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Monday, February 11, 2008

Where Credit Is Due

By Keith Schmitz

The big difference between those labeled liberal and those labeled conservative? Conservatives are totally hard-wired and binary. When it comes to government, it is bad, bad, bad. No ifs, ands, or buts. Just look at the railing from the circus that came to town the past weekend in the form of the oddly named Americans for Prosperty conference, presided over the Mark Block, someone that I have only seen wearing either brown or black shirts.

Never mind that government helped build the middle class in the 50's and 60's and by catering to the wealthy minority from Reagan on, helped to stagnate it. Never mind that government intervention in the form of the Marshall Plan (which Republicans at the time in Congress wanted to stop) rebuilt Europe and prevented a return to turmoil and maybe totalitarianism.

We liberals on the other hand can have issues with corporations because, many times by putting profit over people, they earn it. Now of course this statement will elicit cries from the right wing of "commie," "socialist" and the newest from the aptly named JONAH Goldberg, "fascist." Huh?

But we don't view the world in black and white. We realize that business and economics is merely a tool for good or bad, depending how it is used and who uses it.

Take Michael Rosen's piece on Johnson Controls. Rosen took time to point out that JCI is not only moving into green markets but is using decently paid labor to turn out the products to do it. Though it is too bad that JCI's lithium batteries are to be made in France rather than here in the US or Milwaukee, the company is actually paying $4 more per hour in labor costs.

This kind of flies in the face of the right wingers who will show up shortly below, bellowing that companies must provide "value" to their shareholders by cutting wages and benefits so that the writers' mutual funds can fluff their retirements, that this country is going to lose money by responding to climate change (JCI will make money -- lots of it), and oh yeah the other chestnut -- jobs are not being created in tired old Europe and in hated France. Don't they have something called government supported health care?

Indeed they will say these things. But since when have they resorted to using facts?

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