Monday, February 20, 2012

Steve Jobs, the 'Boss', and the Wrecking Ball

Much of the dirt in the recently released FBI files on Steve Jobs relates mostly to his questionable moral character - - in particular, his willingness to stretch the truth, his treatment of a child he had with his high school girlfriend, and his exalted opinion of himself. There is also a great deal of talk about Jobs' past drug use, such as his affinity for LSD and marijuana, which he freely admitted.

Like many CEO's who are requiring most of their potential employees do, Steve Jobs probably couldn't have passed a drug test to get hired for a job at one of his own Apple factories; but it's his methods of doing business, not his drug use, that seems totally contrary to Bruce Springsteen's values.

Since Steve Jobs has passed away, only now are more and more people starting to come out on the issues of Apple using child and slave labor.

I've been complaining since I first learned of this, but many people thought of Steve Jobs as some kind of cultural icon because he was a young self-made billionaire who produced a cool cell phone.

Many of his fans thought of Steve Jobs as some kind if hero and worshiped him. One gushing fan, Carmine Gallo at Forbes, compares Steve Jobs to Bruce Springsteen and writes, "It was obvious to me that the 'boss' shares the same success principles as Apple’s boss.

But this blogger has a difficult time understanding how this could possibly be true. I've always thought of Bruce Springsteen as an advocate of the average "working man" ("a man of the people"), not a shill for corporate plutocracy. And I have always thought of Steve Jobs just like any another corporate monster...kind, loving, and generous to his immediate family and friends, and to hell with the rest of humanity. (Read: Where the Jobs Are)

No, I was never jealous or envious of Steve Job or his wealth. I have always respected and admired success by way of honesty and hard work, so long as people played by the rules and didn't hurt others, such as by way of obsession, corruption, or greed. I have always thought Steve Jobs was all of the aforementioned.

But in all fairness, it's not just Apple, it's also about many other "so-called" American companies that are anti-labor union and against fair wages, and who still use child and slave labor. But because Apple is such an "admired" and "respected" American/Chinese company - - and because of Steve Jobs' fanatical loyal followers - - I usually like to use Apple as a good example of corporate greed and moral corruption. (Read: America's Race to the Bottom)

The world is no better off because of the iPhone - - and much of the technology was derived from taxpayer research and development. Steve Jobs just used foreign labor costing less than $1 an hour to build a cell phone, which cost only $20 to make, to sell to you for $400....all while dodging taxes to America.

This has been what's so wrong with much of corporate America today. Apple existed solely for itself, enriching a very few, and at the insufferable cost to so many others. Steve Jobs was no hero to America, and certainly not to any Chinese workers, but I can understand why a few people in Silicone Valley might be grateful.

And if Apple's stock price goes down, Steve Jobs might even be missed too.

But because of corporate outsourcing and union-busting, and the unjust and inequitable tax code for the last 90 years, and the financial institutions' speculation and greed with "derivatives" in the home mortgage market (etc.), millions of Americans now find themselves trying to recover from an economic calamity.

But people like Steve Jobs didn't suffer, nor anyone else on the Forbes 400 List; nor did anyone in Congress who enacted unfair tax laws on behalf of corporate lobbyists, allowing for the outsourcing of middle-class jobs in flawed trade agreements, the further erosion of worker's rights, the deregulation of the banks, and those who allowed for insider trading on the stock market. It was only the poor and middle-class who has made all the "shared sacrifices" during the Great Recession.

Bruce "the Boss" Springsteen has always lauded his blue-collar upbringing, and wanted to address the country's current cultural and fiscal crises through his music with his soon-to-be released album Wrecking Ball. Bruce believes that this recent financial meltdown has left much social and pecuniary carnage in its wake.

Bruce says, "My work has always been about judging the distance between American reality and the American Dream. The 2008 Wall Street crisis acted as an enormous fault-line that cracked the American system wide open and its repercussions are just beginning to be felt. An outrageous theft occurred that struck to the heart of the American idea. And there has been no accountability. The title of my new album Wrecking Ball represents the flat destruction of some American ideals and values over the last 30 years. It seemed like a good metaphor."

Bruce remains optimistic about the U.S. and believes that Occupy Wall Street protesters are benefiting society through their dissent.

"The Occupy Wall Street movement has been powerful about changing the national conversation. The Tea Party set the conversation for a while but now people are talking about economic equality. That's a conversation America hasn't had for 20 years."

Meanwhile, the Republicans are up to the same old bull$hit, such as trying to repeal the healthcare law, further weakening labor rights, and caving in to big banks and special interests by trying to neuter the Dodd-Frank bill and the Bureau of Consumer Protection.

Oh, yes, and all the Republicans are trying to further screw us again with more tax breaks for the rich. Senator Pat Toomey's (R-PA) recently proposed tax plan is just another a tax scam, that again mostly benefits the rich.

The top marginal income tax rate for the most affluent would fall 7% (from 35% to 28%) while the bottom tax rate for the poorest would drop only 2% (from 10% to 8%). His tax "plan" would also keep the Bush tax cuts for capital gains taxes permanent (at only 15%), rather than taxing this type of income as ordinary wages.

Maybe Apple wouldn't have to dodge taxes any more, but like most corporations that outsource jobs for cheaper labor, I'm sure Apple's army of tax attorneys would find a way to use their mighty wrecking ball to screw the middle-class some more. just like all major corporations, the politicians, and the top 1%.

And the wrecking ball continues doing its work.

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