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Neomalthusian

France allows unions to hold its entire economy hostage

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France on Wednesday was preparing for one of its biggest nationwide strikes in years with stoppages by transport workers and teachers expected to paralyze the country in an intensifying showdown between President Emmanuel Macron and unions.


Some 90 percent of high-speed trains have been axed, most of the Paris metro will be shut, hundreds of flights cancelled and the majority of schools closed in Thursday’s strike over Macron’s planned pension reforms.

 

More:  France braces for shutdown as Macron clashes with unions

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So long as they're not gov't unions.

 

 

 

 

 

kj

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13 minutes ago, KneeJerk said:

So long as they're not gov't unions.

kj

 

When it comes to basically shutting down a national economy, or at least significantly interfering with it, why does it make a difference if the union represents public employees or private sector ones?  In any event, in this case they are public sector unions, i.e. "government unions."

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34 minutes ago, KneeJerk said:

So long as they're not gov't unions.

 

 

 

 

 

kj

Agreed. Govt unions should not be allowed. I agree with FDR on this one....

 

https://www.politifact.com/wisconsin/statements/2013/aug/13/scott-walker/Did-FDR-oppose-collective-bargaining-for-governmen/

 

"

And it’s easy to see why: The president’s Aug. 16, 1937 correspondence with Luther C. Steward,  the president of the National Federation of Federal Employees, is bluntly worded -- to say the least.

Roosevelt was responding to an invitation to attend the organization’s 20th jubilee convention.

In the letter, FDR says groups such as NFFE naturally organize to present their views to supervisors. Government workers, he observed, want fair pay, safe working conditions and review of grievances just like private-industry workers.

Organizations of government employees "have a logical place in Government affairs," he wrote.

But Roosevelt then shifted gears, emphasizing that "meticulous attention should be paid to the special relationships and obligations of public servants to the public itself and to the Government."

Then, the most-famous line and the one directly on point to Walker’s comment:

"All Government employees should realize that the process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service," he wrote. "It has its distinct and insurmountable limitations when applied to public personnel management."

Roosevelt didn’t stop there.

"The very nature and purposes of Government make it impossible for administrative officials to represent fully or to bind the employer in mutual discussions with Government employee organizations," he wrote.

When Walker claimed FDR said "the government is the people," he had Roosevelt’s next line in mind.

"The employer," Roosevelt’s letter added, "is the whole people, who speak by means of laws enacted by their representatives in Congress. Accordingly, administrative officials and employees alike are governed and guided, and in many instances restricted, by laws which establish policies, procedures, or rules in personnel matters."

"

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2 minutes ago, superds77 said:

 

Agreed. Govt unions should not be allowed. I agree with FDR on this one....

 

 

Don't tell Progs that their hero distained gov't unions or their heads will explode.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

kj

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When it comes to the topic of socialist economies, the usual examples are NAZI Germany, Stalinist Russia, Maoist China. Those are oranges to our apples. Now, France is a very direct comparison and we should pay attention to. There are lots of examples in France where they take their redistribution too far. 

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2 hours ago, Neomalthusian said:
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France on Wednesday was preparing for one of its biggest nationwide strikes in years with stoppages by transport workers and teachers expected to paralyze the country in an intensifying showdown between President Emmanuel Macron and unions.


Some 90 percent of high-speed trains have been axed, most of the Paris metro will be shut, hundreds of flights cancelled and the majority of schools closed in Thursday’s strike over Macron’s planned pension reforms.

 

 

This is a clear demonstration of the lengths to which workers must go to make the Fat Cats realize that economic justice must be allowed.  Thank God there are still French men and women with the self-esteem, conviction and courage to demand their fair share of the pie from those who would exploit them.

 

Vive la France !

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1 hour ago, bludog said:

 

This is a clear demonstration of the lengths to which workers must go to make the Fat Cats realize that economic justice must be allowed.  Thank God there are still French men and women with the self-esteem, conviction and courage to demand their fair share of the pie from those who would exploit them.

