Labor Is Not to Blame

August 15, 2014

NOTE: I wrote this in 2011. If anything, the situation is even worse today. 
As we head into Labor Day, let me ask that we stop blaming the working people for all the woes of business.

I’m sick of handing over our manufacturing base to China because our “labor costs are too high”.


We are addicted to low quality, cheap junk. Americans want everything and we want it cheap. China produces the crap we want at a cheap price. Okay, I get that. But look at the huge price we are paying for cheap. The REAL costs are hidden from the consumer.

The value of your home is down 20-40%. Why? Because many of your neighbors aren’t working and can’t meet their mortgage payments. Millions of Americans have lost their homes to foreclosure.

Is that cheap?

This year the American budget deficit will exceed $1.6 trillion. The government is struggling to keep millions of people from falling into poverty. Millions! Is that cheap?

If the United States would rebuild it’s manufacturing base, and if the government would educate people on the value of buying American made goods, we could see another boom like we experienced in the 50’s.

I prefer to buy American but it’s nearly impossible to find American made goods. This isn’t the fault of labor. It’s greed.

Report: Firms Paid More In CEO Pay Than Taxes
Manufacturing.Net – September 01, 2011

NEW YORK (AP) — Twenty-five of the 100 largest U.S. corporations paid their chief executives more than they paid the government in federal income taxes last year, according to a report released Wednesday.

The nonprofit Institute for Policy Studies says the 25 CEOs averaged $16.7 million in salary and other 2010 compensation. Most of the companies they ran, meanwhile, came out ahead at tax time, collecting tax refunds that averaged $304 million, according to its review of public filings.

The 25 firms that paid out more in CEO compensation than U.S. taxes reported average global profits of $1.9 billion, the think tank said.

The institute, based in Washington, describes itself as a community of public scholars that works with social movements to promote democracy and challenge corporate influence and military power.

Among the firms it cited are International Paper Co., Prudential Financial Inc., General Electric Co., Verizon Communications Inc., Bank of New York Mellon Corp., Boeing Co., Marsh & McLennan Cos., Stanley Black & Decker Inc., Chesapeake Energy Corp. and eBay Inc.

Companies often pay different amounts in tax expenses than they report in financial statements, however. Actual tax payments do not have to be reported.

Broc Romanek, editor of, a website providing advice to corporate boards, cautioned that the tax data in the report may not be accurate for that reason.

He added: “It’s clear that there are still excessive pay practices that are going on.”

The report said Boeing paid U.S. federal income taxes of $13 million last year while paying CEO Jim McNerney $13.8 million.

Boeing said it paid far more than that in federal taxes and the $13 million that the institute cited is an accounting figure. It paid $360 million in federal, state and overseas taxes last year, with federal taxes accounting for most of it, according to company spokesman Charles Bickers.

He said that Boeing’s 2010 tax bill was reduced by payments to its pensions, state tax incentives for hiring workers and a $371 million credit on prior federal taxes paid after an audit was settled.

“Boeing adheres to the tax rules,” Bickers said. “We earn our revenue, record income and pay taxes here in the United States.”

Next time you hear about the poor over-regulated, over-taxed business community and the high cost of labor, consider the money they are making in the board room and on Wall Street.

We need a vibrant middle class. That’s labor.

Support labor. Please.

And when you can, buy American.

Chris Reich


Chris Reich

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