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A View from the Altar / Enemy of the working man
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Enemy of the working man

Joe Doe works as a machinist at a paper mill. He’s fifty-something, hopes to work till he’s mid-60s. When his kids finally moved out on their own, Joe kept driving his old beater car and accumulated a little money in savings. It’s not a fortune, just a few thousand dollars. But he’s been getting basically zero interest at the local bank, and even Joe knows this is no way to build for retirement.

Joe has been a union member since he got the paper mill job ten years ago. He never thought twice about joining his co-workers who voted Democrat and cussed the rich, so-called “investor” class. Blood sucking money changers, they called them, parasites who contribute nothing and exploit other people’s labor.  Damnable capitalists, enemies of the working man!

But Joe is now in a position to admit however grudgingly that he, Joe, is an investor… a capitalist.  He’s not looking to get rich by getting something for nothing, just make a reasonable percentage on his hard-earned savings account.

Joe was reading on the internet and found a company trying to build a factory that produces fuel for nuclear power plants. It sounded like an opportunity. Nuclear fuel is needed for the green economy, quoth Joe. Energy is a global market with demand increasing everywhere. All the company needs is some cash flow to get things up and running. A few thousand people each with a few thousand dollars would make it click. It’d be American businessmen using American resources to make American products using American labor. “Surely,” says Joe, “I can buy into this factory, help my country, put union brothers into good jobs, and get back home with something better than the measly quarter percent I’ve been getting at the bank.”

But Joe keeps reading and learns the factory needs fifteen different kinds of federal licenses for all kinds of things. Not only does the EPA have to buy off on it, but Bureau of land Management, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the Army Corps of Engineers and a dozen other departments he’s never heard of. Then the factory needs permits from the state to take water from the river and a different permit from the state to put it back.

Then Joe learns that lawsuits have been filed by a consortium of environmental groups seeking delays in the licensing process and seeking repeal of all the licenses that have already been granted. If the licenses get squelched, the factor will never run. The investors will lose everything they’ve paid in. And these are not fat cats from Goldman-Sachs. These investors are people like himself, each with a few thousand dollars saved the hard way, by working overtime, avoiding restaurants, and driving an old beater way past its prime.

With lawsuits involved, it’s just too dicey. So Joe leaves his savings in the bank, earning nothing either for himself or anybody else. His little retirement account stays little. The uranium factory stays unbuilt. The unemployed factory workers stay unemployed. The resources stay in the ground essentially worthless. At little cadre of environmentalists, lawyers, and bureaucrats have strangled the project before it ever got going.

And for the first time in his life, Joe looks to his left and sees who the enemy of the working man really is.

otherbrothersteve@gmail.com

One Comment

  1. Ole Rocker

    If you run for Prez, I’ll vote for ya!

    Actually I’d like to see Herman Cain make a run for it …

    Posted on 13-Jan-11 at 15:30 pm | Permalink

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