 

 

France has no problem "demanding a fair share," they did it with the rich in the not too distant past, e.g. with wealth taxes, and then regretted it when it noticed that those wealth taxes did not achieve a desirable economic result at all.  Even pro-wealth-tax Piketty ackowledges that.

 

Countries don't become better off when their entire economy is held hostage by any particular group looking to enrich itself.  These tactics are essentially civil warfare.  When a country holds its own entire economy hostage until demands are met, it's a feature of civil warfare, quite literally.  Countries do that to each other and when the effects are damaging enough, actual warfare ensues, historically. 

 

Unions utterly rely on government to provide the policy protections and legal framework within which to operate.  They can't exist without the government's policies and legal framework.  The government could literally abolish them away with the swipe of a pen.  So when public unions are allowed to hold entire national governments hostage, as they've done before and are doing again in France, it is because the French government explicitly permits it, if not half-way encourages it.  The French government allows itself to be held hostage by this special interest group, in broad daylight.  It's completely voluntary.  Which is pretty bizarre.  And it's hard to imagine how the country as a whole or even the workers doing the protesting end up better off as a result of these antics.

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1 hour ago, impartialobserver said:

When it comes to the topic of socialist economies, the usual examples are NAZI Germany, Stalinist Russia, Maoist China. Those are oranges to our apples. Now, France is a very direct comparison and we should pay attention to. There are lots of examples in France where they take their redistribution too far. 

De facto, wealth redistribution has been decidedly one-way in America for decades.  More wealth is concentrated into fewer hands than any time in our history.  Is that the sort of redistribution you're talking about?

 

Because that word gets bandied about a lot..."redistribution".  As if the government could only possibly intervene and rig the game to "redistribute" wealth from the rich to the poor, when in fact the opposite is overwhelmingly what actually happens.  Government created and protected monopolies and oligopolies have a stranglehold on all of the most important and profitable industries.  Monopolies do not encourage competition nor do they deliver the benefits of competition, as espoused by free market enthusiasts.  And yet, those free market types only seem to complain when the "redistribution" functions from wealthy to middle class, and never actually seem to even notice that the opposite is happening constantly.

 

A lot of shills push that propaganda relentlessly, of course.  And a lot of people get hoodwinked by it.

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1 minute ago, Neomalthusian said:

 

France has no problem "demanding a fair share," they did it with the rich in the not too distant past, e.g. with wealth taxes, and then regretted it when it noticed that those wealth taxes did not achieve a desirable economic result at all.  Even pro-wealth-tax Piketty ackowledges that.

 

Countries don't become better off when their entire economy is held hostage by any particular group looking to enrich itself.  These tactics are essentially civil warfare.  Unions utterly rely on government to provide the legal framework within which to operate.  They can't exist without the government's legal framework.  The government could literally abolish them away with the swipe of a pen.  So when public unions are allowed to hold entire national governments hostage, as they've done before and are doing again in France, it is because the French government explicitly permits it, if not half-way encourages it.  The French government allows itself to be held hostage by this special interest group, in broad daylight.  It's completely voluntary.  Which is pretty bizarre.  And it's hard to imagine how the country as a whole or even the workers doing the protesting end up better off as a result of these antics.

Yeah, crazy, right!  How can gubmint allow a group to hold the whole economy hostage like that?  Shocking!  

 

Not that you've noticed or once complained about the relentless angling to corrupt our systems to do exactly that on behalf of corporate behemoths that control entire industries outright and dictate terms to the rest of us with the implicit and explicit backing of the government.

 

Start up a thread discussing the wanton corruption and exploitation of the pharmaceutical industry, why don'tcha?  Or how the gubmint granted a monopoly it invented to Moody's, S&P, and Fitch?  Tell us how worrying it is that Wall Street banks "regulate" themselves via the NY Fed, and are lending out billions of dollars every day without telling us where the money is going...that's OUR money.  It's not even "redistribution".  It's literally OUR public dollars going out the door, as WELFARE to prop up failing institutions that cannot secure the loans they obviously need on the open market.

