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Food Stamps Subsidize Airlines

December 2, 2010 by admin

When a flight attendant qualifies for food stamps you know that that worker in being paid at a rate below that necessary to sustain herself, let alone reproduce herself. The natural minimum wage of capitalism is that amount that allows the worker to not only to live in good health and so continue to do the job, but also to raise a new crop of workers for the next generation of capitalist. As I said, that is capitalism's natural minimum wage and is by no means an indication of what is required to lived well and grow in a given society, nor it is what the legal minimum wage should be in a humane and just society. In this case, the food stamp program is actually subsidizing the airlines because it allows them to pay wages even below this capitalist minimum. Kristen Arianejad may have been fired for admitting that she qualifies for food stamps, but without the food stamps she probably couldn't 'afford' to work for such low wages. My next door neighbor is a flight attendant that makes ends meet with odd jobs between flights.

Like wise, all manner of government 'welfare' programs, be they unemployment, SS, food stamps, etc. actually are subsiding capitalism and the class that benefits the most from it. Supposedly they exist to extend a helping hand to those in dire straits because the capitalist system never can seem to find adequate employment for everybody, and with it's regular crisis's this can all to often, as is the case now, rise to critical proportions. Those programs make the situation at least tolerable to the masses and thus forestall any shift in the statu quo. They delay any revolutionary change that might involve a massive redistribution of wealth or restructuring of the economy.

They make a higher level of unemployment acceptable, and since wages, like any other price, is effected by the laws of supply and demand, they make lower wages possible. Which brings us to the situation we have now. Employees working for less than they can otherwise afford to accept if the government didn't help out, next to massive unemployment and what follows, homelessness, next to record corporate profits. There maybe something to the popular opposition to increased welfare that so animates the right wing and the Tea Party. They are right that "More Is Not the Answer." What they fail to see is that things can only be made right by a revolutionary change that overthrows capitalism and the corporate oligarchy and replaces it with a much more humane socialist system.

Now let me make clear where I differ from the Tea Party on this. They like to agitated against 'welfare' but would retain the capitalist system. I am for extending and enhancing all such programs that benefit people in need as long as we have to put up with capitalism, I just want to point out the inherent contradictions, and thus limitations of such reforms.

UPDATE: I wrote this diary after I saw an afternoon report about the lively protests and demonstrations that have been spreading among flight attendants recently for Kristen Arianejad. The thought it would be all over the news by this evening and everyone would know about it. But since that first report I have seen nothing, so I'm adding this for reference:

Compass Flight Attendants Protest at MSP Airport

Protest in response to Kirsten Arianejad firing

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