Friday, September 3, 2010

Abused by Business and Industry?

“One of the things business wants to do in pursuit of forcing wages down and eliminating fringe benefits entirely is to increase the number of people looking for work, even as they do everything possible to decrease the number of jobs available to American workers.” (a liberal blogger)

This conclusion ignores two major factors that need to be considered, (1) that government has been far and away one of the MOST abusive AND least productive employers in existence and (2) that the current economic climate was caused by a veritable criminal act by government, litigating and otherwise coercing privately owned and publicly traded banks and financial institutions to “expand more credit to more low income Americans.”

One of the things we should ALL have had a huge problem with G W Bush over was his making “reducing the black/white home ownership gap a primary mission of my administration.” (His wasting $12 BILLION/year on fighting AIDS in Africa was a 2nd one, although there may have been a “good deal” resource-wise” in that for us, though I’m not sure of that) Still, given that slightly over 30% of blacks live in poverty compared to about 11% of whites, that “mission” is impossible without first addressing the underlying cause of the home-ownership differential, to wit the poverty differential.

Bush and other “Moderate” Republicans (Orin Hatch, John McCain, Lindsey Graham, etc.), all bought into the Jack Kemp “Ownership Society.” That turned out to be a misguided canard, based on the hopeful, yet wishful thinking that “homeowners tend to be more goal oriented, more personally responsible, socially Conservative people, the kind who’ll ultimately vote Republican.”

A canard as dangerously ill-conceived as the Democrat’s view that an influx of (traditionally socially Conservative Catholics) from places like Mexico, Honduras and the Philippines will be more likely to vote Democratic once they settle in and become citizens.

The facts showed Kemp’s vision to be wrong-headed, liberal/Utopian thinking. Home ownership itself has no magic powers. Home ownership doesn’t make a person more’s quite the reverse! More responsible people tend toward the responsibilities of home ownership.

At any rate the “cheap money” program that brought such odd bedfellows as G W Bush, Barney Frank, John McCain and Chris Dodd together also tanked the economy.

Today America’s businesses are looking at a very unstable domestic future, one in which they can’t accurately estimate their expenses, because they can’t estimate what government is going to do going forward.

As for the plight of the American workers, it’s virtually ALL of our own doing. You ever hear the phrase “You can’t get rich working for someone else,” well it’s not only true, but you can substitute “comfortable” for “rich” and it’s equally accurate.

When workers demand cheaper goods (as consumers) that begets both a burgeoning trade imbalance AND outsourcing our manufacturing, as we buy cheaper goods from places with much lower standards of living and much lower worker costs, generally overseas. Those cheaper goods make life a little easier, but then the worker (as an employee) wants more money for an even better life…that, in turn ratchets up all the domestic costs of production, making the things we produce here (housing, services, etc) much more expensive.

There seems to be no way for the worker to escape the matrix that higher wages bring about much higher across the board costs that plummet his standard of living, while calls for cheaper goods and services results in massive trade imbalances and outsourcing as business and industry responds to that consumer demand. The best thing any worker can do is to constantly improve and expand their skill base.

One of America’s major problems right now is “structural unemployment.” There are plenty of jobs for physicists, accountants, geologists, petroleum, electrical and chemical engineers, etc. but far fewer decent paying low-skilled factory jobs.

My wife (an accountant) has a saying, “You should not try to make a “career” out of a job anyone else can walk off the street and do within ten minutes.”

An example of that is the cashier job…the fact that self-checkouts are so popular is a testament to both the inefficiency (and probably the discourtesy) of the “cashier-class” AND the ease of doing that “job.” If I can walk in off the street and do myself, what someone else is paying someone $10/hour for, that worker is a dinosaur approaching extinction, whether that “worker” is aware of that or not.

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