 

Unions shmunions.  If there weren't unions to act as a counter-balance to the corruption from concentrated wealth operating in our economy, the middle class wouldn't be in decline, it would already have vanished by now.

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36 minutes ago, splunch said:

Yeah, crazy, right!  How can gubmint allow a group to hold the whole economy hostage like that?  Shocking!  

 

Not that you've noticed or once complained about the relentless angling to corrupt our systems to do exactly that on behalf of corporate behemoths that control entire industries outright and dictate terms to the rest of us with the implicit and explicit backing of the government.

 

This notion of yours that corporate interests do the same thing, literally hold national economies and governments hostage, partially shutting them down, until their demands are met, is asinine.  There is a clear difference between actually grinding a nation's economy to a halt because of an organized action against the government and whatever vague corporate conspiracy allegations you are peddling here.  The attempt to use both-siderism between corporations and unions on this particular topic is totally laughable.

 

Quote

Start up a thread discussing the wanton corruption and exploitation of the pharmaceutical industry, why don'tcha? 

 

Are you trying to distract from the topic?  Sure looks like it.

 

Quote

Or how the gubmint granted a monopoly it invented to Moody's, S&P, and Fitch?

 

More random distraction.  But to entertain you, no, that's not correct.  First of all, this would be an oligopoly if anything, second, it would only be an oligopoly if those three were allowed to coordinate their actions in the manner of a cartel, so that they could push their fees higher.  The law does not allow companies to do this, but it does allow unions to do this, by exempting them from antitrust laws.

 

Third, the fact that these three firms don't have monopoly/oligopoly power and have had to compete with one another is actually part of the problem, because sometimes they're competing for customers based on how generously they rate financial assets, this competitive pressure leads them to intentionally falsify ratings.  This is a quintessential market failure issue in this instance, where competitive pressures result in the opposite of the desired effect.  If we want ratings agencies to have a regulatory effect, we need them to not compete with other profit-seekers to spit out ratings.  Regulatory bodies need to not have a competitive incentive to regulate poorly and deceptively.  That's precisely where we've gotten into trouble with the ratings agencies.

 

Quote

Tell us how worrying it is that Wall Street banks "regulate" themselves via the NY Fed, and are lending out billions of dollars every day without telling us where the money is going...that's OUR money.  It's not even "redistribution".  It's literally OUR public dollars going out the door, as WELFARE to prop up failing institutions that cannot secure the loans they obviously need on the open market.

 

This is turning into a lot of distraction from what is literally happening in France, which is the topic.

 

Quote

Unions shmunions.  If there weren't unions to act as a counter-balance to the corruption from concentrated wealth operating in our economy, the middle class wouldn't be in decline, it would already have vanished by now.

 

It's really astounding that unions can grind a country's economy to a virtual halt, which is what countries try to do to each other in wartime, and yet you still argue that all the other special interests are the corrupt ones, and that it's all the other special interests' fault unions feel compelled to sabotage their national economies and governments.  That's insane.

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Several years ago, I had a French girlfriend. She was a widow, and her ex was a French Algerian who she met in Paris. She also had a brother, who was a postman. He was a member of the General Confederation of Labour, French Confédération Générale du Travail (CGT ), and was retired. We visited him at his home in the XX Arrondissement, where he lived with his wife in a small house surrounded by large apartment buildings mostly rented by  Algerians and Moroccans. He had a Peugeot and a wine cellar with what looked like a lifetime supply of wines from tiny wineries that  sold only to subscribers.

 

At one time, he was a what would be a shop foreman in the CGT, a union with Comminist affiliations.  He was a bit of a grouch and did not like me or his sister's deceased husband. He did, however like to impress people with his wife's cooking (which was excellent) and his private label wines. We shared meals with him and his wife for a couple of days. He sat at the head of an impressive antique dining label in front of a TV.  Lunch and dinner could take a couple of hours, and then he turned on the TV and watched the Young and the Restless, General Hospital and a couple of other American soap operas. But he also liked Star Trek, found interesting was that he also was a huge fan of Star Trek, The Next Generation. He was really fond of Le Capitan Picard.  I asked him whether he knew that Patrick Stewart, the actor who played Picard, was actually English. He said something derogatory and waved his hand like he thought this was absurd. Picard was the best French acteur,  ever. It was like I had just asked whether he knew that the Anglais had invented Beaujoilis.

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4 hours ago, superds77 said:

Agreed. Govt unions should not be allowed. I agree with FDR on this one....

 

https://www.politifact.com/wisconsin/statements/2013/aug/13/scott-walker/Did-FDR-oppose-collective-bargaining-for-governmen/

 

And it’s easy to see why: The president’s Aug. 16, 1937 correspondence with Luther C. Steward,  the president of the National Federation of Federal Employees, is bluntly worded -- to say the least. Roosevelt was responding to an invitation to attend the organization’s 20th jubilee convention. In the letter, FDR says groups such as NFFE naturally organize to present their views to supervisors. Government workers, he observed, want fair pay, safe working conditions and review of grievances just like private-industry workers. Organizations of government employees "have a logical place in Government affairs," he wrote. But Roosevelt then shifted gears, emphasizing that "meticulous attention should be paid to the special relationships and obligations of public servants to the public itself and to the Government." Then, the most-famous line and the one directly on point to Walker’s comment:

"All Government employees should realize that the process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service," he wrote. "It has its distinct and insurmountable limitations when applied to public personnel management." Roosevelt didn’t stop there.  "The very nature and purposes of Government make it impossible for administrative officials to represent fully or to bind the employer in mutual discussions with Government employee organizations," he wrote.  When Walker claimed FDR said "the government is the people," he had Roosevelt’s next line in mind.  "The employer," Roosevelt’s letter added, "is the whole people, who speak by means of laws enacted by their representatives in Congress. Accordingly, administrative officials and employees alike are governed and guided, and in many instances restricted, by laws which establish policies, procedures, or rules in personnel matters."

 

What's going on in France is right in line with what FDR foresaw as the problem with public sector unions.  

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1 hour ago, splunch said:

Start up a thread discussing the wanton corruption and exploitation of the pharmaceutical industry, why don'tcha?

 

Like this?  

 

Big Pharma, labor unions partner to fight bills to lower drug prices (Becker Hospital Review) Maia Anderson - 5 hours ago

 

Quote

Large drugmakers and labor unions have formed an unlikely alliance to combat legislation that would lower drug prices, according to The New York Times. 


The Pharmaceutical Industry Labor Management Association, formed 15 years ago, includes large construction industry unions whose members help build pharmaceutical plants and research labs as well as drugmakers including Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer. The mix of drug companies and labor unions is uncommon, as labor unions are typically interested in lowering drug costs, since out-of-pocket costs can create a financial strain for union members.

But PILMA says it wants to create jobs for union workers. Facebook ads and mailers financed by the group have warned that House Speaker Nancy Pelsoi's bill would jeopardize thousands of "good-paying jobs" and would "risk access to critical medicines," according to the Times. 

The association has bought ads in local newspapers and hired former labor officials and well-known union lobbyists to deliver its message, including that Ms. Pelosi's bill to lower drug prices would stifle innovation and damage the pharmaceutical industry. 

The association's revenue comes from the pharmaceutical industry, and the group had about $2.3 million in revenue in 2018 according to tax filings cited by the Times. 

The group also opposes the drug-pricing proposal sponsored by Sens. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and Ron Wyden, D-Ore., considered to be more moderate than Ms. Pelosi's, as well as President Donald Trump's proposal to allow importation of prescription drugs from Canada.

 

 

Maybe I will.

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27 minutes ago, leftwinger said:

Do you work for a right wing think tank? All you do is bash unions.

