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Pat Buchanan
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Whose Country Is It, Anyway?

Comment

For the third straight year, the median income of the typical American family fell in 2010. Adjusted for inflation, it is back where it was in 1996, the longest period of zero growth since the Depression.

And the poverty rate has inched up to 15.1 percent.

Both figures, however, should be put in perspective.

For example, a family can be classified as poor and own a car, a flat-screen TV and a computer, and have a washer-dryer and a garbage disposal.

Folks below the poverty line have their kids educated free in Head Start, for 13 years in public schools, then get Pell grants for college. They get free food stamps and health care through Medicaid. They get subsidized housing and earned income tax credits, are eligible for all other safety-net programs, and can earn $23,300 in pretax income and pay no income taxes.

Poverty in 21st century America is not poverty in the Paris of "Les Miserables" or the London of Oliver Twist or the Dust Bowl of Tom Joad.

The 15-year stagnation in the median income of the American family, however — a vanishing of the American Dream that one's children will know a better life — is a more serious matter.

For there are causes of the stunted growth in the standard of living of the American family that neither party is willing to address, if either of them even recognizes those causes.

First is the immersion of the U.S. economy in a global economy. This plunged U.S. workers into direct competition with workers in Asia and Latin America willing to do the same jobs for far less, in factories where regulations are far lighter.

U.S. corporate executives leapt at the opportunity to close plants here and relocate abroad. This explains the 50,000 factories that disappeared in the Bush decade and the 5.5 million manufacturing jobs that vanished.

You cannot have a rising standard of living when your highest-paid production jobs are being exported overseas.

Now, to buy the goods of the foreign factories that used to be here, we are shoveling out more and more of America's wealth. Our national bill for imported goods and services is $2.5 trillion a year. The U.S. trade deficit is back up to between $550 billion and $600 billion a year.

If President Obama wishes to know why his $800 billion stimulus bill didn't have the kick he expected, he should look at the "seepage" problem.

How do you stimulate the U.S. economy when the workers you retain or rehire with your stimulus billions head for Walmarts on Saturday to buy goods made in Japan, Korea and China?

Our $6 trillion in trade deficits in the Bush decade stimulated economies all over the world, just not our own. Indeed, the most successful economies of the last decade were China and Germany. Not coincidentally, they were the world's two largest exporting countries.

There are time-honored ways that nations have turned around such situations. What prevents us from adopting them? An ignorance of our own history, the immense investment of our transnational corporations in the new global arrangement, and the opposition of a World Trade Organization to which we have surrendered our national sovereignty.

A second reason why the median income of American families is back to 1996 levels and sinking is mass immigration, legal and illegal.

According to analyst Ed Rubenstein of VDARE.com, the United States, despite an unemployment rate above 9 percent, imports 100,000 immigrant workers every single month. Numbers USA contends that 125,000 foreign workers are brought in every month.

Thus, well over a million workers are added annually to our labor force when 14 million Americans are looking for work.

Why are we doing this?

Is it xenophobic to say our own citizens should come first, that the importation of foreign workers must halt until our own unemployed have found jobs?

A huge share of our immigrant population is Hispanic. And Rubenstein finds that for every 100 Hispanics employed in the United States in year 2001, 126 are employed today. But for every 100 non-Hispanics employed in 2001, only 98 are working today.

What prevents our politicians from putting Americans first, deporting illegal aliens and suspending the importation of foreign labor until our own workers are back on the job?

Politics is one reason. Democrats see illegal aliens and their children as future Democratic voters. Republicans are terrified of being called racists and alienating the ethnic lobbies.

Crass commercial interest is another reason.

U.S. companies see immigrants, legal or illegal, as an endless source of cheap labor to keep wage costs down. And they are right.

But who is looking out for the national interest, for all of the members of the American family, especially the unemployed?

If the median income of the American family is falling, already back to where it was in Bill Clinton's first term, Middle America is one of the big losers in the global economy. And who are the big winners?

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

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Comments

9 Comments | Post Comment
It would behoove the American Sheeple to Read:
"HOW THE ECOMONY WAS LOST" by Paul Craig Roberts

Paul Craig Roberts BIO - From early 1981 to January 1982 he served as Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy. President Ronald Reagan and Treasury Secretary Donald Regan credited him with a major role in the Economic Recovery Tax Act of 1981, and he was awarded the Treasury Department's Meritorious Service Award for "outstanding contributions to the formulation of United States economic policy


What we now know is that the twin lies FREE TRADE and GLOBALIZATION really mean simple labor arbitrage for the global corporations who care as much about Peoria, Illinois as they do for Yong Dong, China

RON PAUL or we are toast
Comment: #1
Posted by: Soothsayer
Mon Sep 19, 2011 3:56 PM
(my bad )

How the Economy Was Lost: The War of the Worlds by Paul Craig Roberts

Overview: The US economy has disintegrated, and with it into the abyss plummet the blueprints of neoliberal economists, whose theories about "the free market" have now gone the way of medieval alchemy. No voice has been stronger, no prose more forceful, than that of Paul Craig Roberts in predicting collapse. His weekly columns in CounterPunch have won an audience of millions around the world, grateful for a trained economist who can explain lucidly how the well-being of the planet has been held hostage by the gangster elite. Now Dr. Roberts has written the shortest, sharpest outline of economics for the twenty-first century ever put between book covers. He traces the path to ruin and lays out the choices that must be made. There is the "empty world" of corporate exploitation, abetted by the vast majority of economists; or the "full world" of responsible management and distribution of our resources. Amid crisis, this is the guide you've been waiting for

