Sunday, January 4, 2015

Why Jimmy Hoffa had to go

There's been an abundance of speculation about the whys and wherefores of Jimmy Hoffa's disappearance in 1975. The common theme is that Mr. Hoffa ran afoul of some of his more unsavory mob buddies and was sent to swim with the fishes.

Exactly why Hoffa's underworld connections would want to eliminate him has never been explained. Lending pension-fund money to mob-connected construction and real-estate outfits was a win-win. The Italians got loans they'd never get at the bank, and the Teamster's Pension Fund got a better return than they would have got at the bank.

The only losers in that arrangement were the banks!

It's a sad thing that Hoffa's legacy will forever be tainted by innuendo and conspiracy theories. The reality is that Hoffa was the single most important player in bringing America's working class into the middle class.

The pinnacle of Hoffa's career as a union leader arrived with the Teamster's Master Freight Agreement of 1964. Guys who drove trucks for a living were making annual incomes that, in today's money, would range from $75,000 to well into the six numbers.

The Teamsters, and the union movement in general, had momentum on their side. Guys wore their Teamsters jackets with pride, as well they should.

By 1967 Jimmy Hoffa was in jail.

As you well know, from the high-water mark of the middle sixties to today, it's pretty much been a continuous downward spiral for workers in America.

Who benefited from Hoffa's elimination?

Wouldn't that be the place to look when you're trying to solve the great Who Snuffed Hoffa mystery?

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