Wednesday, November 23, 2011

When banksters crash the real economy

I have dozens of reasons for detesting the de-industriaization of USA.  I often cite the ongoing impoverishment of the nation caused by a persistent trade deficit as my pet beef but I think it is more than that.  I happen to enjoy spending time around people who can build complex and very difficult things.  I am related to many of them and one of the main reasons my tribe came to USA was to build the more interesting parts of this nation.

Because I know how difficult things are built, I am especially sensitive to what is being destroyed when the capacity to build takes a hit.  A production facility represents thousands of man-hours devoted to solving a nearly infinite array of problems.  Getting everything to work smoothly is a process that can take decades.

That we allow banksters to sweep in and close down a factory that can represent four generations of distilled creative genius, is a crime that actually horrifies me.  In the 1980s when these sort of hostile raids were common, banksters would destroy in weeks the wealth generated by sometimes thousands people working their entire lives.  And having seized a few millions for themselves, they would move on without a thought in the world about the carnage they left in their wake.

Anyway, this is a topic both Tony and I could probably discuss for weeks without notes and without repeating ourselves.  What I find so amazing is that I have hundreds of examples of bankster crimes against the Producers and so does Tony—and they are NOT the same list.  And this is the economic ruin that traps us today.  Ironically, the reason Predator banksters are failing around the world is they have run out things to snatch and grab—so complete has been their destruction of the real economy.

35 Facts About The Gutting Of America’s Industrial Might That Should Make You Very Angry 
Did you know that an average of 23 manufacturing facilities were shut down every single day in the United States last year? As World War II ended, the United States emerged as the greatest industrial power that the world has ever seen. But now America's industrial might is being gutted like a fish and both political parties seem totally unconcerned. Yes, we will always need trading relationships that are fair and balanced with other countries that have economic systems that are similar to our own. However, the truth is that most of our trading relationships are neither "fair" nor balanced. For example, China manipulates currency rates so that Chinese products are much cheaper than they should be, they brazenly steal our technology and we let them get away with it, they deeply subsidize their most important industries and they exploit their citizens by allowing them to be paid slave labor wages. How in the world does that resemble the "free market" at work? Predatory nations such as China do everything that they can to distort the free market. So why in the world would any rational economist ever recommend that we should keep trading with other countries that are cheating us blind? After you read the facts in this article about the gutting of America's industrial might, hopefully you will get very angry. We need the American people to start getting very upset about these very important issues. 
Both major political parties promised us that globalization would be wonderful for the U.S. economy. Well, in the first decade of this century less net jobs were created than in any other decade since the Great Depression. 
The "free trade" polices of the globalists have been an abysmal failure. Tens of thousands of factories, millions of jobs, and hundreds of billions of dollars of our national wealth have gone to countries that engage in predatory trade practices and that exploit slave labor pools. 
How in the world are American workers supposed to compete against workers that make less than a dollar an hour (with no benefits) on the other side of the globe? 
If you support the version of "free trade" that most of our politicians are promoting, then you are supporting the one world economic system that the global elite are trying to establish. In this one world economic system, American workers will increasingly be forced to compete for jobs with the cheapest labor on the planet. This will continue to force the standard of living of American workers way, way down and it will continue to absolutely destroy the middle class. 
The following are 35 facts about the gutting of America's industrial might that should make you very angry.... 
#1 According to U.S. Representative Betty Sutton, America has lost an average of 15 manufacturing facilities a day over the last 10 years.
#2 Sadly, it looks like this trend is picking up momentum. During 2010, an average of 23 manufacturing facilities a day were shut down in the United States.
#3 Since 2001, the U.S. has lost a total of more than 56,000 manufacturing facilities.
#4 According to the Economic Policy Institute, the U.S. economy loses approximately 9,000 jobs for every $1 billion of goods that are imported from overseas.
#5 The United States has had a negative trade balance every single year since 1976, and since that time the United States has run a total trade deficit of more than 7.5 trillion dollars with the rest of the world. more

The Left-Behinds
How three decades of flawed economic thinking have helped to create record numbers of long-term unemployed and undermine America’s middle class.

