FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Democrats: Make Labor a Priority for 2020

Democrats and liberals need to take back the labor issue.

They, along with Republicans, have supported globalization and free trade policies that have stagnated the American wage for nearly 40 years. The worker remains in a precarious state, at the behest of the double-edged sword of outsourcing and artificial intelligence. Under these conditions, in which they are often happy to maintain any job, employers have been able to maintain low salaries and get by with offering only minimal benefits. Contracting out within the U.S. is also a problem, as seen with Uber and other employers that hire “independent contractors” who work long hours, are stripped of benefits traditional employees receive and are penalized for not providing rides around the clock.

A tax penalty for international outsourcing, stricter legal definitions on the “independent contractor” and fines for replacing workers with AI, without first securing an equal paying job, would be a good start. Tariffs on goods damaging American industry are another option. Unlike previous candidates, Trump paid lip service to the miserable conditions of the worker and has placed tariffs on steel imports. But his tax cuts, permanent only for corporations, and his further deregulation of industry have far outweighed any good that tariffs may have initiated. Furthermore, as the U.S. steel industry is already in a state of disrepair, the tariffs can only do so much, while negatively impacting American finished products industries that typically purchase cheap steel from China.

There are some daunting challenges to mainstream Democrats and liberals’ embracing pro-labor policies. First, just as the Republicans are closer to the fossil fuel industry, Democrat are in bed with the high-tech industry. Thus, placing a burden on industries that replace workers with AI faces a logistical hurdle – funding from the high-tech industry may then evaporate. Second, Democrats’ placing strong regulation on businesses is generally unlikely, as Republicans and mainstream Democrats are heavily funded by corporate interests. Lastly, making globalization work for employees requires that they are no longer easily replaceable with inexpensive labor in developing countries. But both parties have long-embraced the ‘freedom’ of American businesses to shift labor overseas, under the pretense of benevolent globalization. Yet placing a tax on businesses that outsource abroad is likely to further erode Democratic campaign funds.

There is also a perception problem among many Democrats and liberals. They hold a sanguine view of displaced workers’ ability to find other employment without difficulty. And they often associate disgruntled, displaced employees with the ‘angry white male’ who voted for Trump. However, worker displacement affects men, women, African Americans, Hispanics and the rest of the ethnic/racial gamut equally – from self-service cash registers replacing human cashiers, to AI removing white collar workers and outsourcing impacting workers throughout the socioeconomic spectrum.

The future of employment in the U.S. does not look very positive – unless Democrats act.

As mainstream Democrats and liberals are unlikely to promote labor reform, grassroots activism funded by a trove of small, individual donations – like the Ocasio-Cortez campaign – should push pro-labor candidates to the forefront for 2020.LGBT issues can temporarily move to the back of the agenda for strategic reasons.

While LGBT rights have made important gains over the past ten-to-fifteen years, labor issues have been largely swept under the rug. The precarity of labor affects everyone; thus, from a utilitarian perspective, the masses’ condition should be improved before focusing on who uses which bathroom. Which bathroom trans people are allowed to use is important enough, but the perfect storm of anti-labor policies over the past several decades and anemic wages has affected all Americans – LGBT, black, white, Hispanic, Asians, male and female, all included.

Labor issues are far less divisive than identity politics and, consequentially, more likely to gain mass support, if elucidated in clear, quotidian language. Furthermore, pro-labor policies are likely to bleed out the white working class’s support for Republicans and Trump in the heartland and key swing states in 2020.
And, most importantly, the ailing condition of the American worker is one of dire need.

More articles by:
bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550
February 24, 2020
Stephen Corry
New Deal for Nature: Paying the Emperor to Fence the Wind
M. K. Bhadrakumar
How India’s Modi is Playing on Trump’s Ego to His Advantage
Jennifer Matsui
Tycoon Battle-Bots Battle Bernie
Robert Fisk
There’s Little Chance for Change in Lebanon, Except for More Suffering
Rob Wallace
Connecting the Coronavirus to Agriculture
Bill Spence
Burning the Future: the Growing Anger of Young Australians
Eleanor Eagan
As the Primary Race Heats Up, Candidates Forget Principled Campaign Finance Stands
Binoy Kampmark
The Priorities of General Motors: Ditching Holden
George Wuerthner
Trojan Horse Timber Sales on the Bitterroot
Rick Meis
Public Lands “Collaboration” is Lousy Management
David Swanson
Bloomberg Has Spent Enough to Give a Nickel to Every Person Whose Life He’s Ever Damaged
Peter Cohen
What Tomorrow May Bring
Peter Harrison
Is It as Impossible to Build Jerusalem as It is to Escape Babylon?
Weekend Edition
February 21, 2020
Friday - Sunday
Anthony DiMaggio
Election Con 2020: Exposing Trump’s Deception on the Opioid Epidemic
Joshua Frank
Bloomberg is a Climate Change Con Man
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Billion Dollar Babies
Paul Street
More Real-Time Reflections from Your Friendly South Loop Marxist
Jonathan Latham
Extensive Chemical Safety Fraud Uncovered at German Testing Laboratory
Ramzy Baroud
‘The Donald Trump I know’: Abbas’ UN Speech and the Breakdown of Palestinian Politics
Martha Rosenberg
A Trump Sentence Commutation Attorneys Generals Liked
Ted Rall
Bernie Should Own the Socialist Label
Louis Proyect
Encountering Malcolm X
Kathleen Wallace
The Debate Question That Really Mattered
Jonathan Cook
UN List of Firms Aiding Israel’s Settlements was Dead on Arrival
George Wuerthner
‘Extremists,’ Not Collaborators, Have Kept Wilderness Whole
Colin Todhunter
Apocalypse Now! Insects, Pesticide and a Public Health Crisis  
Stephen Reyna
A Paradoxical Colonel: He Doesn’t Know What He is Talking About, Because He Knows What He is Talking About.
Evaggelos Vallianatos
A New Solar Power Deal From California
Richard Moser
One Winning Way to Build the Peace Movement and One Losing Way
Laiken Jordahl
Trump’s Wall is Destroying the Environment We Worked to Protect
Walden Bello
Duterte Does the Right Thing for a Change
Jefferson Morley
On JFK, Tulsi Gabbard Keeps Very Respectable Company
Vijay Prashad
Standing Up for Left Literature: In India, It Can Cost You Your Life
Gary Leupp
Bloomberg Versus Bernie: The Upcoming Battle?
Ron Jacobs
The Young Lords: Luchadores Para La Gente
Richard Klin
Loss Leaders
Gaither Stewart
Roma: How Romans Differ From Europeans
Kerron Ó Luain
The Soviet Century
Mike Garrity
We Can Fireproof Homes But Not Forests
Fred Baumgarten
Gaslighting Bernie and His Supporters
Joseph Essertier
Our First Amendment or Our Empire, But Not Both
Peter Linebaugh
A Story for the Anthropocene
Danny Sjursen
Where Have You Gone Smedley Butler?
Jill Richardson
A Broken Promise to Teachers and Nonprofit Workers
Binoy Kampmark
“Leave Our Bloke Alone”: A Little Mission for Julian Assange
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail