Have Democrats Lost Interest in the Working Man?
We grew up being told that the Democrats were the party of the working man.
Right or wrong, generations were raised with that belief. The white collar and gray collar might be either Republican or Democrat – there were always professions that skewed either way – but blue collar? That was Democrat to the core.
Looking at today’s America, however, it’s hard to see how the American worker – no matter what color collar he or she wears – can see today’s Democrat party as anything but an enemy.
The Biden-Harris regime began – Day One - with a flurry of executive orders, cancelling the contracts in place for ongoing work on the Keystone XL pipeline. Most were union construction jobs. Thousands of workers were thrown out of work on the spot – no notice, no severance – just because the incoming regime’s green agenda didn’t square with the idea of a pipeline moving Canadian fuel southward. In state after state along the route, materials were left sitting where they were, work unfinished, people fired and forced to move elsewhere to find new jobs.
And speaking of moving elsewhere… also among that flurry of executive orders were cancellations of existing permits for drilling on federal lands. And even more so, the hiring of federal bureaucrats – the top tier in every agency are always political hires – with the orders to slow-walk future permit applications. Drilling, exploration, R&D, everything in the critical oil and gas sector that requires any federal permit, from drilling on federal lands, to drilling on private lands that require government access or government authorization of any kind, slowed to a crawl instantly. For all intents and purposes, this development just isn’t happening anymore. And that’s why gasoline has more than doubled in price (Illinoisans were paying under $2/gallon in the weeks before the last election and we’re paying over $4.00/gallon in the weeks before this upcoming one).
If you commute to work or school, this crowd has more than doubled your transportation cost.
On the U.S. West Coast, there’s been a growing problem for years; our coastal seaport complexes are too small to handle current volume, and our rail network’s inland hubs are much too small as well. This isn’t a federal problem; counties and states just need to buy land, and expand to meet the needs. But the Biden-Harris regime muscled in anyway, trying to force the ports to alleviate congestion by the imposition of late fees – as if the cargo were sitting still, clogging up the place, on purpose!
The biggest problem in the twin ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach is that California’s overwhelmingly Democrat state keeps passing laws that are pushing about half of California’s truckers out of the state for good. If the Biden-Harris regime wanted to help, it could pressure Sacramento and Los Angeles to cancel their idiotic green rules that ban half the trucks from the ports, and to cancel AB5, the state law designed to make owner-operators give up their businesses and work for somebody else.
But when given a choice between siding with truck drivers or siding with government bureaucrats, you know who the Biden-Harris crowd chose.
The ILWU is one of the most powerful unions in the world, controlling every port on the West Coast. Their longshoremen, clerks, and crane operators had their contract up for renewal in June. The regime made it clear… no strike, no slowdown, nothing, until after the election. They’ve stayed at the table dutifully; there’s been no strike. Yet. But in an economy like this, was meddling with their contract negotiation fair to the workers? Again, the Democratic Party had its eyes on November 8, not on the good of the working man.
This same problem is writ that much larger on America’s railroads. There are a dozen huge railroad worker unions, all of whom negotiate their new contract as a team. The way they work, all twelve must agree to the contract or they go back to the drawing board; if any strike, the rest strike in solidarity. The Biden-Harris regime got the union bosses to tentatively accept a flawed contract (sick leave issues, personal leave issues, safety concerns from crew size changes, etc.)… and present it to their members as late as possible. They didn’t care if it was a good contract, they just wanted to postpone any strike until after the election. The union bosses accepted the contract, but as the rank and file started voting on it this month, two member unions have already rejected it, probably with more rejections to follow. This sets us up for a potential nationwide rail strike after November 19, just in time for Thanksgiving or Christmas. The regime’s focus wasn’t on the working man, it was on kicking one more can past November 8.
Then there’s transportation’s effect on all of us. The aforementioned problem of gasoline prices hitting the working man’s wallet is just a drop in the bucket, compared to what doubling or trebling the diesel fuel price has done to the country. This one issue, more than any other, has driven up the production costs of everything made or sold in America. Transportation costs are the main reason for the massive inflation at retail stores and online - the reason why the price of beef has doubled and the price of eggs has tripled. Eight percent? Ha. Maybe on milk and orange juice. Most of us see much higher grocery inflation. The policies of today’s Democrats have cost the average American five to ten thousand dollars this year, depending on income level, age and geography.
And that’s not counting retirement plans. Some 40 or 50 years ago, the blue collar workers had pension plans. Since the advent of 401Ks, all three collars are more likely to have a personally-driven retirement investment plan, which requires ongoing success in the stock market. What have the policies of today’s Democrat politicians done to that market? It’s down 15 to 20 percent this year. And that means that every worker’s 401K is also likely down a fifth. What does this do to real people? It reduces their standard of living in retirement, or adds years of working before they even can retire. But federal politicians get a federal pension; they’re insulated from such market concerns. They’re focused on that reelection.
Inflation is known as “the poor people’s tax;” it’s been the key goal of both parties to keep inflation low for generations. But today we have the highest inflation rate in over 40 years, admitted to be about 8%, but for most people, it totals something more like 16 to 20%, because one’s personal rate of inflation depends on what one buys. A person who buys beef is suffering more than a person who buys pork, because beef has gone up much more than pork. A person who must drive to work suffers more than a person who works remote from his basement, or who lives in a big city and takes a bus. This inflation is crippling, and the deepening recession means people will be that much less able to handle it… but the Biden-Harris regime isn’t interested in solving the problem, just in papering it over so they don’t lose too many votes on November 8.
Perhaps the most telling example of the Democratic Party’s abandonment of what used to be called “the working class” was the transparent effort of this regime to have the federal government illegally absorb a trillion dollars in college student loans this fall. These are largely people earning six figures per year, a high percentage of them with advanced degrees. These aren’t the hardworking longshoremen, railroad engineers, and factory assembly line workers who used to form the core of the Democratic Party. A lot of these college loan defaulters wouldn’t know a lathe, conveyor belt, or arc welder from the background in their video games. But blue collar workers’ taxes (and their children’s and grandchildren’s taxes) will be paying off the masters degrees and doctorates of these latte-drinking vegans for the next 100 years.
How easily the Biden-Harris regime threw their old base overboard to take care of their new base. The greenies and academics, the counter-culturists and bureaucrats. These are the Democratic Party’s base today. Either they’ve lost all interest in the working man… or they just look on him with scorn.
Maybe it’s time the Democrats give up the color “blue.” They don’t deserve it anymore.
John F. Di Leo is a Chicagoland-based international transportation professional. A onetime Milwaukee County Republican Party Chairman, he has been writing a regular column for Illinois Review since 2009. His book on vote fraud (The Tales of Little Pavel) and his political satires on the current administration (Evening Soup with Basement Joe, Volumes I and II) are available on Amazon.
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