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Job Creation Machinations: Putting the Future of the American Worker in Extreme Jeopardy

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The American economy remains in a state of paralysis with no sign of recovery on the horizon. The manufacturing sector continues to deteriorate; American workers remain idle, nowhere to go. At a time like this you would think that those who lead our nation would be working overtime, pulling out all the stops to develop job creation programs; that the White House and this president would be out front, leading the efforts to create jobs to re-energize our consumer-driven economy. They simply aren't.

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The fact of the matter is that you cannot maintain a vibrant consumer-driven economy when millions of Americans are unemployed, when many have lost their homes to foreclosure and are barely surviving. It won't work. This is a catastrophic situation that needs the utmost attention by our leaders in Washington right now, before it gets totally out of control. Mr. Obama could and should have made job creation the highest priority; he is in his third year in office and we are still waiting for him to put forth a bold, innovative jobs program.

In this economic crisis the American people feel a sense of desperation and hopelessness as they watch the situation worsening and wonder when the government is going to do something -- anything. And I don't want to hear that "It's not the government's job to create jobs" because that's baseless thinking. In normal circumstances, government does not create jobs and the business sector does. But in times of crisis it is absolutely mandatory that government step in with some form of job creation to stabilize the situation. That is economic fact that has worked time and time again.

While this economy and this nation remain in a state of paralysis, under a cloud of apprehension and uncertainty about what the future may bring, bizarre and inexplicable things are happening in our nation's capital. How can the world's #1 economy continue to spiral downward while those who have the power to so something about it are refusing to even address the problem, let alone solve it.

On September 8th Mr. Obama is scheduled to present his jobs creation program to the American people. Let's put it this way. This, without a doubt, will be his last chance to convince the American people that he is capable of creating a very ambitious program that will have a major impact on America's greatest problem. If they aren't presented with a bold, aggressive program and, instead, he announces some lukewarm jobs initiative, then he will lose them. That will be a sign that something very foreboding is going on behind the scenes in our nation's capitol.

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Let me present a theory relating to what leaders of this government and the business sector may be planning. Call it a theory, supposition, conjecture or whatever, but I strongly believe that something along these lines is going to happen. What if these holders of power and influence have come to the conclusion that America simply is incapable of competing in the current system of globalization given the slave labor wages in China and other overseas nations? And at the same time they know that unless they do something to restore the purchasing power of millions of unemployed Americans there is no way that this consumer-driven economy can ever be reenergized.

So what will they do to try to restore the economy and maintain corporate profits under these negative conditions? What if the master plan involves something like this? Slowly but surely, over a period of time, let's say that they intend to completely transform the entire U.S. manufacturing sector into one in which the American worker, who desperately needs a job to survive, is willing to work for a standard national wage, one that would be the same for all workers, much like the federal minimum wage is now.

Sound crazy? Well consider this. If Corporate America, with the aid and support of elements of our government is able to successfully pull this off, it will have transformed the American workforce into their best alternative to overseas labor; they know that America can never match the low foreign labor rates but what they do know is this: they can do the next best thing and employ this nation's workers at wages far, far lower than those they previously earned. And this just might be their formula to restart the economy and maintain their profitability.

One other significant indicator that such a plan for a standard national wage may be in process is clearly evidenced by the Republican governors in Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio and other states that are using their controlled legislatures to destroy the bargaining rights of unions that include teachers, police and firefighters. This is an ominous precursor of what may be planned for the future when these union workers have no bargaining power and are at the mercy of greedy corporations. They would be prime targets for inclusion in a nation wage system.

This continuing economic crisis presents a major dilemma for America's corporations. If 70% of this economy is entirely dependent upon the American consumer, and millions of unemployed have had their purchasing power severely diminished, this economy cannot recover. So, at some point in order to reenergize the economy, corporations will be forced to hire more workers. But they can't hire them at the same slave labor rates as those of China; nor will they hire them at the rates that those workers are used to earning. A standard national wage might be their way out of this dilemma.

Suppose my suspicions and theory of what is going on proves to be correct? Then how could such a national wage for all workers be established and put into practice? The corporations of America do not have that ability -- or maybe they do when we consider their power and influence over Congress.   Remember, we have a federal minimum wage that many employers have adhered to for years. This government created it. What would prevent this government, in concert with Corporate America, to create such a national workers' wage system? Absolutely nothing if all parties, including this president, decided it had to be done.

Who knows what this standard national wage would be. Trying to use the current federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour isn't the answer, it's just too low. Most likely it would be a somewhat higher rate but not anywhere near the $15.00 to $20.00 per hour that millions of Americans once made.

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Sure there are those who will say that corporations are so completely tied to overseas labor that they will never seriously try to revive any part of the American workforce; that if this economy won't recover on its own, that they will change direction and shift their major marketing efforts to the developing nations. That might happen at some point in time but right now much of the world is also in a state of recession; and these corporations are going to continue to milk the American economy as long as they possibly can.

Think that such a thing can never happen, not in America? It most certainly can. The lack of actions on job creation by Congress, the White House, and Corporate America could be a sign that they may be cooking something up behind the scenes. Whatever is going on certainly does not bode well for American workers; an indication that, in the future, they will be subjected to a permanent state of much lower wages, quite possibly a standard national wage, no pensions or other benefits, no unions, no bargaining rights and no social safety net of any kind.

In effect, the workers of America will become a modern-day version of indentured servants of Corporate America. And this will be the end of the American middle class as we have known it.

Michael Payne


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Michael Payne is an independent, progressive activist. His writings deal with social, economic, political and foreign policy issues. He is a featured writer on Opednews and Nation of Change and his articles have appeared on many other websites (more...)

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