Skip to main content

Why are the billionaires always laughing?

Because they know the corporate media will never call bullshit on their bullshit.

Why are the billionaires laughing?

It’s easy to laugh when the corporate press treats you as a glorious success instead of the epitome of a broken social order. Billionaires laugh because they know the corporate media prefers to fawn over them rather than hold them to account.

Today, we ask you to support our nonprofit, independent journalism because we are not impressed by billionaires flying into space, their corporations despoiling our health and planet, or their vast fortunes safely concealed in tax havens across the globe. We are not laughing.

We are hard at work producing journalism for the common good. With our Fall Campaign underway, please support this mission today. We cannot do it without you.

Support Our Work -- Join the small group of generous readers who donate, keeping Common Dreams free for millions of people each year. Every donation—large or small—helps us bring you the news that matters.

"Fortunately, the apparatus for resistance is already in place," Macaray writes (Photo: AFSCME/Twitter)

The Vital Role of Organized Labor

"What is so 'radical' about working people demanding to regain their middle-class status?" Macaray asks

David Macaray

Question:  What do the most “successful” countries in the world—i.e., the “happiest,” fairest, most enlightened, most optimistic, and most generous—have in common?  Answer:  The majority of them have quasi-socialist governments/economies, and highly unionized labor forces.

"The only foreseeable way for the vaunted American middle-class to make a comeback is by having the “average American worker” once again earn a livable wage and enjoy decent benefits."

Actually, there’s a third commonality as well.  Unlike the U.S., they are unburdened by the largest, most bloated and debilitating military budget in the history of mankind—an advantage that permits them to treat medical care as a “right” rather than a “privilege,” and to offer free college tuition to those who wish to attend, working off the premise that an educated electorate is an “investment,” not a “luxury.”

In the 2016 Democratic Primary, when Bernie Sanders advocated free college tuition, politicians not only ridiculed him, they practically laughed him off the podium.  They treated the concept of “not punishing” a poor person who wants to continue their education as an exercise in unchecked extravagance.

Yet, we didn’t hear so much as a peep from those same people when it came to the F-35 fighter plane. Not only is the F-35 prototype the most expensive weapons system in the history of mankind, which is a mouthful (the fleet’s estimated cost is upwards of $379 billion), but the damned thing doesn’t work.  That’s no exaggeration. After a decade of development, the F-35 is still deemed “not acceptable for combat.”

Just imagine what this country could have done with an extra $379 billion dollars if we’d decided not to develop this airplane. Because we’ve become inured to the word, we’ve forgotten how much a billion dollars is.  Consider:  If you gave a person a million dollars and told him to spend $1,000 per day, and come back after he spent it all, he’d return in 3 years.  If you gave him a billion dollars, and told him to spend $1,000 a day, he’d return in 3,000 years.

Maybe we use that extra $379 billion as a down-payment on single-payer health care?  Or for underwriting free college tuition?  Or for putting a sizable dent in those much needed repairs of our infrastructure (roads, bridges, dams, aqueducts, canals, ports, power plants, etc.)?  In any event, it would have been money well-spent.

Which brings us to labor unions.  The only foreseeable way for the vaunted American middle-class to make a comeback is by having the “average American worker” once again earn a livable wage and enjoy decent benefits.   And the only way that’s ever going to happen is by workers rising up and insisting on it. 

I realize that choice of idiom has the slightly nutty, early 20th century ring of proletarian idealism to it, but it also happens to be true.  Resistance is the only solution.  Resistance is the only way that working people are going to improve their circumstances.  It’s obvious that the “free market” won’t do it, the U.S. Congress won’t do it, and the Church and philanthropic organizations won’t do it.  It’s the workers themselves who must once again coalesce and assert themselves.  What is so “radical” about working people demanding to regain their middle-class status?

Fortunately, the apparatus for resistance is already in place.  The only thing that workers need to do is stand on their hind legs and utilize that apparatus.  Unions are legal.  Labor laws are on already the books.  The NLRB, wimpy as it is, already exists.  Everything is in place.

And if you’re looking for proof that Corporate America is scared shitless over the potential rise of organized labor, it is represented by fact that they will do anything in their power to keep unions out.  They are terrified of us. 

If Wall Street didn’t regard worker solidarity and collectivism as dangerous, they wouldn’t care.  They wouldn’t give a hoot about unions.  But they do care.  Which is why hundreds of millions of dollars were spent on those toxic “right-to-work” campaigns.  

Again:  The apparatus is already in place.       


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

'When We Organize, We Win': Ocasio-Cortez Joins India Walton at Rally in Buffalo

The two progressives joined striking hospital workers on the picket line at Mercy Hospital after the early voting rally.

Julia Conley ·


Fatal Film Set Shooting Followed Outcry by Union Crew Members Over Safety Protocols

"When union members walk off a set about safety concerns, maybe 'hiring scabs' isn’t the solution you think it is."

Julia Conley ·


New Whistleblower Sparks Calls to 'Crack Down on Facebook and All Big Tech Companies'

Hours after another ex-employee filed a formal complaint, reporting broke on internal documents that show the tech giant's failure to address concerns about content related to the 2020 U.S. election.

Jessica Corbett ·


'Catastrophic and Irreparable Harm' to Wolves Averted as Wisconsin Judge Cancels Hunt

"We are heartened by this rare instance of reason and democracy prevailing in state wolf policy," said one conservation expert.

Brett Wilkins ·


West Virginia Constituents Decry 'Immorality' of Joe Manchin

"West Virginia has been locked into an economy that forces workers into low-wage jobs with no hope for advancement, and after decades of this our hope is dwindling," said one West Virginian. "The cuts that Sen. Manchin has negotiated into the agenda hurt our state."

Julia Conley ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo