Mood: don't ask
Now Playing: Ani DiFranco
HEALTH CARE ? SOARING COSTS ARE COSTING COMPANIES: The chairman and chief executive of General Motors Corporation, the company that provides "health insurance for more people than any other private employer in the nation," has pointed a finger at rising health care costs to explain why "American manufacturers are losing their ability to compete in the global market place." Speaking in Chicago over the weekend, CEO G. Richard Wagoner, Jr. provided extensive evidence of the effect that soaring medical bills were having on "his company's bottom line" and announced he is launching a campaign to entreat legislators to pay attention to a very serious problem that endangers both future generations and future economies. Wagoner is not only concerned for his company; the cost of health care is "ultimately threatening the viability of most U.S. firms." But as Sean McAlinden of the Center for Automotive Research stated, "GM is the canary in the coal mine for Medicare and everyone else."
WAL-MART ? CHILDREN OF THE SAW: In January, Wal-Mart secretly settled federal charges that it violated child labor laws more than 20 times in three states, including allegedly allowing workers under age 18 operate dangerous machinery like cardboard balers and chain saws. It's no wonder the deal was kept under wraps. Wal-Mart was forced to pay just $135,540 ? about .000055 percent of the retailer's annual revenue ? to settle the charges. Moreover, the agreement includes a promise by the Labor Department to give Wal-Mart 15 days' notice before the department investigates any other "wage and hour" accusations, like failure to pay minimum wage or overtime. John R. Fraser, the government's top wage official under the first President Bush and President Bill Clinton, told the New York Times the 15-day notice was "very unusual," saying it "appears to put Wal-Mart in a privileged position that to my knowledge no other employer has."
Perhaps Ani is making me feel more militant than normal but this is simply outrageous. Health Care is becoming so expensive that even Corporate America is starting to feel it, and on top of that, Wal-Mart will now be given a head's up on all future labor investigations.
Why don't they just send us all to the poor house now and get it over with?