By Michael Hirsh
November 21, 2011

BRADDOCK, Pa.—Movie director George Romero, the master of zombie kitsch, made his first films in the pitted and rusting landscape around this fabled steel town back in the 1960s and ’70s. It was fantasy then. But today, Braddock truly is the land of the living dead.

U.S. Steel’s Edgar Thomson Steel Works chugs on, as it has since 1875, but it’s a sprawling corrugated-metal relic of its former self. Its parking lot is almost empty at midday, and it employs several hundred workers rather than the more than 10,000 who labored here at its peak. The rest of Braddock, meanwhile, is a ragged reminder of the nearly forgotten era when western Pennsylvania’s Monongahela Valley rolled a century’s worth of steel for gleaming new American cities and factories.

This area used to be legendary for hard work; its progeny includes iron-tough football heroes such as Johnny Unitas, Joe Namath, and Joe Montana.

Today, Braddock is a black hole of apathy where the gravitational pull of despair is often too powerful to resist. Unemployment is chronically in the double digits, not so much because of displaced steelworkers—most of those jobs disappeared in the 1980s—but because of their children and grandchildren. These are the second and third generations of a lost tribe.

“We have manufacturing companies who say to us, ‘I don’t want to look at those people. They’re not used to showing up and coming to work anymore,’ ” says Stefani Pashman, head of the Three Rivers Workforce Investment Board in Pittsburgh. Unemployment counselors talk about the difficulties of teaching “soft skills”—such as simply showing up on time for an interview and wearing something nicer than a stained T-shirt. “The perception of these people as workers,” says David Coplan, director of the Mon Valley Providers Council, “is that they’re damaged goods.”

It’s easy to write off the Mon Valley left-behinds as an old story limited to the specific woes of the steel industry. But in many ways, the people here are part of a much broader trend toward long-term unemployment in America. As in Braddock, and now a slew of communities laid low by the housing bubble and bust, the phenomenon can feed on itself and create a vicious cycle of disappearing jobs, declining incomes, higher foreclosures, and more layoffs.

In Stockton, Calif., a community of left-behinds has materialized in the wreckage of the mortgage meltdown. Just as European immigrants once streamed into the Mon Valley, descendants of California’s agricultural workers found jobs during the housing boom in home construction for middle-class families who worked an hour or two away in the San Francisco Bay Area. Now, a confluence of bad news has not only cost many of them their jobs but also plunged them underwater on their mortgages. Stockton’s jobless rate is 15.4 percent, fifth highest of any metropolitan area. Even though the city is only an hour’s drive from Silicon Valley, its inhabitants, like those of western Pennsylvania, are becoming damaged goods.

“We have a large population in their teens or 20s with relatively low levels of education,” says Jeff Michael, a labor expert at the University of the Pacific (Stockton). “It’s a huge problem: a whole generation of young people who are going to find difficult employment prospects.”
When Lee Farkas’s mortgage company collapsed and he went to prison, Ocala, Fla., lost 1,200 jobs.

Ocala, Fla., is yet another place where growth exploded during the housing bubble and then, almost as abruptly, imploded. As recently as 2007, the Santa Monica-based Milken Institute, which tracks job growth in metro areas, labeled Ocala the nation’s “best-performing city” for job creation. Riding on the debt-fueled housing bubble and a rising flow of sun-seeking retirees, Ocala enjoyed a flowering of construction companies and the cottage industries that fed them: metal fabrication, electronics, plastics. Ocala now has one of the highest rates of long-term unemployment—defined as 27 weeks or longer—in the country: 11 percent of its workers are officially unemployed, and almost as many more are either underemployed or have dropped out of the job market. More than 80 percent of the officially unemployed have been out of work for more than six months.

Adding felonious insult to injury, one of the entrepreneurs who stoked the city’s torrid growth was Lee Farkas, who opened one of the nation’s largest mortgage-processing facilities for Freddie Mac and Ginnie Mae. Farkas was recently sentenced to 30 years for fraud. When his company collapsed in 2009, 1,200 jobs disappeared overnight. more

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