The “Employee-Owned” Chicago and North Western Railway: Hype vs Reality – Arsenal For Democracy Ep. 461

In 1972, some employees made a leveraged buyout of the Chicago and North Western Railway and re-branded it as “Employee-Owned.” The reality was much more complicated and reveals a lot about railroading and American capitalism generally in the 1970s and 1980s. (Bill and Rachel)

Links and notes for ep. 461 (PDF):

Theme music by Stunt Bird.

Recovery Accomplished (for the rich)

The Federal Reserve today announced it would start dialing back its “quantitative easing” stimulus measure next month. Despite Wall Street’s complaints that the policy was encouraging too much stocks speculation (because it discouraged investments in U.S. treasury bonds), outgoing Chairman Ben Bernanke had previously pledged to keep it going until certain indicators of economic recovery were met. Apparently he now feels the jobs market outlook — not the actual numbers — is positive enough to satisfy his terms. The Democratic nominee to replace him, Janet Yellen, is going along with it for the moment, although she tends to be more strongly in favor of emphasizing employment goals over inflation goals.

Meanwhile, in Real America, rising stock prices are utterly irrelevant because they aren’t translating to higher wages for the workers at those companies and because more than half the U.S. population doesn’t own any shares anyway. Plus, there are still more people looking for work than there are jobs available. But by all means, let’s save Wall Street speculators from their own out-of-control greed to prevent them from re-bubbling and then re-crashing the economy while they play around with their spare money instead of being “job-creators.” Time to taper stimulative measures despite persistently low job growth because big-money investors are too eager to gamble in the markets.