Here is an excerpt from Trains magazine, July 2008, about the history of a regional railroad, the Wheeling & Lake Erie (W&LE):
‘W&LE suffered another setback in October 1996 when steelworkers struck its key customer, Wheeling-Pittsburgh Steel. The railroad stopped spending, furloughed employees, and defaulted on loans. By the time the strike ended in August 1997, the (railroad) lost $6 million.’ (end of excerpt)
Paragraphs like this can be found over and over throughout 20th century American history. The story is the same: Labor unions strike one company, strife ensues, jobs at that company are often lost, plants sometimes close, and related businesses are hurt or destroyed.
This is how labor unions have persistently undermined the American economy far beyond just the companies they are striking against. Unions have destroyed millions of jobs and trillions in wealth. All Americans know this.
Now comes the news about Greece, which is in serious debt and whose economic woes are being felt around the globe in stock markets and in the banking system, causing a brief panic on Wall Street on May 6.
What does this show?
It shows that overspending socialist governments, even in a tiny country like Greece, can be manipulated by leftist and labor union minorities such that their economic woes have severe repercussions far beyond that nation, i.e., that the actions of a minority can hurt the majority.
How does this happen?
It comes out of concentrated greed, just as the public-employee unions in California – a small number of people compared to the state’s population – have commandeered so much in pay, benefits and pensions that the whole state’s economy is being threatened, and in turn the national economy in being hurt since California is such a big player.
In Greece, many people retire at 53; there’s government health care; deficits are 13% of GDP, while 3% is the recommended maximum; and big holiday bonuses are given to overpaid, underworked featherbedding government employees. And on and on. It is unsustainable.
Yet what is the academia/media portrayal of liberalism and labor unions?
They say that socialism saves people, that labor unions are on the side of the common man, and that capitalism is the devil. Which is the opposite of the truth. In fact financial debt is one of the great destroyers of people and societies in all of human history, and unions and socialism create debt and economic distress everywhere they arise.
The Greek debt, added to that of other spendthrift nations like Spain, Italy, Iceland and Portugal – all Euro-socialist nations that now are members of the big European Union – is said to be spreading fear of economic ‘contagion’ around Europe and around the globe, like one sick person infecting a whole crowd. And this is how socialist greed not only affects people within a given state or nation, but far beyond their borders.
Naturally Athens is erupting in riots because all of a sudden many people dependent on all that spending are going to find themselves cut out of the pie.
Yet who is fomenting this violence?
It is Greece’s radical communist/union element, a tiny minority of just a few thousand people in a nation of 10 million who are using the worldwide media to seem infinitely more significant than they are. This is a typical leftist tactic, but it works.
This is the same leftist minority that has worked ruthlessly to commandeer all this government cash in the first place, and who ultimately have gutted Greece’s economy. Because socialism/communism always equal debt and violence.
So Greece, like California, has four choices:
*They can adopt sensible economic policies, shape up and start to play by the rules, cut their spending, perhaps default, let all the government dependents see their incomes fall for once, and join the real world. Most Greeks seem to be coming around to this point of view, although the communists never will, and will continue to use violence to try to intimidate the Greek government from making the wise choices.
*They can raise taxes on its already overtaxed population so that the socialists, union members and public-employee unions can continue living well at the expense of the taxpayer.
*They can be bailed out by the European Union (or in the case of California by the federal government in Washington) so that the unions and the leftists can continue living well while other people living far away pay for it.
*Or they can go even further to the left. In Greece, this would mean that the communist elements take over, gut the entire nation down to the bare bones, plunder its treasury and leave most Greeks destitute, which is always the outcome under communism. Just look at Venezuela, which is teetering into nationwide dysfunction and poverty.
These last three scenarios are much opposite the choices that a private-sector railroad like the W&LE faces when the steelworkers go on strike and push it over the cliff. Since the railroad does not have the power to tax to raise capital, the Wheeling & Lake Erie simply had to default, stop spending and lay people off.
In other words, it did what it had to do to survive and its debt crisis did not leapfrog on itself and become a catastrophe like it does with governments.
No, socialism goes to the taxpayer over and over and over, if not in California, then in Washington. If not to Athens, then to the European Union and the IMF. Otherwise, socialism would never work in the first place. And when all that debt comes due, then there is big, big trouble. Which is why sensible people and sensible governments avoid debt. And that is why the Founders of America warned about socialism and its handmaiden, government debt.
Said Thomas Jefferson: ‘If we can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people, under the pretense of taking care of them, they must become happy.’
Jefferson also wrote: ‘… we shall all consider ourselves unauthorized to saddle posterity with our debts; and consequently within what may be deemed the period of a generation, or the life (expectancy) of the majority.’
Said George Washington: ‘No pecuniary consideration is more urgent than the regular redemption and discharge of the public debt; on none can delay be more injurious, or an economy of time more valuable.’
And this is why socialists worldwide hate the Founders of America, and hate America itself. Because those Founders warned us about socialism itself and the debt that it engenders. This is why leftists in America try to marginalize Jefferson, Franklin, Madison and the rest – because their ideology is based on taking as much wealth as possible from the citizenry, rather than creating wealth in the first place as the Founders suggested.
And this is why the study of the Founders is so crucial to our survival as a nation in the first place. The story of Greece should remind us of that.
Please visit my website at www.nikitas3.com for more. You can print out for free my book, Right Is Right, which explains why only conservatism can maintain our freedom and prosperity.