Blaming The Economy’s Victims For Economic Crimes

Blame the unions, blame the unemployed, blame loans to the poor, blame the government… As income and wealth increasingly go to a few at the top public anger is directed at the economy’s victims.
I am in a clinic all day participating in a medical study, so I was talking to one of the nurses. She brought up that California is in real trouble, is going broke, it’s a real mess. She says she doesn’t know what we’re going to do. She has heard that, “lots of states are going bankrupt. There is no money anymore.”
So I asked her what we should do about it.
She said it is because of the unions. “It’s just ridiculous. They want so much.”
I asked if she follows the news closely, she said she does. “I watch the news a lot.”
Some facts: California is famous for leading the country in a wave of anti-government tax-cutting and into Reaganism. We cut taxes an an anti-government ferver and increased prison spending in a law-and-order fever. Then the federal government cut taxes and increased military spending, leading to big deficits. Now we’re out of money to run the state government and the country is getting there, too. California’s problems have little or nothing to do with what state employees are paid, and a lot to do with tax cuts and people across the state not getting paid enough.
Blaming The Unions
This weekend CBS’ 60 Minutes joined the anti-worker chorus, blaming public employee unions for the problems faced by the states. Media Matters, in 60 Minutes’ one-sided, GOP-friendly report on state budgets describes the segment,

In 2,600 words about state deficits, you won’t find the phrase “tax cuts.” Instead, CBS adopts the Republican framing that deficits are all about spending — frequently with loaded phrasing like “gold-plated retirement and health care packages.” And throughout the report, CBS allows Christie, New Jersey’s Republican governor, to launch attacks on unions and make unsupported claims about budget problems, all without ever challenging his assertions and without including substantive disagreement from Christie critics.
You’d never know from CBS’ report that a big part of the reason that “Christie and his predecessors” failed to make required contributions to the pension fund is that they decided to use the money for tax cuts instead. [emphasis added]

Mike Hall at the AFL-CIO blog explains that New jersey’s workers and pensions are not the problem,

While politicians like Christie rail against the pensions public employees have secured through collective bargaining–painting them as overly generous golden parachutes, McEntee notes the average annual pension for an AFSCME member is $19,000, and the workers contribute 80 percent during their lifetime on the job.

Tax cuts, income and wealth going to a few at the top, but the unions take the blame because they fight for a better life for working people.
Blaming The Unemployed
The unemployed and the checks they get are often blamed for their plight. They are called “lazy,” and it is even suggested the be tested for drugs. CAF graduate David Sirota, in Why the ‘Lazy Jobless’ Myth Persists

The thesis undergirding all the rhetoric was summed up by conservative commentator Ben Stein, who insisted that “the people who have been laid off and cannot find work are generally people with poor work habits and poor personalities.”
[. . .] The trouble, though, is that the whole narrative averts our focus from the job-killing trade, tax-cut and budget policies that are really responsible for destroying the economy. And this narrative, mind you, is not some run-of-the-mill distraction. The myth of the lazy unemployed is what duck-and-cover exercises and backyard nuclear shelters were to a past era–an alluring palliative that manufactures false comfort in the face of unthinkable disaster.

Blaming The Poor And Government
Republicans on the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission are sabotaging the commission’s work, demanding that “Wall Street” and “deregulation” not appear anywhere in the report. They are refusing to participate, instead releasing a counter-report blaming the government, claiming We, the People forced the giant banks to give home loans to the poor, and blaming the poor for receiving those loans.
What People Think
People tend to think about what is put in front of them to think about. That’s why everyone goes to see a new movie on the first weekend instead of waiting until they can get good seats with no lines. Wall Street and the likes of the Chamber of Commerce understand this so they put scapegoats in front of the public to mask what they are doing. Right now there is a corporate/right campaign to blame working people for the problems they caused.
Like 60 Minutes this weekend, the news sources are run by big corporations, and they have been saying over and over (and over and over) that unions and the unemployed and the poor and the government are the cause of the problems. (When was the last time you saw a union representative on TV, explaining the benefits of joining a union?) And, naturally, after hearing these things over and over (and over and over), viewers like the nurse at the clinic I am in think they should blame the unions, the unemployed, the poor, the government, too.
So much of the income and wealth are concentrating at the top. Taxes have been cut so far. The things our government does for us have been cut back so far. Working people’s wages have been stagnant for so long.
But the blame right now is directed at the unions, the poor, the unemployed and our government: We, the People.
As the AFL-CIO blog concludes,

The long term solution to state and local fiscal challenges … is “a robust economy, one that is creating jobs and replenishing tax revenue.”