 

In this case I'm kind of bashing a country's government and people for allowing a special interest group to hold this kind of hostage power over it.  The special interest group in this case happens to be labor unions.  The country's government and people have laid this red carpet out for labor unions to do this stuff.  Unions are just walking down that carpet.  I'm not bashing them for doing what they're practically invited to do. 

 

It's hardly "union-bashing" to point this out.  If Google or Microsoft were allowed to shut down vast swaths of the internet and rig some way to grind our economy to a halt until its demands were met, and no one were talking about it, I'd be starting discussions about it, because that's just insane.  It's fundamentally crazy that a government with lawmaking power would openly allow itself to be publicly extorted like this.  The government could shut all these antics down with a room full of ayes and a swipe of a pen.  But they play along in this game and invite and enable this economic civil warfare.  I don't get it.

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2 minutes ago, Neomalthusian said:

Agreed. Govt unions should not be allowed. I agree with FDR on this one....

I disagree. If the right to join a union is denied, then you are making second=class citizens of government workers.

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15 minutes ago, XavierOnassis said:

I disagree. If the right to join a union is denied, then you are making second=class citizens of government workers.


Random arbitrary thing to declare. A lot of mid-management-level government employees who just oversee small departments of workers are exempt from union representation but that doesn’t make them second-class citizens.  In workplaces where an NLRB-supervised secret ballot election for unionization is held and let’s say the union only gets 48% of the vote so the workplace does not unionize, those workers are not kept in a status of being second class citizens.  Smalltime entrepreneurs who are struggling to get by and often making less money per year than most union workers are not second class citizens.  There’s nothing about being a member of a union that elevates you to first class citizen whereas not being in a union makes you second class. That’s just nonsense.

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6 minutes ago, Neomalthusian said:


Random arbitrary thing to declare. A lot of mid-management-level government employees who just oversee small departments of workers are exempt from union representation but that doesn’t make them second-class citizens.  In workplaces where an NLRB-supervised secret ballot election for unionization is held and let’s say the union only gets 48% of the vote so the workplace does not unionize, those workers are not kept in a status of being second class citizens.  Smalltime entrepreneurs who are struggling to get by and often making less money per year than most union workers are not second class citizens.  There’s nothing about being a member of a union that elevates you to first class citizen whereas not being in a union makes you second class. That’s just nonsense.

NOT the way I see it. You are entirely unconvincing.

Try to start a union sometime. Your reasoning seems defective.

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24 minutes ago, XavierOnassis said:

NOT the way I see it. You are entirely unconvincing.

Try to start a union sometime. Your reasoning seems defective.


Compared to an arbitrary insinuation that union members are first class citizens and non-union workers are second-class citizens, my reasoning is fine.  There’s no decent or honest reason to put people into make-believe strata like that.

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Just now, Neomalthusian said:


Compared to an arbitrary insinuation that union members are first class citizens and non-union workers are second-class citizens.  There’s no decent or honest reason to put people into make-believe strata like that.

I said that all Americans should have the right to be  union members if they work for any boss, and that all such union members  should have the same rights.

You are deliberately misquoting me.

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5 hours ago, splunch said:

Yeah, crazy, right!  How can gubmint allow a group to hold the whole economy hostage like that?  Shocking!  

 

Not that you've noticed or once complained about the relentless angling to corrupt our systems to do exactly that on behalf of corporate behemoths that control entire industries outright and dictate terms to the rest of us with the implicit and explicit backing of the government.

 

Start up a thread discussing the wanton corruption and exploitation of the pharmaceutical industry, why don'tcha?  Or how the gubmint granted a monopoly it invented to Moody's, S&P, and Fitch?  Tell us how worrying it is that Wall Street banks "regulate" themselves via the NY Fed, and are lending out billions of dollars every day without telling us where the money is going...that's OUR money.  It's not even "redistribution".  It's literally OUR public dollars going out the door, as WELFARE to prop up failing institutions that cannot secure the loans they obviously need on the open market.

