Falling wages

After adjusting for inflation, workers’ real wages fell 1.1 percent in June on top of a 0.8 percent decline in April. Workers are falling further and further behind as the soaring cost of gasoline, prescription drugs, food, and housing eats into wages that are either frozen or barely rising.

The explanation offered by pro-corporate economists is that there is no pressure to push wages up since too many unemployed workers are competing for too few jobs. And it is true that the jobless rate is stuck at 5.6 percent.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the current plunge in real income is the steepest since the recession of 1991. That was the recession that doomed the presidency of the first George Bush. But wages are not like the weather. They are falling because corporate America, aided and abetted by the Bush administration, is engaged in ruthless efforts to reduce workers’ share of the value their labor produces. Organized workers are striking, sometimes for months, to win contracts that provide raises barely above the increased cost of living even though their productivity has soared in the past decade. As for the unorganized workers, millions are falling into the ranks of the working poor because their wages have been pushed so low. Corporations have reaped an enormous profit bonanza from the sharply rising productivity and declining wages. Big Business put George W. Bush in the White House to make it happen.

Declining income, even as unemployment stays high, is proof that Bush’s “economic recovery” is as believable as those “weapons of mass destruction” in Iraq. Since Bush took office, we have seen trillions in tax cuts that lined the pockets of his wealthy contributors coupled with cutbacks in vital human needs programs. He has stripped federal workers of union rights and wants to strip 8 million workers of overtime pay. With good reason, AFL-CIO President John Sweeney has blasted Bush as the most anti-worker, anti-union chief executive in history. It is time to send him back to Texas.

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For a new foreign policy

Mark Twain, a pillar of American literature, culture and humor, once said, “I am an anti-imperialist. I am opposed to having the eagle put its talons on any other land.” He stood up against imperialism during its dawning days. A member of the Anti-Imperialist League, Twain joined other notable anti-imperialists Jane Addams, Samuel Gompers, W.E.B. Du Bois and Clarence Darrow in opposing the 1899 U.S. takeover of the Philippines, in which 5,000 American soldiers and 250,000 Filipinos died.

As quiet as it’s kept, U.S. history is full of anti-imperialist individuals and movements. While the ruling powers seek to dominate other lands, labor and markets, Americans of all races and languages – starting with organized working people – have acted in favor of our nation’s true interests by opposing war and domination.

In the 1930s, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt adopted the “Good Neighbor” policy to reign in U.S. “Monroe Doctrine” interventionism throughout the Americas.

The Vietnam War was ended because of a combination of the Vietnamese people’s anti-imperialist actions and the American people’s antiwar actions. President Ronald Reagan’s dirty war in Central America was exposed through anti-imperialist efforts.

The present U.S. regime’s foreign policy can be characterized as unilateral, outlaw-like and perilous to all of humanity. This administration has even sanctioned the use of nuclear weapons as a first-strike option. They have withdrawn from international treaties and flaunted international law. They lied to rationalize a unilateral and preemptive war.

They wield unrivaled military, economic and political power – not for democracy and humanitarian uplift – but for unbridled imperialist domination.

It’s in the American people’s self-interest to have a foreign policy that adheres to international law and respects the sovereignty of all nations, a foreign policy that values peace-making, not war-waging, and most of all, a foreign policy that won’t use military and economic might to impose corporate domination on the world.