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1.DuBoff and Herman’sreference to the “real wage” raises issues distinct from my argument about pay inequality. However, I reject the view, implicit in their position, that lower real wages are good for employment. In fact, we raised the minimum wage \(and the real and unemployment went down, not up. We should raise the minimum wage again. Do DuBoff and Herman disagree? 2.DuBoff and Herman’s reference to U.S. income inequality, as distinct from pay inequality, rising into the nineties due to our profits boom is correct. Income is not the same as pay. But Europe’s American delusion is about cutting pay rates, not about boosting profit incomes. I do not oppose a profits boom if it lowers unemployment. The Herman/DuBoff objection here is, in effect, to the very nature of our capitalist system. It does not seem to me to be very useful. 3.Returning the focus to pay, where it belongs, it is not true that Europe has escaped rising pay inequality in the eighties. Rich European countries gained ground relative to poor ones, just as overall unemployment in Europe was rising. These between-country differentials matter, but analyses that take each European country one at a time ignore them, leading to the reactionary view that blames unemployment on excessive equality and “wage rigidity.” Isn’t so, didn’t happen. 4.Yes, West Virginia is poorer than Texas, but it is also much smaller. I used New York/Texas to compare to Germany/Spain because these are places of roughly comparable size. However, our comparisons of \(manufacwith the United States incorporate all such employment in the United States, wherever located, so wages in places like West Virginia are, in fact, factored in. 5.If it is fair to include North Mexico and bits of the Caribbean in the U.S. pay pool, then one should also add egalitarian Canada. And one should include Central Europe, Turkey, and parts of North Africa in the European pay pool, raising inequality there. We choose the U.S. and “Europe” for the conventional political and data reasons. I have not checked whether Puerto Rico is included in the O.E.C.D.’s U.S. data. It should be. 6.Sorry, but yes, U.S. unemployment really is low at the moment. The pretense that somehow this is all an illusion is not serious. The otherwise-Unemployed are not actually all in prison. And if our prisoners were not in prison not all of them would be unemployed. 7.Finally, of course Danish pensions are better. But they are paid only to Danes. They are not available at all to Spaniards or Greeks or Portuguese or even Italians, whose public pension rates when someone gets around to comparing them to average European incomes will soon be seen to be quite low. So, once one starts thinking about pay differentials across Europe, the fact that Denmark gives good re tirement to Danes, or even Germany to Germans, loses relevance. Social Security is not paid to residents of Mississippi according to the average incomes of that state; if it were, elderly Mississippians would be much poorer than they are. This is a tremendous advantage of our system, even though Social Security only provides a basic retirement check. Europeans, so accustomed to thinking in national terms, will now with their Euro have to face the grim reality: their lovely welfare states are provincial. In some future political nirvana, Europeans may eventually aspire to building a Scandinavian model all across Europe. But to get there from the mess they are now in, they will have to pass through some of the American New Deal first. They should therefore start thinking now about how to give a proper benefits to the ghettoized south of Europe, where many people are plainly trapped into high unemployment that they cannot escape, anytime soon, through emigration. Why Herman and DuBoff reject all this so vehemently and in the process buy in to some conventional, politically reactionary, and demonstrably wrong ideas about the pro-employment benefits of low real wages and high inequality somewhat baffles me. I am sure that they did not like the vicious anti-union, antiworker politics of the Reagan-Bush years any more than I did. Why do they implicitly accept the notion that all this bitter medicine was good for us in the long run? It wasn’t, and it is not the price we pay for any part of our currently improved conditions. Nor is cutting lower-end wages any kind of a solution for Europe. \(Note: The facts and measurements underlying my column are documented on the UTIP web-site at , Working Paper 11; for those who would like even more information. As for those for whom this is already too much, I apologize, but DuBoff and Herman raised many issues in their letter that TRUTH DETECTOR Re “No Peace at Pacifica,” by Michael King, November 12: Good article! \(I read it on the Save Pacifica Web site, , which has I just wanted to comment on Lynn Chadwick’s statements, since I actually was at many of the protests in front of the station, that she was discussing. Chadwick said people are unaware of the “level of violence” following the incident: “the four-lane street in front of the station was blocked.” True. The police had the block of Martin Luther King Way that the station is on barricaded, most days of demonstrations. \(They also went out of their way to accommodate spontaneous marches by temporarily blocking Uni”A campground was set up for several days on end.” True. front of the station about the second week of the lockout. “There were rallies at night” where they had to actually “pull out the riot police” several times. The only times the riot police were there, that I know of, was the first night when the shit hit the fan, and a night or two later when people marched down University Avenue towards 1-80 and attempted to actually get onto the freeway. \(They were prevented from doing so by a line of cops across University just before the on-ramp. The California Highway Patrol was also out in force on 80 itself, just in case “They tried to rock over a paddy wagon with several people in it….” Bullshit. What did happen, the night the lockout started, is that some people got underneath a paddy wagon, in front of the front wheels, to prevent it from moving. I was right there, as was a TV news reporter and camera crew. “There was a case of Molotov cocktails discovered in the crowd, during one of the riots.” Bullshit. \(this is countered by the police “The station was assaulted by ladders….” True, in that demonstrators put up a ladder to the small second-floor balcony in front of the station, in an attempt to put up a banner. Of course, what she didn’t say is that the first person up the ladder had her knuckles smashed by a cop’s nightstick when she got to the top. “People broke into windows…” Bullshit. What did happen, the night of the lockout, is that people came in through the open first-floor windows in the front \(helped in the only broken windows were caused by the incredibly sloppy board-up crew hired by Pacifica \(refer to news articles documenting all the broken glass caused by bolts drilled through window panes, found when staff returned after single window was broken by demonstrators. “…and came through the skylights, into the station.” B ULLSHIT! “There were numerous death threats made against me and my staff.” Can’t say, though from what I’ve read, this sounds dubious. \(Certainly the fact that armed guards were put in the station, and not the adjoin ing Pacifica office, where the targets of the al Hope this sheds some light on things. David Nebenzahl KPFA listener & subscriber San Bruno, California Write Dialogue The Texas Observer 307 W. 7th St. Austin, TX 78701 [email protected] DECEMBER 10, 1999 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 5