Comment: #2
Posted by: Soothsayer
Mon Sep 19, 2011 4:03 PM
Another problem is that too many people want a paycheck but few people actually want to work. We have been through 30 workers this year who wouldn't put in minimal effort to keep their job despite multiple chances. They stole from us, showed up to work intoxicated on drugs or alcohol, they had no means of transportation, they just didn't show up at times..or had to go to "funerals" or visit their Parole Officer.. or go to court. This is low skill blue collar work. It is work outside.. in the elements.. The pay isn't horrible.. and in fact, based on production if they work hard can be quite good. It is also seasonal.. but they are provided meals and lodging during the week in addition to their pay. In the past two years, we have had probably 80 employees.. we only need a crew of 12.. so that gives you an idea of people's true desire to work.. of those 70 or so that left.. 90% walked off themselves.. mostly to go lay back under that shade tree they were under when they were brought on... They found it much more rewarding to sit back and let the government pay them and do no work. I do believe there are people that want to work that can't find "good" jobs.. but we have an over abundance of people that just don't wanto work.
Comment: #3
Posted by: want the truth
Tue Sep 20, 2011 6:51 AM
Re: want the truth. I seriously doubt you want the truth. What percentage of those born into wealthy families are guilty of the same kind of poor work ethic?
Comment: #4
Posted by: Masako
Tue Sep 20, 2011 7:50 PM
We have the same thing where I work. We have a dozen legal Mexicans that come in every day, are pleasant, and do competant, hard work. Then, we have the people with the hurt backs, or worse, the ones who claimed the job hurt their back and they need some sort of payment. The Americans can also be pretty rude and agressive, not to mention sexist(thinking about sex 24/7) and racist (blacks hating whites).
Comment: #5
Posted by: Mike Hayne
Tue Sep 20, 2011 11:53 PM
We have the same thing where I work. We have a dozen legal Mexicans that come in every day, are pleasant, and do competant, hard work. Then, we have the people with the hurt backs, or worse, the ones who claimed the job hurt their back and they need some sort of payment. The Americans can also be pretty rude and agressive, not to mention sexist(thinking about sex 24/7) and racist (blacks hating whites).
Comment: #6
Posted by: Mike Hayne
Tue Sep 20, 2011 11:57 PM
I apologize for the double post, it was a reply to want the truth who made a valid point about certain people not appreciating work. I enjoy Mr Buchanan's articles because they are interesting and informative. I like to contribute my thoughts to the debate. I see many people these days who focus strictly on money. The movies are touted as earning 100 million this weekend. Sports stars who in earlier generations earned regular salaries are held up as examples of millionaires who earned the money by playing sports. When I was a kid, we were asked what we wanted to do when we grew up, and we said policeman, fireman, etc. Now, what do the kids say? They want to earn a million dollars? When we die, should we just put dollar figures on our tombstones? That's a pretty paltry civilization we've created there. Overall, I would focus on Bush Sr and Bill Clinton as the problems whom I call the Bush Clinton gang. They sacked Reaganomics. W gets a lot of blame these days, but I would just say he was not paying attention. True, it's his job to pay attention, but that's another story. He could ghave a real Nixon moment by claiming, "Hey, I didn't do it, it was just guys hanging around in my White House."
Comment: #7
Posted by: Mike Hayne
Wed Sep 21, 2011 12:25 AM
For all of you whining about America's fate, Buchanan front and center on that one, you need to wake up and take account of where you were born. On third base, that is, and think you hit a triple.

Like a spoiled brat wanting more, more, more, what you will come to realize either the easy way, the hard way, or somewhere in between, is that you didn't earn it. You inherited it. Unless you are a recent immigrant that is, in which case you've probably worked your butt off to get everything you have.

We are entangled in a culture of entitlement--thinking we have a right to all of this stuff that most of the world only dreams of having. We got it all by bleeding off the fruit of a steady stream of hard working immigrants from other parts of the world not nearly as lucky as we, and by the ultimate prize of coming out on top at the end of World War II.

The artificially supported American middle class is having to come to terms with the fact that, increasingly, we can't bleed the wealth off the rest of the world to support our inflated standard of living, sense of entitlement, and rights, rights, rights.

As we lose our hegemony over the economy of the world, more and more we are going to have to produce actual wealth to support our position. Most Americans don't have a clue what that is. The computer whizzes in silicon valley do, and God help us if they ever lose their dominance of that technology. Hard working immigrants with an intact work ethic do too, and that is another prop we desperately need to maintain ourselves.

But the problem is that our non-immigrant, spoiled-brat, college kid work ethic is rotting from the center on out. It is killing us and will ultimately do the job if we don't get the fact that we are losing day by day our ability to stack the economic deck in our favor.

Just wait until the day comes when we lose our position of being the printer of the world's currency. The day that happens, and we truly are on a level playing field, we are toast. Get a clue, get to work.
Comment: #8
Posted by: Masako
Wed Sep 21, 2011 7:45 PM
Masako.. I don't believe I brought "class" into it. One of the guys comes from an upper middle class family.. once worked as a chef in the White House.. but has a horrible drinking problem that prevents his fully functioning in any meaningful career. Believe me.. I have noted this lack of motivation by people from "all walks". It seems to be particularly bad with those under 30 though.. of any socioeconomic background. We have also hired the same high expectation low output college kids you put down. There are some that will work.. but most have had comfortable lives with few dissapointments and don't fancy putting their noses to the grindstone. So.. I do want the truth.. I want to know how many of the perpetually unemployed really want to WORK..not just collect a check.
Comment: #9
Posted by: want the truth
Thu Sep 22, 2011 11:43 AM
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