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The Demise of the American middle class

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American as well as all western white and blue collar workers will soon realize that they will either have to decrease their wage demands to conform with "global standards" or chose jobs in the service sector. These global standard wages are now being set by workers in India and China, where average hourly wages are about 65 cents and one dollar respectively.

The high paying jobs created in Mexico under NAFTA, the whopping $3.50 per hour ones, are moving to China because even this princely wage level is much too generous according to U.S. businessmen. So currently unemployed workers and anyone laid off in the future better get their applications into McD and Wal-Mart in a hurry because these will be the premier jobs of the future. But, if American workers are willing to accept these "global standard wages" (adjusted for transportation costs), no more than $4.00 per hour, perhaps they can get work here in the U.S., but only if their employers believe these wages will be maintained in the future. Unfortunately no one an live on $4.00 per hour in the U.S. unless he doesn't mind living on a subsistence level without car or medical coverage(even if minimum wage laws were waived to allow them to do so).

So the middle class worker unwilling or unable to accept this wage level has been disappearing into the limbo of the "having chosen leisure over work" class. The (establishment) economists have so labeled those 25 percent of the labor force(about 70 million people) who are of working age but not working. Forty(40) million of these 70 million "loafers" are between age 50 and 62(surprise!), still too young to be receiving social security.

So what are these "leisure choosers" doing? Some have legitimately retired, being beneficiaries of retirement plans(civil servant ones being the most generous.) But the great bulk of them are simply limping along on their accumulated savings, or, if they are not so well off, have applied and been accepted as "disabled' under SSI or SSD programs. The children of all these American workers ( those displaced by foreign workers) will not see a dime of whatever savings they had made prior to this time.

Who can we thank for this disaster? The pols have paid their (personal) economists to say that it is the wage earner's own preference for leisure. Other current myths, created in the same way and by the same people, claim that American workers are uneducated or too lazy to retrain themselves, or simply too lazy. In other words, the workers have only themselves to blame.

The truth is that establishment politicians have engineered this demise of the middle class via globalization, NAFTA, CAFTA, and legal immigration laws benefiting their clients, the rich. All of these programs have proven to be against the interests of the American working classes but none has been revoked or revised. NAFTA alone is currently costing the U.S. treasury $40 billion dollars yearly but the pols still insist on CAFTA.

The immigtation laws affecting high-tech jobs have not only ruined the prospects for many American hi-tech workers, but have precipitated the loss of an entire industry. And the pols continue doing absolutely nothing, even after recognizing daily the adverse consequences of their policies.
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Richard Backus is a journalist specializing in economics and politics.He has degrees in physics and engineering, and considerable experience in computer systems development. He is single, a good bridge player, and an enthusiastic tennis player.
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