Monday, September 03, 2007

Labor Day, 2007

I was talking to my mother on Sunday and she mentioned how Daddy and four of my five uncles had gone from impoverished childhoods to very prosperous adulthood, none having much formal education, but all having intelligence, drive, and a willingness to work hard and keep learning. And then she said, "I don't think that's nearly as possible in this economy as it was then. These days people don't start with nothing and build a middle class life. They start in the middle class, get a good education, and then struggle not to sink."

And she's right. Things have changed drastically for working people. These days it's like being trapped in the La Brea Tar Pits. There is a struggle to stay afloat that overcomes too many. The economy favors investors rather than workers. The CEOs are incredibly rich and jobs get exported to countries with cheaper labor, no benefits, and few regulations to get in the way of making maximum profits.

When my Dad was coming up, it would have been considered a disgrace for the owner of a business to be one of the ten richest people in the world and the workers in his (and in those days, it would have been his) firm to be earning minimum wage. For workers to have to apply for medicaid and food stamps to make ends meet. For both parents to have to work to support a family. When I was younger, it would have been unlikely.

But now, the greed at the top, the feeling of "I've got mine, who cares about you," the corruption of politics that allows it to happen are so stacked that the working people are sinking. And are being told that it's an illusion, because the economy is doing so well.

So, for Labor Day, I want you to think about how much harder it has become for people who labor. How much more wealth has been built on their effort and how little of it is being shared with them. And I would like to suggest that instead of going to a Labor Day sale and enriching the already rich, you consider whether or not you need those things. And if you do, how about a yard sale?

When they don't support me, I don't see any need to support them. That goes for Coca Cola who I haven't forgotten made huge contributions to Phyllis Schlafly to defeat the ERA and it goes for Walmart, who drives manufacturing to China in order to keep their costs down


Kay Dennison said...

Well said!!!!!!!!!! I couldn't agree with you more!

Betty said...

I heartily agree. But, how do we make a clueless population wake up and do something about it?

joared said...

Agree, the struggle for people today seems different than in my mother's day and even my own. On the other hand, we classified far fewer items as necessities than people today IMHO. For many, money earned today is designated for many more "necessary" items that wouldn't have been considered such in earlier generations. So an individual's priorities may limit them from things I think are more important that they believe they're being deprived of.

There's surely no question the ratio of management, primarily, but maybe even stockholder income, is obscene compared to worker wages. Hard to understand why people aren't more actively expressing their outrage about this state of affairs. But then, look at how many voters put into office -- again -- someone who has clearly demonstrated the interests of the middle class and below are hardly a priority.