Thursday, September 15, 2011

High and Low

Why is our economy so miserable right now? Americans work harder, longer, for less money. Where have the fruits of increased productivity gone? Look up.

As this article in the Guardian reports, CEOs are getting paid big money. It's even bigger when they fire more people (and pay less––or nothing––in taxes.)

Which may explain what's happening to the people in the middle. Middle class workers are becoming extinct. How do we know? Corporate planners are no longer planning for the middle class consumer. New products are aimed at the rich and the poor. High and low. The Guardian has noted this trend, as has the Wall Street Journal.

The middle class is a shrinking market, and it's shrinking because of policies pushed by business and their political allies. For the past twenty years companies have been offshoring jobs––helped by "conservatives" in Washington. For thirty years they've been killing unions. Corporations with cash are buying out competitors and firing their workforce. It's a downward spiral. What's strange is the way millions of American workers are collaborating with their own degradation. And how is it good for business for consumers to have less money to spend?

We are becoming Mexico, Columbia, Nigeria. We are becoming a "Banana Republic", thanks mostly to Banana Republicans. And it isn't the store. It's much less pleasant.

Look at Rick Perry's Texas. The job growth he's touting has a worrisome pattern. The Guardian has a story today on the nature of those new jobs. They pay poverty wages.

The other jobs Rick Perry "created" in Texas, the ones paying a decent livable wage, are government jobs, the kind of jobs Republicans normally hate.

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