none of the increase translated into wage growth at middle and lower incomes, an outcome that left many economists scratching their heads.
This fact, of course, flies in the face of the worldview of guys like Chip Hallock:
They also stated more state and local government employees have access to medical and retirement benefits than civilian workers and “that means that state and local government workers don’t have to rely on taxpayer-funded emergency medical care and other poverty assistance.” But it does mean that taxpayers are directly paying for those overly generous benefits — a key reason that the overall tax burden in New Jersey has stymied private sector economic growth and job creation. 
Oh, those "overly generous benefits" - like health care! Who are American workers to demand decent, reasonably priced health care, something the rest of the world seems to provide for 1/2 to 1/3 of the cost. Or retiring in dignity! People need to keep working well into their 70's! Work isn't that hard, you know - look at Chip:

Newark Regional Business Partnership Staff
L-R (back row): ...., ...., Chip Hallock 

I mean, granted, it must be hard to get the tux to the cleaners regularly, but still... life's OK for a poor working stiff like Chip. If he can suck it up in his golden years, why can't we expect sanitation workers or cops or teachers to put in time past their 60s?

People like this are the reason America is seeing its influence decline as fast as the quality of life for its citizens. We are an incredibly productive country with vast resources, and there is no reason anyone here who works hard and plays by the rules shouldn't have an economically stable life.

But we continue to be sold a lie that we have to choose between economic security and productivity. That if we somehow demand that American workers get decent wages, quality health care, good educations and comfortable retirements, the whole system will come crashing down.

He foments anger at public employees because they are the last group of workers who have not yet been beaten down by the new kleptocracy. He knows that the worst possible thing that could happen for him and his masters would be if people stop directing their anger at teachers and cops for having decent health care and instead start questioning why EVERYONE doesn't have decent coverage.

Chip Harlock is in the business of protecting wealth, not creating it. His opinion is useless.

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