Serving the Metropolitan Area
By Jack Parnell - retired Congressman and Independent Presidential candidate
Syndicated by Acme Features
Now... who'da thunk a New York piece o’ fish would be that final straw as scuttled organized labor and tossed it off a pier to sleep with cods and smelts; not to mention careers of all those boy bands and network karaoke winners a body can't escape hearing, years after the fact?
Up on that West Side... used-to-be Seinfeld and Friends territory, rotten with degenerate-capital liberals as write checks to arm whales, engage in banter salvaged from Dorothy Parker’s wastebasket and drink the mostly obscure coffees... is this fish market. On 75th and Broadway, name of Citarella's. Three workers there tried to organize a union 'round the usual things - no overtime or vacations and a lack of ventilation in the basement. For their trouble, they got canned, neatly as sardines. Lack of ventilation, where Osama and the fishes sleep, is taken more seriously than in stores as sell cinnamon, radiator hoses, pencils and the like, so the Food and Commercial Worker's Union threw up this typical New York City picket line with some expectation it would be honored, unlike in real America... where termites say that real Americans don't need unions. Or masks.
Them Upper West Side liberals didn't give a rat's ass... wanted their crabs, fresh trout and scallops, and wanted them yesterday! Even the few who did honor the picket line only did so, like that one who told that Congressman from up there, "...because my father would've killed me if he heard I'd crossed the line." After six months, the union scuttled away, scabs stabbed in the back... wouldn't fish market scabs be called "scales"?... fired workers taken back on condition they take their pay and benefit cuts with a smile, and never, ever, breathe a word of complaint about breathing lungfuls of decomposing halibut in mid-July.
Labor... either in the sense of organizations as look out for those Americans who do real work, or the real work itself... has ceased to count for a cardboard box of fish guts in this brave new millennium as stretches outwards and onwards, against us.
Great technological shifts as occur once in about seven decades... formerly only once in several centuries... call forth portentous nomenclature from G-forcers and Z-stringers and such to define yesterday's vanities as have become today's necessities. When the Civil War ended, Americans began moving off farms and into the cities with their factories. They stopped making their own shoes, homes and whiskey, stopped growing potatoes, canning pears and raising hogs and drove their buggies into town to buy from the store. The age of the specialists and the assembly-line was born. Turn-of-the-century genius created the automobile, electric light and cinema, and whole new industries arose to meet the public's insatiable demand for novelties.
World wars came and went. New contraptions like the television and computer, built by Americans, took their place in American homes. Just as we'd left horse and buggy behind to squeeze into trains, streetcars and Pontiacs... now we'd flock to airports to fly round the world in less than a day, then wait hours more for our security and luggage. We sent a man to the moon and then recoiled, almost ashamed at the audacity of our endeavor... and the risk that it entailed. We bought and sold insurance and passed laws against fizzy soda-water and directing the proper way to butter bread in nursing homes. When banks failed, our gumment bailed them out and, with millions lined up to beg for mortgages, the bankers took that money to buy more jets and vacations in the sun and finance a string of Wall Street mergers that has left us with a handful of corporations too big to fail.
We grew old, cynical and Squeamish.
One by one in the wake of the plague, great industries of the Twentieth Century withered or relocated to hot, unpleasant cesspools of cheap labor in the Third World, where the environment, democracy and human rights are given all the respect granted the toilet paper as fails to exist in them places and then, for us, disappeared. These workers were kept in their place because management had the option of disposing of them all, even the Chinese, and bringing in robots. Newly de-industrializing sybarites of Western Europe, North America and Japan watched real people pretending to be actors pretending to be real people eat rats, fall off balconies and gamble away the family car at suckers' odds for pathetic sums of money.
Virtuecrats exalted Leviticus and wiped their behinds with the Sermon on the Mount.
"There's dignity in working at $4 an hour," contended Phil Gramm a decade ago, when the minimum wage was above two Jeffersons. Now, these minimum-wage and part-time service jobs left to an ever swelling population of Americans living in shelters or prisons and eating dogfood "are still jobs, and they will still generate income," as boasted Martin Regalia, chief economist for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce over a steaming plate of dignity.
