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Bush's "Ownership Society" Already Doomed by his Trade Policies

Discussion in 'News & Current Events' started by KenH, Sep 13, 2004.

  1. KenH

    KenH Senior Veteran


    Some excerpts:

    "The facts are beyond dispute – except among Washington’s bought and paid for globalization cheerleaders. Adjusted for inflation, total U.S. private sector wages peaked at $8.62 per hour (measured in 1982 dollars), in April, 1978 – scant years after the great opening of the U.S. economy to imports began in earnest. Real manufacturing wages peaked at roughly the same time, at $8.97 per hour. (We won’t bother with public sector wages because they’re not directly set by the market.)

    Since these peaks, real private sector wages have fallen 4.4 percent – a performance previously unheard of in American history. And manufacturing wages, which are most affected by international competition, have fallen 5.6 percent. Worse, even though the economy has technically been recovering from the last recession for nearly three years, real private sector wages during this period are up only 0.4 percent, and real manufacturing wages are up only 1.4 percent.

    More disturbing, signs keep appearing that the link between work and economic viability is growing weaker in America. Last month’s announcement that the official national poverty rate had risen in 2003 for the third straight year, to 12.5 percent, attracted deserved attention. At least as important, however, is the large and growing number of impoverished Americans who are working Americans. One in every four working Americans today earns less than $8.70 per hour (in 2004 dollars) – the effective federal poverty-level wage. As social policy analyst Beth Shulman wrote on Labor Day in the Washington Post, this trend “undermines our most fundamental [national] ideal: that if you work hard, you can support yourself and your family.”"

    "It should be obvious to everyone why stagnant and falling incomes will doom the opportunity society. Tax cuts will only marginally help workers who earn increasingly meager wages and, therefore, have less and less taxable income to begin with to cut and transfer to private health and retirement accounts. The idea that these workers will be able to buy a business or a home after tax cuts is downright moronic. Tax cuts will be equally pointless for workers deciding among job training programs if the economy keeps losing job opportunities that can pay a living wage."
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  2. Teh Wiccan

    Teh Wiccan The Balance Of Passion

    One word: Ouch.
  3. burrow_owl

    burrow_owl Senior Contributor

    I've been harping on this for a while: globalization is in our interests, but we need to recognize that it's the middle to lower-middle class that's bear the brunt of the costs of reorganization, since they've historically been the ones that have filled out the manufacturing sector. What's gonna happen is a sharp bifurcation of the country into professionals that can work within the global business milieu and service industry workers. A dearth of middle class population being terrible for democracy (and unethical, I'd argue: it's our trade populations that are taking their unionized jobs - none of this is inevitable in any sense of the term), I think it's incumbent on the country to let service workers unionize.

    I just don't see any good reason why we shouldn't start replacing unionized, middle-class manufacturing jobs with unionized, middle-class service jobs.