From Michael Lind’s article, Southern poverty pimps, at Salon:
The essence of the Southern economic model is not low taxation, but a lack of bargaining power by Southern workers of all races. Bargaining power at the bottom of the income scale is created by tight labor markets; unions; minimum wage laws combined with unemployment insurance; and social insurance, such as Social Security and Medicare and Medicaid.
Naturally, the 21st-century descendants of Jefferson Davis and John C. Calhoun want to weaken everything that strengthens the ability of a Southern worker to say to a Southern employer: “Take this job and shove it!”
Tight labor markets are anathema to Southern employers. They want loose labor markets that create a buyer’s market in wage labor. That is why, at a time of mass unemployment among low-skilled workers in the U.S., most of the calls for expanding unskilled immigration in the form of “guest worker” programs are coming from Southern and Southwestern politicians. Guest workers — that is, indentured servants bound to a single employer and unable to quit — are the ideal workers, from a neo-Confederate perspective. They are cheap and unfree.
The article is worth a read. But it contributes to the malaise of false dichotomies. As if the North and the Rustbelt weren’t taking on these same practices. Wisconsin, Indiana and even Michigan have elected pro-big business governors and legislatures who are working hard to dismantle worker’s rights to bargain and act as professional organizations to temper corporate malaise affecting both the public and private sectors. Even union-happy Chicago is under attack from our overwhelmingly-elected mayor, a Democrat who was former Chief of Staff for President Barack Obama.
So, yeah, there’s that. Meanwhile, capital created by workers continues to climb back to the top – or rather, flow back to the lowest levels- the ultrarich. But it’s the working poor who are blamed for being poor and demanding anything of worth for their work. Got it.
Oh, and there is this from Lind’s article for my fellow Christians who either hear or peddle the nonsense that charities should take care of the poor, not government (and for whom the words “economic justice
” do not ring a bell):
In order to maximize the dependence of Southern workers on Southern employers in the great low-wage labor pool of the former Confederacy, it would be best to have no welfare at all, only local charity (funded and controlled, naturally, by the local wealthy families).
We’ve dealt with that nonsense here and here and here, though.