To repeat: The long term solution to state and local fiscal challenges … is “a robust economy, one that is creating jobs and replenishing tax revenue.”
This post originally appeared at Campaign for America’s Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture. I am also a Fellow with CAF.

5 thoughts on “Blaming The Economy’s Victims For Economic Crimes

  1. The managers who run the State of California are crazy. Calif is nearing bankruptcy! State government has destroyed the state financially by spending far more than they receive. Part of the problem is kowtowing to Unions and State workers. The state’s leaders spend money like drunken sailors. Wages and benefits to State employees are bloated far beyond what workers make in the private sector. When will the State realize expenditures can not exceed income? They can’t keep picking pockets of citizens to subsidize state workers on the golden highway, or to pay for grandiose schemes? Quit spending! Balance the budget!

  2. We are losing jobs and population in California at an alarming rate. They interviewed the fortune 500 CEO’S and they were asked a question; where will you not set up shop, they said California and Michigan. They are not coming here, and the green technology companies are leaving; so much for green jobs. Until the CEO’S have a reason to come here they will continue to go elsewhere. The far left and the far right are so blinded by their ideology that they have lost their common sense. Instead of making excuses we need to work together and change our business climate. Texas got 70% of new businesses; shouldn’t we have some of those businesses? Let’s listen to the far left and not even try, remember there is no problem according to them. Below is a list of some of the companies that have left the state, why did they leave? The far left and the far right are dangerous, and they are destroying this country. Remeber if we don’t have jobs we have nothing!
    Abraxis Health, a unit of Los Angeles-based Abraxis BioScience Inc, opened a new plant that will create 200 jobs in 2010 — in Phoenix. This follows the company’s Phoenix expansions that occurred in 2007 and 2008.
    Alza Corp. In 2007 eliminated about 600 jobs in drug R&D while also exiting its Mountain View, Calif., HQ. At the time the company said that its 1,200-person Vacaville facility will continue to operate. But the Vacaville Reporter on Oct. 23, 2009 revealed that the plant is being offered for sale by J&J, its parent company. It’s unclear if more layoffs are in the facility’s future.
    American AVK, a producer of fire hydrants and other water-related products, moved from Fresno to Minden, Nevada.
    American Racing moved its auto-wheel production to Mexico, ending most of its 47-year operation in California.
    Apple Computer has expanded in other states, most recently with a $1 billion facility planned for North Carolina.
    Audix Corporation relocated from Redwood City, Calif., and to accommodate growth moved to a 78,000-square-foot facility in Wilson, Oregon.
    Apria Health care Group of Lake Forest is shifting jobs from California to Overland Park, Kansas, a K.C. Suburb.
    Assurant Inc. cut 325 jobs in Orange County and consolidated positions in Georgia, Ohio and South Carolina.
    Barefoot Motors, a small “green” manufacturer, moved from Sonoma and will grow in Ashland, Oregon.
    Bazz Houston Co., Located in Garden Grove, has slowly been building a workforce of about 35 people in Tijuana. In early 2010 the company said it expects to move more jobs to Mexico, citing cost and regulatory difficulties in Southern California.
    Beckman Coulter, a biomedical test equipment manufacturer headquartered in Brea, relocated part of its Palo Alto facilities to Indianapolis,
    Indiana, two-years ago. In early 2010, it’s making a multimillion-dollar investment to expand and create up to 100 new jobs in Indiana. The company said the area offers a “favorable business environment and lower total cost of operations, plus a local work force with strong skills in both engineering and manufacturing.”
    Bild Industries Inc., which specializes in business news, directories and market reports, moved to Post Falls, Idaho, from Van Nuys, a part of the San Fernando Valley in Los Angeles.
    Bill Miller Engineering, Ltd., suffering under the “hostile business climate” in California and Los Angeles County, moved from Harbor City to Carson City, Nevada.
    BMC Select has conducted an unusual relocation. The company, which had shifted its headquarters from Idaho to San Francisco, relocated its H.Q. Back to Boise in January 2010. The building materials distributor said that regaining its footing in Boise retained access to high-quality employees while reducing wage and occupancy costs.
