January 16, 2007

MOVING FORWARD, and more sad news from WV

Caption: We need to start moving in the right direction. This little guy already started.

As El Cabrero recalls, the first lines of Dante's Divine Comedy go something like this:

"In the middle of our life's journey I awoke to find myself in a dark wood, having lost the true path."

That's a common personal feeling for a lot of us, but, sad to say, it's an apt description of current state of the United States under this disastrous regime.

Even leaving aside for now the incalculable damage that has been done to the international standing and security of the country, at the domestic level there is a lot of damage to undo. One place to start is moving from the upward distribution of wealth towards something like the common good.

The Economic Policy Institute thinks the American people could use "an economic agenda that will spur growth, reduce insecurity, and provide broadly shared prosperity." They've recently started a new initiative called the Agenda for Shared Prosperity in which they plan to articulate an economic program that is "comprehensive, understandable, and workable."

Here are the first three points:

1. Health care and retirement security: Building on existing popular and effective programs to provide accessible and affordable health care and ensure retirement security, we will propose: (a) that all Americans have guaranteed access to affordable health care through employer-provided insurance or a public plan; and (b) that retirees receive at least 70% of their pre-retirement income via a supplement to a strengthened Social Security.

2. Fair trade: An alternative approach to globalization and competitiveness will include policies to rebalance trade, to invest in new technologies that generate high-quality domestic manufacturing employment, and to promote environ-mental and labor policies to ensure that globalization benefits working people in both developed and developing nations.

3. Rewarding work: A plan for rebalancing the labor market will include raising and indexing the minimum wage, ensuring the right of workers to organize unions, and making full employment a central commitment of economic policy.

Other items on the agenda include energy policy, investments in infrastructure, family policy, the safety net, fiscal policy, and ensuring opportunity for all. Look for more as this develops.

SAD WEST VIRGINIA NEWS: I'm sad to say that the death toll from the apartment fire in nearby Huntington is now nine. That city has taken some major hits over the years.

MORE SAD WEST VIRGINIA NEWS: Two miners were killed this weekend in a McDowell County roof fall. According to Ken Ward, writing in the Charleston Gazette, the deaths were caused by a risky practice known as "retreat mining," in which the last remaining coal is extracted from pillars holding up the roof of the mine.

In all the mining disasters the state has suffered in the last year, has anyone heard that drug abuse by miners was a factor? I didn't think so. The recent proposal of the state coal industry for mandatory drug testing of all miners seems to me to be a cynical effort to divert attention from mine safety.



rose said...

I only spent the first 4 years of my life in WV, but it's always a part of me, and I was so sad to hear of the tradgedy there this week.

Jspiker said...

What counts is not necessarily the size of the dog in the fight - it's the size of the fight in the dog. "Dwight D. Eisenhower"

The coal industry should spend it's time on communications, oxygen, mine seals, and safe passages. I know it's all "down on paper" but I have yet to see compliance. Sago and Aracoma have yet to see justice....

Perhaps the answer is MORE dogs with bigger teeth?

How do we do that?

El Cabrero said...

Re: WV, this place does leave a mark on you (sometimes a scar).

Re: the coal industry...I wonder what some of that money spent "for the sake of the kids" would have bought in terms of mine safety?