Sunday, May 29, 2011

A Memorial Day for the middle classes

As living standards for the Producing Classes stagnate (at best) or decline, it should be remembered that the forces causing these economic problems are global.  The obvious strategy would be for the Producers to fight back with some unity and solidarity.

Solidarity is an especially difficult notion for folks in USA to accept.  They don't understand that the forces which are ruining the lives of people in Spain or Greece are the same ones that have destroyed their communities and made it impossible for their children to get jobs and move out of the house.

Jarring Disconnect: If Joblessness and Hopelessness Undermine Democracy in the Middle East, What about Here at Home?
Sat, 05/28/2011 
Dave Lindorff
In his latest speeches on the Middle East, President Obama, both at the State Department and at the G8 meeting in France, has pledged billions of dollars in economic aid to Middle Eastern countries, drawing a direct connection between the unrest and demonstrations that brought down the dictators in Tunisia and Egypt, and the joblessness and hopelessness felt by the young people in those two countries.
His adviser on international economics, David Lipton, has been more specific, saying that, “We believe that these two pillars go hand in hand. Without economic modernization, it will be hard for governments trying to democratize to show people that democracy delivers.”
Unemployment in Egypt among young men and women is about 30%. In Tunisia, it is over 40%. The White House claims that with figures like that, the future for democracy in those countries is tenuous.
But wait a minute. What about the US? Unemployment and underemployment here is still up around 20% overall, and it is much higher among young people. Black youth unemployment fell so far in 2011 to an official rate of 44% from 50% last year (because so many young workers just gave up trying to find work)! Among Latino youth, the official unemployment rate is stuck at around 30%. Overall, youth unemployment, according to the official Labor Department figures, is 20%, but remember, the official rate does not count those who are working part time who want full-time work, and does not count those who have given up looking for work. Among young people, it may be that many who work part-time (those who live at home or who are in school or college) actually are not looking for full-time work, so that upward adjustment may not be as great as for older workers, but at the same time, there are certainly more young people who give up looking for jobs than is the case with older workers who have families to support. In any event, it is clear that all these youth unemployment figures are actually too low by a significant amount. more

Middle-Class Americans More Productive, But Earning Less: Report
The Huffington Post, Janell Ross, Posted: 05/20/11 01:30 PM ET
American workers' productivity has soared over the last 30 years, but that extra output hasn't translating into higher earnings for the American middle class,according to a report released this week.
A 40-year-old male high school graduate earned less in real terms in 2009 than he would have in 1980, according to the report by the Employment Policy Research Network, a collective of labor, management, economics, employment and sociology researchers from 50 universities brought together by the nonpartisan nonprofit Labor and Employment Relations Association.
As middle-class Americans have lost out economically over that 30 year period, productivity, corporate profits and the incomes of America's rich have all soared, the report said. By 2009, 1 percent of the population lived on 21 percent of the nation’s total annual earnings.
The study warned that the average middle-aged man can no longer expect or assume his children's economic situation will be better than his own.
Declining middle-class wages have also helped erode the federal government's solvency, the study's authors said. It might even be causing a decline in the marriage rate.
"As the link between productivity and wages broke down, families and the government turned to borrowing and credit to support living standards," Frank Levy, one of the study's authors and a Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor of urban economics said in a statement. "These options are no longer sustainable." more

