Tuesday, February 5, 2013

The Baby Boomers: Busted & Betrayed 

How the sons and daughters of America's "Greatest Generation" bore the brunt of America's "shared sacrifice" during the Great Recession.

Virgil Bierschwale at Keep America at Work writes:

"We are not out of work because the economy is bad. The economy is bad because we are out of work.

It amazes me the more I study this stuff. If you listen to the experts in the main stream media, you will believe that what happened to the global economy only happened starting in the latter part of 2008. But if you are a software developer like myself, and you’ve been unable to find work since 2003, you realize that there is a lot more to the story.

So you dig.

And you continue digging until your friends and neighbors think that you have lost it. But still, you dig some more, simply because everything you have read tells you that there is much more to the story.

And slowly but surely you begin to put together the Big Picture; and then you document it. And then you watch a video, which proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that many of the things we are experiencing now were hatched by unscrupulous and complicit business, political and media leaders as far back as 1988.

And then you receive yet more proof that many of these things were hatched as far back as the 1950′s --- before you were even born --- which only makes you wonder, where will the trail of lies end?"

He had also been referring to this article in the Huffington Post about America's role in the world.

The Republicans are fond of saying "government doesn't create jobs, the private sector does." Wal-Mart and McDonalds are America's two largest employers...in the private sector. And we know what kind of jobs they create. But it's "big government" that is the country's largest and best paying employer...and has been since World War II.

Now, because the Republicans have been hysterically crying that "The sky is falling! The sky is falling!" for the past 4 years (ever since Obama was first elected), the looming government cuts could cost us another million lost jobs.

OurFuture.Org writes: "The deficit is down 25% since 2009 in relation to the economy, falling faster than at any time since the demobilization after World War II. We don’t have a debt crisis, we have a jobs crisis. More cutting will only make it worse." (Sign their petition here at OurFuture.Org)

Virgil Bierschwale says that in this video "we have the H-1B Visa holders that Microsoft says they are willing to pay $10,000 per head to bring in and take our jobs."

Bruce Bartlett at the New York Times recently wrote an article: Outsourcing, Insourcing and Automation. He greatly downplayed the effect of cheaper labor abroad, but then later said "it also means that workers require more education and different skills, working with software rather than drill presses."

But Virgil has worked with software for 30 years, and still can't find work.

Just as Bruce Bartlett stated in the title of his article: "Insourcing". And if companies like Microsoft (and Apple) can build their products cheaper by using robots, they will. And the robots will also be built with cheaper labor, until nano-techtology advances to the point when robots can build other robots.

A million slave-wage workers at Foxconn in China could have been a million middle-class jobs in the U.S. -- and many more, if you also included the "multiplier effect".

From Matt Trivisonno's website: China-WTO Meme Spreading:

"When China was admitted to the World Trade Organization in 2001, tariffs were lowered, and it became very profitable for American companies to relocate production to China’s sweatshops. Millions of American jobs were lost, and those former workers have piled up on the food-stamp rolls. Experts say the cause of the ongoing crisis is trade imbalances created by then-President Clinton about 20 years ago when he granted China most-favored-nation trading status --- when he negotiated World Trade Organization membership for China.”

Bill Clinton also signed the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act which deregulated the banks in 1999 and was noted by many economic scholars as another big factor in contributing to the Great Recession.

Virgil recommends you buy Matt Trivisonno's new book on Kindle: Dark Arts of the American Oligarchy: Prepare to be Devoured:

"The American middle class is being devoured before our very eyes. On purpose. And for profit.

A huge smoking-gun that tells the tale of the Oligarchy's character is that mass-immigration was not curtailed during the recent Great Recession as it was during the Great Depression of the 1930' s. The Oligarchy continued on its drive to crush wages without even blinking an eye. If you increase the supply of something - in this case, labor - its price goes down. And "price" means your paycheck, even if you keep your job.

