I have always believed that being a good Christian means standing up against social injustice. The Bible says in the New Testament, “Faith without works is dead”, and I’m a firm believer in putting that into practice. One social injustice that I wrote about in my 2011 book, “The Middle and Working Class Manifesto” is the outsourcing overseas of what used to be good American jobs. I have some ideas about what is wrong or unjust in this great country of ours, and the following is just one example of what I would like to see fixed within society at large. I am talking about the epidemic of long-term unemployment, of which I was a victim throughout the decade of the 2000’s.
Now that a few Democrats and the remnants of the AFL-CIO are waking up to the destructive impact of jobs outsourcing on the US economy, something the American people have known about for years, globalism’s advocates have resurrected a discredited finding of several years ago that jobs outsourcing by US corporations increases employment and wages in the US. This facade of lies has to be maintained by the elite 1% at all costs. There can be no questioning that globalism is good for us. The Wall Street Journal, a supposed bastion of truth, recently stated that “the fact is that for every job outsourced to Bangalore, nearly two jobs are created in Buffalo and other American cities.” I bet Buffalo “and other American cities” would like to know where these jobs are.
There are countless examples of this all across the country. All one has to do is drive through any given US city and they will see a downtown with up to hundreds of thousands of square feet of vacant office space, and deserted suburban shopping centers and strip malls. If anyone would care to visit my hometown of Atlanta, Georgia they would be similarly struck by block after block of deserted and boarded up homes, deserted factories and office buildings, not to mention vacant downtown storefronts.
American cities everywhere are looking frantically for solutions to this commercial and residential real estate crisis. Here in Atlanta, construction has begun on the “Atlanta Beltline”, a massive inner city revitalization project of mixed residential, retail and office space developments that encircles the downtown and midtown areas. Elsewhere, Detroit is trying to shrink itself by 40 square miles. Former suburban areas filled with abandoned houses are being converted to agricultural use, with former residential lots becoming gardens so impoverished citizens can feed themselves.
On October 25, 2011, 60 Minutes had a program on unemployment in Silicon Valley, where formerly high-earning professionals have been out of work for two years and, today, cannot even find part-time $9 an hour jobs at Target. With a job market like this, is is any wonder there is so much vacant real estate?
The claim that jobs outsourced by US corporations increases domestic employment in the US is one of the greatest hoaxes ever perpetrated (excluding the biggest one, which is the so-called “Federal Reserve”) on the American public. Based on a bit of research that I have done from an economics standpoint, I can tell you that our country’s governmental and business leaders have reached this erroneous conclusion by counting the growth in multinational jobs in the U.S. without adjusting the data to reflect the acquisition of existing firms by multinationals and for existing firms turning themselves into multinationals by establishing foreign operations for the first time. There was no new multinational employment in the U.S. Absolutely zero. Existing employment simply moved into the multinational category from a change in the status of firms to multinational. American workers have become expendable because corporate America has decided they are too expensive to keep around. As I mentioned above, I know this to be true because it happened to me.
The jobs that replaced the ones that were outsourced overseas for pennies on the dollar consist of waitresses and bartenders, health care and social services (largely ambulatory health care), retail clerks, and while the bubble lasted, construction. These are not the high-tech, high-paying jobs that the “New Economy” promised, and they are not jobs that can be associated with global corporations, nor would I associate any jobs having an income level that low with “change I can believe in”. It’s more like “change that scares the crap out of me”. Moreover, these domestic service jobs are themselves scarce. Just ask anybody trying to find one. Until earlier this year, the construction jobs had all but vanished. But facts have nothing to do with it. Did the Wall Street Journal ever wonder how it was possible to have simultaneously millions of new good-paying middle class jobs and virtually the worst income inequality in the developed world, with all income gains accruing to the mega-rich?