    BPI Labs, which formulates, manufactures, and fills personal care products for the health and beauty industry, relocated from Sacramento to Evanston, Wyoming, a move the company’s owner called “very successful . . . . It felt good and we’ve never looked back.
    Buck Knives after 62 years in San Diego moved to Post Falls, Idaho.
    CalPortland Cement has announced in late 2009 closure of its Riverside County plant because of new environmental regulations from a state law (AB 32). The company’s CEO wrote, “A cement plant cannot be picked up and moved, but the next new plant probably won’t be built in California meaning more good, high paying manufacturing jobs will be lost to Nevada or China or somewhere.”
    California Casualty Group left San Mateo for Colorado, cutting operating costs to remain competitive.
    CalStar Products Inc., headquartered in Newark, Calif., in the San Francisco Bay Area, in January 2010 was awarded $2.44 million in federal clean energy tax credits. The company said in the future it expects to build additional plants in the Mississippi Valley and the East Coast. In late 2009 CalStar opened a plant in Caledonia, Wisconsin.
    Checks-To-Go moved to Utah where workers’ comp rates helped make the troubled company healthier.
    Chivaroli & Associates, a health care-related insurance service based in Westlake Village, CA., moved a regional office to Spokane, Washington.
    CoreSite, A Carlyle Company, is delaying a Santa Clara project while it expands its data center in Reston, Virginia.
    Creators Syndicate may flee L.A. because it operates like a Banana Republic.
    Creel Printing left Costa Mesa for Las Vegas and So Cal loses 60 more jobs.
    Dassault Falcon looked at building an aircraft services facility in Riverside County but instead located to Reno.
    DaVita Inc., moved its HQ from Los Angeles to Denver; expects to see millions of dollars in savings over time.
    Denny’s Corp., the large restaurant chain once had its headquarters in La Mirada, later in Irvine, CA, and then moved to Spartanburg, South Carolina.
    Digital Domain, the Academy-Award-winning visual effects studio based in Venice, CA, placed new studios in Vancouver, British Columbia, and Port St. Lucie, Florida, which combined will have about 500 employees. The facilities will allow the company to reduce costs while continuing to deliver cutting-edge work.
    Ditech, headquartered in Costa Mesa, announced in January 2010 a 269-job cut and is moving most activities to the GMAC Financial Services (parent company) headquarters in Fort Washington, Pennsylvania. In 2007, Ditech relocated some workers from Costa Mesa to Phoenix. A once robust Costa Mesa facility employing hundreds will be down to 20 or 30 workers.
    DuPont Fabros Technology suspended a $270 million Santa Clara data center project in favor of one in Ashburn, Virginia.
    eBay, based in San Jose, will create 450 jobs in Draper, Utah, in a new $334 million operations, customer support and data center.
    EDMO Distributors, Inc., a worldwide wholesaler of aircraft avionics, test equipment, and pilot supplies, moved its HQ from Valencia, Calif., to Spokane Valley, Wash. Since, it has built a larger headquarters in the city’s Mirabeau Point community complex.
    Edwards Life Sciences based in Irvine will expand with 1,000 employees not in California but in Draper, Utah.
    EMRISE Corp. completed its HQ move from Rancho Cucamonga to Eatontown, NJ, in May 2009. The company said the move “will result in additional annualized cost savings of approximately $1 million and facilitate improvements in operating efficiency”. . . . The cost savings associated with relocating our corporate headquarters will start immediately. . . The aggregate total of these expense reductions will increase our profitability and cash flow in this and succeeding years and, over time, substantially improve our ability to further reduce our long-term debt.
    Facebook, based in Palo Alto, will expand in a major way in Oregon by locating a custom data center in Prineville. It will be a 147,000-square-foot facility costing $180 million and will employ 200 workers during construction and another 35 full-time once operating in 2011.
    FallLine Corporation Left Huntington Beach, where they were being “hammered” with multiple governmental regulatory fees, for Reno, Nevada.
    Fidelity National Financial left Santa Barbara for Florida, spurred by California’s “oppressive” business environment.
