Free (unpaid) labour – free speech = new economy

by Yule Heibel on April 18, 2003

AlterNet has a transcript of the speech Tom Robbins gave a couple of days ago (April 15th) to the National Press Club in Washington, DC. Robbins’s emphasis is on the loss of civil liberties within the US, the dumbing down of the political stakes and rhetoric, the climate of fear this has created amongst the people, and the role of the press in defending free speech. A friend of mine in the greater Boston area — a mere 20 miles beyond the Republic of Cambridge city limits — is afraid to put a pro-peace sticker on her car’s bumper, which seems right in line with Robbins’s assessment.

But it’s about the money, too, as the Toronto Star notes:
“Earlier this month, Republican Senator Ted Stevens (Alaska), chairman of the powerful Senate appropriations committee, said New York City’s police and firefighters should show their patriotism by forsaking pay for overtime work. ‘I really feel strongly that we ought to find some way to convince the people that there ought to be some volunteerism at home,’ said Stevens. ‘These people overseas in the desert — they’re not getting overtime…. I don’t know why the people working for the cities and counties ought to be paid overtime when they’re responding to matters of national security.'”
Meanwhile, the tax breaks proposed by the Administration would enable George Bush to save over $44K in taxes, Dick Cheney about $107K. The Toronto Star columnist I’m pointing to adds: “This is not an hour of patriotic glory for CEOs who continue to push for pay hikes after years of abysmal corporate performance. And press for a dividend-tax cut windfall, happily abetting the debauchery of the country’s finances at a time of budget crises. And, yes, of widespread sacrifice by low-income Americans at home, and by modestly paid men and women putting their lives on the line abroad.”

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