Other than libertarians, people of every ideological strip start with the basics of modern civics. All of us have an obligation to our fellow citizens and our government has an obligation to all of us. Your duty as a citizen is not to the ruler, but to your fellow citizens. That means the men and women in government jobs have those same obligations. That’s the foundation stone of popular government. We create among ourselves the apparatus of the state so it can serve our collective interests.
Fundamental to making this work is the idea of fairness. No one gets everything they want and few are deprived of getting something they want. Similarly, no group is getting to game the laws to take advantage of others. The laws in a society under popular government are often aimed at addressing the issue of fairness. Rich guys pay more in taxes than poor guys because the bulk of the people think it is only fair. After all, the rich guy is getting more from the bargain.
That’s obviously a very simple way of putting it, but fairness is the canvas on which popular government is drawn. It is the sense of fairness that is at the heart of reform campaigns and the primary appeal of political parties. Democrats in America have been campaigning on fairness for as long as anyone reading this has been alive. Even Republicans tuck the fairness issue into their appeals for low taxes and open borders. In the West, at least, popular government is nothing but a debate over what is fair and equitable.
I suspect that part of what’s happening to the Republicans, and the Buckley Conservatives, is rooted in the fairness issue. The people fobbing themselves off as conservatives these days are mostly libertarians with some social conservative ideas bolted on as decoration. This is the result of Frank Meyer Fusionism, which was supposed to bring together the free market ideas of libertarians and the traditionalism of the old Right. Today it is just technocratic libertarianism with some hand waving about abortion and the gays.
As I’m fond of pointing out to libertarians, people are not moist robots. Their heads may say that the factory has to close because it is losing money, but they still feel terrible for the men getting pink slips. They may be swayed by free trade appeals, but they still feel wrong seeing jobs being shipped to China, while Americans end up on the welfare rolls. It’s the nagging sense of fairness that leads us to think that maybe we’re not living up to our obligations to our fellow citizens.
Union leaders at an air conditioner factory in Indianapolis threatened with losing 1,400 jobs to Mexico said on Tuesday the plant’s owner expects to pay Mexican workers $3 an hour compared to an average of more than $20 an hour for the U.S. workers.
“We haven’t given up the fight yet,” said Chuck Jones, president of the United Steelworkers union local that represents workers at the Carrier Corp plant. “But Carrier has pretty well indicated that the wage differential is too great and there’s not much we can do.”
A spokeswoman for Carrier, a unit of United Technologies Corp (UTX.N), said the company pays a “competitive wage” based on local conditions and could not discuss pay levels.
Union and Carrier officials were locked in talks on Tuesday as a political storm raged around them.
The announcement last week from Carrier that it would shift 1,400 jobs from Indianapolis and 700 from another plant in Huntington, Indiana to Monterrey, Mexico starting in 2017 prompted Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump to say he would tax Carrier air conditioning units for moving to Mexico.
Normal Americans can wrap their heads around the fact that Carrier will save a lot of money by moving their plant to Mexico. They understand that this may be necessary to remain competitive. They also wonder why our government is doing all of these favors for Mexico, when the Mexicans do things like ship us narcotics, gangsters and illegal aliens. In other words, something feels wrong here. Whose interests are being served here? It is clearly not the Americans working at the Carrier plant.
Human-resources software company Zenefits had to send an uncomfortable HR email to their own to staff recently following a few incidents within their San Francisco office.
The startup, which launched less than three years ago but was evaluated last May at $4.5 billion, was forced to ban staff from drinking in the office after some wild parties that involved employees having sex in the stairwell of the building, according to emails obtained by The Wall Street Journal.
The emails, sent around last summer by Zenefits Director of Real Estate and Workplace Services, Emily Agin, described the situation of employees having sex at work as ‘crude behavior’.
‘It has been brought to our attention by building management and Security that the stairwells are being used inappropriately….Cigarettes, plastic cups filled with beer, and several used condoms were found in the stairwell. Yes, you read that right,’ the email said.
‘Do not use the stairwells to smoke, drink, eat, or have sex.
‘Please respect building and company policy and use common sense…’
The alcohol ban was officially brought in last week by Zenefits’s new chief executive, David Sacks.
Sacks said it is important to cultivate a more mature work atmosphere in a staff memo that was sent around last Wednesday.
Zenefits is a company that exists because of the financialization of the US economy. Cheap credit means cash to create this firm and keep it afloat while it parties its way through a ton of cash. It’s also the sort of firm that helps business treat their employees like furniture. Americans see these stories and naturally wonder how these rich pricks are allowed to get away with this nonsense. No American can smoke and drink at work, much less get it on in the stairwell.
When the boys and girls of Conservative Inc, cloistered in their taxpayer financed monasteries around Washington, cry out “A furore Lutumnorum libera nos, Domine” they are not thinking about stories like these. They have been insulated from the consequences of the polices they are paid to promote. The Dirt People, however, look at the unfairness they see everyday on their televisions and on-line and wonder why their leaders have forsaken them.