    First American Corp., based in Santa Ana, will open a call center in March 2010 not in California but in Phoenix, where it expects to employ about 400 people within two years.
    Fluor Corp. moved its global headquarters from Aliso Viejo to Irving, Texas, with about 100 employees asked to relocate while the company planned to hire the same number there. In 2006, when Fluor moved into its new headquarters building, a company statement said: “The official dedication had decidedly a Texas theme” as a horseshoe was raised on the building, a time-honored Texas tradition.
    Foxconn Electronics, a large contract electronics maker, moved some of its Fullerton operations to Dallas.
    Fox Family moved its farming operations to Cookeville, TN. All employees moved with the firm.
    Fuel System Solutions moved its headquarters from Santa Ana to New York.
    Gregg Industries, owned by Neenah Enterprises Inc., in Wisconsin, closed a 300-employee foundry in El Monte foundry under pressure from the South Coast Air Quality Management District to make $5 million in upgrades. The company didn’t want to make the investment in the difficult economic climate so it decided instead to leave the state.
    Helix Wind Inc. may move its research and development, engineering, and testing departments from San Diego to “more supportive” Oregon.
    Hewlett-Packard, HQ’d in Palo Alto, at various times has moved jobs to Tennessee and Texas.
    Hilton Hotels Corp. in 2009 is moving from its longtime corporate H.Q. in Beverly Hills to a new office in Tysons Corner, Virginia.
    Hino Motor Manufacturing USA moved from California to Williamstown, West Virginia, in 2007, where it now employs about100 workers. The company has growth plans to “Raise Hino’s presence from medium-heavy/heavy-duty trucks to all ranges of trucks” and an aggressive program to improve fuel economy and emissions. The company builds trucks under its own brand and also manufactures Toyota-branded vehicles.
    Intel Corporation, HQd in Santa Clara, has chosen to expand operations in neighboring states.
    Intuit of Mountain View created a customer support office (110 people) not in California but in Colorado because of lower operating costs.
    Intuit placed a data center near Quincy, Washington.
    Intuit also located Innovative Merchant Solutions LLC in Las Vegas as part of a $1.8 million investment in Nevada.
    J.C. Penney closed its Sacramento call center and moved the work to five out-of-state centers.
    Kimmie Candy Co., a manufacturer that was started in 1999, moved from Sacramento to Nevada in 2005. “I really don’t have a lot of regrets about moving up to Reno,” said owner Joe Dutra.
    Klaussner Home Furnishings in closing its La Mirada manufacturing plant will maintain its NC and Iowa operations.
    Knight Protective Industries moved to Oregon “where 4-day work weeks were permitted by the state” and wanted by the employees.
    Kulicke & Soffa Industries Inc. announced in February 2010 that it is closing its Irvine plant, laying off 56 people, and will shift the work to Malaysia and Singapore. The facility had been owned by Orthodyne Electronics Corp., which Kulicke & Soffa bought in 2008.
    LCF Enterprises, which makes specialized high-end amplifiers used by researchers, medical professionals and others, moved from Camarillo, CA., to Post Falls, Idaho.
    Lennox Hearth Products Inc., in Orange, CA., will lay off 71 workers and by March 2010 will transfer the jobs to Nashville and Union City, Tennessee, “to reduce costs and increase operating efficiencies.”
    Lyn-Tron, Inc., a supplier of electronic hardware, moved from Los Angeles to Spokane, WA. Their website has a rather Californiaish statement: “Our commitment is to maintain a manufacturing environment that is progressive and safe, where our employees are able to achieve their personal objectives, thereby adding to their quality of life and to the community in which they live.”
    Mariah Power, a “green” manufacturer of small wind turbines, moved from California to Nevada and in 2009 teamed up with another company to begin production in Manistee, Michigan.
    Maxwell America, a boating equipment maker, in February 2010 closed its Santa Ana offices and moved them to Hanover, Md. One reason given was the indirect impact of California environmental regulations. A company official said over the years many California boat builders relocated to the Midwest and East where they don’t face the same restrictions.