Why are the multinationals so ruthless in the governance of the USA? Because they are simply not American companies anymore. In the 1980s, U.S. manufacturing companies petitioned the Reagan Administration to protect them from the tidal wave of cheap Japanese imports - and President Reagan obliged.

Today, you don't see many multinationals demanding protection from Chinese or Mexican imports, right? That's because they have moved much of their production out of the USA. Now they have the exact opposite incentive: they now pressure the government to leave China alone and allow the cheap imports to continue flowing in."

The Wall Street Journal: For Middle-Aged Job Seekers, a Long Road Back - "Less noticed, but no less significant to many economists, has been the plight of the middle-aged. More than 3.5 million Americans between the ages of 45 and 64 were unemployed -- 39% of them for a year or more—a rate of long-term unemployment that is unprecedented in modern U.S. history."

The sons and daughters of America's "Greatest Generation" (the Baby Boomers) were the greatest victims of the Great Recession and its grim aftermath. These Americans, in their 50s and early 60s — those near retirement age who do not yet have access to Medicare and Social Security — have lost the most earnings power of any age group...and once out of a job, they also have the hardest time finding another one.

"A worker between ages 50 and 61 who has been unemployed for 17 months has only about a 9 percent chance of ever finding a new job,” wrote economists Dean Baker and Kevin Hassett in a New York Times op-ed piece. After about one year of being out of work, the chances of landing a job fall to just 1 in 10 per month, according to one CNN Money report. Read: Why Baby Boomers Are Bummed Out

A 52-year-old engineer who lost his government job 2 1/2 years ago says experience used to be valued. "Now all of a sudden we're finding employers don't want us," he says. "Why is this happening? It's because we're older, and there's this false perception out there that we're no longer any good, and we're going to cost more money."

He says many employers believe middle-aged workers are technically obsolete, and that the bias toward hiring younger workers is strong.

And the current proposed immigration bill would hurt his chances even more, because it doesn't just address immigrants and unskilled labor from Mexico, but undercuts our current young college graduates and older unemployed engineers --- by giving high-skilled jobs to people from China and India who will work for much less.

Applying for a non-immigrant H-1B visa is generally quicker than applying for a Green Card, therefore the H-1B visa is popular for corporations wishing to bring in people for long-term employment into the U.S. (for lower wages), thereby undermining domestic wages and keeping American workers unemployed.

Economists said the weak job prospects for the middle-aged could have serious implications for the country because those workers are supporting families and their spending drives the economy.

And at least 1.5 million people over the age of 50 had lost their homes to foreclosure between 2007 and 2011 --- and another 3.5 million owed more than their homes were worth. So much for their retirement, because they are too young to retire but too old to hire. In 2012, 62 percent of 45-to 60-year-olds reported plans to delay retirement.

Now the politicians want to hit this generation again by changing their Social Security COLAS, paying them less in their retirement and disability benefits.

Even the Democrats are now saying that by using chained CPI we are able to reduce the Social Security cost-of-living adjustments, which rises more slowly than regular CPI, because it accounts for the way our elderly switches to pet food when the price of people food rises.

I often wonder how many unemployed Americans (who were once part of the middle-class), out of sheer financial desperation, were forced to take the much lower pay for Social Security at the age of 62 --- and now must plan to live out the rest of their lives in abject poverty. It just isn't fair.

The sky has mostly fallen on the sons and daughters of America's "Greatest Generation", both during and in the aftermath of the "Greatest Recession". They were the ones who bore the brunt of America's "shared sacrifice" --- and were betrayed by our "captains of industry" and the politicians on both sides of the aisle.

Current Economic News Releases:

1 comment:

  1. Don't give up Bud, my husband is 57 and he has been outsourced 20 times since 2001-he has been offered 3 jobs where we live in Phoenix, accepted one, where the average age is 60! Do you know Cobol? There is hardly anyone left that does and the companies with legacy systems need programmers-might have to move to Phoenix, lots of high-tech jobs here-