Employees or Citizens?

November 4th, 2003

To the Editor,

Your Tuesday, Nov. 4 edition of the N.Y. Times reads as prophetically as any prediction ever made by Nostradamus!

It all comes down to the self-image of U.S. residents. Passivity relegates us to the role of employees of a large cartel comprised of industry and their hired representatives in Washington. Active participation (voting, understanding pending legislation), we become citizens whose express wishes must be carried out by our employee-representatives in Congress.

Citizens are protected by a living Constitution and a Bill of Rights which cannot be superceded by industrial interests. Employees are retained “at will” by their employers and are easily jettisoned. Right now, we are employees of a corporation whose CEO would likely be indicted if he worked in any private institution for “give-aways” of shareholder’s money courtesy of tax cuts. Our “Company” expenses continue to mount, primarily in foreign investments which fund the profit-making enterprises of competing companies (e.g. Bechtel, Haliburton).

I will not be voting today as I am ill with pneumonia. Instead, I sit home and read that my Medicare benefits will face cut-backs. I am only 48 years old, permanently disabled by exposure to toxic chemicals which “company policy” allows to be freely applied at my workplace or in my home without notice. This too, diminishes the company’s income as I can no longer pay my “rent” (taxes) and must retire hoping my benefits are not cut ala Enron style abuse of company pension funds.

The public must decide to become citizen-employers or employees at constant risk. The first takes some work, the latter only a passive disinterest.

Barbara Rubin

Categories: NY Times

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