Wednesday, October 30, 2013

From Middle-Class to Jobless and Poor

Over the last 5 years, counting "discouraged workers" and high school grads in the US (who never entered the labor force), we now have 1 out of every 5 adults who don't have jobs (that would otherwise be included in the labor force)--- and for THOSE people who are without jobs, there is only one job opening for every 6 jobless people --- and of THOSE job openings, they might only be for a temporary and/or part-time low-paying job.

Those over 50 (especially if they are unemployed, whether short-term or long-term) are not being hired at all, but are too young for retirement. And for younger people, high school grads are competing with college grads for jobs like bartending or driving a cab.

Meanwhile, US corporations have over $2 trillion in un-taxed profits parked in offshore banks as they have enjoyed record profits, while their CEOs have enjoyed record salaries. And even with the expiration of the Bush tax cuts, they still enjoy enormous tax breaks, such as the ridiculously low tax on capital gains (as many corporations are avoiding taxes altogether).

As Americans have been seeing their political power eroded, the corporations have seen theirs ever increasing. Income disparity and wealth inequality are at record highs (just like the top one percent's stock markets), while everybody else in the bottom 99% (especially those in the bottom 60%) have seen their wages (after inflation) either stagnant or declining.

Not only have the richest gotten much richer (and much faster), but the poor have gotten much more poor. And we have more and more poor as the middle-class shrinks, because the majority of the middle-class have gone from "middle-class" to "poor" --- not from "middle-class" to rich.

For the past 5 years the Republicans have waged a war on the poor and unemployed, and in a few cases, the Democrats have even taken their side. After all the past cuts, even more cuts of all kinds are being discussed in Washington as the middle-class dissolves into oblivion. Not enough good-paying jobs (those that actually pay a "living wage") are being forecasted for creation --- ever --- going forward into the future.

How long will it be before the "wealth bubble" bursts, and the once-middle-class (and poor) peasants start storming the ramparts?

Which bring us to this article by Paul Craig Roberts (a co-author of Reaganomics) --- As Ye Sow, So Shall Ye Reap (Excerpts):

Washington served as cheerleader, as did most economists and libertarians, while US corporations, greedy for short-term profits and executive bonuses, offshored US industry and manufacturing, calling it free trade. The only market that America dominates is the market for financial fraud.

When industrial, manufacturing, and tradeable professional service jobs are offshored, they take US GDP and tax base with them. The foreign country gets the benefit of the relocated economic activity. Due to the revenues lost from jobs offshoring, there is a large gap between federal revenues and federal expenditures.

Policymakers, economists, and corporation executives are in denial about the adverse effects of offshoring, which they still, despite all the evidence, maintain is good for the economy. So nothing will be done about offshoring. Republicans will blame the budget deficit on welfare and entitlements, and if those are cut consumer spending will decline further, widening the budget deficit. Inflation will rise as incomes fall, and social cohesion will break down.

Now you know why Homeland Security purchased 1.6 billion rounds of ammunition, enough ammunition to fight the Iraq war for 12 years, has its own para-military force and 2,700 tanks. If you think the “terrorist threat” in America warrants a domestic armed force of this size, you are out of your mind. This force has been assembled to deal with starving and homeless people in the streets of America.

Related Links:

"Plan to Tax the Rich Could Aim Higher" (by James B. Stewart at the New York Times, October 26, 2013) 

"The Scholars Who Shill for Wall Street (by Lee Fang at the Nation, October 23, 2013),0 

"The Trillion Dollar Money Pump for the 1%" (by Stan Sorscher at Common Dreams, October 24, 2013) 

"How the Wealthy Wage War on Democracy Itself" (by Sonali Kolhatkar at Truth Dig, October 23, 2013) 

A Billionaire-Funded Campaign to "Fix the Debt" & the Illusion of a Moderate Middle (by Andy O’Brien at the Free Press, October 24, 2013)

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