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Daniel Patrick Moynihan is a disappointment to those who counted on him to uphold the banner
of ethical social change.

Mexico's Zapatista community is protesting the commercial exploitation of the country's ecological riches.

Only hours into the United Students Against Sweatshops (USAS) national conference in Chicago--before half of the participants had even arrived--students were walking the picket line in s

High-tech workplace surveillance is the hallmark of a new digital Taylorism.

Talking union still amounts to a punishable offense in parts of the Old South.

Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill is turning out to be a dangerous crank.

For HERE president John Wilhelm, building the union always comes first.

The concept captures fundamental characteristics of today's world order.

With the Bush Administration, the corruption isn't hidden in the Lincoln Bedroom. It's paraded in your face. On June 18 Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill lunched with executives of leading financial houses at Windows on the World high atop New York's World Trade Center. His unstated purpose was to help raise $20 million from the companies he regulates, as an initial ante for a private advertising campaign to promote Social Security privatization. When George W. Bush joked during the campaign that the rich were "my base," he wasn't kidding.

The Administration has lurched straight from its tax cut to privatizing Social Security. On June 11 the sixteen members of Bush's Commission to Strengthen Social Security, all handpicked by the White House for their prior support of private accounts, announced that they are unanimously in favor of using part of Social Security taxes to create "individually controlled personal retirement accounts" to be invested in the stock market. Commission co-chairman Richard Parsons, co-chief operating officer of AOL-Time Warner, made the costs clear, saying the panel would consider raising the retirement age and cutting benefits. "For future retirees, you can consider everything on the table," he said.

A coalition of citizen organizations led by the Institute for America's Future and including labor, women's groups, the National Urban League, senior and youth groups, and disability activists immediately denounced the commission members as "astonishingly unrepresentative of the views held by most Americans concerning Social Security's future." A week later two members of the House Ways and Means Committee ran into a Midwestern version of the same citizens' coalition in Missouri when they conducted a "field hearing" to promote privatization. According to the St. Petersburg Times, committee chairman Bill Thomas had envisioned the hearing as an opportunity to foment an "intergenerational clash" between retirees and Generation Xers on Social Security reform. Instead, seniors and young people demonstrated for "intergenerational solidarity" against privatization.

Similarly, O'Neill's airy power lunch was punctuated by a protest rally organized by the AFL-CIO, the Institute for America's Future, the New York Statewide Senior Action Council, the 2030 Center (for young people) and other groups. Joined by Representatives Jerrold Nadler and Jan Schakowsky, the protesters denounced the blatant impropriety of O'Neill's helping solicit private funds to lobby for a plan that will generate billions for financial barons like Morgan Stanley, American International Group, Citigroup and Deutsche Bank, all of whom were expected to be at the lunch.

To repeat what we've said before: Social Security is not in financial trouble now and may never be; just tweak the actuarial assumptions used by the privatizers and any shortfall disappears. But even if more money is needed at some point to pay benefits, sensible solutions are at hand--the simplest being to raise or remove the cap on the amount of earnings on which Social Security taxes are levied. That idea, of course, does not go down well with the high-income crowd that supports Bush.

By the fall, the Bush Administration will hang around the neck of every Republican running for Congress a detailed plan for privatization, and Bush and O'Neill will be publicly identified with the campaign designed to sell this lemon to the American people. In 2002, Americans will have a clear choice to make.

In the progressive playbook for 2001, labor is called on to assume a leading role.

Blogs

The failure to protect workers is worsening an already dire public health crisis.

September 19, 2014

Cambodia’s garment workers are fighting for something they’ve never had before: a living wage.

September 17, 2014

A remarkable democratic debate over independence has forced an admission that austerity is a vital, perhaps definitive, issue.

September 17, 2014

In the smallest Gulf states, nearly 90 percent of residents are immigrant laborers. Many face unspeakable abuse.

September 16, 2014

VAWA has sparked real progress—but we can do more to ensure that survivors have stable jobs and housing.

September 12, 2014

Backed by US development aid, the Ethiopian government is seizing land, demolishing homes and cracking down on activists in a bid to expand its capital city.

September 12, 2014

There’s no evidence that credit reports reveal an applicant’s competence but plenty of evidence that shows they invade privacy and institutionalize discrimination.

September 12, 2014

While the tech world fawns over the new iPhone 6, labor abuses abound at an Apple factory in China.

September 10, 2014

A recent investigation of an Apple supplier factory by China Labor Watch and Green America found numerous serious health, safety and human rights violations.

September 9, 2014

The workers awaiting immigration reform need the ability to work legally, but they also need to be empowered at work.

September 8, 2014