Spare a Job, Brother?

John W. Geary
Courtesy of Wikipedia

Men of authority have employed all the destructive agents around them to promote their own personal interests at the sacrifice of every just, honorable and lawful consideration. 

John White Geary

Brother, can you spare a job?

Since the 1980’s we have been bleeding jobs in this nation. With every recession, recovery is slower, unemployment numbers stagnate and US Citizens sit on the sidelines as their opportunities to pursue the elusive American Dream are shattered.

Meg Whitman, CEO of HP announced there would be a force reduction of 10% due to over a billion dollars in losses last fiscal year. In real numbers, that 27,000 Americans will lose their jobs.

Since 2001, we have lost 42,400 factories, 75% of them employed over 500 people when they were still in business. Overall, we have lost 5.5 million jobs, forever since 2001.

There were 2.8 Billion cell phones sold worldwide, can you guess how many were manufactured in the US? If you guessed zero, you would have been right.[1]

We have 15.1% of our citizens, 46.2 million people in this nation living in poverty, the highest level since 1993. Without jobs, they don’t stand a chance of lifting themselves out either.[2]

Now before you get all weepy, just think all those closed factories are sitting there just waiting for the Job Creators to open them back up, create jobs and fill them with production equipment so Americans can go back to work! All we need to do is cut them some slack, stop punishing their success and give them more tax breaks so they can ‘invest’ in America. Of course, there are a few additional items on the agenda, lest we get ahead of ourselves;

  • Stop being so damned greedy you out of work Americans let those corporations pay you what your worth! How does $1.30 an hour sound? That would make you just a little bit cheaper than your competition over in China that is a whole .06¢. This is what manufacturing labor pay in China costs; the Philippines and India lag slightly behind but I am betting if you agreed to less than a living wage you could be back at work in a heartbeat. [3]
  • But hold on there, all those nasty Communist – Socialist countries way over there (China, Vietnam, Philippines, India) they have one up on us and those Global Industrialists sure do love them for it, can you guess what

    Our Factories Today

    it is? Out of guesses yet? Let me help you, the Government invests in Infrastructure! This investment includes building beautiful state of the art factories chalk full of the latest and greatest cost saving technologies, as well as, housing nearby for workers (primarily a Chinese production). All of this paid for by the government!

  • Finally, all those wonderful Socialist – Communist nations offer something we don’t, want to try guessing one more time, no? Tax breaks, that’s right those nations are acting as tax havens for the American based multinational companies. They take advantage of the infrastructure your hard work, the backbreaking efforts of generations of Americans put into this nation and the taxes we all continue to pay but have sent all the jobs offshore. In fact from 1999-2008, employment in American foreign affiliates rose 30%, creating a total of just over 10 million new jobs, while during the same time we bled 21 million jobs.[4]
    • All of the numbers above are from 2010; these were the most current I could find. They are nonetheless an accurate assessment of our situation.
    • Finally we have the drone attacks on Unions, most especially on Public Sector; Teachers, Police, Firefighters in particular. These days it seems the public sector employee (except the elected official who seems to see him or herself as above the fray) is a figure to be vilified and abused, the enemy and a person to be held in greatest contempt. The meme is these public servants, protectors, educators, first responders and  guardians are not valued members of our community but instead are leeches, sucking at the public teat. This of course is an inaccurate depiction of all our public service resources; police, firefighters, teachers, animal control officers all of them play a vital role in our communities for some reason though there has been a shift away from the respect we once held for them, now we want them to provide their services free of charge.

What does this all mean? Poverty is on the rise though our unemployment numbers are slowly going down. The recession that began in December of 2007 isn’t ending as quickly as we want or need to rebuild a robust and vibrant economy. Austerity is the name of the game; though this strategy has decimated other nations many would have us walk this path insisting it is the fault of the unemployed, underemployed and the poor themselves for their situation.

Click to Expand Image

Don’t have a job? It is your fault; you are lazy according to State Representative Josh Byrnes (R) of Iowa who had this to say in late 2011; There are jobs out there and I think the problem is that some people think some of these jobs are beneath them. When you are unemployed I don’t think there should be any job “below” you. In truth it’s probably more of an ego or perception issue than being lazy. Thank goodness our immigrating ancestors to the United States didn’t have that attitude. According to a study by Deloitte there is a skills gap in the US, this study performed late last year found 600,000open positions in manufacturing with no talent to fill the openings. Really? None, at all nowhere in the US, hard to believe isn’t it? There are no skilled workers anywhere in the US. Could this be the fault of the US worker or is it our education system is failing our children, not preparing them for trades. So here we are the first post-industrial nation and on the cliff of disaster. Our American Dreams, the idea each generation could do better than their parents a thing of the past, most certainly they cannot in this economy or with the future outlook not to change soon.  Public schools have cut out all those frivolous programs, trades, shop and the arts. College isn’t for everyone and these days the cost of a college education is staggering, but

