The Plight of American Workers
(excerpt from, “The Middle and Working Class Manifesto”, by Paul J. Bern)
The circumstances and situations that the middle and working classes in the US find themselves in today are a series of gross social injustices that demands a sharply focused and well-coordinated response from the entire populace, a rebuttal and decisive counterattack designed and intended to right, correct and re-balance US political and economic power back into the hands of the overwhelming majority of American citizens to whom it rightfully belongs. There can be no doubt that class warfare has been declared in the US, perpetrated by the wealthy against the middle and working classes while simultaneously crushing the poor, minorities, the marginalized, the elderly and the disabled – for the sole express purpose of eliminating from society the constitutional majority of working Americans, with the end result being the complete and merciless liquidation of middle and working class wealth, of our general prosperity through loss of income, and even our access to higher education and health care. This has been accomplished by the largest transfer of wealth in all of human history, and it has been manifested in four different ways. Today I will write about the first phase of the illegal confiscation of US wealth, that of unemployment. The employment of working Americans, particularly of the US working class, has been decimated by closing down manufacturing facilities and shipping jobs overseas to the third world for pennies on the dollar. The result of this has been mass unemployment of many millions of the best qualified American workers, something I have had first-hand experience with.
Today the USA finds itself in the midst of an economic crisis that is divided up into three parts of equal importance. The first is rampant unemployment, the second is the housing crisis, and the third is the crisis in inequality. Conditions in the U.S. labor markets are far worse than the Lame Stream Media has been telling us. While the official unemployment rate is stuck at approximately 8.5 percent, when you include discouraged workers and partially employed workers the figure is a whopping 18.5 percent.This is what a broken economic model looks like: record profits for corporate America, Wall Street paying out fat bonuses to its execs and the wealthy doing well enough to create a surge in demand for luxury items, while most of the rest of us struggle just to make ends meet in a devastated economic landscape. The problem of rampant unemployment in America is far more than just an economic issue or a social issue. It has become one of the new civil rights issues of the 21st century. As many people as there are hurting across middle America, including those who are having difficulty feeding themselves and their families as well as those who have lost homes and vehicles because their source of income has been cut off, I would not be surprised to see social unrest and civil disobedience across the American social and political landscape throughout 2012 and well beyond that.
People everywhere are angry, and rightfully so, and yet there doesn’t seem to be much protesting in the streets, or at least not yet. The Occupy and 99% Movements are one big step in the right direction, but much more is needed. Since the government is unwilling or unable to solve the economic problems of middle America, we are going to have to take the initiative and do it ourselves. It is my sincere hope that working Americans from all professions will begin to do so exactly that after reading this posting. My primary argument is that everyone has the right to a livelihood, to a living wage, to the repeal of the federal income tax and to the elimination of the federal withholding tax from our paychecks so that working Americans will be able to earn enough money for the necessities of life. To deny any person such inalienable rights is a human rights violation and therefore by extension a civil rights violation because it amounts to economic discrimination. And so my argument is that unemployment as we have known it must come to an end forever, meaning that the system is broken, pathetically out of date, and urgently needs to be replaced.
1 in 7 Americans rely on food stamps. What does it say about the richest country in the world when 1 in 7 of its citizens require government assistance so they can eat? We live in a nation that is the most prosperous of any other in human history. We have the largest per-capita income and the largest gross national product of any nation on earth. In spite of this, there are many developing countries such as Russia, China, India and South Africa, not to mention developed countries such as those in western Europe or Japan or Canada, where hunger is not as prevalent as it is in the US. This is a national disgrace and a civil rights issue of the highest order, and our current government is not doing nearly enough about it. Everyone has the right to good nutrition. To make children go hungry because their parents are unable to pay for food is absolutely barbaric. Having a realistic minimum wage would be a good first step towards solving this problem. The Bible says, “A workman is worth his wages”, and he or she surely is, otherwise it wouldn’t be in there.
The foundation of the problem with mass unemployment, then, is that it breeds inequality because it has thrown millions of working professionals into poverty, creating an ever-growing underclass of people who are comprising an ever-larger segment of society. This vicious circle of growing despair will become a festering and malignant political and economic tumor as time goes on, and it threatens to destroy America from the inside out if something isn’t done. This is only the first example of class warfare in the form of confiscation of jobs. All of this activity by the governmental and financial sectors amounts to far more than class warfare – it is tantamount to an illegal declaration of civil war. This new civil war (or class war, take your pick) has been declared by the rich, powerful and politically well connected, and it is continually being waged against the remaining 99%. Last time I checked, that includes us. This has resulted in a systemic liquidation of the middle class while crushing the poor, minorities, the disabled, the elderly, and other vulnerable individuals.
There can be no doubt that this ongoing crisis threatens to turn into a storm of protest, public demonstrations and civil disobedience on a level not seen since the 1960’s. I think it is high time for these protests, demonstrations, strikes, boycotts and civil uprisings to commence, because the fact of the matter is that if we working Americans don’t start fighting back, we will wind up being financially and politically obliterated. Anyone who does not fight back against an aggressor or a bully deserves their fate. As for me, I choose to fight back, and it is my hope that as many of you as possible will join with me today after reading this article.
The fundamental change that is coming must have its beginnings with the hearts and minds of the American people. The level of anger and mistrust directed against the federal government by the US working and middle classes – and particularly by the poor and vulnerable – is at a level not seen in this country since the civil rights marches and anti-war protests of the 1960’s, which I still remember quite clearly. With stubbornly high unemployment, record numbers of foreclosures and newly homeless people, governmental mass intrusion into our private lives including the violation of certain freedoms guaranteed by the US Constitution, endless wars overseas while America is crumbling, and exorbitant costs for higher education and medical care that are so outrageous they would be considered a human rights violation – even a criminal act – in other developed countries, Americans of all backgrounds and colors regardless of social, religious, marital or economic status have a right to be angry and dissatisfied about the current sorry state of US affairs both domestically and abroad. Therefore, it is our patriotic responsibility to do something about it, to force the system to change. The top 1% will not surrender their power voluntarily, so it will have to be taken away.
Economic or social problems, in turn, are caused by economic barriers erected by the same criminal minority that have hijacked America and its economy to the detriment of all but the top 1% income bracket. So we can conclude from this data that America’s current crop of pressing economic issues such as stubbornly high unemployment can be solved by bringing back the civil rights movement of the 1960’s. Instead of racial oppression as was the case a generation or more ago, the civil rights issues of today have to do with economic oppression that knows no racial boundaries. But because this is the case, untold multitudes of oppressed, besieged, disenfranchised, disillusioned and exasperated Americans will rise up together as if on cue against the incurably corrupt, basically unfair and irreparably polluted US government.
The right to earn a living wage, to better economic opportunities through free higher education, to low-cost universal health insurance and to home ownership, and to have a life free from hunger, homelessness, violence and crime, are no longer privileges reserved for the most affluent neighborhoods and families, they are basic human rights that can be denied to no one. In fact the entire governmental system, especially at the federal level, has become so decrepit due to crushing debt from without and from deep-seated corruption from within that trying to get anything done within the existing system is a waste of the American people’s time. So a little civil disobedience, organized protesting, sit-ins and demonstrating, with a tasty touch of peaceful revolution conducted primarily online and in the streets is our responsibility as patriotic Americans.
The USA isn’t going away, we just need to remove the rich from the driver’s seat and put the US middle class into their place. That will be easy since there are over ninety-nine of us for every one of them. Remember that the future and the financial liquidity of the US middle and working classes are at stake, so this is going to be very serious business indeed. Let’s come together in unity and take back our country from those who have shamelessly stolen it.