Wednesday, April 11, 2007


Three stories caught my eye today. They all have something in common--trying to minimize costs while sacrificing people's livelihoods.

Here's the first one about Citigroup eliminating 17,000 jobs--yes, 17,000:

"NEW YORK (Reuters) - Citigroup Inc. (C.N: Quote, Profile , Research) said on Wednesday it would eliminate 17,000 jobs, or about 5 percent of its workforce, in a broad restructuring designed to cut costs, boost profit, and bolster a lagging stock price.

An additional 9,500 jobs will move to lower-cost locations, including two-thirds through attrition, meaning 8 percent of the bank's 327,000-person workforce will be affected by the restructuring."

I assume that "lower-cost locations" means somewhere outside the United States. And so it continues, the quest for profit over people.

Here's the second one, about Walter Reed hospital:

"In addition, the Pentagon made problems worse by ordering a hold-down on costs and expenses — dubbed "efficiency wedges" — even as Walter Reed began experiencing an influx of thousands of veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan."

The "hold-down on costs and expenses" means that profit takes precedence over caring for wounded soldiers. The move to privatize services at Walter Reed led to the exodus of many long-time employees.

And the third one, about Jefferson Davis County Schools in Mississippi:

"PRENTISS, Miss. -- The Jefferson Davis County school system is cutting 16 teaching positions in order to save money.

Superintendent Wayne Fortenberry made the announcement at a school board meeting Tuesday.

Fortenberry said that the teachers, who were let go based on seniority, are part of a reduction-in-force plan designed by state financial adviser Diane Day."

Iraq Effect, Fucked-up Priorities and the Triumph of the Corporatocracy

I'm not really sure how this fits into my little thesis here or if it even does--obviously there's not a corporation involved in this story, so there's not really a profit motive to cut jobs. But I suppose the connection to the other two stories is this--fucked-up priorities.

By which I mean, this school story is a perfect example of the "Iraq effect"--the sense created by the myth that we're doing a good thing "helping" people overseas yet our own children and communities go wanting. The conservative choir, directed now by John McCain, is always singing the tune called "But what about all the good things we're doing in Iraq?" By which they mean painting schools, building hospitals, insuring universal health care, and creating a haven for the corporatocracy.

The problem is, we're spending so much friggin' money to be in this unnecessary war that has only exacerbated terrorism and completely defeats its own supposed purpose, that Jefferson Davis County schools has to lay off teachers, which means classrooms that are more crowded, courses that aren't offered, etc. So Iraqi schools supposedly get painted and we have to lay off teachers.

And all to save money! Money that's going right down the shitter and into the hands of Halliburton and Blackwater and who the fuck knows who else in the wasteland of Iraq. Don't forget the pallets of billions of dollars in cash that just disappeared. Could some of that money been used to keep teachers at Jefferson Davis County schools?

The Crux of The Biscuit-round and round it goes

That's called "fucked-up priorities." That's how the school story is connected to the corporate stories--war is a racket for the corporatocracy which steals money away from our schools, our communities, and our future to make a buck off a protracted, ill-advised, immoral war that not only doesn't make us safer but also puts us in danger.

And then that profit is used in turn to eliminate 17,000 jobs and bid for services at veteran's facilities...and round and round it goes.

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