Tuesday, December 16, 2008

we elected the auto bailout

Every once in a while a couple things swirl into a theme. I was listening to NPR earlier today and they were interviewing people who went overwhelmingly for McCain, and are still weary, not hopeful, of an Obama presidency. That was one. Two, i read about the Madoff scandal, I only got interested due to another story on NPR, but that is besides the point, so that's not actually point #2.

The real point #2 is i read on Slate, my favorite e-rag (bad pun on electronic rag/magazine . . . no google hits) a nifty article about the foreign car companies doing wonderful business in the American South. They say it was partly because of the fact that these are 'right-to-work' states. Right-to-work states are those that make illegal the 'forced' collective bargaining rules of some unions that make deals with employers that say that all employees have to at some time sign-up for the union. [the wikipedia article has arguments for and against].

But what got me was when i saw a graphic of the right-to-work states:

as compared to the outcome of the 2008 election:

I found it interesting that the vast majority of right-to-work states went for McCain and the union-friendly states went democratic. This just sparked some thinking along the lines that there's a fundamental schism in American politics, and this shows it. It is the economy stupid. But people vote their wallets, not what's actually in them, but they vote according to how they can and are able to make money.

I still find this hard to swallow, on account of reading the rise of the corporate class across America in the book Who Rules America by William Domhoff and how there is a union vs corporate 'class war' going on and how the white shirts and bean counters got the upper hand. The comparison between these two maps doesn't sit well with the white vs blue collar warfare, as overwhelmingly i don't think of the southern and mid-western states as anything close to wall-street business owner types.

ah well, such are the contradictions and nuances of life. I had the thought it would be nice to have some deep insight that solved this problem, but i've got better things to do than heal the American schism, i just put a guy in office to handle that.
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