Who really missed the point?


Mr. Waggoner's guest comments concerning the candidate's debate for Oregon's first congressional district reveal a hidden agenda of GOP economic misdirection. Waggoner's take on two of Oregon's powerful economic engines, Intel and Nike, is that their successful business models and above average compensation packages result from their non-union workforces. Working from this false premise, Waggoner concludes that Oregon should adopt anti-union laws that Republican sponsors perversely call 'Right to Work' legislation.

The obvious disconnect with Mr. Waggoner's ideologically based 'logic' is that if Intel and Nike - and their employees - are thriving in Oregon, why 'fix' what isn't broken? It's like arguing that because our highways achieve efficient traffic flow, we should eliminate traffic signals and speed limits.

Waggoner lamented the lack of Republican opinions at the debate he characterized as 'pro labor, pro union, and pro civil union'. When someone asked if Oregon should become a 'Right to Work' state, he was 'taken aback by not only the level of hostile response' each of the Democratic candidates expressed, 'but also by the audience's positive response to their answers.'

This is just another way of saying that Mr. Waggoner was shocked to discover that his anti-worker, anti-union, homophobic views were out of touch with the majority.

If Mr. Waggoner had any interest in developing an educated opinion about Intel that looked beyond the GOP sound bite, he would discover that Intel builds the most complex machines ever created by our species. Intel's processors consist of billions of circuits and transistors etched on tiny slivers of silicon.

Every one of these multiple billions of microscopic circuits must perform flawlessly, or the processor itself is not ready for prime time. These devices represent the pinnacle of American manufacturing genius, and Intel will sell you these billions of flawless electronic components for less than the price of equivalent billions of grains of rice.

This might explain Intel's success.

To create these wonders of technology requires the most advanced manufacturing facilities on the planet, and contrary to Mr. Waggoner's proclivities for union bashing, they are built by skilled trades people and union workers - the same kinds of union workers who brought us the 40-hour workweek, child labor laws, workplace safety, health benefits and paid vacation time.

Waggoner's claim that the average Intel employee earns over $100,000 is statistical sleight-of-hand that hopes to convince you that 'most' Intel employees earn over $100,000 per year.

Designing and building microscopic machines with billions of components requires attracting the world's top talent, and for every highly compensated Intel PhD or engineer, there are those in the workforce who live from paycheck to paycheck, and worry that their job may be relocated outside the U.S., depriving them of their income, their health insurance and/or their homes.

Goofy as it might seem to Mr. Waggoner, it is my belief that Bush-era tax breaks for corporations to outsource U.S. jobs is anti-American and counter to our national interest and economic sovereignty. When Democrats tried to repeal this legislation, they didn't get a single Republican vote.

Are these the Republican opinions Mr. Waggoner felt were sorely missed?

If Mr. Waggoner had talked to a few Intel employees, he'd likely hear that they don't feel the need for union representation because their company pays them a living wage, is deeply committed to the health, safety and welfare of its employees and their communities, provides healthcare benefits and shares the company's success with all its employees.

I'd guess the response would be similar from a Nike employee.

My experience is that these companies are the exception rather than the rule. Waggoner would have us believe that eliminating the collective bargaining that made workplace health and safety a priority will somehow promote a flowering of success on the Intel model. That's absurd and naïve.

Mr. Waggoner states that 'it was understandable why the Republican candidates...weren't in attendance.'

Remember that Mr. Waggoner felt rejecting anti-union legislation was an act of hostility. I guess he's implying poor Republican attendance at the debate was because they were scared.

In my view, because the GOP has come to represent the Greedy One Percent, the Republican candidates simply couldn't be bothered with Columbia County.

There aren't many folks out here earning more than a million bucks a year.

We're just chicken feed.