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If your salary kept pace with economic growth, you
America is Being Sold Out
You know Disney, the most American of all companies, Mickey Mouse, Pluto, Snow White and the rest. In 1995 Disney turned the Indian Princess Pocahontas into a musical "New Age Feminist Environmentalist" seeking peace and harmony in a cartoon feature. There's no evidence in this ludicrous portrayal the real Pocahontas had any such thoughts.
Disney can produce a history-bending feature cartoon for $15 million by shipping work to India. If they use American workers it would cost $175 million. You'd think they'd have some loyalty to the country that gave them birth and riches, but with a bottom line like that, forget it.
Here's how it works. Let's assume I'm a greedy, ruthless, scheming, no-good sonofabitch, the kind of person who would steal $50 off his own mother while her back was turned if I thought I could get away with it. And let's say I'm also the top officer of a corporation, the kind of person to whom idealism and morality are out-of-this-world concepts.
I, the corporate bastard, am going to lay you off and send your job to Myanmar to a guy named Sabu who will work for me for $2 an hour. Or, an impoverished villager in Bangladesh who will be doing better because $2 an hour working for an overseas American-born corporation is better than what he had before.
There are other reasons to ship American jobs overseas besides the allure of below-minimum-wage workers. Developing Third World Countries have no safety regulations or pollution laws to have to satisfy. It's a dream come true to a robber baron corporate fascist.
Loyalty to American workers?
You gotta' be kiddin.'
Stats tell the story.
For the past 20 years the U.S. economy has grown by nearly 60 percent based on your labor, your sweat, partly also because of the internet and automation. Corporate profits have risen 20 times faster than workers' incomes.
Try to think of it this way. If you and your spouse have an average median household income of $50,000, and if your salaries had kept pace with economic growth in this country---you should be making $92,000. Where did that money go? Guess.
It likely went into somebody's pocket sitting in the top of a skyscraper, a corporate government-connected sultan who is making out like a bandit making millions shuffling papers and who has a Golden Parachute, a multi-million dollar severance package when he leaves to be paid into perpetuity. He is also a person who shelters money in overseas non-taxable accounts to avoid paying U.S. taxes.
He is one reason growth in the number of new jobs and average wage salary increases have stagnated.
Increases in the cost of living since 1990 have risen 67 percent, while median (average) household income remained at about $52,000 in 2013, a little above the $50,000 seen in 1990. Since 2007 median household income has declined from its peak near $56,000 in 1999.
Meanwhile, extreme poverty in the U.S. doubled.
The most glaring example will make your eyes bug out. Here it is:
The top 1 percent of wage earners in the country upped their earnings by a whopping 240 percent since 1979, while average wages increased hardly at all over the same period.
Since the recession, economic growth is back. Gross Domestic Product or GDP (everything produced in a country), went from a negative 4 points in the recession year of 2009, to a 2.5 percent gain during the third quarter of 2014.
But growth in jobs isn't back. Since the year 2007, the rate dipped from a margin of zero-point growth (holding steady) to a negative five points after 2010. Only 74,000 new jobs were added to the economy in 2013, half of what was hoped for. In almost every category economic growth outstripped new job creation, in finance, government and professional jobs, health care, retail, wholesale, leisure and hospitality professions.
Most of us are working harder for the same amount of pay while corporations ship jobs overseas, those of us lucky enough to be working. Ironically, low-income workers have more free time on their hands because of a shrinking job base and greater unemployment.
Americans are working harder and longer with less vacation time trying to get more out of their stagnant salaries. According to the book The Overworked American, we all work about one month more than we did in 1970. This is cutting into family and "mental health" time.
Approximately 50 percent of workers today bring at least some of their job home with them, for example checking emails from their work on weekends. Approximately 34 percent check work emails while on vacations, those lucky enough to have a paid vacation.
The paid job vacation is an endangered species, primarily in America and Singapore, which seems to have an inordinate number of maladjusted workaholics.
The United States is so far behind the rest of the world in reasonable "off-time" that it's off the chart. In much of Europe, four-week vacations are the norm. In America, no time whatsoever is common. Clearly, Americans are working more, and earning and enjoying it less.
Meanwhile, multinational corporations are generating profits based on your sweat. Your future as a Middle Class American is being outsourced. Congress in Washington D.C. has been up in arms about piracy on the East Coast of Africa, but couldn't seem to care less about its corporate counterparts in the skyscrapers of New York, Chicago and Los Angeles.
John Sammon, : John Sammon is a writer whose experience includes newspaper reporting, magazine writing, personality profiles, interviews, celebrity interviews (Clint Eastwood), historical pieces, investigative and crime. He was selected “Most Valuable Reporter” for California’s oldest continually operating newspaper, and covered the weekend crime beat for a daily newspaper in Nevada. If you beat your wife on Friday, he wrote about it and got you in deep trouble on Saturday. He covered business,... (more...)