I guess I could have had the shopper trampling a bunch of Walmart managers to help the cashier, but given the news about the Walmart security officer who apparently killed a shoplifter with a chokehold, I didn't want to make light of Black Friday-related violence. Personally, I find staying home and working instead of going shopping on Black Friday to be the best way to save money.
As if we needed any further proof that trickle-down economics is a joke, along comes massively-profitable Caterpillar's decision to freeze the wages of its Joliet, IL factory workers from now until the cows come home, and then some. Meanwhile, the compensation for Cat CEO Douglas Oberhelman shot up 60% in 2011, to $16.9 million. It's not like the workers were being lavishly paid, either; the top tier had average salaries of $55,000 before overtime.
Unfortunately, I can't boycott Cat, as I won't exactly be in the market for a knuckleboom loader anytime soon.
I recently finished Robert Frank's Richistan, which provided the inspiration for this one. If you aren't familiar with the book, it's about the hermetically-sealed reality inhabited by today's ultrarich. Trust me, it's even worse than you think. Frank is far too blithe about political corruption, but otherwise the book is a fascinating read. Some of the people described are real pieces of work.
I don't wish to impugn the many good philanthropists out there. I'm talking about the jerks who spend their lives making things difficult for ordinary people, the suddenly feel a pang of noblesse oblige to "do good." Like, maybe if Mr. Aristopants didn't fight environmental laws to reduce cancer-causing pollutants, his money wouldn't be needed so much by that children's cancer camp. It is, like so many things, a cycle of absurdity.
NEW: Follow Daily Kos Comics on Twitter at @DailyKosComics
So Mitt Romney has taken to giving speeches chock full o' sound bites for the Tea Party, invoking Cold War paranoia and demonizing people who, god forbid, need to use the social safety net during hard times. An excerpt (via Washington Monthly):
"[Obama] seeks to replace our merit-based society with an entitlement society. In an entitlement society, everyone receives the same or similar rewards, regardless of education, effort and willingness to take risk. That which is earned by some is redistributed to the others. And the only people to enjoy truly disproportionate rewards are the people who do the redistributing — the government."
What's remarkable about that quote, aside from the fact that it is ludicrously false, is that Romney and the rest of the Republicans seem hell-bent on destroying what little meritocracy is left in this country, and replacing it with aristocracy. Would Mitt be running for president today had his father not been CEO of American Motors and Governor of Michigan? What if George Romney had been a victim of corporate restructuring instead? Would Mitt still have joined Bain Capital, and would he still be passing on that cool $100 million to his sons? And the fact that son Tagg touts his interest in "private equity" in his Twitter profile... surely that's just meritocracy in action, having absolutely nothing to do with the Romney legacy whatsoever.
I really enjoyed drawing Mr. Perkins as Mitt, by the way. I think he plays the part well!
This cartoon, of course, references Grover Norquist's famous line about wanting to reduce government to the size where he could drown it in a tub, like some unfortunate critter. One concept anti-government types aren't too clear on is that waste is hardly unique to the public sector. I'm not saying government programs are necessarily more efficient than privately-run ones (although in the case of health care, public plans are massively more cost-effective). But money out of your pocket is money out of your pocket, whether it's going to the guv'mint or a corporation.
Little-noticed last week amidst the hubbub surrounding airport security machines was the torpedoing of the Paycheck Fairness Act at the hands of Senate Republicans. The fact that it took me some effort to find out the specifics of the bill shows you just how little it's being talked about. To put it briefly, it actually gave teeth to the Equal Pay Act of 1963 which, while noble in sentiment, was very difficult for women to put into practice. This site gives an excellent rundown of the situation (see point #2 in particular).
Before anyone comments or sends me email about how the pay gap is a myth because ladies make babies, I suggest reading the entirety of the two links provided above. Then you can make your dunderheaded remark that only reinforces my opinion that you'd make a sucky boss. (Actually, most SlowpokeBlog commenters seem pretty smart, so perhaps I'm jumping the gun.)
Also, enough with the corporate-supremacist twaddle that the Paycheck Fairness Act is "bad for business." As if hordes of suing women are going to upend the economy. Sorry, I think banking deregulation beat us to it! If the GOP trots out its faux concern for small business one more time, I'm... I'm... I'm going to draw another cartoon, dammit.