Cory Booker is a US senator from New Jersey and a Democratic presidential candidate. On April 24, 2019, an op-ed piece penned by Sen. Booker was posted on The Guardian’s website as a part of their Broken Capitalism series. Booker’s piece is entitled, Workers are Creating Massive Wealth. Why are Corporations Hoarding it All?, followed by the subtitle, Our Economy Works Best When No One is Left on the Sidelines. Now let’s look inside.
Booker supplies a few anecdotes throughout the piece that are tragic and show the crushing effects of capitalism, like this one story of a woman named Carol Ruiz:
Every day Carol Ruiz wakes up at 3.30am and goes to an airline catering service at Newark airport, where she helps prepare the food carts that flight attendants push up and down the aisle…. At the end of her 40-hour week she takes home $345. The average airline CEO makes that amount in about 20 minutes.
Last year, while Carol was undergoing treatment for cancer, her kids and husband went without health insurance so the family could afford her medical bills…
He then follows most of the stories with statements like these:
Workers are increasingly stuck in an “I win, you lose” economy, a zero-sum game in which those in power relentlessly pull out the rungs of the ladder behind them, ensuring that opportunity is limited solely to those who already have it.
Booker than goes over other aspects of the cruel capitalist system and how it hurts the working class in the form of corporations using intermediary contracted workers which keeps wages down, stock buy-backs by companies using Trump tax cut-gained funds to enrich stock owners, and the unfairness of non-compete agreements between employees and employers at low-wage jobs.
So here is Mr. Booker’s sort-of solutions:
There’s no silver bullet, but we can start by making it easier to join a union, giving workers the ability to fight corporate power with power of their own. Second, we must reinvigorate our tepid antitrust agencies, which have long-served corporate interests at the expense of workers. We should also restrict anticompetitive practices like non-compete agreements and “no-poach” clauses and maintain strong rules that hold parent companies more accountable for outsourced employees. And we should crack down on the proliferation of corporate stock buy-backs, or, at the very least ensure that if a corporation buys back stock to increase shareholder value, workers are cut in on the action.
What Booker and other liberals are guilty of is in taking half-measures and falling into the trap of reformism. They want to change society, as they call it, and spew enough fake promises to the masses in order to get enough votes to take office. They want to usurp any momentum by the people.
They want to maintain the current capitalist system while offering crumbs to the workers that often don’t end up even falling from the table. There are enough GOP members and right leaning Dems to halt any of these reforms before they are out of committee. These goals are merely “pony promises” in today’s system.
What we need is true, far leftist change. We need to smash capitalism and found a new system not based on greed and inequality. The point is to make real change, not reform. A radical left remake is the true answer to address these economic and social injustices.