36 Statistics Which Prove That The American Dream Is Turning Into An Absolute Nightmare For The Middle Class
The U.S. middle class is being shredded, ripped apart and systematically wiped out. If you doubt this, just check out the statistics below. The American Dream is being transformed into an absolute nightmare. Once upon a time, the rest of the world knew that most Americans were able to live a middle class lifestyle. Most American families had nice homes, most American families had a car or two, most American families had nice clothes, most American families had an overabundance of food and most American families could even look forward to sending their children to college if that is what the kids wanted to do. There was an implicit promise that this was the way that it was always going to be. Most of us grew up believing that if we worked really hard in school and that if we stayed out of trouble and that if we did everything that "the system" told us to do that there would be a place for us in the middle class too. Well, it turns out that "the system" is breaking down. There aren't enough good jobs for all of us anymore. In fact, there aren't very many crappy jobs either. Millions are out of work, millions have lost their homes and nearly all of the long-term economic trends just keep getting worse and worse. So is there any hope for the U.S. middle class?
No, there is not.
Unless fundamental changes are made economically, financially and politically, the long-term trends that are destroying the U.S. middle class will continue to do so.
The number of good jobs has been declining for a long time. The good jobs that have been lost are being replaced by a smaller number of low paying "service jobs".
Meanwhile, the cost of everything is going up. It is getting really hard for American families to be able to afford to put food on the table and to put gas in the tank. Health care costs are absolutely outrageous and college tuition is now out of reach for millions of American families.
Every single month more American families fall out of the middle class. Today there are 18 million more Americans on food stamps than there were just four years ago. More than one out of every five U.S. children is living in poverty. Things are getting really, really bad out there.
The following are 36 statistics which prove that the American Dream is turning into an absolute nightmare for the middle class....
#1 The competition for decent jobs in America has gotten absolutely insane. There have been reports of people actually getting down on their knees and begging for jobs. Many Americans are starting to wonder if they will ever get a decent job again. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average duration of unemployment in the United States is now an all-time record 39 weeks....
#2 According to the Wall Street Journal, there are 5.5 million Americans that are unemployed and yet are not receiving unemployment benefits.
#3 The number of "low income jobs" in the U.S. has risen steadily over the past 30 years and they now account for 41 percent of all jobs in the United States.
#4 Only 66.8% of American men had a job last year. That was the lowest level that has ever been recorded in all of U.S. history.
#5 Once upon a time, anyone could get hired at McDonald's. But today McDonald's turns away a higher percentage of applicants than Harvard does. Approximately 7 percent of all those that apply to get into Harvard are accepted. At a recent "National Hiring Day" held by McDonald's only about 6.2 percent of the one million Americans that applied for a job were hired.
#6 There are now about 7.25 million fewer jobs in America than when the recession began back in 2007. more

America, I don’t want to work for you anymore.
By: Kevin Sunday April 10, 2011 
Probably by now, we’ve all seen this graph or one like it. Just one in a series of graphs that rub in our faces a fact that I have known for decades (yes, decades). The rich are stealing from you.
You can pretend that the rich people in this chart actually earn their extravagant livelihoods, but everything in the evidentiary world points to the opposite. They steal it. From endemic fraud, shady accounting practices and off-shore accounts to government bail-outs, regulatory cop-outs and refusal to prosecute the most egregious actions, the rich have gamed the system so entirely that most people, still to this day, have no idea what I am talking about. And it’s been going on for decades.
The top end of the income scale since the seventies have seen incredible increases while the bottom has remained flat. When I say the top, I mean the top ten percent, in particular the top one percent. The other ninety percent of us have flat-lined for over thirty years, despite tremendous advances in our productivity!
The reason you did not make the gains you should have from your increased productivity is simple. It is called wage suppression. Wage suppression is the process of systematically underpaying labor for it’s output. Capitalism thrives on cheap labor. The rich have conspired with politicians and media figures to promote wage suppression using the theory that higher wages are inflationary (improbably, CEO’s salaries are not inflationary and should be left alone). So, although the overall profit of the company you worked for went up substantially over the years, you got none of it. Many large corporations today have the largest profits they have ever generated yet are laying off workers or actually asking them to accept pay cuts! If you don’t share in the profits of your hard work but instead get laid off or have your wages cut at a time of historic profits (which you have contributed to) why are you working? That extra profit that you worked harder and harder for had to go somewhere, so where did it go? Just like in a pyramid scheme, everyone works hard and puts in effort but the rewards for that effort only go to the top. This is clearly a one-way transaction and not profitable for both sides. more

No comments:

Post a Comment