 

Unions shmunions.  If there weren't unions to act as a counter-balance to the corruption from concentrated wealth operating in our economy, the middle class wouldn't be in decline, it would already have vanished by now.

 

Well put. 

 

Neomalthusian is an advocate for concentrated wealth and power.  And for him, the wealth gap can't grow wide enough.  Labor unions, which seek economic justice,  are the bane of his existence.

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19 hours ago, Neomalthusian said:

There is a clear difference between actually grinding a nation's economy to a halt because of an organized action against the government and whatever vague corporate conspiracy allegations you are peddling here.

The difference is that one group already controls almost all of the wealth and political power.  Monopolies don't seek to tear down or stop the systems they control and profit by.  That's silly.  When things get dicey for them, however, we see their true colors.  Look what happened in 2008.  They held a gun to our collective heads and told us we had to bail them out or else.  

19 hours ago, Neomalthusian said:

More random distraction.  But to entertain you, no, that's not correct.  First of all, this would be an oligopoly if anything, second, it would only be an oligopoly if those three were allowed to coordinate their actions in the manner of a cartel, so that they could push their fees higher.  The law does not allow companies to do this, but it does allow unions to do this, by exempting them from antitrust laws.

Random distraction is quibbling over calling an oligopoly established (pointlessly) by the government a monopoly.  The point is, those agencies have been granted 100% of the market for no reason by the government.  Those agencies are then paid by the companies who seek their "ratings".  And they OBVIOUSLY collude either implicitly or explicitly because of the nature of the business, the very, very few players allowed into the racket, and the clout of the firms who seek their "ratings".  There is no rational reason why an independent observer should not be offering ratings to consumers of those ratings for a fee.  That'd be INVESTORS, not the people inventing the securities.  It's obviously corrupt.  Your efforts to defend this blatantly corrupt institution are a gift, and do much to illuminate your motives.

 

19 hours ago, Neomalthusian said:

Third, the fact that these three firms don't have monopoly/oligopoly power and have had to compete with one another is actually part of the problem, because sometimes they're competing for customers based on how generously they rate financial assets, this competitive pressure leads them to intentionally falsify ratings. 

They used to be paid by the people who USED the ratings, i.e., the investors.  And there is NO reason they should be granted a monopoly--er...I'm sorry, an oligopoly...over the business of rating securities.  They are nothing like what they started as.  They provide none of the service their reputations were built upon, when investors paid them to critically analyze securities.  They are crony-government monopolies controlled by Wall Street to rubber stamp securities schemes wearing the mantle of respectability earned by their founders.  They are part of an enormously powerful infrastructure that completely corrupts the marketplace and operates as a wealth redistribution machine, upwards only, of course, and feeds the crony-capitalist government.  And when their efforts are stymied or they face hard times, they absolutely hold a gun to our heads and threaten far more than temporary work stoppages.

 

19 hours ago, Neomalthusian said:

It's really astounding that unions can grind a country's economy to a virtual halt, which is what countries try to do to each other in wartime, and yet you still argue that all the other special interests are the corrupt ones, and that it's all the other special interests' fault unions feel compelled to sabotage their national economies and governments.  That's insane.

Nothing has ground to a halt.  A temporary disruption of productivity so that people can try to use their leverage to claw back some of the wealth they generate is hardly a catastrophe.  It's an interesting news story and in the end deals will be struck and business will resume in earnest.  The gun-to-the-head scenario you're trying to paint here much more aptly describes what Wall Street did to us all in 2008 than these labor protests.

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The ratings agencies become agents of Wall Street because there are only 3 of them.  If there were many more, including independent-minded raters paid by investors, Wall Street would obviously not be able to so easily control the ratings going out to the world.  Given the vast fortunes spent on lobbying by Wall Street, funding campaigns, buying seats in influential regulatory positions, we would have to be stupidly naive to not see how something so obviously beneficial to the firms that create these securities would be their doing.

 

The right-winger argument always seems to depend on me as an observer being an utter moron unable to add 2 and 2 together.

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