The economy is a little like the ecosystem. No matter where an animal is in the food chain, there needs to be a big base support or the whole things falls apart. It’s why we need to worry about the microscopic organisms that feed plankton. If the plankton die off then the things that feed on them die too, and so will the larger things that feed on the plankton feeders, and so on up the ladder until there is a mass extinction in the ocean that would impact everything on the planet.
Our “plankton” used to be our manufacturing sector. It was the broad, well-paid base of the middle class that allowed the service industry and whatnot to also flourish. Manufacturing jobs kept the economy healthy and growing. Then, about 30 years ago, the unions that maintained the security and compensation of the manufacturing laborers was stabbed hard in the back by its own government. Then the government also set up tax breaks for the asshats who owned the companies to ship manufacturing jobs out of the US and away from well-paid American workers, so that they could reap the benefits of using non-unionized and exploited third world workers. This ripped the guts out of the middle class and the loss of manufacturing jobs meant that people who were once middle class workers were now the working poor in service sector jobs that paid a fraction of what the workers once earned. As unions were destroyed, all American workers lost wages and benefits. However, instead of insisting that Americans should once more be paid a living wage, many Americans believed the rhetoric that it was the UNIONS fault the jobs were disappearing and “right to work” states (where workers are screwed even harder) started popping up across the US like a bad case of acne. Although it was propped up by false credit, eventually the illusion of a healthy economy shattered and Americans are being thrown into poverty at an alarming rate. All because companies can shit on workers and “outsource” their jobs.
No where is this more obvious than what is happening right now at Sensata Technologies in Freeport, ILL. The company was healthy, but when it was bought out by Bain Capital the greedy twatwaffles realized they could pad their already fat wallets by shipping those jobs overseas. Who gives a fuck if it destroys a town? A few people will have even MORE millions to play with! Bain Capital even had the audacity to force the current American employees to TRAIN their replacements, which were brought over from China to learn the ropes. Salt in the wound much? The plant also decided to take down the American flag while the Chinese workers were there. Gee, Bain Capital really cares about its country, doesn’t it?
The soon-to-be-displaced employees of Sensata publicly pleaded with Mitt Romney, who stands to make even more money from his Bain investments when those jobs get outsourced, to please try to use his influence to help them, and the “local town council, several Illinois politicians and the state’s Democratic governor have all rallied to their cause. “This company is competitive globally. They make a profit here. But Bain Capital decided to squeeze it a little further. That is not what capitalism is meant to be about,” said Freeport mayor George Gaulrapp, 52”. Needless to say, Mitt couldn’t be less interested in helping them. Several individuals protesting the dismantling of 170 people’s livelihoods and the systemic dismantling of the nations economy have been arrested, ironically by union cops whose wages are steadily eroded.
As long as plutocrats, especially those who are so short-sighted and stupid that they don’t realize shitting where they eat will hurt them as well, control our government then this kind of gutting of the American economic infrastructure will continue. Democrats are either spineless or too weak or too dependent on the campaign contributions of the plutocrats to fight back very hard or very often, but the current incarnation of the GOP is actively aiding and abetting the slaughter of American manufacturing and using the God-Guns-Gays smoke screen to obfuscate the issues for voters, whom the plutocrat-owned media spectacularly fails to educate on reality or the issues. Americans get to choose between bad and worse this November, and many will choose worse.
When are we going to wake up and demand a New Deal and the return to a strong union-worker based economy? Will it be too late when we do?