In mid-October, Treasury Secretary and Goldman Sachs puppet Tim Geithner gave a speech in California in which Geithner said that the solution is to “educate more engineers.” What our esteemed Treasury Secretary either didn’t know or forgot to mention is that we already have more engineers than we have jobs for them. In a recent poll, a Philadelphia marketing and research firm called “Twentysomething” (search that) found that 85% of recent college graduates planned to move back home with parents. Even if members of the “boomerang generation” find jobs, the jobs don’t pay enough to support an independent existence. And let’s not forget that nearly all of these recent graduates have student loans with payoff balances in the tens of thousands of dollars. This in turn ruins their credit, which makes finding employment even more difficult.
The mainstream media is utterly useless. Reporters repeat the lie that the unemployment rate is 8.3%. This is a specially concocted unemployment rate that does not count most of the unemployed. The government’s own more inclusive rate stands at 17%. Statistician John Williams, who counts unemployment the way it is supposed to be counted, finds the unemployment rate to be 22%. In my most recent book, “Occupying America: We Shall Overcome”, I estimated the total unemployment rate to be 24%.
The main stream media manages to turn bad news into supposedly good news. Recently a monthly gain of 82,000 new private sector jobs was hyped, owing to the fact that it takes around 150,000 new jobs each month to keep pace with labor force growth. In other words, 82,000 new jobs each month would be a monthly deficit of 68,000 jobs. To keep our eyes off the loss of jobs to outsourcing, policymakers and their minions in the financial press blame US unemployment on alleged currency manipulation by China and on the financial crisis. The financial crisis itself is blamed by Republicans on low-income Americans who took out mortgages that they could not afford, and on US “entitlement” programs. In other words, the problem is China and the greedy American poor who tried to live above their means, or who are allegedly too lazy to work. With this being the American mindset, you can see why nothing can be done to save the economy.
We need to stop blaming poor people and minorities for America’s problems. If anyone wants to know what is wrong with our country, the answers are located inside the D.C. Beltway, and they are there in abundance. This country can end or greatly limit unemployment, homelessness, poverty and economic inequality by simply reeducating its population. The US is the only remaining developed country that does not do this for its citizens. There is ample legal and historical precedent for addressing this issue, and it comes in the form of the G.I. Bill that Congress passed after the end of WW2. America’s situation at the time was the existence of a glut of manufacturing capacity from former armaments factories combined with a overabundance of untrained workers in the form of hundreds of thousands of former soldiers returning home. This excess supply of human capital needed to be retrained, and that’s exactly what the G.I. Bill did. The government paid for their retraining, the former GI’s got a college education which turned them into wage-earners and taxpayers. The same can and should be done today, and I think it should also be a jumping-off point for overhauling or replacing the US public school system.
If they could do it in the 1940’s, why can’t this be accomplished now? Take all the long-term unemployed, particularly older workers like I was, and send them back to school for up to two years (four year programs would be available at extra cost using my idea), and allow them to earn the degree, diploma or professional certification of their choice. Do the same for all parolees and those on felony probation, as well as all homeless individuals who are judged healthy enough to work – anyone who might otherwise find it nearly impossible to find employment. Keeping them all busy will go a long way toward keeping them out of trouble, getting them off the street, and keeping all but the sickest of them out of the shelters. Should the government pick up the tab for this? No way, let corporate America be compelled by law to pay for the retraining of these still-valuable US workers! If they can afford to send our jobs overseas for pennies on the dollar, then paying for up to 2 years of school to teach new trades to anyone who wants retraining should similarly only cost them pennies on the dollar relative to their considerable annual profits. These multinational corporations already engage in enough tax dodging and evasion to pay for all of it.
