Saturday, April 30, 2011

The United States of America: Detroit of the World.

I'm actually worried about the state of this country. I'm worried that the people who spend the money, the legislators, have busted this country for the people who make the money, the corporations.

Don't confuse Corporations with the People Who Pay the Bills because that's the Middle Class. But corporations make the money and the USA hasn't been very good at allowing them to do that for the past few years. The fact that corporations aren't providing good jobs for Americans to earn the salaries to allow them to purchase the goods and services that the corporations produce doesn't seem to make any difference to the Corporations.

So in an every deteriorating spiral, Corporations don't pay the bills that fund America's infrastructure and they don't provide the salaries, yet they complain that America isn't doing enough to keep the corporations fat and wealthy. So they've been taking their business elsewhere.

We used to think that America ("The United States of America") and the Corporations were inseparable. But these past 2 years have taught me that they aren't. The Middle Class is disintegrating before our eyes. The Super Rich have gotten super richer and the poor keep finding ways to avoid success. If I had to do the math, I'm sure I could find an algorithm that explains the tipping point where someone decides they are better off not working for low pay than they are not working at all. My guess, with my poor math skills, is that if you are single and make less than $22,000 a year (about $12/hr.), it's probably not worth your time to have any regular job. You might as well let the government feed and house you. And from what I see happening in America, there must be an app for that calculation because so many people don't seem to want a job if it pays so little.

Don't think this is about the poor. It isn't. It's about why there are no good jobs in America any more.

Wall Street is richer than ever. But America is poor. We have no jobs and the good jobs that were left are being stripped away. Okay, I guess I should admit that there are some jobs: food service jobs are plentiful. Low-paying jobs with little room for advancement abound. But the abundance of moderately-high-paying jobs that seemed to come from education and work experience seem to have evaporated. Whatever promise the future made to our parents hasn't been shared with us.

Look how America treats Corporations: we have regulations. We tell Corporations how they can function, how they need to report earnings, how they need to keep products safe, how they should be greener, how they should treat workers fairly, how they should offer medical benefits, how they should provide fair pay, hours, benefits. We've banned smoking from the workplace, for chrissakes. And Corporations love to smoke!

The rest of the world doesn't care about this.

Corporations took too easily to doing business with China. Yes, I'm bashing China. Look at it! Do you even understand what's been happening there? Corporations went there for cheap labor and low or no regulations. Other than graft and political corruption. So Corporations opened up shop there and Chinese regulations require that the Corporations turn over manufacturing specifications and trade secrets before China will agree to let them stay. So China can now counterfeit all your goods if they want, but they promise not to if you stay and don't complain about their labor laws or how their government is run. And so the salaries for Chinese laborers went up, a little. And you can see how we've been rewarded for that, oil prices and food prices and the cost of most commodities have gone up. Because a few hundred million workers can now afford to buy cars and food. But as costs increased for the Corporations, what did they do? Many of them moved from the areas where labor was to cheap and quickly became more expensive to areas where labor was still cheap. The Corporations just moved from one part of China to another. Just like in America when they move from one expensive state to a cheaper one. The Corporations learned that providing jobs to workers, even low paying, unsafe, exploitative jobs is more important to keeping a government stable than providing well-paid jobs with good benefits. And so they have been applying that new philosophy here in America.

But I'm not blaming China. I'm blaming us. If I thought about it, I'd probably find blame with NAFTA because that's where I think Corporations got the idea that they didn't need to support the American workforce in the first place.

More proof. Corporations want to do business in Libya. True. Even a corrupt, evil dictatorship looks sexy to Corporations. Libya and other countries where life is hard and cheap because the government is cruel, are like whores who would let Corporations have their way with them. Not like America, where we complain all the time, but slutty, spread-open skanks who welcome manufacturing facilities with toxic chemical processes or obsolete unsafe production methods and don't have court systems that have ever heard the words "Class Action."

America is less attractive to Corporations than Libya. And Libya is the Libya of the World. We used to compare city to city in America, deciding where we would move to find a better job, but I don't think that's possible anymore. The Dollar is weak. And America has become expensive.

You can call me an alarmist if you want, but I'm not trying to alarm anyone. I don't have a solution. I'm just pointing out where we are as a country, and our place in the Global Village. America used to be the New York of the World. We used to be Hollywood. But not today. We are Detroit.

If you ever want to find work in the future (I'm guessing 15 years from now), you won't just pack up your stuff and move to California or Washington; you will have to go to a whole other country. And not Canada. For the next location the Corporations might find desirable, I'm thinking Ireland or Greece. So learn a new language or buy a warm coat. You still have time.


  1. Preach it, sister. The more we point out that these Emperors have no clothes, perhaps at some point they'll have the grace to be embarrassed about it.

    Nah, I don't really believe that. Corporate America is the Titanic, and there aren't enough lifeboats for those of us who wanna get off the ship. Some of us are going to freeze, others will probably drown.

    But a few will survive and look backward to the place where the ship was before it sank, and then resolutely look forward, pulling on an oar along with the others who are strong enough to protect the weak, gnawing on the lesson learned.

  2. I would just like to say that a lot of people in the third world would look at $22000 a year with a great deal of envy. And I am talking about teachers and librarians and such, people with four year degrees and work experience. I know the cost of living is different, but it's not that different.