WHO ARE THE REAL JOB CREATORS?
By Ron Pestone
As a guy who has worked in construction most of his adult life and as publisher of the blog www.elmpost.com I, like so many people I know, really want to know who are the real job creators because anything we can do to help them will eventually help us all. After all is said and done they are the individuals that make the machinery work we all call our economy.
Put aside all your political beliefs for a moment. Forget about being a Democrat, Republican, liberal, conservative libertarian or the other 101 hundred political banners out there. Forget about the talk show political hosts, the 24, 7 cable news cycle, network news and the endless sound bites and dribble that smothers us every day of our lives and spend a few quite moments thinking about who are the real job creators in the United States and in most of the industrialized nations of the world. And think about it only in the context of how and why jobs come about.
We have been told thousands of times by politicians and every section of the media that the job creators are the 1% of the American Populace, that all jobs evolve from them and as such they are to be treated in a special manner. Without them we have nothing and it is in our best interests to give them everything they want. If its tax breaks, off shore banking accounts, outsourcing, total access to congress and the executive branch or any of the endless stream of breaks and favors they clamor it is in our best interests to fork them over. According to them we owe it to our children and mankind to do so.
If I could get a dollar for every politician in a blue pin stripped suit and power tie who uttered this canned garbage in front of a news camera I could take my wife on an extremely long dream vacation.
To cut to the quick, it is utter nonsense, absolute poppycock. It is the major lie told over and over with the stern conviction that if it is told enough times it will ring true to the public. Make no mistake about it this lie is pure horse manure and like all manure it starts with generous helpings of feed stuffed down a trusting body willing to digest it. The end result can be found on the stable floor. This huge chunk of horse manure cleverly depicted as the 1% job creators belongs on the stable floor. And I mean no disrespect to horse manure.
Unfortunately this lie had been told so many times by so many sincere looking political, business and media people that large sections of the American populace who are really unsuspecting decent people believe it. This fundamental belief is what is giving license to the destruction of the middle class as we know it today.
But what is the real truth? How will we know it when we see it? Who can we believe when all the pros sound so truthful? How can I as an average person begin to understand how it works in this complex industrialized society I live in?
In my opinion the truth lies before us and is surprisingly simple. America like most industrialized societies runs on capitalism. We are a capitalistic society and there is a lot to be proud of in saying that. Capitalism has bought so much good to the world not only in goods but more importantly in elevating the quality of life for so many people it can only be seen as a plus. America got where it is by capitalism. It is our foundation. It is not a dirty word. It is how our world turns.
Now, if you can agree with the fact we are a capitalist society you are on the right path. As I see it capitalism works on the premise that industries of all types produce things we need and do not need and we the people purchase them. The more people purchasing these goods and services the more successful industry becomes and from its success a great nation emerges.
So what is needed in any great capitalist society is a large enough group of people with enough purchasing power to keep that beautiful massive machine moving. Henry Ford realized this when he became convinced that if he paid his workers the unheard salary of five dollars a day his Fords would be in almost every workers garage. Henry ford was no great humanitarian but he was one smart businessman.
Give a guy a decent salary and he is going to have the money to buy the products he is making. In fact he is going to buy all kinds of products and services some of which he really could have done without. But he has the cash and the desire. And he is out to make a better life for himself and his family. As the fever of capitalism spread across the country men looking for a better life for themselves and their families began to act in group and the union movement was born.
As unions spread across the country and industry moved forward capitalism prospered as never before. Salaries in all sections of the economy improved. Managers, bankers, brokers, teachers, you name it people throughout the land started climbing the ladder of economic prosperity. The future looked bright and the common thought was that each succeeding generation would do even better than the previous one.
In capitilism’s hay day it produced the great automobile industry, a steel industry that became the envy of the world, railroads that crisscrossed the continent, a giant interstate road system, dams beyond imagination and electricity for all. There was no end to the wonders that were being mass produced and consumed. Suburbia took hold and a chicken in every pot was replaced by a house for every able bodied man and woman who was willing to put in the work to get it. Higher education became a reality for the common man and his family and we saw innovations and inventions that were true marvels at the time.
Yes, we became the nation of the great middle class. Prosperity for all. And then a dark shadow began to hover over the nation. The cloud had been here before. Our history is one of great sunshine and dark clouds. The muckraking period was one of the darkest, it was then that the robber barons tried to steal the nation and enslave its people.
The one truth that came out of this dark period and has never died is that, the good guys tend to fall asleep while the bad guys never sleep.
So in our prosperity when the good guys started napping the bad guys went to work. The last thing the bad guys wanted was a middle class that had enough power and time to control its own destiny. So the attacks on organized labor started. All of sudden unions were corrupt, run by gangsters and out to destroy our way of life. The word union, became a bad word. It represented the worst and we were told hundreds if not thousands of times unions and what they represented were bad for the country. By contrast if we left the powers to be run unregulated, another new dirty word, we would all have the real chance of becoming rich. The American dream, Horatio Alger path to success lay in the 1%.
