William P. O’Connor: Reflections of an Average Joe
Joe the plumber, stripped of the protection of effective representation, is convinced by the corporate media that wages like Wal-Mart’s are sufficient. Salaries stagnant since the seventies have forced the general populace to borrow on the equity in their homes, and maximize their credit card debt. The bankers and corporations are delighted to lend people money at compounded interest rather than see them compensated with fair wages. Meanwhile credit card companies fled to states without usury laws, like Delaware, to screw Joe even more. Corporations rewrote bankruptcy laws while financiers wiped out his pension and 401 K’s with credit default swaps, derivatives and other sophisticated financial instruments. When the pyramid scheme collapsed, the same banks and investment firms which screwed him for years used a complicit Congress to tell Joe it’s his shoulder they must cry on. Ninety-five percent of the Gross Domestic Product of the U.S. is now controlled by 2 % of the population; yet, Wall Street reached into the 5% already spread out among 294 million people to bail out Corporate America. Ironically complicit in this massive transfer of wealth has been Joe himself. Convinced by corporate media that any sentence containing working man and higher wages is socialism, he has venerated the ruling elite like Reagan and Bush, forgetting true champions of his cause like Walter Reuter and Eugene Debbs. These false idols have done as much to retard the common man’s progress as Robert Taft and Fred Hartley.