Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Who killed U.S. working class? (by Palmer Short)

Letter: Who killed the American working class?
Posted: February 13, 2016 - 4:55pm | Updated: February 14, 2016 - 12:00am
St. Augustine Record

Finally someone has said what I’ve been thinking all these years.

A new study by celebrated economists David Autor, David Dorn and Gordon Hanson has found that we should have listened to the workers’ complaints when their jobs were being shipped over to China and elsewhere. China’s low-paid labor really did cripple U.S. manufacturing and destroyed the middle class livelihoods of millions of American workers. The economists found it a flawed fundamental assumption that if workers lose their jobs they can simply find new ones elsewhere. What’s that old saying about “assume?” It makes an “a--” out of “u” and “me.” And, sure enough, it did not pan out.

When all the manufacturing jobs in textiles, furniture and electronics disappeared, skilled tradesmen couldn’t find similar jobs in the U.S.

So now what?

Despite the promises of the politicians, the workers’ problems are not going to be fixed by higher taxes on the rich or corporations, a higher minimum wage or more generous welfare benefits. And it’s far too late to bring back closed factories and defunct industries by slapping tariffs on foreign goods. We can’t undo the mistakes that were made 20-plus years ago.

I remember one laid-off worker exclaiming, “Sure the prices are lower, but how am I supposed to buy them if I’m out of work?”

Didn’t anybody think of this? Didn’t somebody look down the road and see this coming? Somebody has to be responsible. Congress? Corporations? Come on, speak up, all of you who promised the golden calf.

All I hear are the sounds of silence.

sponger2 02/16/16 - 09:19 am 20Spot on.
If you look at the local economy as a microcosm of the larger picture you can see the same thing here. Local manufacturing has twenty five percent less jobs than two decades ago yet the population has tripled. If your not employed as a real estate agent (a useless occupation, as you don't make anything, just a parasite off the sale of another's accrued asset), a trolley driver, maid, bus boy, waitress or other tourist industry, you are out of luck, unless you are in business for yourself, or service that which is already built.

Even the home builders have crews of Mexicans who show up for work in places like Tuscany and fade away when the work day is through. Home building is temporary, as they ruin the quality of life and destroy what is left, it grows more unattractive and expensive to live here. Keep in mind to that land is a finite resource. We are not making any more of it. When it's gone, the boom stops.

Time to find a way to get more manufacturing back here, the bread and butter of a middle class economy. Major manufacturing, not ten to twenty people shops who have to remain small to avoid paying the Obama care mandates and other hurdles that small businesses like myself face.

melvinudall 02/16/16 - 08:55 am 22Great Question
'Distribution of Average Income Growth During Expansions' chart by Pavlina Tcherneva, and the book 'Dark Money' by Jane Mayer. Take a read by these two women and one can see where the destruction of labor and the jobs market began, and where we are now. Actually, there is a war on the middle class, a war on all salaries and hourly employees or people who pay taxes as ordinary income.
The voice of labor was tossed into the streets by Ronald Reagan and completely discarded by Bill Clinton. Labor had no voice in NAFTA or TPP.
The Koch brothers started a new political party that has completely engulfed the Republican Party and turned it into a radical insurgency. The Koch radical insurgency party has the goals of the John Birch Society (founded with the help of the Koch's father). The goals of the modern day Republican Party are the same goals as the 1950s John Birch Society: eliminate social security, medicare and basically all programs that help the old, the mentally or physically disabled, the poor and the hungry. This is an extension of the McCarthy era where there was a communist behind every tree.
The Kochs have carried on a period of fear and hate, and workers and wages have suffered. They see every worker as a communist.
False "think tanks", academic programs (buying FSU professor positions) and news media outlets---these are the tools the Koch bros used to take over the Republican Party, and destroy the Democratic Party and the Government.
Who are the politicians shutting down the government, passing laws that help the polluters, and vilify the sick and poor? These are the Koch brother's politicians.
Supply Side Economics or Reaganomics has transferred the wealth of the middle class to the richest 0.01% as the income distribution chart shows.
Now the question is: which side are you on?

sponger2 02/16/16 - 09:27 am 20Credit where credit is due Melvin.
Although we don't agree on all points and have different approaches to the same problem, that is by far the best piece you have written. Well done. I think the question is "Who will exercise the power?" I guess that is something we should think about.

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