Sunday, December 07, 2008

Bush Finally Admits We're in Recession

President Bush has finally admitted the country is in recession. This after the Labor Department released data showing 533,000 jobs lost in November, and an unemployment rate of 6.7%. (The “effective unemployment rate”, considering those unemployed, those underemployed and those, like myself, who are unemployed but have ceased looking is closer to 12.5%)

For at least two decades now, corporate America has been obsessed with growth through mergers and acquisitions, increasing worker efficiency, off-shoring of operations, maximizing earnings per share, seeking tax havens. Through 401k and other investment schemes, encouraged by the government and lured by the "promise" of future earnings, average Americans have had their savings drawn into supporting the "ownership class". It is indeed a "Ponzi Scheme". The wealthy have taken their money (and ours) and run.

And over these recent decades the consistent message to American workers is “we don’t need you anymore, you are expendable. Re-train, learn a new skill. There are plenty of jobs out there." But increasingly the "new opportunities" for these downsized workers have been lower-paying service sector jobs.

Of course, this business school "model corporation" is unrealistic and unsustainable in the new globalized economy. As the wealthy consolidate their riches internationally, and the American middle class shrinks, demand for services here at home declines. We no longer have jobs for the disenfranchised - not even at McDonald's and Wal-Mart.

America does not have to look far to see where this trend leads. Impoverished nations around the world demonstrate the ravages of wealth and power abused.

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