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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 3/7/11

With Ever Growing Productivity, Why Must We Keep Working 40-50 Hours a Week For So Many Years of Our Life?

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  • As already described, a shorter work week/month/year or life without any reduction in total pay
  • More access to basis health care and quality education at all levels, from preschool through grad school, for everyone who is not "upper class" rich
  • More in the way of spacious, well cared for, and beautiful parks and other amenities in every city and town
  • More effective and adequately staffed government agencies that protect and ensure our health and welfare


Unfortunately for most of us, the American dream now has to be deferred in the hope that Main Street will eventually be stimulated, once the gamblers and bookies on Wall Street come clean and get paid off with more of our money.   "Keep hope alive," as Jesse Jackson used to say.   But is it rational to hope that Wall Street banksters will ever come clean and start making loans to us from the trillions our Federal Reserve gave them?   Meanwhile our children and grandchildren get saddled with the immense debt we are piling up, to provide trillions for the banksters and for ever more tax breaks to the very rich.


Unwitting taxpayers are naturally angry about the lavish bonuses awarded to the WallStreet/bankster insiders who created a rigged casino and manufactured their own chips to bet the house and then bring it down.   But the taxpayers have focused their outrage on only one thousandth of the overall problem -- on just one shakedown, AIG -- while the real scandal is the "cash for trash" transfer (of what's left of the treasury) to Wall Street's big banks who are ending up stronger as Main Street gets boarded up.


This RobinHood-in-reverse phenomenon is not new.   It began when Ronald Reagan declared he was taking the handcuffs off the millionaires and putting them on the welfare queens.


Since then, wages have remained stagnant as working Americans have maintained their standard of living by way of credit from banks that get cheap money from the Fed, which they then loan back to us at usurious rates, and gamble in the stock market, safe in the knowledge that they will be bailed out by us, should they again make major gambling mistakes.


Meanwhile productivity, as already stated, has soared -- but with virtually all of the benefits going to capital, not labor.   Under George W. Bush, the transfer of public money to private hands accelerated, as lobbyists and revolving-door Congressmen, cashing in on public service for private gain, took over in Washington.   They took over to the extent that most politicians today represent big special interests, not ordinary folks -- and then these same politicians, upon retirement, go directly to work for those special interests, as lobbyists, making two to four million dollars a year, cashing in still further on their connections in government, selling out more completely the very public they once pretended to serve.

 (Click here for source article.)


Granted that in many respects the top 20% did rather well over the past 30 years.   And yes, most all of us in the middle class have a lot of slick new electronic gadgets.   But 50 million of us do not have access to basic health care and s even million families have lost their homes so far, and another three million foreclosures are expected through 2012 , according to a recent editorial    in the NYT.   Nearly 20% of America's children -- soon to be 25% according to 60 Minutes -- are now growing up in poverty (while only 2% do in some parts of northern Europe) and 7.5 million of Americans have lost good-paying jobs as many thousands of factories have moved to places like China and Mexico.   Pensions are being reduced.   Our industrial base is vanishing.   Cities and states are flat broke.   Our infrastructure is crumbling.  


The high tide of prosperity for the middle class began receding in the mid-1970s and their economic security is now in full retreat.   Although the economy (GDP) is larger by 50% than it was then, never forget that the lion's share of that increase in income and wealth has magically flowed to a small fraction of Americans, who are "Americans" in name only, since they increasingly invest their growing hordes of capital outside this country.

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Several years after receiving my M.A. in social science (interdisciplinary studies) I was an instructor at S.F. State University for a year, but then went back to designing automated machinery, and then tech writing, in Silicon Valley. I've (more...)

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