Lo and behold, Thursday’s New York Times stated that the labor shortage is more myth than reality. “If anything, wages today are historically low,” they noted. “They have been growing slowly for decades for every income group other than the affluent. As a share of gross domestic product, worker compensation is lower than at any point in the second half of the 20th century. Two main causes are corporate consolidation and shrinking labor unions, which together have given employers more workplace power and employees less of it.
“Just as telling as the wage data, the share of working-age Americans who are in fact working has declined in recent decades. The country now has the equivalent of a large group of bakeries that are not making baguettes but would do so if it were more lucrative — a pool of would-be workers, sitting on the sidelines of the labor market.
“Corporate profits, on the other hand, have been rising rapidly and now make up a larger share of G.D.P. than in previous decades. As a result, most companies can afford to respond to a growing economy by raising wages and continuing to make profits, albeit the wages perhaps not covering inflation nor the unusually generous profits they have been enjoying since the plague maintaining their mojo.”
The Labor Department, reported conservative columnist Mona Charen in Slick Willie's day, funded "...34 programs totaling about $7 billion... the Department of Education alone runs 59 different job-training programs at a cost of $13 billion." DOE retrained "...81,600 cosmetologists a year. But there is only a market for 17,000."
That was Liberalism's carrot... to its own Insider Rabbits, not the workers. The stick became that more and more of those seeking child care, food stamps and other tangible benefits either had to fill chairs in these bogus programs, or enroll in a "job search" which, as a couple of Wall Street Journal writers in Baltimore cited by Charen found out, consists of hitting up the same few weary retailers in the vicinity of the welfare office to make a quota of two dozen "applications" every 60 days.
"You just have to get through this," a Federal "jobs counselor" with a Federal paycheck told her bewildered clients.
Not to say that there ain’t industry… such as it is… in some parts of America. Not to make excuses for the plague, but the pandemic did light a fire under Big Pharma and Big Medicine and things finally got done; done so thoroughly that Presidents Trump and Biden are still rolling round in the dust to snuff it out. We got the drones to drive pizza deliverers out’n their jobs and, now, them whitecoats at Princeton have been tinkering with rodent genes to enable rats to do simple, repetitive human tasks... work!... while more ambitious whitecoats in Oregon have transplanted glowing green jellyfish DNA to monkey embryos. Boy howdy!... maybe this'll lead to a workforce as toils for peanuts, literally, and can labor in the dark, saving money on electricity! Who needs robots? Castoff unterproletariat look for fags and Meskins to bash, tout their vain identification with the bosses and the snake-oil salesmen in Washington while clutching onto their misplaced trust in corrupted union Kommisars as look up from their schemin' and schismin' to rubber stamp their pink slips as a consequence of being replaced by some glowing rat.
At least the P.I.C. psychologists (not to mention the Attorney General) are hip to all-but-certain outcomes when the suckers wake and wise up. Underpaid, overworked Americans may develop "nonworking behaviors involving political or union activism to satisfy needs for esteem and fulfillment," suggests psychologist H. G. Kaufman, adding, "In Germany, we saw large numbers of unemployed professionals supporting the Nazis."
"If we don't fill the political void…" Tony Mazzocchi of the Oil, Chemical and Atomic Workers' Union threatened, a while before the advent of Team Biden with its merry band of Goldman-Sachsters as slew the Dragon Trump, with its Wall Street hoboes, ."…something much uglier could take over." Like Trump, 2024!
Wouldn’t be any less than we deserve. The 21st century has seen a the Presidency occupied by second rate, second generation royalty who crashed the e-con’me. Then we get a Democratic President and filibuster-proof Congress in ought-eight, as wasted its time and credibility quarrelling about the rights of microbes and issuing subpoenas and then, two years later disapparating. The 2016 and 2020 contests were dominated by conspiracy theories, ranting ministers and hate between the blacks and women, culminating in a massive Asian-American fire drill of ballot fraud and subsequent sudden death… Congress, as a consequence of spiteful Republicans voting with the Dems to pay The Donald back for bein’ himself, exploiting the filibuster and the gerrymander to stall out in gridlock as we stumble, lurching and slouching towards 2024 with about nine percent of those polled liking donkey Tweedledumbs, seven percent for Party of Trump Tweedledumbers and the rest telling those pollsters to go off and have intercourse with their dead grandmothers.
