Monday, August 17, 2015
Week of 08/17/2015
Big Corporate Refuses To Accept Basic Reality
You’ve probably been hearing the news as it trickles in these past few months...
The economy isn’t doing too well.
Oh, sure, the fans of President Obama – and, no, I am not one of them – will tell you that things have been great! Unemployment is “down”, jobs are “up”, corporate profits are out-of-the-ballpark, gas prices are dropping like a rock, the U.S. Dollar is holding its own, Wall Street is making out like gangbusters...
Well, the last part is certainly true, thanks in no small part to the previous Attorney General aiding and abetting those Fortune 500 criminals by letting them pay pittances in “civil” fines instead of criminal charges like the common people would face.
But the rest of it... well if you were to believe what the Obama White House is telling us all, then the United States would be in the greatest economic boom since the Dot-Com craze of the 1990’s, or the mega-mergers of the 1980’s, or the housing bubble of the 2000’s. Except that each of those hypes also ended with horrible economic failures. Dot-Com Boom ended with the Dot-Com Bust, the mega-mergers ended with the Savings and Loan disasters and the mini-recession that sank George H.W. Bush’s re-election hopes, and, of course, the housing bubble facilitated the Great Recession, which Obama’s former AG aided and abetted the getaway of those criminals.
The truth, however, is out there; in plain daylight if you know where to look for it. You just need to ignore the political spin and the TMZ diversions that have been carefully orchestrated to keep us distracted. But it is out there. And that truth is not good.
You’ve been hearing what’s been going on with Greece. Their problems are more extreme than ours, but the overall causes are still the same. They need private sector jobs, and they’re not getting those. The Greek government has been trying to make do by creating state jobs, but it’s been like a Band-Aid trying to cover a near-amputation. You can only do that for so long, and Greece recently went for their third bailout. Oh, and they’re not the only ones in economic trouble. Poland’s economy is teetering.
China’s economy is in a free-fall. They’re devaluing their currency to keep inflation in check. They have whole cities that they’ve built, but their own people can’t afford to live in them. This is supposed to be the “new great economic superpower”, and they’re still treating their own people like a second-world society.
Yes unemployment is supposedly “down”, but those numbers are a bold-faced lie. What we consider to be “Unemployment” figures are really all the people who currently get Unemployment Insurance payments. It’s not a true representation of the people out of work because not everyone can get those Unemployment Insurance payments, and those payments are only for a limited period of time. Once those payments have been exhausted, that’s it. That person no longer gets counted.
The actual lie – and yes, this is a criminally libelous lie if anyone decides to take the Department of Labor and the media to court over it – is that hundreds of thousands of Americans simply “drop out” or “give up” finding work. It is a bold-faced criminally damaging lie because it assumes that those who stop getting payments also stop looking for work.
The truth is that these Americans did not “drop out” or “give up”, they were given up on. They were forsaken! They were negligently abandoned by politicians and by Corporate America. But it’s “easier” for those in power to claim that those Forsaken Americans simply were losers than to admit that they’re the real villains.
Real wages have not kept up with the cost of living for well over a decade now. Yes, Corporate America has reaped record profits, but none of that has translated into more money for anyone except for the 1%. We hear the modern-day Yorkshire Men and their sycophants on Fox News and talk radio scream like the spoiled babies that they are about the push to get the minimum wage raised to $15 an hour, but the truth is that this is not only a symptom of the overall problem with real wages, but as a concept it is also just another Band-Aid trying to patch another near-amputation.
Here’s a really simple question: if the economy is supposedly so successful and so strong, why has the Federal Reserve been keeping interest rates at near-zero since 2009? “Near-Zero” is supposedly the Fed’s emergency brake, and we’ve been riding that emergency brake for over six years now. The business world has supposedly been begging and pleading and waiting with badly-baited breath for the Fed to raise rates for the past few years, and every time the Fed chairperson (and there have been two now) says they can’t because the economy is still “too unstable”. That doesn’t match up with what we hear from Wall Street and the Obama White House.
And... you have been hearing about this recently as well. There have been more announced layoffs. Time Incorporated, Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft, American Apparel, J. Crew, HSBC... even the United States Army is laying people off! The Army!
Now folks, when I’ve seen these signs before, I’ve correctly predicted that an economic downturn is just over the horizon. And my track record has been far better than the so-called “experts” that you see on the news. So when I say that you should get ready for things to get worse, then that means that (1) things will, and (2) the so-called “experts” will lie and try to convince you otherwise.
And yet... this is one upcoming downturn that did not need to happen!
Let’s get brutally honest here... America has been treading economic water ever since the Great Recession. In fact, we have not stopped treading water! Yes, some folks who lost their jobs got new ones. Some folks had to get and are still working two or three jobs just to keep the bills paid. And hard-working Americans can only tread water for so long before they start to falter, and that is what we are seeing right now.
But we’re not “seeing” this because we’ve all been fixated on one thing: corporate profits! The White House and the Congress and the state and local governments and certain the media have all latched onto this myth – and, yes, it is a myth – that as long as companies are raking in big profits, that everything else will just fall into place.
The cons and the neo-cons in the GOP have been singing this myth like it was a Christmas Carol for decades now! Just let Big Business make all the profits and that they want and they’ll put that money back into the economy in terms of jobs and promotions and raises.
Only they haven’t followed through on their part of that agreement, have they? No, they haven’t. We, the great unwashed, have to tighten our belts a little more and go without a little longer and swallow a little more austerity, but CEOs have enjoyed raises and bonuses and more and more money, and corporate investors have used the profits to fatten their own accounts.
What’s going on is quite simple. Big Business, corporate or otherwise, and those that have sold their souls to Big Business, and, yes, that includes the media and talk radio and cable TV channels and all of those so-called “experts”, have all forgotten one simple and basic reality when it comes to the economy.
It’s not about profits. It’s about people.
You want the economy to truly succeed? You want economic prosperity? Then you need to focus less on profits and more on people.
You want to whine about countries like Greece creating public jobs to keep people employed at the expense of their own tax monies? Then the private sector needs to get off their duffs and actually create those private sector jobs over there!
You want to quell the call for raising the minimum wage? Then businesses need to be putting more into wages for the rest of the employees and not just rewarding their CEO for his or her continual frugality. That is, after all, what your mouthpieces in the media have been promising you guys would be doing. Remember that? That whole “re-investing the profits back into the infrastructure” song-and-dance your friends in talk radio and CNBC and Fox News continually mention.
It is one thing to be frugal with money when times are tough, but when you’re reaping record profits and you’re still penny-pinching the general payroll and telling your underpaid workers that they need to be doing more and more for less and less, then you are the reason why the economy fails!
It’s funny, because if you watch shows like “American Greed” on CNBC, you continually hear the message that anytime you hear a promise of reaping continual profits regardless of the economy, that it is a scam. And yet this is precisely the thing that Big Business demands now from their employees! They demand continual profits at all costs, even if the market cannot provide it. They simply call it “being aggressive” instead of it being a scam on the rest of the world.
I understand that this is not a new problem. This mentality of putting profits ahead of people has been going on for quite some time, and it’s not going to go away anytime soon. But it does need to change, because you cannot have the general populace suffer at the expense of your largesse without there eventually being consequences. And the next time that consequence won’t just be some “Occupy” protesters.