Labor Day 2011 Message by Ernie Fazio, Chairman Long Island Metro Business Action (LIMBA)
Go Easy on the Rich
On Labor Day I usually write something that shows appreciation for the working people who have built this country and continue to maintain it. But not today, my concern is with the truly financially endowed. They are the people that need protection, not from the rabble or the proletariat, but from themselves.
The rich need saving because they get their wealth from selling things to the rest of us. Without the buying public there is less wealth. A phenomenon we are witnessing as I write this. The consumer has retreated to his shell. What is he doing with the money he has? He’s saving it or he’s paying down debt. (Or, worse, he’s unemployed). In the past that was OK because when the debts were paid off he began buying again. This time it is different. This time the wage squeeze is so severe that many consumers will be concentrating on food and basic subsistence for a long time.
The goal of business is to pay the lowest price for everything in order to be competitive. That goes for the price they pay for labor as well. That is, of course, if they have to pay for labor at all. Automation can preclude an entire class of workers altogether, and that improves profits. Great, right? Not so fast! With automation you also reduce the number of workers and their ability to buy. Corporations could, instead of using the additional money to reward the super-rich who run these companies should use that money to pay higher dividends, and yes, pay higher taxes in order to build infrastructure. Infrastructure for whom? For them that’s who.
Sometimes supporting higher taxes is a matter of enlightened self-interest. Look at it this way. If every company in America reduces its workforce by half, or reduces its labor cost by manufacturing in China or elsewhere, there will not be enough consumers left to sustain the business. However if infrastructure is built with the taxes that the business community provides those people who build bridges, rail systems, schools and libraries will still have money to buy things.
The businesses will benefit from the infrastructure they build by having faster and cheaper transportation at lower costs, better and cheaper electric supply, educated workers to draw from, and a ready willing and able buying public.
There are tax monies that are collected that do not benefit the business community at all. Those are dollars spent on fraud and waste, and there is where our focus should be. Harry Truman investigated the military suppliers while still in the Senate and that was during WWII. Today the military is a sacred cow. Wars, you may ague, are sometimes necessary, fraud is not.
We need to get our workers back to work. This country is now run by two major political parties, the Ineptitude Party and the Insanity Party. Pick the one you would like to call either. It doesn’t matter. Neither are working for the people.
I don’t expect that we will be experiencing the violence we are seeing in Britain, but there is a seething bunch of people out there on the left and right and if we don’t right this ship soon, it could happen. Meanwhile let’s listen more to the capitalists that understand enlightened self interest, and that would be Warren Buffet, Bill Gates, and many other super wealthy that really care about the capital system and the well being of what is still a great country.
Enjoy your Labor Day