I come from a middle class family, both my parents were teachers and to say the least we were not rich. My mother worked at two jobs when I was a child, teaching grade school during the day and college math at night and my father worked at one of the toughest high schools in downtown Detroit.
Somehow with the help of the right wing media and PR firms people like my parents are now being demonized as over paid government employees out to suck the taxpayers dry. Nothing could be further from the truth; they were hard working, caring and educated people.
Recent attacks by conservatives on the public unions are an attack on all unions and the ordinary worker. Governor Walker in Wisconsin and Governor Kasich's bill in Ohio to take away collective bargaining from public unions is really just the start.
The goal seems to be to destroy all unions in America, the reason? If they destroy the unions then they can start working on those other pesky labor laws like the 40 hour workweek, eight hour days, safety in the workplace, minimum wages, women's rights in the workplace and child labor laws and other legislation that protect American workers. The mega-rich and the corporations want to go back to the good old days of the gilded age when they held people lives not just their livelihoods in their hands. They seem to want a society that is right out of a Dickens book.
It's hard to fathom why other than corporate businesspeople want a cheap labor force that is as financially profitable for them as using cheap labor in less developed parts of the world. This might not seem economically feasible for them. After all, who would be left in America to buy their goods?
Since the financial meltdown the American middle class is not the consumer power it once was. The US consumer has been surpassed by consumers in the emerging world. Emerging market economies now represent about 33 percent of consumer spending worldwide. US consumer spending now accounts for only 27 percent of total global consumer spending. The Economist Magazine said that multinational companies expect about 70 percent of the world's economic growth over the next few years to come from emerging markets. And 40 percent of the world's growth will come from just two countries - China and India.
Examples of this trend are the automobile market. China's vehicle market grew by 45 percent last year to become the biggest in the world. GM, for the first time ever, now sells more cars in China than in the United States. Multinational companies such as Coca Cola now gets about 75 percent of its sales from overseas. In the first quarter of 2010, Coke reported a 20 percent increase in profits despite the fact that US sales declined. Sales in emerging markets, such as India (up 29%) and Turkey (up 18%) made it possible. According to a Goldman study, nearly half the world's economic growth is now occurring in just four countries. Neither the US nor Britain is on the list. Nor is any other developed country.
This is big business. Developing economies have accounted for almost 70% percent of world growth over the past five years, according to Carnegie Foundation data. The GDP of emerging economies amounted to 20% of world GDP in 2000, 34% in 2010, and an estimated 39% by 2015. The emerging middle class stands at 2 billion people who spend $6.9 trillion a year, a figure which is expected to rise to $20 trillion (twice current U.S. consumption), by 2020, according to researchers. And how about this: 700 million people will start using the Internet in Asia in the next five years, according to a McKinsey study. I'm sure EBay will be there.
The bottom line is the multinational corporations no longer need the American consumer. So why not work to lower their pay scale and standard of living to that of the third world countries. Then once the American labor force is working long hours for peanuts, privatize all social programs, give the trillions of dollars from social security to Wall Street so they can invest it in the stock market while drawing multi million dollar bonuses from it. Then if the market goes down they can bet against the same stocks they have invested our money in, reaping more profits. Privatize Medicare and the veteran's administration handing them over to the health insurance companies. Privatize the military so corporations like Halliburton can make more billions from war. Privatize the education system so that the main population will no longer be able to afford an education, after all an uneducated population is easier to control.
I suppose this all sounds like a conspiracy theory but I look in the mirror and I'm pretty sure I'm not wearing any tin foil on my head. I simply look at what is transpiring and wonder why many of our political leaders supported by the mega-rich and the corporations are heading in this direction. Could they truly believe that destroying the middle class and selling off the commons will benefit this county? Or is it that they want an oligarchic society. I suspect it's the latter.
I would hope that the American people wake up and see what is happening to them. They need to stop listening to pundits like Glen Beck and Rush Limbaugh and Fox news who fill their heads with full of crap and fear mongering until middle class people vote against their own self interests.