When Jimmy McMillan, New York's perennial candidate ran for office on “The Cost Of Rent Is Too Damn High” platform and party, he had valid point. The cost of rent is “too damn high.” As a matter of fact, the cost of virtually all of life's necessities are “too damn high.” I say almost everything because I can just about guarantee that if you are middle-class or poor, there is one thing that isn't “too damn high” and that would be your paycheck!
Due to the corporate job offshoring free for all of high paying manufacturing jobs depressing the U.S. job market, turning it into a corporate buyer's market and turning American workers into virtual serfs, most workers haven't seen a pay increase in years! Paying low wages to their employees hasn't stopped the very same corporations from constantly raising the prices of their products at the drop of a hat and it hasn't stopped greedy commodities gamblers...er, I mean speculators from driving up the price of everything from gasoline to coffee to milk. All of that is happening right before our eyes, for all to see. That's why I was a little taken aback when I read a tweet from President Obama's Twitter account that endorsed raising the minimum wage (a great idea that is long overdue).
So why am I shocked by President Obama tweeting out his support for raising the minimum wage? Here is the tweet, you decide “A lot has changed in five years—but the minimum wage has stayed the same. #TBT #LiveTheWage.” It included a graphic from an organization that I fully agree with called Live The Wage that is as follows “From 2009 To 2014, The Price Of A Dozen Eggs Increased 23% But the minimum wage hasn't changed.” Can you see the inconsistencies in what the President is saying? The true cost of living, as opposed to some cooked statistics, have gone up drastically on his watch!
Over the past few years, the Federal Reserve has kept the interest rates that it charges banks at near zero percent. Much of that money has found its way into speculative investments a.k.a. gambling (we so need Glass-Steagall.) Part of that near zero percent gift to banksters and Wall St. is gambled on everything from gasoline to butter, turning the very food that we put on the table into betting opportunities for the greedy! Translation, government's bailout policy has helped the rich and destroyed the middle-class and the poor by causing the price of life's essentials to go through the roof.
While raising the minimum wage in an important temporary band-aid to slightly reduce the suffering endured by the working poor, it doesn't fix the underlying causes of income inequality and it doesn't help those on a fixed income. Those were created by the electeds of both parties when they vigorously supported and still support job killing, wage lowering, “free” trade agreements and when they support bailout policies that line the pockets of the wealthy and rob us. If the President calls for an increase in the minimum wage without also addressing the underlying issues that to some extent, he helped cause, he is being disingenuous. Can you say Trans-Pacific Partnership?
If you're a Democrat, you've heard a constant stream of speeches from Democratic electeds decrying income inequality. Since most Democratic electeds supported and signed and still support and sign "free" trade agreements that help corporations offshore high paying manufacturing jobs, we must assume that all of their income inequality clap trap is just empty rhetoric. I must also assume that you are not serious about fixing income inequality because you are tickled, gratified and fulfilled by merely getting Democrats in name only reelected! The reason for my assumption is that way back in 2012, I circulated a petition demanding that our electeds stop signing job killing "free" trade agreements and rescind the existing ones that people like Bill Clinton foisted on us. Your response was so poor (62 people who cared) that I closed the petition out in disgust!
Today, a gentleman decided to tweet out my closed petition which gave me hope that at least one person cared enough about his country to bring it to everyone's attention. All it takes is one person of courage to get things started so I have decided to re-open the petition. If you don't sign my petition this time around, a petition that will help fix many of America's problems, I don't want to hear any whining about income inequality!
Sign My Petition!
After watching the President's state of the union address, two things immediately came to mind:
1- If he is going to use executive orders to circumvent GOP electeds in Congress and the Senate who are trying to sabotage his initiatives, why didn't he do it sooner? If his Presidency were a football game, we would say that it is now well past halftime. The President's attempts at trying to take a “bipartisan” approach with the Republicans have diluted most of his initiatives, helped their obstructionist tactics succeed and allowed their lies to become the ongoing dialog among many low information voters.
2- The theme that pervaded his state of the union was that of fixing income inequality. The cold hard truth is that the main driving force behind income inequality has been high paying manufacturing jobs that “patriotic”, “job creating” U.S. corporations have shipped overseas to places like China. The loss of those jobs created a buyer's market for employers by generating desperate workers willing to work for lower wages and less benefits. From actual experience, we know that “free” trade agreements have been the driving force behind job offshoring, less jobs in the U.S.A. And by extension, income inequality. President Obama has expressed strong support for fast-tracking the mother of all “free” trade agreements, the Trans-Pacific Partnership commonly known as TPP. He was strangely silent about it during his state of the union.
The interesting thing about fast-tracking the TPP is that it would make an end run around public congressional debate. That's sort of combines the worst aspects of item one and item two above. He's making an end run around Congress but doing so to foist a “free” trade agreement us that will cause more income inequality.
Experience has proven that in the case of President Obama's State Of The Union addresses, what he doesn't say is far more significant than what he does say. Judge his latest speech accordingly!
The phrase "green jobs" has been a get out of jail free card for clueless politicians who don't have any real answers to America's unemployment problem. They hope that those magic words will placate you. I think that you can handle the truth and want you to hear it by visiting my Listen Here! page.
First there was Ronald Reagan's war on unions and support of "free" trade, then there was Bill Clinton's support of globalization and "free" trade agreements like NAFTA. Now, coming in the guise of a solution to our unemployment problem is the next big thing in the systematic destruction of the American dream - E X P O R T I N G !
Some politicians are finally waking up to the fact that, in order to survive as a first world nation, we need to begin to rebuild our manufacturing capabilities. We have a lopsided balance of payments with China and other nations because we rely on them to do our manufacturing for us. American corporations offshore their products because they can get low cost labor in other countries but usually charge almost the same amount of money they would have charged for their products if they were made here by employees who are paid a living wage. Translation, they are profiteering and doing so on the backs of people who, in some cases only make a few dollars a month.
The solution to the problem is obvious to anyone but the politicians of both parties:
1- Eliminate ALL tax breaks for corporations who offshore their manufacturing.
2- Reinstate tariffs on most imported products.
3- Inform U.S. corporations that any product that they manufacture overseas is considered an imported product, even if they own the foreign factories and is subject to the above tariffs.
4- Unionize everything!
That's the right way to do it, here's the wrong way:
The buzz from some politicians, even our President is about bringing back manufacturing by exporting products. On the surface, that sounds like a great way to fix our trade defecit and create "jobs", it isn't. When a corporation exports a product, it is going into direct competition with foreign corporations that pay their employees much lower wages than even our minimum wage. Guess what our corporations will demand from their employees? Goodbye - middle class, hello - underclass!
Yes, there's a right way to do things and a wrong way. We can restore prosperity to our country by being our own best customers or we can continue on a self destructive road of greed that will only lead to more despair and poverty, the choice is ours. We have to let our politicians know that this is a "we'll remember in November" issue. We must do that before "the land of opportunity" is removed from the American lexicon forever!