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?
The New York Times article about Apple's (perfectly legal under current laws) tax avoidance got my wheels turning. When you combine that with Apple's record of off-shoring their manufacturing to China, it looks as if Apple wants to squeeze out every penny of profit possible, even if it hurts our country in the process. Though what they are doing is prevalent in American industry, it is endemic to Silicon Valley in particular. I feel that the culture of Silicon Valley has engendered a particular mindset that makes the acts of job off-shoring and legal tax avoidance perfectly acceptable to their hi-tech CEOs and execs.
Silicon Valley's real product isn't computers, smartphones, MP3 players, hardware, software or websites, it's intellectual property! In the 1980s/1990s, entrepreneurs became very rich building their empires from mere ideas. The cost to bring many of those concepts to life was mainly paid in research and development man/hours and in many cases, bought with stock options. The majority of those concepts were virtual only and existed as software routines running on computers or pieces of dedicated hardware such as mobile phones.
Ideas that only exist in virtual space do not rack up large manufacturing expenditures. Silicon Valley CEOs are most comfortable with things virtual and least comfortable with things physical. After all, unlike virtual products, physical products cost real money to manufacture and can't be conjured up out of thin air. Is it any wonder that most of Silicon Valley contracts out its hardware production to factories in China?
Are the people who run and manage America’s hi-tech industries cold, calculating and self-centered? My theory is when they spend most of their time working in the virtual world, they tend to see everything in life as an abstraction. They put infinite value on their virtual intellectual property, but want to get their physical products manufactured for the lowest possible cost. They are not concerned about little things like putting their country first by manufacturing in the USA or the fact that many of their Asian sub-contractor factories pay low wages and have oppressive working conditions. They can't see the suffering that it takes to hand make their luxury-priced products in those factories or the unemployment that we face here, those are concerns of the physical world.
When it comes to non-virtual products that must be built in a factory, they know the price of everything and the value of nothing!
The President likes to give the impression that he is actually doing something about the unemployment problem by touting exporting and "green" jobs as the panacea that will breathe life into our economy and put people back to work. I feel that he is being disingenuous at best when he expects us to believe that those economic band aids are going to make up for the thirty year hemmorhage of jobs caused by the corporate offshoring of manufacturing and white collar jobs to places like China and India.
I suppose that he wants working people to be grateful to him for pushing yet another job killing "free" trade agreement that will supposedly increase our exports and create a few measly jobs in comparison to the vast job loss caused by offshoring. Would you be grateful if someone robs your house and decides to return an item or two? I suppose there are a few Opologists that think that I'm being an ingrate by not thanking the President for thinking of us and working so hard to increase our exports. I'll let the corporations that are going to increase their bottom lines by simultaneously exporting and offshoring thank him becaues he's really working for them, not us.
For those of you that are not Opologists, your assignment is to start Googling to get a better picture as to who the bulk of Obama's advisors on job creation actually are. I could name them but it will make a stronger point if you discover them and their connections for yourself.
I am just an average middle-class guy who is convinced that there's no one on Talk Radio who speaks for us. I want to change that situation.
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Headlines For 4/24/15