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Jim Hightower
Jim Hightower
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Playing With Economic Dyanamite

Comment

By gollies, America is still an exporting powerhouse. In fact, the good ol' U.S.A. is No. 1 in the world in exports! Our corporate leaders, backed by Republicans and Democrats alike in Washington, are now routinely exporting America's most precious goods — our jobs, factories, technologies and middle-class opportunities.

With unemployment and underemployment devastating millions of families in our country, perhaps you've assumed that U.S. corporations simply aren't hiring these days. Nonsense. They added 1.4 million jobs last year alone — overseas.

For example, more than half of Caterpillar's new hires in 2010 were in foreign countries. Many more of this giant's jobs are headed offshore in the near future, for Caterpillar, which was once an iconic American brand, has recently invested in three new plants in China. It'll not only manufacture tractors and bulldozers there, but it'll also begin to ship its design work and technology development jobs to China.

Likewise, DuPont, once proud of its U.S. workforce, has slashed its number of American employees in recent years, while increasing its Asia-Pacific workforce by more than half. Indeed, DuPont no longer considers itself American — "We are a global player," sniffs its chief innovation officer.

Such homemade brands as Coca-Cola, Dell and IBM are also among the multitude of corporations abandoning our shores and our middle class. Of course, they keep their posh headquarters here so they and their top executives can continue enjoying all that America has to offer.

Calvin Coolidge once famously asserted that "what's good for business is good for America." That's myopic enough, but today's narcissistic CEOs are even more self-centered, declaring that "what's good for business is good for business, America be damned."

In fact, profits are up, the stock market is roaring, corporations are awash in cash, CEOs are reaping fabulous paychecks again, and — did you hear? — holiday spending reached its highest level in four years.

Forget last year's talk of gloom, all economic indicators are now on zoom, headed for a new boom!

Well, maybe not all indicators. There is still that pesky little problem of joblessness, for instance. Most politicos and economists, however, no longer want to be bothered with the fact that millions of our people are either unemployed or underemployed. Jobs, they say dismissively, are merely a "lagging economic indicator," a problem that'll take care of itself in the by and by. Just be patient. And be quiet.

But jobs have been "lagging" for years now, and there's no sign that this problem will ever take care of itself. To the contrary, America's corporate elite have learned that they can prosper by deliberately holding the workaday majority in a new normal of job insecurity.

No one at the top wants to admit it, but big business has quietly been imposing a structural transformation on our economy, shifting from a workforce of permanent employees to one in which most jobs are temporary, scarce, low-paid, without benefits and with no upward mobility. Of the 1.2 million jobs created by the private sector last year, for example, 26 percent were temporary positions, and in November, temp jobs soared to 80 percent of that month's total.

What's happening here is not merely a matter of a few million folks being momentarily down on their luck, but of an intentional dismantling of America's middle-class structure.

The Powers That Be can talk all they want about a boom, but working families — America's majority — know better. A boom for whom? they ask. They can plainly see that self-serving elites are jury-rigging the job market, lowering the standard of living and closing opportunities for millions.

The elites don't know it yet, but they are playing with dynamite. Our society can tolerate such raw selfishness by the privileged few, or it can have democracy. It can't have both.

To find out more about Jim Hightower, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate web page at www.creators.com.

COPYRIGHT 2011 CREATORS.COM

2



Comments

7 Comments | Post Comment
Businesses are shipping jobs overseas - why? Maybe because the CEO's are greedy - Or could it be because the USA has the highest corporte tax rate and most repressive amount of government regulations in the world? Perhaps it is a combination of big business and bigger government greed and excessive desire for control of every aspect of each citizen's life.

Big businesses always grown slowly. Small businesses are the risk takers and biggest generators of jobs and economic growth. But the current tax rate and idiotic multiple tiers of regulations are choking the life out of the American small businessman.

If you want good paying jobs in the USA, cut the government regulatory and tax burden and allow the sprit of America to soar again!

MoneyMatters
Comment: #1
Posted by: MoneyMatters
Tue Jan 4, 2011 12:29 PM
Re: MoneyMatters

You said this,"...government greed and excessive desire for control..." and in those 7 words blew Hightower out of his..er, hightower. He pretends to be for the people but he really likes government control. Libs don't see the governmnent as beiing the poweful and rich, they default to thinking of businesses that way. You see the scarier truth.