Now there is no question that there were and are some bad unions and that they are corrupt and up to no good. But that is not the majority of them. The majority have strived to give a better life to all its members and their families. To label them all rotten and corrupt would be like saying all businessmen are bad. That everyone on Wall Street is corrupt. Well it just isn’t so. On the whole businessmen like union officials are good for the people and the country. The Chamber Of Commerce and the AFL CIO have a lot more in common than one is made to believe.
The attacks on the unions were rentless. Day after day headlines and the news media portrayed the union movement as the Darth Vader of our world. Unions would crush the very fabric of the country. It was carefully explained to us that the problems of the country had nothing to do with the millions and millions of dollars the fat cats were stuffing in their pockets it had to do with the worker who was asking for an increase in pay of one dollar an hour..
As the avalanche to bury the union movement picked up speed the middle class began to feel the squeeze. Things in general started getting tighter, What the middle class was making in wages was not keeping pace with what things cost. Luxuries started to become a thing of yesterday, necessities started to become luxuries. The price of gas was in a different orbit than the orbit of their lives. Blame was showered on all except the guilty. It was all of our fault.
But the real truth is that management and the average man, union and non union and the lower and middle class are all in the same boat. We are all connected. What hurts one hurts us all. If you are paying a carpenter $25.00 an hour you cannot pay his supervisor $15.00 an hour and his doctor $8.00 an hour. We are all dependent upon each other. When you rip the shirt off of one of us you rip the shirt off of all of us. Does anyone doubt that there is a group of great power out there that would like to see us all working for third world wages.
Funny thing about greed and voracious appetites, they know no bounds. They just can’t stop. Dinosaurs are proof of that but they were supposed to have small brains. We are supposed to have bigger brains yet it has not occurred to these gluttons of industry and finance that if we were all making third world wages there would be no one to buy their goods and services.
As greed for more and more of the pie increased for the few the squeeze on the middle class became unbearable. And when salaries flattened and industry and jobs dwindled warehouses started to overflow with goods the middle class could not afford. We were told we could finance our way out of it and credit became the morphine of the middle class. It eased the pain and dimmed the picture. But things were far from good, now the middle class could no longer afford to purchase higher education for their young. Its cost became prohibitive. Again financing was the morphine applied to the sick and ailing patient. Remortgaging the homes and huge college student loans became the order of the day. And with all that over financing and suffering the proud graduate of the university could not land a job. So another run of social and economic mobility was ripped off the ladder.
Then came the magic word, globalization. The magic exlicer. All our politicians and business leaders held it out to us as the magic grail. It was the key for world peace and prosperity. A world truly connected.
In my opinion what globalization means is that we make our products overseas in any country that can supply an abundance of cheap labor and then ship the goods back to America where it will be sold for top dollars ensuring huge profits for the 1%. It doesn’t matter if we ship raw material over and ship back the finished goods or if we take our technology and plant it in a third world nation to produce goods at a fraction of the cost of doing it here, it is all for the money. None of the products are cheaper. Prices didn’t drop. We were just told that prices would go higher if they weren’t made with cheaper labor. They even went a step farther and planted their help centers in these cheap markets. Ever call out on a computer problem and you know what I am talking about.
This wave of the future turned into a Tsunami and it became the way business did business. It worked when a few were doing it but when it became a national desease the effects became crippling. The guy in the third world nation making $15.00 dollars a week could not afford to purchase the product he was making and even worse it was getting more and more difficult to unload the products onto the middle class in this country that had been gutted, financially ruined and unemployed.
Globalization, short term greed at the cost of long term prosperity. The Holy Grail was and is in fact a poison pill.
Now there were only two things needed to create the perfect storm. One a group of individuals making enormous profits by not making anything, in short the world of corporate raiders and hedge fund operators. With that kind of talent and greed they were able to turn rock sold banks into gambling casinos and when that house of cards came crashing down they threw up their hands and asked the common Joe to pick up the tab, which we did. I do not care how you frame it the financial collapse this country suffered and is sufferings was caused by unmitigated greed. The old saw on Wall Street that pigs get slaughtered is true, it happened.
Finally to make the whole thing work it was necessary to buy the government. Is there anybody in their right mind who does not think congress has been bought by the interests groups or that the interest groups and the fat cats they represent have their greedy paws all over our national elections. They want more and more and want to give less and less. The poor slug in public office only wants to stay in office and even the most decent minded public servant understands it takes big dollars to do that and you know what you have to do to get those big dollars. Nobody gets a free ride.
What kind of country would it be if all interests groups were outlawed, if the largest donation any individual or company could make would be fifty dollars, if only individuals running for office could make campaign commercials, if corporations were not considered people, if lobbyist, were horse whipped in the street and all the protection of the American flag was taken away from any US company that did not make their products here in America with local labor and finally that all political offices would have term limits.
I tell you what kind of country that would be. It would be a country with the greatest middle class in the world. The true job creators.