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Tuesday, January 06, 2004

Senses, Working Overtime

I know this publicity initative by the Labor Department, in which it attempts to instruct employers on how to avoid paying overtime, should not be that much of a surprise at this point.

But I still had to remark upon it.

With one side of this administration's collective mouth, it is touting how the new reformed overtime rules are going to benefit scores of low-wage workers, but with the other, it's releasing statements to employers about how to make sure those grandiose statements are just as false as every one of their other public pronouncements, whether it's about going to war, fiscal policy, or anything else.

Everything released by this administration should come with a disclaimer that says " Any similarity between the preceding statement and the truth is purely coincidental." attached.

One unfortunate consequence of the failure of John Edwards' presidential campaign to catch on is that less attention is being given to a major campaign theme of his - that the Bush administration has embarked on a series of policies that are singularly harmful to the vast majority of Americans who have to work for a living.

Whether it's trying to undo the 40-hour work week, gutting workplace safety protections, or - most notably - transforming federal tax and economic policy to disadvantage those who rely on the fruits of their labor vis-a-vis those who derive income from sitting on the accumulation of capital, there is a War on Workers afoot.

The net effect of cutting upper bracket income taxes, the efforts to kill the so-called "death tax," and their various other initiatives, is to shift the burden of an ever-increasing federal government - contrary to their stated intentions, their claims of a "small, limited government" are laughable when one examines their proposed budgets and their military ambitions - away from those with vast accumulated fortunes and toward those a paycheck or two from destitution. (Not to mention our children and grandchildren, but that's another story.)

And just so I can mention her silly name again, perhaps the epitome of the person who benefits from all this - other than George W. Bush, of course - is our friend Paris Hilton.

Class warfare? Well, if it is, we should remember who fired the first shot. We should also remember who's defending the social contract construct that helped America develop the most affluent society history has ever seen, and who's pining for another Gilded Age where the rich and powerful can write their own laws. Using the term "conservative" to describe these radical, slash-and-burn types now holding sway in Washington is a misnomer.


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