The inaguration of Donald Trump represents the ascendacy of The stratagy of deliberate ignorance of facts in defense of capitalism. This is a continuation of the Carl Ichan motto that money exists only to serve the wealthy. I am a individual in my late fifties who choose to go into a trade rather than go to school. The need to do this was based on the standing wisdom of the time, which was that you could go into the trades and do as well as your contemporaries that went on to college, it was just that you would have to do a more physical work, but just as demanding of skill as any other craft. I was a physically active strong young man who enjoyed hard work and longed to work with my hands. I tried college for one year after high school and hated every minute of being there. After bumming aroung the oil field and the general warehouse work available to high school and non- high school graduates alike, I realized that there was no future in that sort of work, and I discovered that I like challenges of the sort I could see in construction over all, and in the trades specifically. My experiences in the oil field made plumbing seem like a logical progression of my skill set.
Now I need to set the stage just a little bit, this was 1979, this has now been established statistacially as the point where plumbers, as a national whole, were paid the most in real value dollars. That value has declined steadily since the Reagan election. This is also the point of highest union representation of workers in our country’s history. It is no accident that per household pay has fallen with the slow murder of the organized labor movement.
Then came the election of Ronald Reagan and rise of the justified corruption. Carl Icahn stole money from any one he could think of. His entire idea of business was to steal value from companies, usually in the form of their employee obligations, bankrupt them and sue anyone who got in his way. He famously stated that the only value of the corporation was to provide income to its shareholders and that this was the only form of business ethics that are required.
I bring all of this old history forward to make this point, there is a group of very greedy men, most of whom were born immediately after world war two, who came believe that their ambitions justified the means by with which they achieved them. There are always men whose greed and fear will cause them to hoard and to treat other badly in their own search for satisfaction, which like cocaine brings no long term pleasure in its accomplishment. The only protection the rest of us have is a reasonably strong government that has the ethical and moral responsiblity to see to the health and well being of all of its citizens.
This current group of very greedy men appear to not want the majority of us to realize that they believe that they own us and the rest of the world is up for trade or sale. They have built and incredible machine to distribute their propaganda and force the flow of the money upward into their own hands.
What I am doing here is not a complaint. I am were I am in this life by a lot of my own choice, but not all. I want to sound a warning, I am the canary in the coal mine. At every point were I stood to get ahead the rich and the control that they current hold over our body politic, blew everything up.
I began the trade as a non union plumber. All we did were custom homes, new construction, remodel and service. My employer made fully fifty percent of his money on material sales alone. The only place where a homeowner could go buy a toilet was from a plumber who was willing to do over the counter sales.
By the time I had the time into the business to get my journeyman’s license in the trade, home improvement stores had arrived big time and the savings and loan collapse along with the collapse in oil pricing buried all constrution work in my part of the world, the rocky mountain west. What work there was were homeowners who now could pick and choose when it came to people to work on their house and the first thing that they put on the table was that they would supply their own fixtures for the work. By the time work picked back up in the early ninties, this has become a standard part of the work, the contractor agreeing to allow the owner to purchase their material elsewhere.
I had been through enough ups and downs in the trade and I decided that the only way I was going to be able to have a decent life as a tradesman was to join the union, which I did in 1990. The work in Denver had not yet really come back strong, but the Mayor, Frederico Pena was beginning the push for a new airport to boost the fortunes of the Denver Metro area. The rest of the ninties after Bill Clinton got elected were good ones for me even though Clinton contiued to allow the bankers and wall street to do as they pleased, and it was in fact the middle of night attack on our financial system by Phil Gramm of Texas that Bill Clinton signed off on that set up the financail collapse of 2008.
The entirety of the Bush years were for me an attempt to keep working, but an entirely new set of conditions were coming into being. I had spent the last decade of my time in the union learning how to be a good lay-out man and an excellent copper hand. Now the CAD program was giving us our lay-outs and we were shooting them in with a total station. Two men just replaced easily six. Now did that production jump go into the pockets of the two men still working? No, it went right up the ownership chain without sticking around in the community first the way it would have done in the form of six paychecks. So no matter how I continued to up my skills I was unable to stay employed out of the hall.
The other concurrent trend was that manufactures were designing systems to fool proof the skilled trade work I had done all of my life. The best example from my trade is the shark bite fitting. Now anyone could join together a piece of copper or plastic pipe that would subjected to pressure simply by sliding the fitting onto the pipe. thats it, there goes thirty minutes worth of work in five.
So fine, I re-invent myself and start a business. With no other qualification than having worked in the business for the last two decades. Okay, that was an education, but I was getting it. In the meantime it was getting more and more difficult for the men I hired out of the hall to get by on a union wage, and it was getting more and more difficult for me to win jobs paying a union wage and benefit package. Then the financial markets decide to freeze up entirely in 2008. This as direct result of Republican policies to favor the wealthy, to remove their tax burden and place it on the working classes of this country.
As long as the worship of money is the national religion and is hyped and legislated for in the houses of government then we will continue to have major dysfunction in our society. And there are people who are willing to pay that price. I think that it is a mistake to think that way. The reason why we have attained our current level of shophistication is because we know how to cooperate with each other. If we allow the greed of a few to ruin the world for the rest of us simply because we cannot find the strength to overcome the status quo, we will continue to pay a significant price as a society.
Understand that from my point of view, I have no hope. My union pension fund has been underfunded for the last decade, the Republicans in power are doing everything they can to not have pay back all of the social security funds they stole to pay for their wars and their military machine, along with the fact that the trade I trained in Thirty-five years ago no longer exists and corporate America is doing everything they can to get their hands on what ever little bit of money I can make, I have no reason to cooperate with the current system. Now I want you to think about what that means. A hard working man with a strong sense of community and at least a little bit of a brain has decided to cease to cooperate in any strong economic sense with your game. I am pulling my enegry out of your production system. If you think I am alone in this you are mistaken. So I want to ask, what do you think will pay your bills when we are no longer buying your stuff?