Sunday, February 21, 2010

Herding Cats

There has been a lot written about the “War on the Middle Class, an unfortunate choice of words. Granted, the middle class is certainly under siege, but to call it a “war” is misleading. War needs a central command and a central strategy. What we have, instead, is an ooligarchical lynch mob, an example of monkey-see-monkey-do, all in the name of maximizing profits.

And the maximization of profits is the sole measure by which our oligarchs measure the economic health of America. They crow over the fact that productivity increased by 9.5 percent in the third quarter of 2009 and that 78 percent of the companies in the S&P 500 exceeded earning expectations.

All of these glowing reports of “better than expected earnings” are meaningless in light of the fact that a contributing factor to these increased earning has been a 5.2 percent reduction in unit labor costs thanks to the off-shoring jobs and the use of foreign workers. So, the increase in productivity has not seen a corresponding increase in wages. Had wages kept pace with productivity, the minimum wage would now be somewhere in the neighborhood of $18 per hour.

However, it must be remembered that our oligarchs would shed no tears over the demise of the middle class with its periodic outbreaks of reform mania that brought us an end to child labor laws, the civil rights movement, reforms in the treatment of the mentally ill, a regulated food and drug industry and scores of antismoking legislation, all of which have cut into to corporate profits.

It is true that the modern day reforms have become trivialized with the contemporary emphasis on such nonissues as second-hand smoke, childhood obesity and the elimination of transfats from restaurant menus. Of course, our oligarchs are four-square behind these reforms since they divert the middle class’s attention away from core issues such as the erosion of our civil liberties and the militarization of America.

The media loves to market the lie that we are the “richest nation in the world.” How can a nation be rich when its total corporate, private and public indebtedness equals 350% of it s GDP? Sorry fellows, but debt isn’t wealth as millions are discovering as their homes go underwater. Now American is suffering from “new-age” poverty in which one is poor because one does not have access to credit.

Some call the elimination of the middle class economic terrorism. I call it economic stupidity. The middle class has long been the backbone of the consumer spending that made up 70 percent of our GDP. The only thing that could possibly replace it is total war, which might give us a clue as to the direction in which we’re heading.

Our oligarchs have one unifying factor working for them that progressives don’t, and that is greed. Just as a lynch mob is an undisciplined collection of individuals focused on a single victim, so is our oligarchy an undisciplined collection of individuals focused on a single objective, the bottom line. The more labor costs are slashed, the better the bottom line looks. And if the middle class is destroyed in the process, it’s all the better. That means an end to pesky reform movements.

History isn’t planned; it just happens that way. And if we don’t like the way it’s happening then the solution is to make it happen another way. It’s kind of like herding cats. You never know where it's gong to end up.


Ivan Hentschel said...

Anyone who attempts to think of life in terms of "herding cats' is clearly looking at life through a spyglass backwards,where large is small, small is large, up is down and vice-versa. It is an impossible proposition.

We are herded, rather (by virtue of our own folly and lack of attention to detail), like cattle, as evidenced by the story (just this morning) that, although the new credit card law has gone into effect, it is still os full of gaps and loopholes that any mediocre banker could drive an 18-wheeler our detriment and for their profit, compliments of our our legislature.

And then there is the Obama-Reid_Pelosi health care public option scam, whereby it was briefly raised from the dead to falsely raise everyone's hopes, only to be disclosed as still a corpse, while private insurance rates remain tantamount to public rape of the middle class. (I think Obama has confused bipartisanship with cat-herding).

A simpler question ought to be raised: just exactly how much profit is enough and for whom? This is the essential wedge being driven between the tops and bottoms of the populace.

Case Wagenvoord said...

During a stampede the herdees herd the herders.

Ivan Hentschel said...

I'm not sure what you mean by that exactly, but we do not have a stampede, we have a national clusterf*&^. If we had a genuine stampede, perhaps some useless twats would be trampled to death in the process.

Bottom line? We have succeeded in electing both a President and a Congress who are incapable of achieving anything for the public good. All they do is guarantee their own paid continuation.

We do not pay them to accompish nothing: we pay them to work on our behalf and for our betterment. If anyone is elected to public office and fails in that regard, they should be removed, post haste, no questions asked. Enough with the polite and clever commentary: they are useless.