The Usual Suspects Are Lining Up to Thwart Biden’s Infrastructure Plan and Fleece Workers All Over Again
Those lining up against the Biden administration’s $3.5 trillion Reconciliation Bill represent the same small segment of society that always demanded working families demure to the wants of the so-called job creators.
And the rich aren’t abandoning the idea now that federal unemployment benefits have expired. There’s nothing preventing landlords from spending Labor Day kicking millions of struggling American families onto the streets.
Donald Trump’s $1.9 trillion Tax Cuts and Jobs Act has already been exposed as the toxic fraud and giveaway to the ultra-rich its always been. Meanwhile Covid has made clear the need for the largest public investment in working families since Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal.
Is it any wonder that working men and women who expected to imperil their own lives and the lives of their families to keep the gravy train going for billionaire corporations are increasingly unwilling to do it anymore?
North Carolina Rep. Virginia Foxx, the Republican minority leader of the Education and Labor Committee, nevertheless, seized hold of August’s underwhelming jobs report to prop up the myth. (As if the figures, in and of themselves, adequately reflected the reality of working people’s lives).
“This is what happens when you reward people for staying at home and throw gasoline on an inflation fire with socialist spending packages,” the 15-year House fixture said in a pre-Labor Day statement.
“If Congressional Democrats and the Biden administration really want to help struggling Americans, they will get out of the job creators’ way and suspend with [Majority Leader Nancy] Pelosi’s $3.5 trillion spending spree which will double down on the worst of today’s jobs report.”
According to Forbes, the United States created nearly 100 new billionaires between March 2020 and March 2021. Worldwide, the figure approached nearly 500. All told, the world’s super-rich stuffed another $5.5 trillion into their already bloated multi-trillion-dollar coffers.
Making Out Like Bandits
The rich are making out like bandits during the pandemic. Is it any wonder that working men and women who are expected to imperil their own lives and the lives of their families to keep the gravy train going for billionaire corporations are increasingly unwilling to do it anymore?
The ever business savvy U.S. Chamber of Commerce cynically decided last month to back the bipartisan $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act—also pending in Congress. The chamber called it a necessary measure to help America “remain competitive” with China and “the most fiscally responsible infrastructure package in at least a decade.”
By framing its support in this kind of robust free-market faux language, the chamber is attempting to help shield the great job creators myth. It is also sparing 1-percenters the pain of being more heavily taxed under the $3.5 trillion Reconciliation Bill. The significantly heftier congressional measure includes money for soft infrastructure items like paid leave, child care, education and health care.
Related Companies head Stephen Ross— a great friend and enabler of Trump—invoked the job creator myth in his more than two-year quest to largely cut out the Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York (BCTC) from phase two of the largest private real estate development in U.S. history — the suicide-plagued Hudson Yards project, located on Manhattan’s West Side.
Union Busting in New York
Before the two parties reached an accord in 2019, furious trade unionists irate at losing jobs at Hudson Yards to cheap nonunion labor, dogged Ross and Related Cos. all around town, subjecting themselves to mass arrest, filling Sixth Avenue with thousands of rank and file protesters, and, at one point, blasting the developer as a racist union-buster during a live telecast of Fox NFL Thursday Night Football.
All the sustained union militancy prompted Joanna Rose, a Related Companies executive vp, to snap, “The BCTC does not create jobs — we do.”
Rose’s cranky response, however, belied the billions of dollars in public subsidies, tax breaks and loans the Hudson Yards project enjoyed. Young New York City trade unionists still at the start of their building careers weren’t fooled, however.
“[The property] comes from the city to begin with — that’s the common ownership of the people,” Laborers Local 79 member Freddie Bastone said during the protests.
“And the workers, themselves, have always produced the wealth in this city. We’re talking about the largest real estate development in all of American history, and the financing going into that comes right out of our pockets. And we built those buildings — we build New York. So, we’re the ones who create the real wealth — they don’t create anything. If we’re going to have class warfare brought to us, we’re going to have to bring it to them.”
Fellow Laborers Local 79 member Tafadar Sourov put the situation in further perspective.
“What the developers are doing…they supervise the process of bringing together the money and the workers…but if we’re really talking about who makes the job run, who actually makes sure all this wealth is used to produce — it’s us. We’re the producers,” he said. “We’re the workers. Nothing happens without us.”
The $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act is projected to create a million middle-class jobs over the next decade in engineering, accounting and construction. The $3.5 trillion Reconciliation Bill, part of Biden’s Build Back Better program, significantly expands the social safety net, while reportedly creating two million jobs annually.
All of these jobs are a far cry from the low-wage, junk jobs the mythic “job creators” usually produce. While the federal minimum wage has been stuck at $7.25 since 2009, the average S&P 500 company CEO-to-worker pay ratio last year rose to 299 to 1.
The Joe Manchins of the world, however, are spending this pivotal time in the nation’s history fretting about the deficit and warning that the economy is on the verge of “overheating” with “millions of jobs” across the country going unfilled.
Could it be that those vaunted “job creators” just aren’t any good at creating decent jobs?