Tuesday, December 10, 2013

You GOTTA Read This!

Those reading this blog and other alternative sites have already realized that the working and middle classes in this country are circling the drain economically. Even if someone is lucky enough to be employed, their wages are not keeping up. We also know that the economic divide between the wealthy elite and the rest of us has never been bigger, and is getting larger by the day. What will probably startle you is how much the U.S. has become a third-world banana republic, for all practical purposes. As writer CJ Werleman calls it, RINO: Rich in Name Only.

Werleman writes, "Three decades of trickledown economics; the monopolization, privatization and deregulation of industry; and the destruction of labor protection has resulted in 50 million Americans living in abject poverty, while 400 individuals own more than one-half of the nation’s wealth. As the four Walmart heirs enjoy a higher net worth than the bottom 40 percent, our nation’s sense of food insecurity is more on par with developing countries like Indonesia and Tanzania than with OECD nations like Australia and Canada. In fact, the percentage of Americans who say they could not afford the food needed to feed their families at some point in the last year is three times that of Germany, more than twice than Italy and Canada."

And the South is third-world central. Wages here on average are up to 30% lower than in the Midwest. Preventing workers from  unionizing and deliberately keeping wages low has made sure that workers' wages are the lowest in the nation. Other areas of the country outsource their jobs here to save money on labor.

Some years ago, between teaching jobs, I had a call center gig at a local warehouse-style call center. Among the other clients served there was Southern California Edison, a power company who chose to use $8.00/hour call center workers in North Carolina rather than employ folks in their own state. Among other outrages, we were told to say we were located in Southern California. Which was laughable, as so many employees had southern accents! I enjoyed speaking with SoCal customers and helping them any way I could, but resented having to lie to perfectly nice people asking where we were located. I also found that $8.00/hr didn't even begin to cover my costs of simply living in this area, and could never afford to buy enough food. But hey, the company made out like bandits, while maintaining their PR image as a "domestic employer."

Werleman also points out that "In Sweden, the minimum wage is $19 per hour and workers enjoy a minimum of five weeks paid vacation every year. In the U.S. the minimum wage is a tick above $7 per hour and workers can expect no more than 12 days of annual vacation. So guess what? IKEA has set up a factory in Virginia. Volkswagen has set up in Tennessee, and the likes of Hyundai, KIA, BMW, Honda, and Toyota have all set up in the South to take advantage of the world’s latest cheap labor source. Moreover, the profits of these foreign companies goes toward stimulating their economies instead of ours.

So, it's amusing when Republicans blame Detroit's bankruptcy on liberal policies because nothing could be further from the truth. Detroit is bankrupt thanks to the Republican business model that has turned the entire South into a third-world banana republic. A business model that the rest of the country is forced to compete with i.e. lower wages, low corporate tax rates, low property taxes, and low environmental and labor protection, which results in a migration of industry and jobs from the northern states, which means a shrinking of the tax revenue base in cities like Detroit. Since 2000, the population of Detroit has fallen 20% and property tax revenue has plummeted 26%. Take this as an illustration of how we are in a never-ending death spiral race to the bottom."  READ THE REST.

2 Comments:

Blogger Anna Van Z said...

And in spite of all this, there STILL are hardly any jobs in rural areas like this one!

I'm glad the beer companies are moving to WNC and whatnot, but most of those jobs are specialized and there's not that many of them. (Oh well, at least we can tour the breweries and get free samples. Sigh.)

12:50 PM  
Blogger Grung_e_Gene said...

Not only do foreign car companies get non-union workers in the South but they get Taxpayer welfare from the State (which when you trace the money back comes from Liberal States who pay more in taxes to the Federal Government than they receive) and infrastructure built by the State for the Companies to use.

3:19 PM  

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