Monday, September 7, 2015
"30 Million Couch Potatoes Celebrate Labor Day"
Note: This was written awhile back. It has gotten worse. According to the Labor Department, as of Labor Day 2015, 93.6 million have workers have left the labor force and no longer even bother trying to find a job.
Labor Day has traditionally been a day of celebration and festivity. It was America's last fond grasping of an ebbing summer, celebrated with steak cookouts, picnics and the frenetic play of children before submission to the rigors and discipline of the classroom.
Labor Day also served as a celebration of the working man, the opportunity to honor our ancestral toils as well as ourselves for the remarkable American productivity that fed and clothed the world and instilled in them the dream that futures could indeed be golden.
Today 30 million Americans are unemployed or underemployed. The bright shiny dreams of "tomorrow" are lost in the cold hard realities of an economy on the brink of collapse. 30 million dreams have been shattered and those millions of lost souls wander from the Ethernet submissions of resumes on home computers to the mail box to retrieve the unemployment check from a nation that says "we just don't need you anymore".
The "Easy Chair" is no longer easy. Where once those lost souls took respite from a proud day of work, the chair now reflects a permanent impression of ennui, serves as a confining realization that the world has moved on callously, and without them. The Project Manager has been replaced by computer automated auditing. The fellow who made fine Arrow Dress Shirts has been replaced by prison labor in China. The lady who sewed the Swoosh on the Nike shoe was shunted aside by a factory worker in Vietnam who collects his "dollar per hour" pay check in Saigon. By necessity to survive, the American factory foreman now mans the greeting desk at Walmart.
The American dream was shattered by NAFTA and Friedman's "Flat World" and, more recently, by Washington liberal minions who believe that Government (they of the big "G") create jobs.
So, 30 million Americans sit on that couch, or in the Easy Chair, angry and frustrated at a remote "them".
"Them" is more elusive than we might wish. It is the large American corporations that deemed themselves as "citizens of the world", no longer "American". They retain a laser focus on "the bottom line" of their corporate earnings report. They no longer embrace the idea that "what's good for business is good for America". They have abandoned the idea that they must champion community values, quality education or render support for the nation that birthed them. Target and Walmart will publicize their "million dollar" contribution to local hunger programs, or childhood nutrition, or "backpacks for school kids" campaigns, even as they rip the job rug from beneath a parents feet by filling their stores with cheap Chinese-made products.
"Them" is your Mastercard or Visa or AT&T masters who shift their customer service operations to India; never mind that one struggles with "sing-song" accents, an Indian will work cheaper, surrender work benefits...and that is so good for the bottom line.
"Them" are those wise government whose-its that deemed NAFTA and all other trade agreements as favorable for a more viable "world economy". Never mind that those trade agreements did not take into account the variances in fair labor laws, environmental restrictions or product quality audits.
"Them" are the American employers who worship the almighty dollar so much they choose to hire 20 million illegal Mexicans because they can pay them less in cash money and withhold paying benefits and damn the American who has to fund illegal medical, food stamps and education for all of them.
So, 30 million unemployed Americans wait...wait for an American awakening, an American renewal. Being Americans, they have not forsaken their dreams, just deferred them; waiting for America to hear them.
Meantime, they fore go the steak cookout for a hot dog roast. They fore go the last vacation of summer because gas prices are high, the car, if they still have one, needs work and...hey, they better stay near the phone....they might get a call for a job interview.
Sad. Damned Sad