No government will admit its mistakes, especially when it can blame foreigners. China is being made the scapegoat for American failure. An entire industry has grown up that points its finger at China and away from 20 years of corporate outsourcing of US jobs and 11 years of horrifically expensive and absolutely pointless US wars. “Currency manipulation” is the charge. However, the purpose of the Chinese peg to the US dollar is not currency manipulation. When the Chinese government decided to take its broken communist economy into a market economy, the government understood that it needed foreign confidence in its currency. It achieved that by pegging its currency to the dollar, signaling that China’s money was as sound as the US dollar. At that time, China, of course, could not credibly give its currency a higher dollar value. As time has passed, the irresponsible and foolish policies of the US have eroded the dollar’s value, and as the Chinese currency is pegged to the dollar, its value has moved down with the dollar. The Chinese have not manipulated the peg in order to make their currency less valuable. To the contrary, in 2006 the exchange rate was a little more than 8 yuan to the dollar. Today it is 6.6 yuan to the dollar — a 17.5% revaluation of the yuan. The US government blames the US trade deficit with China on an undervalued Chinese currency. However, the Chinese currency has risen 17.5% against the dollar since 2006, but the US trade deficit with China has not declined. This is indicative of gross mismanagement on the part of US leadership.
The major cause of the US trade deficit with China is “globalism” or the practice, enforced by Wall Street and Wal-Mart, of US corporations outsourcing their production for US markets to China in order to improve the bottom line by lowering labor costs.
Most of the tariffs that the congressional idiots want to put on “Chinese” imports would, therefore, fall on the off-shored production of US corporations. When these American brand goods, such as Apple computers, are brought to US markets, they enter the US as imports. Thus, the tariffs will be applied to US corporate outsourced output as well as to the exports of Chinese companies to the US. So, the correct conclusion as I see it is that the US trade deficit with China is the result of “globalism” or jobs off-shoring, not Chinese currency manipulation.
One major thing that is being overlooked – whether intentionally or not I cannot say – is the explosive growth of the Chinese economy. In 2011, China pulled ahead of Japan and displaced it as the world’s number two economy. At that growth rate, and with no additional growth calculated for the next 4 years, the Chinese economy will surpass that of the United States by no later than mid-2016, only 4 years away. Another important point always overlooked is that the US is dependent on China for many manufactured products including high technology products that are no longer produced in the US. Revaluation of the Chinese currency would raise the dollar price of these products in the US. The greater the revaluation, the greater the price rise. The impact on already declining US living standards would be dramatic. When US policymakers argue that the solution to America’s problems is a stronger Chinese currency, they are yet again putting the burden of adjustment on the out-of-work, indebted, and foreclosed American population.
Meanwhile, what is happening on the home front here in America? Well in excess of 21 million Americans are either unemployed or underemployed. At least 4-5 million of those are working one or more part-time jobs. One in seven Americans is on food stamps, including one in four children. Half of American kids in public schools require government-subsidized lunch programs because their parents can’t even pack a lunch for them. In minority neighborhoods that figure jumps to an absolutely horrific 90%. Over three-fourths of all college graduates move back home with their parents after they graduate because they can’t find jobs. Here in Atlanta on any given night it is estimated there are up to 10,000 homeless persons sleeping in their cars, under bridges, in cardboard boxes and other improvised shelters. That’s about the same as New York or any other major US city, give or take. In the richest country in the world, this entire crisis of homelessness and unemployment is simply inexcusable, it is an egregious social and economic injustice, and it is tantamount to financial rape. I will stand up against this evil until I draw my last breath, so help me God, and I implore and exhort each of you to join me in fighting this just cause. Everybody has a right to basic shelter. Even the cave men lived in caves, and they didn’t have money as we know it. Everybody has a right to a livelihood and a living wage. Telling any human being that they can’t have an income, that they “have no right” to support themselves and be self-sufficient, or that they are unwanted and unneeded at every turn, is an outrageous human rights violation – and a civil rights violation as well – of the highest order. The current job market looks more like a slave auction every day. We either start fighting back or we will lose it all, it’s that simple. Do you want to stand tall with God on our side, or will we all wimp out and allow ourselves to be crushed under the weight of the Machine? Stand against injustice, seize your inalienable human rights, and make a stand for human dignity, or face oblivion. Who is with me today?