LaborTalk: Two Welfare Scenarios

Robert Malecki malecki at algonet.se
Wed Aug 7 01:40:37 MDT 1996


>Robert Maleck: I think you can guess which of the two scenarios I
>endorse.  My previous LaboTalk piece, "Work Ethic for the Poor," makes
>that clear.  With righteous wrath, you command American colleagues to
>get off their fat asses to do something. I'd be interested in your
>suggestions.  Harry.

Harry, could you send me the "piece" you mention above.

Well as far as the trade unions are concerned and especially the trade
unions in the public sector the welfare stuff is extremely important. Not
only do most of our members work in this field involving health, childcare,
the sick, the old and welfare in general, but most of our members through
their own experience see the price behind the present system which benefits
the people with money against those who have nothing.

Here is and intersting set of lists i recently found on the subject in
regards to numerous countrie.

******************************************************************
Percentage of children and elderly living in poverty 1984-1987:(3)
******************************************************************

                      CHILDREN            ELDERLY
COUNTRY              IN POVERTY         IN POVERTY

United States           20.4               10.9
Canada                   9.3                2.2
Australia                9.0                4.0
United Kingdom           7.4                5.2
France                   4.6                4.5
Netherands               3.8                3.4
Germany                  2.8                2.8
Sweden                   1.6                4.3

Source: Timothy M. Smeeding, "U.S. Poverty and Income Security Policy in a
Cross National Perspective, October 1991, Luxembourg, October, 1991,
Luxembourg Income Study, working paper 70.

******************************************************************
                Percentage of population covered by
                  public health insurance, 1990(25)
******************************************************************
COUNTRY      PERCENT  COUNTRY         PERCENT
Australia      100    Sweden            100
Canada         100    United Kingdom    100
Denmark        100    Austria            99
Finland        100    France             99
Ireland        100    Switzerland        99
Italy          100    Spain              99
Japan          100    Belgium            98
New Zealand    100    Germany            92
Netherands     100    United States      21
Norway         100

Sources: Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (Paris),
Health Data file, 1991: U.S.: National Center for Heath Statistics, Advance
Data, No. 201, June 18, 1991.
******************************************************************
We're Number One in percentage of population without health insurance.

******************************************************************
  Percentage of preschool children with full polio, DTP
(diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis), and measles immunizations,
                       1985--87:(50)
******************************************************************
COUNTRY             POLIO         DTP        MEASLES
------------------------------------------------------------------
Denmark             100.0        94.0(51)      82.0
Belgium              99.0        95.0          90.0
France               97.0        97.0          55.0
------------------------------------------------------------------
Germany              95.0        95.0          50.0
Netherlands          96.9        96.9          92.8
Switzerland(52)      95.0        90.0          60.0
------------------------------------------------------------------
United Kingdom(53)   87.0        87.0          76.0
Norway               80.0        80.0          87.0
Spain                80.0        88.0          83.0
------------------------------------------------------------------
United States        55.3        64.9          60.8
------------------------------------------------------------------
U.S. nonwhite        40.1        48.7          48.8
------------------------------------------------------------------

Sources (for chart and text): Bret C. Williams and C. Arden Miller,
Preventive Health Care for Young Childnen (Arlington, Va.: National Center
for Clinical Infant Programs, 1991), p. 76; Bret C. Williams, "Immunization
Coverage Among Preschool Childnen: The United States and Selected European
Countnes," Pediatrics (Elk Grove Village, 111.: American Academy of
Pediatrics, 1990), p. 1052: various releases and publications of the
American Academy of Pediatrics, Elk Grove Village, Illinois.
##################################################################

Cumulative number of offcially reported AIDS cases and
cumulative rate per 100,000 population, as of 1991:(57)

##################################################################
                                   CUMULATIVE
COUNTRY            TOTAL CASES  RATE PER 100,000
##################################################################
U.S. nonwhite           93,569       155.7
##################################################################
Malawi                  12,074       131.8
Uganda                  21,719       120.9
Congo                    2,405       107.3
------------------------------------------------------------------
United States          202,843        81.0
------------------------------------------------------------------
Switzerland              1,891        28.0
France                  15,534        27.6
Spain                   9,1 12        23.2
Canada                   5,228        19.7
Australia                2,678        15.8
Italy                    9,792        17.0
Denmark                    842        16.4
Netherlands              1,799        12.0
------------------------------------------------------------------
Belgium                    896        9.0
Germany (unified)        6,708        8.5
New Zealand                274        8.3
United Kingdom           4,758        8.3
Austria                    594        7.8
Sweden                     587        6.9
Ireland                    205        5.9
Norway                     220        5.2
Finland                     88        1.8
Japan                      405        0 3
------------------------------------------------------------------
Sources: World Heath Organization, Global Programme on AIDS (October,
1991); U.S. figures: U.S. Centers for Disease Control "HIV/AIDS
Surveillance," December, 1991, p. 9.
------------------------------------------------------------------
##################################################################
  Ratio of average teacher salary to per capita gross domestic
                   product (GDP), 1988-90(30)
##################################################################
                MAXIMUM SALARY  STARTING SALARY
                (RATIO TO PER    (RATIO TO PER
COUNTRY          CAPITA GDP)      CAPITA GDP)

Switzerland          2.97            1.69
Austria              2.60            0.98
Canada               2.22            1.10
Japan                2.21            0.75
Germany              2.19            1.37
United Kingdom       2.05            0.95
Australia            1.60            1.09
------------------------------------------------------------------
United States        1.58            0.94
------------------------------------------------------------------

Source: American Federation of Teachers.

The above tabells give us a lot to work on and is clear proof that there is
a price on the great American apple pie dream!

I would suggest that a working class party based on the trade unions and
urban poor with a program that clearly state a goal of a complete
redistribution of the wealth in America is neccessary. Naturally it has to
based on the people who in America get the shitty end of the apple pie
stick..This at least for starters.

There is a furios debate going on at Usenet about the Welfare reform. These
exchanges i have posted to the list. In fact the present right turn by the
Congress is going to have far reaching Social consequences. History has
shown us that the urban pooor in despair go out and start burning down the
ghettoes. My position on this is better to burn the local bank if you have
to burn something!

However it does not solve the problem! So unless the trade unions and urban
poor can come up with a political party that fights in its interests and its
interests alone we are certainly doomed.

However, if the rage of the urban poor is not directed in a direction which
can attack those responsible for their misery. There are certainly figures
in the wings that will make them in to the next generation of Brownshirts!
In fact this is already happening here in Europe and Scandinavia..

So obviously we are going to have to address this question far more
seriously then before as trade unionists. Because the Urban poor section of
the population is growing in leaps and bounds because of downsizing and cuts
everywhere.

However we do not need a new bunch of bureaucrats that sit behind their
desks and turn papers. We need people that can go out and organise amogst
the urban poor,
around housing,childcare,healthcare,pensions and all the rest.

In other words and organisation that is prepared to go all the way in a
redistribution of wealth to the majority of the people that works in there
interests and not in the interests of the rich and powerful.

Thats the short version..

malecki

PS: I am sending this to some various newsgroups today..




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