Thanks for a good reply.

Comment: #2
Posted by: Tom
Tue Jan 4, 2011 12:54 PM
Over regulation? Does anybody remember what happened to two rivers in the United States a few years ago without safeguards as to water pollution? The rivers caught fire! Does anybody remember what Los Angeles air looked like 30 years ago? You could see it and smell it.
I own two companies. One being a construction company. When OSHA started enacting laws regarding the safety of the workers even the workers were upset. But look at the numbers! The incidences of injury and death have plummeted. It took some time but the safeguards developed to keep the worker safe began to work and work well. And it created a new industry. Blade guards on saws. Harnesses for people working in the air.
I occasionally get the retort "If you don't like it here, move to another country!" My same thoughts to YOU buddy. Move to China and breath in that great air. And fewer safety requirements. And high pay...I mean lower wages for an expected good product. And noooo regulations. And no freedoms either.
Too bad people can't work together as a whole society. All corporations and small business rely on a customer to buy or use their product. If the customer does not exist, whose gonna buy the product?
Comment: #3
Posted by: Don Stivers
Wed Jan 5, 2011 3:37 PM
Could it be all the regulations in this country are driving jobs overseas? Maybe it is the laws that favor workers over employers. Could be all the liabilities one takes on when they hire workers. Maybe the taxes. Or just maybe it is the lawyers and judges that have made a mockery of contracts and common sense.
If business could hire here and stay competitive...they would. Let's look past the simplistic view that CEOs are greedy.
Comment: #4
Posted by: Simmer
Wed Jan 5, 2011 7:08 PM
Don...those rivers didn't catch fire a few years ago. They caught on fire 40 years ago.

I do believe the government should be there to control pollution. It is never right when one freedom impinges on another. Your right to produce does not out weigh my right to breathe, but that's not what we mean by over regulation.

When we talk about over regulation, we are talking about the government mandating how much ethanol we burn in our cars, how many MPGs our cars get, what kind of light bulb we can buy, can we drink soda, how much water is used by our toilets and showers, etc. Regulation on business is even worse...and worse yet...regulation helps big business by putting up barriers to new entries into the market. Almost all over regulated markets are dominated by huge business. It kills innovation and kills jobs.
Comment: #5
Posted by: Simmer
Wed Jan 5, 2011 7:15 PM
Re: MoneyMatters Your insulting display of disdain, hubris, arrogance with your absurd comments about how low the Corporate tax rates are is disgusting. It is the Corporations which derive the most benefits from taxes, as such, they should pay for their benefits. Their worldwide assets are protected by the Pentagon and many Corporations pay no USG taxes. The corporations are WELFARE KINGS, and the Pentagon is the USG/MIC, Mafia Industrial Complex, which forces contributions, withholding taxes, to fund the Pentagon worldwide protection racket for the Corporations benefit. Including the Pentagon portion of the interest for the national debt the corporation benefit would be at least $700 billion per year since it is the national debt which funds the Pentagon, evidenced by a regression analysis since the 1980's when Reagan initiated the huge deficits and increased Pentagon spending. Admiral Mullen declared in August that the national debt is a threat to national security which is ironic because it is the Treasury bond proceeds for the national debt that funds the Pentagon. The forced contributions, withholding taxes, fund a threat to national security, the Pentagon, to protect US from threats to national security. This is a Mafia inspired protection, Al Capone is smiling in syphilis hell, racket, pay us[forced contributions] or you, your family, will be killed, your property destroyed by threats real, imagined, or created by the USG/MIC. Quit your insults by posting nonsense which is why I canceled my subscription to Money and Markets and say hi to Martin for me. F.O.
Comment: #6
Posted by: kien lusk
Sun Jan 9, 2011 5:33 AM
I like to look at how we worked in the past when we prospered. During the Eisenhower Administration unions were strong and the top marginal tax rate was 90%. Tariffs were also pretty high.

So now we get government out of the way and Enron devastates California before collapsing under its own weight (as evil always does--witness the former Soviet Union); we got government out of the way and how many miners died in West Virginia last year? And we got government out of the way and the Gulf of Mexico turned into one giant oil slick.

True, anything can be carrie to an extreme, but regulation is necessary and even beneficial in a lot of cases.
Comment: #7
Posted by: Tom Blanton
Mon Jan 10, 2011 4:33 PM
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