"Capitalism: A Love Story"
(Filmed in Michigan!)
Michael Moore expects
more when it comes to vacations
Documentary. Rated R.
credit: Paramount Vantage Pictures
Moore at the New York Stock Exchange in Capitalism:
A Love Story.
I had a nice chat recently
with Michael Moore, who was promoting his soon-to-be-released
film “Capitalism: A Love Story,” a documentary
showcasing the ills of corporate greed and exploitation of the
common worker. I previewed “Capitalism” last
week at a journalists’ screening, so I had many questions
to ask the Academy Award-winning American filmmaker. Two of “Capitalism’s”
travel-industry motifs haunted me: firstly, should we be afraid
to fly on airlines which pay their pilots meager salaries, and
secondly, if capitalism is evil, is it likewise evil to enjoy
a luxurious cruise or other mirthful getaway when some people
can’t afford to do so?
Moore interviews pilots
in his film who reveal their pay is so low they are living on
food stamps. Moore details how Rebecca Shaw — who co-piloted
Continental Flight 3407, which crashed in February near Buffalo,
N.Y., killing 50 people —earned an anemic salary of just
$16,200. She had to take a second job waiting tables at a coffee
shop just to make ends meet.
I live in Italy part
of the year, so I know that commuting this time of year entails
flight. I asked Moore which carrier he took to Italy last week
when he attended the Venice Film Festival. He confirmed he flew
Delta, not by private jet as some Internet charlatans assert.
I predicted it wouldn’t be United, ranked last month by
Rudy Maxa at The Daily Beast as the carrier having the worst safety
record of the ten largest in the US.
Curiously, I asked
Moore, “Which carriers are you afraid to fly on?”
His simple answer was “All of them!”
Hourly wages for regional
pilots start at $12.50, according to AVjobs.com. I’m surprised
there’s no tip jar placed at the exit after each flight.
The message in Moore’s film is “Capitalism is evil.”
“Is it evil for
me to take a vacation when so many people cannot afford to do
so?” I asked.
I half expected him
to tear into me and rant about children starving on Air India.
It was the exact opposite – Michael Moore was warm, charming,
and intellectually articulate.
“Of course not,”
Moore replied, as he reminded me of the Second Bill of Rights,
“I believe everyone deserves a vacation, and it should be
Moore expounds on The Second Bill of Rights - a proposal made
by United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt during his State
of the Union Address on January 11, 1944. Footage of the event
was believed forever lost until it was uncovered in 2008 in South
Carolina by Moore as he meticulously researched his film. One
of the tenets proposed by FDR was that every human deserves recreation.
These revolutionary ideas were taken by FDR’s Nobel Prize-winning
Secretary of State Cordell Hull to post-war Germany and Japan,
where the concepts were written into their new constitutions.
Moore told me how minimum
paid vacation days and paid public holidays are built into European
work life. All members of the European Union must provide workers
with a minimum of 20 paid vacation days a year plus public holidays.
This works out to Finns receiving 44 paid vacation days per year,
with most countries guaranteeing at least a month.
Michael Moore wants
us to fully enjoy vacations without guilt, and would like to see
everyone have a right to one each year. His ideas have some scientific
sustenance to back him up. Brooks B. Gump, PhD, MPH, AND Karen
A. Matthews, PhD from the State University of New York in Oswego
discovered in a 9-year study of 12,866 men that the frequency
of annual vacations is correlated with lower mortality rates.
Should I feel guilty
spending beaucoup bucks lounging on the deck of a luxury ocean
liner, or sipping a tropical cocktail while sitting on the sugary
sands of a fabulous all-inclusive resort?
The price of a cruise
cannot be compared to robbing $750 billion from taxpayers, Moore
noted. Furthermore, “It’s not a sin to be rich,”
he stated unequivocally.
Discover The Networks site says Moore’s net worth exceeds
$50 million. “I do not disparage anyone from working hard
and becoming financially successful,” Moore told me, “as
long as you don’t exploit workers and mistreat them along
“Even in socialist
countries like Sweden, there are multi-millionaires who have earned
their wealth honestly,” said Marco Airaghi. “ABBA,
Ingmar Bergman, Greta Garbo and Björn Borg all realized great
fortune within a socialist framework.”
The upcoming movie
“Capitalism” contains many provocative ideas
to ponder, but the one about free vacations for everyone strikes
a chord in me. I’ll certainly toast to that one!
film opened nationwide on October 2, Cordell Hull’s birthday.
Poster credit: Paramount Vantage Pictures