A closer examination of the figures, however, tells a different story. To reach that peak of production the Americans work an average of forty-six hours weekly, with no overtime for low level workers. The Europeans work ten hours less for the week at just about the same wage, and enjoy public health guarantees and retirement plans that make life in Paris a lot easier than New York. Euro workers also enjoy a month of paid vacation, maternity and family leave and a host of other benefits not generally available to blue collar labor in this country.
Despite the political pimping of the long weekend by every Washington wannabe, including the president, America has purposefully created a job crisis in order to give the corporate bosses yet more leverage in low cost hiring. Since Bush took over the presidency, America has lost seven million jobs, mostly good pay manufacturing positions, unlikely to come back from the overseas locations to which they fled. To compete with foreign wage rates Americans must accept lower pay. The same applies to the pressures of illegal immigration in the construction trades, where the only good paying jobs are those for foremen who speak Spanish. The employers of these illegals are not penalized for hiring low cost labor, and so make nice profits off the wet backs of the desperate and poor.
The loss of jobs is also a part of the Bush plan to recruit massive numbers of the otherwise jobless into the military, a necessity if our global ambitions are to be realized. With little or no hope of finding a job out of high school, our youth are being seduced with promises of college aid and job training. No reference to the probability of serving in some dangerous and dirty corner of the globe whose only importance is oil, and whose native population is less than friendly to occupying forces. With the hamburger chains increasingly hiring the hard pressed elderly, even the prospect of flipping burgers is fading for our non college bound youth, particularly the low income minorities who make up a large segment of our current all volunteer forces.
Wars, spending and borrowing have brought the dollar low in world currency exchanges, with a net loss of value close to forty percent over the past two years. That means the working American has received a pay cut, as evidenced by the price of bread, milk and beer in the markets. If the labor movement had any balls they would be organizing national strikes to get back the loss in wages, but the unions are barely holding on after several decades of corruption and decline. When the Teamsters vote Republican you know the fix is in.
America today is in the thrall of the capitalist corporate oligarchy whose global business interests far exceeds any concern for nations or the workers whom they exploit. The harsh reality of work in these times is much like that explained so eloquently over a century ago by the framers of the constitution for the International Workers of the World;
“The working class and the employing class have nothing in common. There can be no peace, so long as hunger and want are found among millions of the working people, and the few, who make up the employing class have all the good things in life.”
Between these two classes a struggle must go on until the workers of the world organize as a class, take possession of the earth and the machinery of production and abolish the wage system.
Travus T. Hipp” is a 40-year veteran radio commentator with six stations in California carrying his daily version of the news and opinions. “The Poor Hippy’s Paul Harvey,” Travus is a member of the Nevada Broadcasters Hall of Fame, but unemployable in the Silver State due to his eclectic political views.