August 28, 2006


Caption: Goats to working class: "Let's roll."

This Goat Rope post comes to you from The City that Never Sleeps, a trait it shares in common with El Cabrero. Manhattan is OK, but I can't figure out where people keep their goats, chickens and peacocks...

The occasion for the trip was the death of El Cabrero's brother, John Wilson, who worked as assistant to the science editor at the New York Times. Here's his Times obituary.

Many thanks to all who have sent condolences at this difficult time. Goat Rope will attempt to resume regular posts today.

(Note: while the Times is no Goat Rope--and such comparisons are so unfair--it does appear to be a pretty decent paper. They do they best they can with what they have, although they seem to suffer from an acute shortage of gratuitous animal pictures.)

Meanwhile, back at the class war, a headline in the obscure periodical mentioned above reports something most working people figured out a while back: "Real Wages fail to Match a Rise in Productivity."

The median hourly wage for American workers has declined 2 percent since 2003, after factoring in inflation. The drop has been especially notable, economists say, because productivity--the amount that an average worker produces in an hour and the basic wellspring of a nation's living standards--has risen steadily over the same period.

As a result, wages and salaries now make up the lowest share of the nation's gross domestic product since the government began recording the data in 1947, while corporate profits have climbed to their highest share since the 1960's. UBS, the investment bank, recently described the current period as "the golden era of profitability."

Until the last year, stagnating wages were somewhat offset by the rising value of benefits, especially health insurance, which caused overall compensation for most Americans to continue increasing. Since last summer, however, the value of workers' benefits has also failed to keep pace with inflation, according to government data.

All of this is another clear indication that the country is headed in the wrong direction. This Saturday in the capitol of El Cabrero's beloved state of West Virginia, hundreds came together in an effort to move the country in a better direction. Here is coverage from the Sunday Gazette-Mail and the Head On Radio Network.

There were actually two events that day. The first was a rally and parade by West Virginians United, a diverse coalition of groups and individuals concerned with social and economic justice, peace, the environment, and the future of democracy. The second was a labor rally sponsored by the WV AFL-CIO, also a key member of West Virignians United. It sounds like a good time was had by all.

El Cabrero's brother would have approved.

To quote from the legendary labor organizer Mother (Mary Harris) Jones: "Pray for the dead and fight like hell for the living..."



Anonymous said...

Glad to see your back. don't know if you read Robert Brenner's book The Boom and the Bubble, but it offers some interesting insight about over production and it's effects on productivity in the 'golden age' of american profits.

in related news, the CBPP put our a great report debunking the claims that tax cuts pay for themselves. check it out:

I think this report pretty much foils this argument, especially since it used the bush admin. own conclusions.

Anonymous said...

I am sorry about your brother.

Anonymous said...

Thou hast unmasked thyself. Those of us here in sunny Bayroot have believed all along that your first name was El (a moniker shared by many here). But brother John was not a Cabrero. Different parents maybe? Read farther though, and come to find that neither El nor Cabrero were from birth, but an alternate identity rather. So RW, take a seat next to Clark Kent and Peter Parker. Your secrets are all safe with us.

Condolences on the passing of John. My guess is he was a very good person.

Anonymous said...

Dear Senior Cabrero,

I enjoyed a hearty chat today with two very attractive female pidgeons. While i didin't catch either of their names, thay expressed avian condolences, even while dodging careless human pedestrians on the busy sidewalk. They had not met John personally tho were aware of groups of individuals in frequenting west 42nd street, moving in groups (they said flocks) singing odd, but not altogether unpleasant human - and humanistic - ditties at all hours of the night. They described these humans as having an extraordinary curiosity and love of their (odd, misshapen) humanness.; the younger curvaceous pidgeon apologized for the older hen's referring to humans as misshapen. They did remember seeing you, Saturday past, as they enjoyed a feast of moistened day-old tortilla chips in under the empty tables in the rained-out cafe under the West Side Highway, as you and a couple of other humans sat, your wings folded, respectfully watching rain fall on the mighty Hudson river. Before flying between two taxis and over a semi-truck wrapped with super-graphics of organic grocery produce, the older hen conceded that you had all the observable markings of being exceptionally classy, especially given your speciesization.