Where have all the flowers gone?

Where have all the flowers gone?

By Raymond Freeman 09/12/2013


This was a popular folk song in a land long ago. People wore flower-power ties (even me). Everyone had a fair shot at prosperity. Here’s that song today:


Where have all the good jobs gone, long time passing?


Where have all the good jobs gone, long time ago?


Where have all the good jobs gone?


The GOP’s destroyed them, every one.


Oh, when will they ever learn?


Oh, when will they ever learn?


There’ve been countless statements, papers, books, etc., on the death of the American dream. There’s yet another. In August, the Economic Policy Institute’s paper “A Decade of Flat Wages” stated: “The wage-setting mechanism has been broken for a generation but has particularly faltered in the last 10 years.” Translation: the game’s been rigged. Ever since 1979, wage growth for most workers has been weak. The median worker saw an increase of just 5 percent between 1979 and 2012, despite productivity growth of 74.5 percent. Why such a massive rip-off?


Republicans killed the goose that laid the golden eggs to make their rich pals richer. See earlier Sharper Focus articles: “State of the Union in Reality,” “Downton Abbey,” “Short of Money?”; and for a truly shocking “Road-to-Damascus” revelation as to the inequality of wealth in America, worse now than in the Gilded Age, see the Harvard professor’s findings shown at  www.youtube.com/watch?v=QPKKQnijnsM.


Here’s a quick summary:

• Henry Ford’s practical wisdom that made everyone richer was killed by Reagan’s “vision.”
• “Trickle-down economics” was really “voodoo economics,” benefiting only the super-rich.
• The real “job creators” are not wealthy CEOs, they are well-paid workers spending money.
• That money circulates around the economy and creates more jobs (“multiplier effect”).
• But workers can’t spend enough to power the economy because they’ve been ripped off.
• Labor’s share of national income is at a record low level; profits are at a record high level.
• The super-wealthy have hijacked the economy, run off with the money, but just sit on it.
• This hurts America’s economic engine because 70 percent of its power comes from consumer spending.
• Lack of consumer demand is our biggest problem, not national debt or high taxes.
• Levels of private debt are too high, producing a “demand-deficient, liquidity-trapped” economy.
• In a “double whammy,” consumers are still paying off old debts, mortgages, student loans, etc.
• Unions are increasingly powerless and minimum wage laws are a joke.
• Misguided “free trade” policies weakened the economy, as Ross Perot predicted
• Outsourcing jobs abroad is very profitable for “job creators,” who are thus JOB DESTROYERS.
• The tax code doesn’t tax foreign earnings, encouraging the destruction of America’s economy.
• This other “double-whammy” makes the super-wealthy even wealthier, so why should they care?


Why have so many average Americans allowed so few plutocrats to hijack the economy? Why have so many allowed so few to grab so much? We have the world’s most perfect political system, right? That would have stopped it, right?


Ha ha ha ha! That’s a good one! Sorry, I need to dry my eyes. In many countries, there are strict limits on money in politics. Here, money’s “free speech.” Money doesn’t talk, it screams. America has the best politicians money can buy. The super-rich buy them. It is my duty to report that some Democrats have also been bought. (See Robert Scheer, The Great American Stickup.) But fewer have been bought and most have a conscience, unlike today’s Republicans. Today’s GOP pursues an extreme agenda catering solely to the super-rich, knowing they can get away with it.


There’s hope. Our timid center-right president has awakened. President Barack Obama said in his July 24 speech:

 
“In the period after World War II, a growing middle class was the engine of our prosperity. Whether you owned a company, swept its floors or worked anywhere in between, this country offered you a basic bargain — a sense that your hard work would be rewarded with fair wages and benefits, the chance to buy a home, to save for retirement and, above all, to hand down a better life for your kids. …


“But over time, that engine began to stall. That bargain began to fray. The link between higher productivity and people’s wages and salaries was severed — the income of the top 1 percent nearly quadrupled from 1979 to 2007, while the typical family’s barely budged.”


Don’t expect any change anytime soon. Republicans control the House and don’t care about working American grunts. Jobs have gone where the flowers have gone. Where have all the flowers gone? Gone to graveyards, every one — graveyards for the American dream. Oh, when will they ever learn? 

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Comments

I'm guessing that the older, white, middle class GOP doesn't give a hoot. They are retiring with a small savings, Social Security, Medicare,and the value of their home in reserve. Not true for younger America. Our middle class is slowly being replaced with low paying jobs. Forget buying a home.

posted by brewski on 9/13/13 @ 01:31 p.m.

As the U.S. completes in a global economy for goods and services, it is difficult to justify raising wages for stateside jobs that can easily be shipped offshore. Service sector jobs should earn higher wages, however the ample pool of unskilled labor for these jobs keeps wages low. Of course, government regulation could ensure adequate salary levels to prime the pump of the economy as Mr. Freeman suggests.
In the meanwhile, the answer, my friend, is blowing in the wind: it is EDUCATION! We are importing technically trained personnel to fill jobs that should go to U.S. citizens. Unfortunately our education system is so broken that there is a shortage of domestic STEM talent. Is it a GOP-orchestrated conspiracy to keep the lower and middle classes poorly educated? To an extent, yes, as the conservative demagogues attack public education for allegedly being anti-religious, teaching immorality, and glorifying the achievements of minorities.

posted by Don on 9/15/13 @ 10:09 a.m.
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