    MiaSolé, based in the Silicon Valley, was reported in January 2010 to be planning a 500,000-square-foot plant, which could be one of the largest solar factories in the United States. The location is not near its in Santa Clara headquarters but in the Atlanta, Georgia, area where its workforce eventually could exceed 1,000. The news came one week after MiaSolé received $101.8 million in federal tax credits.
    MotorVac Technologies announced in February 2010 that it’s leaving Santa Ana Ontario, Canada. MotorVac’s CEO said he “really fought hard to keep MotorVac here, but unfortunately the numbers didn’t support it. “The move cuts costs because it’s new owner, UView, has its own plant with excess capacity in Canada. And the general cost of doing business in California is much more expensive.
    Nissan North America moved its Los Angeles headquarters to Nashville, Tenn.
    Northrop Grumman by 2011 will relocate its Los Angeles H.Q. to the Washington, DC metro area. It’s the last major aerospace company to leave Southern California, the birthplace of the aerospace industry.
    One2Believe, a specialty religious-toy maker, left California for East Aurora, New York.
    Patmont Motor Werks, Inc., (GoPed manufacturer), after being hit by California regulators for hundreds of thousands of dollars in small fines even though his company has a stellar safety record, moved to Nevada.
    Paragon Relocation Resources moved from Rancho Santa Margarita to Irving, Texas.
    Pixel Magic, headquartered in Toluca Lake, Calif., (Los Angeles metro area), is locating a studio in Lafayette, Louisiana, where it will create 40 new jobs between 2010 and 2013. The company, which provides digital effects for motion pictures and television, said the Louisiana people they were in contact with have an immediate understanding of technology and data handling.
    Plastic Model Engineering, Inc., a custom plastic injection molder and mold manufacturer, moved from Sylmar, Calif., to the “Inland Northwest,” notably Post Falls, Idaho.
    Precor will stop manufacturing fitness machines in California and re-open in North Carolina.
    Premier Inc., the largest health care alliance in the nation, will move its HQ from San Diego to Charlotte, involving an investment of $17.7 million and adding 300 jobs in North Carolina. The announcement was made Oct. 14, 2009.
    Pro Cal of South Gate, in Los Angeles County, a unit of Myers Industries, expanded its Sparks, Nev., operations to become the company’s primary West Coast production and distribution facility. Pro Cal is a plastics manufacturer of nursery containers and a big recycler.
    Race Track Chaplaincy of America started 2010 by shifting its headquarters from Los Angeles to Lexington, Kentucky. The non-profit group said it had wanted to relocate from the Hollywood Park Race Track for several reasons, one of which is the significant cost of doing business on the West Coast.
    Red Truck Fire & Safety Company left Fresno for Minden, Nevada in 2007 because of California’s myriad fees and regulations that meant “death by thousand cuts.”
    SAIC will move its headquarters east, from San Diego to McLean, Virgina, which the Washington Post called “Another Coup for Area.” The announcement was made Sept. 24, 2009; it is unclear how many employees will move east in 2009 and 2010.
    Scale Computing, a data-storage developer and manufacturer, is leaving Silicon Valley for Indiana.
    Schott Solar Inc. will close its sales and customer service office in Roseville and will relocate the office to Albuquerque, NM.
    Simple Tech transferred its manufacturing work from Santa Ana to Asia more than a year ago.
    Smiley Industries, an aerospace manufacturer, moved to Phoenix, where productivity improved.
    Solaicx, based in the Silicon Valley, said in early 2010 that it will expand its manufacturing plant in Portland, Oregon. Solaicx received $18.2 million in federal tax credits as part of Washington’s efforts to advance green energy.
    SolarWorld, a maker of solar technology founded in Camarillo, consolidated manufacturing in Oregon after that state offered property tax abatement and business energy tax credits. The company will employ about 1,000 in Oregon by 2011
    Special Devices Inc., brought 250 jobs to Mesa, Arizona, from Moorpark, Calif.
    StarKist headquarters is leaving San Francisco for Pittsburgh, Pa. (Pelosi’s Husband’s Company)
    Stasis Engineering moved from Sonoma County to West Virginia, a “friendlier business climate.”
    Stata Corp., which specializes in data analysis and statistical software, moved from Santa Monica, California to College Station, Texas.
