My Labor Day bitchfest…and/or salute to the working folks
The base of my post is filched from Robert Reich’s blog post up today. I never miss a post and I read them over and over again. I use his posts to strengthen my arguments when talking to folks that do not see things as I do, or sadly..buy into the rightwing nutjobs fearmongering.
Labor Day 2009. It’s a sad labor day if you go by ‘the numbers’ of those out of work and/or struggling to make ends meet because they are underemployed. From Mr. Reich’s blogpost on the subject:
The latest employment figures (released this morning) show job losses continuing to grow. According to the payroll survey, job losses are increasing more slowly than in previous months. According to the household survey, they’re accelerating — from 9.4 percent of the workforce in July to 9.7 percent in August. Bottom line: almost one out of six Americans who need a full-time job either can’t find one or is working part-time. Meanwhile, wage growth among people who have jobs has just about stopped. The Economic Policy Institute reports that between 2006 and 2008, wages grew at an annualized rate of 4.0%; by contrast, over the past three months annual wage growth has plummeted to just 0.7%. At the same time, furloughs — requiring workers to take unpaid vacations — are on the rise: recent surveys show 17% of companies imposing them. More than 20% of companies have suspended their contributions to 401(k)s and similar pension plans.
Mr. Reich questions why the ‘media’ isn’t jumping all over these newest numbers. I do too as they seem to only report the numbers and then move on to Micheal Jackson’s funeral. He has an explanation that will not make anyone feel warm and fuzzy who isn’t among the top one to ten percenter’s. It’s frankly very scary to me when he lays it out in plain english..no spin required:
So why isn’t the media screaming? Partly because these job and wage losses are not, for the most part, falling on the segment of our population most visible to the media. They’re falling overwhelmingly on the middle class and the poor. Unemployment among those who have been in the top 10 percent of earnings is closer to 5 percent, and their earnings continue to climb — although, to be sure, much more slowly than before the meltdown. It’s much the same with health-care and pension benefits. Among people under 65 who are in the bottom 20% of incomes, only 21.9% have employer-sponsored health insurance — if they have a job at all. Half of all people nearing retirement age have a 401(k) balance of less than $40,000.(emphasis mine of course)
I would venture to say that our elite MSM looks down their nose at the middle class and the poor. They don’t count because they are just the ‘working classes’. As Robert Reich points out in his blog post, a report states 42 percent of consumer spending before the meltdown came from the top-earning 10 percent of Americans. This information is from a report authored by Bank of America and Merrill Lynch, not Mr. Reich.
But the middle class and the working poor are the laborers in America. They are the people that work to earn their money for the love of pete! The top one-to-ten percenter’s don’t work, they sit back and let their portfolio’s or the businesses they own do the work and/or earning for them.
Perhaps the middle class and working poor do not spend as much as the top dogs on frivolous crap because their wages have stagnated for over a decade. The cost of keeping health care for their families has gone through the roof. Putting kids through college also takes it’s toll on working Americans.
It’s morally wrong and pure bullshit to say the middle and working poor do not contribute to the economy as much as the top one-to-ten percent does. Let me leave you with Robert Reich’s pov on this:
This logic is morally and economically indefensible. If we’ve learned anything from the Great Recession-Mini Depression of the last 18 months, it’s that the skewing of income and wealth to the top has made our economy far less stable. When the majority of middle-class and poor Americans are either losing their jobs or feel threatened by job loss, and when those who still have jobs are experiencing flat or declining wages, there’s simply no way to get the economy back on track. The track we were on — featuring stagnant median wages, widening inequality, and job insecurity — got us into this mess in the first place.
A-friggin-men to Robert Reich. As an economist and left of center human being, he speaks truth to the powerful. He has plenty of bonafides and frankly he isn’t just a talking head that spews the latest line of bullshit. He is currently Professor of Public Policy at the Goldman School of Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley. His wikipedia bio is here and his personally penned bio can be read here on his other website.
Sadly, the powerful don’t always listen to him. But I do..and so should you, m’dear reader. He boils down the rhetoric so that we can all understand it and digest it and figure out who the bullshit artists are.
So have a good Labor Day Weekend you hard-working people. You have earned it, more than you know.