In Interesting Era—Part 1
We may be entering another interesting era with the occupy movement in our country and in the Middle East and Russia. The question that must be addressed; will it grow and last or will the establishment exert their money and power to crush it in our country? In the East will the new government be as bad as the one overthrown?
My wife and I are elated that the people are finally saying enough is enough. We are especially proud that our youngest daughter is actively involved in the movement.
My father was actively engaged in the union movement in the 30s and 40s. The industry that they went on strike against which was the largest industry in town lasted 18 months. It was worth it as it spread to other factories; creating decent wages, benefits and working conditions for working people.
There are a number of types of dictatorships. Some countries have a one man dictator while countries like ours can have a dictatorship of a few people dictating the policies of the country. Our protesters today are fighting the dictatorship of a few corporate giants.
When Roosevelt attempted to enact the prewar defense program large corporations went on strike refusing to convert their plants to defense factories without certain concessions. Roosevelt conceded and called for legislation permitting companies building new plants and equipment to deduct 20 % of their capital costs before arriving at the net income they paid taxes on.
I won’t go into all the breaks industry gained by converting, but personally experience one. I gradated from high school a semester early in Jan. 1942. This date was exactly one month after Pearl Harbor. The draft age then was 21 so wasn’t eligible for the draft. I had no fantasies about being a war hero so went to work in a defense factory to earn money for college. The draft age was lowered to 18 my 1st year in college, when my number came up.
One of the provisions industry made use of was an 8 to 12% profit rate. This meant the higher their costs the more profit they made. Factories in their act of patriotism did everything possible to increase their costs, allowing corporations to make huge profits with no risk. They hired anyone who could breath and increased hours; paying overtime to increase their costs. I worked on a moving assembly line and there were so many bodies it was difficult to work. They also built a large facility to build bomber wings, at government expense. They never did get around to build one bomber wing.
I realize my over use of history to demonstrate the present, but human nature changes little with time. My father advised me that a man with two coins in his pocket was a conservative, but a man with only one coin became a radical. We presently have enough people with one coin in their pockets to cause unrest.
I plan to continue writing about the interesting history of my era to demonstrate the similarities in the present days.