    Tapmatic, a metalworking firm whose owners were “fed up with the onerous business environment,” moved from Orange County, California to Post Falls in northern Idaho.
    Teledesic moved to Washington state in anticipation of better capital gains.
    Telmar Network Technology Inc., moved from Irvine to Plano, Texas, consolidating some 150 workers there.
    Terremark postponed a Santa Clara project earlier this year to invest $50 million in a Culpeper, Va., project.
    Terumo Cardiovascular Systems is moving R&D from Orange County to Ann Arbor, Michigan, involving 65 jobs and $3.5 million in investments.
    Toyota will stop making cars in Fremont, will idle 4,700 workers, and move work to Canada and San Antonio, Texas.
    True Games Interactive Inc., will its H.Q. from Irvine to Austin, Texas, where it expects to have about 60 workers by the middle of 2010.
    TTM Technologies will leave L.A. & Hayward and move to other states and China to achieve big cost savings.
    Twentieth Century Props of L.A. has gone out of business as film-making has moved to lower-cost states moved from the San Francisco Bay Area to Reno, a loss for California in that the company is a leader in web-based patient education content and shows strong growth. The company was named 2007 Innovator of the Year by a Northern publication and the company’s founder and received a media and Reno-Tahoe Young Professionals Network 20 Under 40 award and was selected as a 20/20 Business Visionary by Nevada Business Magazine.
    US Airways is realigning operations and California is no longer considered part of its “core.” The airline is closing its John Wayne Airport maintenance station and in early 2010 will redistribute the mechanics across its system.
    US Press shifted work from Los Angeles and San Diego to Portland, “where union rules were almost rational.”
    USAA Insurance closed its 625-person Sacramento campus in favor of other states
    Yahoo opened a data center in Quincy, Washington, a community that now hopes to land high-tech manufacturing.
    And the list grows daily.
    California company plans SC solar cell plant
    The Associated Press
    Posted: 01/06/2011 06:51:07 AM PST
    COLUMBIA, S.C.—A California company plans to open a solar cell manufacturing plant in South Carolina that will hire 60 people initially.
    The State newspaper reported Thursday that AQT Solar of Sunnyvale, Calif., plans to spend $300 million to build the plant in Blythewood, 15 miles north of Columbia.
    The newspaper reports AQT plans to hire 60 people by the end of the year and manufacturing of the cells should start next year. The cells convert sunlight into electricity.
    The newspaper said employment could reach 1,000 by 2014.
    Commerce Secretary Joe Taylor says the move will put South Carolina in a more positive light on alternative energy.
    Richland County has agreed to charge reduced property taxes for the next 20 years.
    Details of state incentives have not been released.

  3. Businesses Do Not Create Jobs
    Dave, in one of your articles you try to point out that businesses don’t create jobs, demand does. You forget why this country is so successful-INVENTIONS AND INOVATION! A business can create demand where there was no demand at all. In my business I created demand for a product by thinking outside the box; I created a product where there was no demand for it; because it didn’t exist. I was barely able to pull it off because of all the taxes and regulations in this state-you just don’t get it. We used to invent everything in this country and create demand for a product that didn’t exist.
    I own my own business and you don’t know what you are talking about. Other state give tax breaks and incentives to relocate, which give the business extra money to invent products, no money, no inventions. That is why the rest of the world has caught up with us. It’s not so much that we are losing businesses, none are coming here. It is usually the small businesses that invent new products and we don’t have all the resources like a big corporation, those extra regulations and taxes make a big difference. It will stifle growth and innovation. The far left and the far right are destroying this country, this state is in big trouble. Until you admit there is a problem, we will continue to fall

  4. I agree largely with the first half where you explain that unionization is a red herring, but in the second part you put too much empasis on “banks giving loans to the poor”. Most of these people werent poor by most standards. Also, since when is CA a massive tax-cut state?

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