Americans have diverse wants, but I find it hard to believe any of us see much future in zombie union bluster, or a government as keeps doling out the subsidies to train nail-polishers when the only working people as can afford purty nails (or paws? claws?) are rats... the ultimate survivors in Entropy's rat race!
Like them Starbucks people – that seven dollar cuppa plain, thirteen for some goop added, can’t support a living wage for workers? Some of the baristas went out in strike, so Starbucks shut down one of its franchises in Maine – which was a sort of sacrifice, because you need a lot of hot coffee in Maine. No matter! Worth the lesson you teach to those peasants who grind all those exotic beans.
Here’s Catfish labor policy. The CNC will raise the minimum wage (though not to fifteen, not everywhere – twelve in some places, maybe, as that Federal floor, above which states can opt into further increases, probably lin), but only after completely overhauling coercive “independent contractor” loopholes as let some employers like the boo’d, sued and ultimately screwed telephone directory rackets as paid their wage slaves an average one dollar sixty seven cents an hour - less than they would earn in Manila or Bombay. Them as lose their jobs for the reasons now allowed by gummint get the pay allowed by gummint for ninety days. Then, (unless they prefer a life of crime) they have to report to a Federal employment center three days a week… twenty four hours… and do such work as is necessary at the time and place for the minimum wage plus ten percent, another ten percent if they have dependants and maybe a little more for those as volunteer to do the dirty or dangerous jobs like assistant first responders or health care workers as mostly did receive hazard pay during the plague. Them as unqualify for the unemployment can go to the center too, and get paid the minimum only for up to their twenty-four. People who quit their jobs or get fired “appropriately” as advocated by the thousand-dollar company lawyers, people just out of school or the army, old folks whose social security doesn’t cover the rent and their meds, even prisoners fresh out of jail... come on down! Good Americans may hate these, but they still need to eat and sleep somewhere out of the rain and the reach of police and, if enough of ‘em can’t, somebody’s gonna get robbed or shot and, unless we go the full Duterte on Americans, the perps’ reward will be years of three hots and a cot on the taxpayers’ dime.
Oh – and them as get fired from their public or private jobs for refusing to get vaccinated: that’ll be the same as a “voluntary quit”. No corner niche allowed.
So will the CNC bring back “at hard labor” for the incarcerated? Watch us! What jobs they do are those that society needs but refuses to pay for, or private parties as need work done can rent them out’n the center for half or maybe two-thirds the minimum, in some cases… as would be worked out with the Congress and the local gummints… or the whole in another.
During the Great Depression – the real one eighty-some years ago, not the Bush-Obama not-so-great recession, not the here-today-gone-tomorrow plague stagflation as mostly hastened trends already cooking on the back burner since the teens turned – President Roosevelt instituted a sort of similar policy that he called the W.P.A. The Works Progress Administration… not the Welfare Progress Administration.
Them employment agencies as charge the unemployed two hundred bucks to find a dishwashing job that lasts until the training wage loophole starts to close… those might squeal a little but – hey! – the essence of capitalism is that anybody has the right to compete in the marketplace without government intervention… even the government!
Back at Citarella's on the Upper West Side, meat manager Charlie Gagliardo now says there was "a time and place for unions and this place is just not it." The old union sorts who used to occupy the neighborhood die off, or get evicted to house stockbrokers and dotcommies-turned-biotechsters at three times the rent, those as don't even blink at paying five bucks for a cuppa coffee, ten for one red-white-n'-blue herring on a Norwegian cracker.
"Now that's all changed," said this history professor Joshua Freeman, who works Columbia, a ways north. "These days Upper West Siders earn more and care less about unions than them who came before them."
CLICK the CATFISH to go to PAST and PRESENT EPISODES of "BLACK HELICOPTERS" and to OTHER JACK PARNELL COLUMNS