Let me say this about that

By Gene Klare

May 19, 2000

WHEN $7 MILLION-YEAR television network news anchors tell us that the cause of inflation is the big spending of $7-an-hour workers, then it's Alice -in-Wonderland time.

Of course, that's not original thinking by the network anchors and their million-dollar-a-year correspondents, they're just mouthing the words of practitioners of what's called "the dismal science" economics. One of the leading sources of inflation wisdom for the networks is the chairman of the Federal Reserve Board, Alan Greenspan, the nation's guru on economics. It's also Alice-in-Wonderlandish for Greenspan, a federal employee with a six-figure salary and a personal portfolio worth millions, to say that the United States faces inflation because so many Americans are employed, even if many are paid under $10 an hour. Worse yet, horror of horrors, many of those underpaid workers are spending too much money. So what we've got here, folks, is the root cause of inflation in all of the river cities and non-river cities from coast to coast.

On account of that terrible inflation spawned by low-paid workers, Greenspan's Federal Reserve Board, aka The Fed, will raise interest rates. That'll cost those workers more money on home mortgages, if they can somehow manage to buy a roof over their heads; and cost them more on auto loans and other things they buy on credit. That'll teach them the perils of holding a job and spending money.

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NIKE BOSSMAN Phil Knight, the billionaire co-founder of the Beaverton-based global sports shoe fiefdom, is a chip off the old block, the latter being his union-busting father, William W. Knight, the late publisher of the now-defunct Oregon Journal. The Knight of Nike-land got himself all lathered up about his alma mater, the University of Oregon in Eugene, joining the anti-sweatshop Worker Rights Consortium without consulting him, the school's biggest benefactor. Knight's pique will cost the UofO about $30 million he planned to donate toward renovation of the Ducks' Autzen Stadium.

A source of Knight's annoyance is the consortium's link to the AFL-CIO, the national labor federation. Phil's following in the footsteps of his father, who was publisher of the Journal and one of its three trustees when it teamed up with the Newhouse-owned Oregonian in getting rid of the AFL-CIO-affiliated unions representing 850 employees of the two papers in the management-provoked November 1959 to April 1965 strike.

While he was still on friendly terms with the UofO, Knight donated millions to erect a memorial to his father a law school building bearing WWK's name.

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ANTI-UNION STATE SENATOR Eileen Qutub of Beaverton must be ashamed of being a Republican. A union member Democrat in Oregon Senate District 4 reports getting a piece of Qutub's campaign literature in the mail which doesn't list her party label.

Senator Q's mailer depicts her as being for some things that she was actually against in the Legislature. A page-wide headline in the Beaverton Valley Times summed up Sen. Q's tactics: "Do not be misled by Sen. Qutub's claims." The headline was over an opinion piece by a Beaverton voter who compared some of the Republican senator's claims with her actual record.

MILLIONAIRE FRANK EISENZIMMER of Boring, who formed Oregon Taxpayers United and hired William Lee Sizemore as its front man, had a letter to the editor in the Portland daily last week defending term limits and complaining that Oregon legislators, Republicans and Democrats alike, bring about "higher taxes and more laws, further restricting our liberties. Athletic club magnate Eisenzimmer identified himself as "chief petitioner for term limits measure." If term limits are good for elected officials, then they should also be good for the unelected millionaires and their shadowy organizations who finance ballot measures as a way of passing state laws advancing their private political agendas. After Eisenzimmer, Sizemore, et al have put their political measures on the ballot for three successive election cycles, then they should be term-limited from circulating any initiative petitions for the next three election cycles. We could all enjoy a break from unelected law-givers like Eisenzimmer, Sizemore, millionaires Loren Parks, Mark Hemstreet and Don McIntire, and the homophobic Lon Mabon, plus others of their ilk.

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