“Free trade” — moving factories across borders to evade the protections of democracy that generations of Americans fought for — pits exploited workers with few rights and no means of improving their condition against Americans who once had environmental and wage protections. But such ideas as protecting the gains of democracy are out of favor. That is labeled “protectionism” and is thought for some reason to be a bad thing. Conservatives were able to break the unions and wages for working people have stagnated, while the amount going to the top few has soared.
Here is the future of American wages: From today’s Washington Post: In its biggest foreign market, BMW gets skilled workers for less,
Among the applicants: a former manager of a major distribution center for Target; a consultant who oversaw construction projects in four Western states; a supervisor at a plastics recycling firm. Some held college degrees and resumes in other fields where they made more money.
But they’re all in the factory now making $15 an hour—about half of what the typical German autoworker makes.
. . . the price of having a more globally competitive workforce means more in the United States could fall well short of the middle-class living standards that manufacturing workers once could expect. Wages adjusted for inflation have declined for these workers since 2003.
That’s right, German workers are now paid almost twice what American’s can make. (And they get health care and an average of 35 paid vacation days, we get 13.)
Tea Party Wants To End Minimum Wage
Your Wages Are Next
If you still have a job, your wages are next. You can bet that executives in every company are wondering why they are paying their employees so much when there are so many hungry, unemployed people out there looking for work. Every dollar they can save on paying you goes into their pockets.
Isaiah Poole pointed out the other day, in Latest Reagan Revolution Price Tag: A $313 Billion Wage Cut, (Please click through and read his whole post!)
New data compiled by the Social Security Administration reveals that the total wages earned by American workers fell by a total of $313 billion from 2007 to 2009, Johnston writes. That’s a 5 percent cut, and is measured in 2009 dollars.
In one year alone, from 2008 to 2009, wage income declined $215 billion.
Here’s another reason to vote in the mid-term elections this November: Conservatives think you need a pay cut. As I’ve said once or twice before, conservatives’ bottom line message is simple: America has economic problems because too many people have had it good for too long; and when they’re worse off again, the nation and its economy will be better off. The people they think had it too good for too long are you and me, and almost anyone who punches a clock to pull a paycheck.
The answer is to insist that goods brought into this country are made by people who are paid a decent wage. That way they could make enough to buy things we make, too. That really could be called trade. And the other answer is to pay people here enough to have a decent standard of living, even if it means hedge-fund managers could only make maybe $100-200 million a year instead of billions. That way we would all benefit from our economy, instead of everything going to the top at the expense of the rest of us.
Vote as if your standard of living depended on it.