Courtesy USA Today

wait if college isn’t the answer what is? According to Deloitte and employers we have a skills gap, is the answer Vocational or even Apprenticeship in a skilled trade? Well, shockingly, there is little to be found on either but what limited information there is, VoTech training can run into the Tens of Thousands. I found tuitions for Machine Operators at $11,999 for 950 instruction hours including books, the jobs one could hope for after completing this training? Nationally is $41,000, if you took out a subsidized student loan at 6.8% interest you will pay $28,160 for your training which includes $16,161 in interest payments.

The above is just one example, there are others but the real issue is we have no recourse. We are behind the eight ball. We have lost entire industries; we have permanently lost jobs that will never come back. We are not prepared for the new post-industrial America. We have not adapted to the future we have created through runaway greed and unrestrained Capitalism. Our children are not educated or trained and there is an entire swath of our population convinced we don’t owe them a future.

Are you one of them?

John Maynard Keynes
Courtesy Wikipedia

Capitalism is the astounding belief that the most wickedest of men will do the most wickedest of things for the for the greatest good of everyone.

John Maynard Keynes


  1. Very well-written and documented argument for what we need to fix in this country. I can’t add too much, you said it all and said it well!

    • Thank you Chris. I suspect from reading your stuff we are of like minds. Could also likely share stories of being beaten about the head and shoulders for going off message now and again.


  2. When you speak about something, you don’t miss a thing. You said it all so well. Just a shame it’s all so true.!
    Hugs xx

    • I am, at the end of the day a political wonk and a Progressive one at that. Perhaps one of these days, before I start in on the Breaking Chains series again, I will write about following dreams.

      Thanks for reading!

  3. Well said. The tax rates are extremely low already for the very rich. If they were truly Job Creators, wouldn’t they have created some?

    • Created some…oh jobs you mean.

      Well one would think so. But that entire idea of trickle down hasn’t worked thus far, I suspect it was all a scam.

  4. riatarded says:

    This is brilliant!

  5. I agree, we are all going to hell in a hand basket (sorry for the cliche).
    On our side of the pond, Canada is talking about forcing people to take a job, any job and ‘stop your complaining’. Over-qualified people should be happy to be doing ANYthing. A line I heard yesterday on the radio said something to the effect that we shouldn’t be importing people to do available jobs, Canadians could / should be doing. I’m retired–lucky me–but this is still nonesense. If you are an engineer, why should you collect garbage?
    On the other hand, a lot of immigrants are doing just that because it takes time to learn the language and requalify in a country not their own for a professional job. I’m not saying this is fair but suddenly, everything is UNFAIR.
    A great post for discussion. Thanks, Valentine.

    • The problem we have here is many of our jobs in Science, Technology, Engineering were all in-sourced through the Visiting Worker program starting in the mid 90’s. It was a way to cut labor costs dramatically both in salaries and benefits. Layoff all the permanent employees and use contractors. Those contractors are brought in from mostly India, they aren’t treated well in many cases, paid horribly, in comparison to US wages. The problem is though because they were taking jobs Americans could do and wanted there was a huge amount of resentment.

      Now, people are without skills and the market is much different. Nearly all work in these markets are contract rather than perm.

      Horrible situation all around. We hear the same thing on this side by the way, take anything as it is better than nothing.

  6. Oh you nailed it ..and so true labour is dirt cheap In India..we get paid far less than our counterparts in any other country..we have too many mouths to feed ,no effective population control methods,ever widening gap between demand and suppy….it is recession and people are taking any and every job they can get..sad state of affairs even here..

    • Even worse right now for India, China and several other countries there is no effective means to protest the working conditions, pay or lack of fairness. On the one had we have globalization taking advantage of ‘cheap’ labor and lack of regulation; on the other hand we have decimation of economies. So rather than a ‘high tide lifting all boats’ we have a high winds sinking them all. That high wind being Multinational Organizations in partnership with the various governments to keep costs, taxes and wages low.

  7. Ugh.

    Yes, that about sums it up.

  8. What a great post. Important information, well organized and delivered.

    Notice that it all started with Reagan and the Republican control of the Senate that came in the 1980 election. That’s when the idea that “Government is the Problem” took hold. That’s when cooperation began to die. I blame Reagan for a whole host of problems.

    Oh, I don’t want to start ranting so I will stop here.

    • Rant away my friend, yes I noticed that also when I was putting together that chart. I had a great deal of fun pulling the different keys together.

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