Oops! I heard it again this morning. Some shill for the Republican Party appeared on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” program and uttered what has become the Republican mantra these days: The economy may be recovering from the Great Recession, but if we raise taxes, we won’t solve the unemployment problem.
Of course, Joe Schmoe—otherwise known as Joe Scarborough, the Republican host of the show—didn’t call the shill on this fraudulent statement. In fact, for as long as I’ve been watching MSNBC (and other commercial news outlets), I’ve never heard anyone challenge that fraudulent claim. Sure. Rachel Maddow, one of the sharpest media commentators in the nation, has obliquely questioned the assertion that only tax cuts will bring back jobs in America. Regardless, nobody to my knowledge has gone right out and said it: CATTLE CRAP!!!!
To really understand America’s lackadaisical attitude towards burgeoning unemployment, we have to consider two factors: 1) the effects of globalization on employment in America and 2) the every-man-for-himself attitude of companies doing business in America.
Here’s how the first one works. Just as the Republican shill said on Morning Joe this morning, Singapore indeed has an unemployment rate of two percent. Compared to the real unemployment rate of America, which hovers around 18 percent, Singapore’s unemployment rate looks miraculous at first glance. But then there’s the fine print. For one thing, Singapore has no minimum wage. Because of that, corporations by the hundreds have migrated to Singapore and other countries to participate in what are known as Export Production Zones (EPZ)—where workers are typically exploited. In other words, American corporations have taken the front lines of their very own little class war overseas, and are profiting from worker repression and oppression.
This little game is happening all over the Far East and India. Because the standards of living of many nations in the Far East (and in Latin America) are much lower than that of the US, companies like the almost-holy-in-America Apple Computers go over to foreign countries and get their expensive-as-hell products (the prices are jacked-up to an almost ridiculous amount considering how much it actually costs Apple to produce, say, and iPAD 3) manufactured for literally pennies.
Some activists in the American civil rights community make this observation: The entire history of America has been one of white domination over so-called “darker” peoples. And while we’ve amended to an extent our domineering attitude towards these people in America, we’re pulling-off the same game all over Asia. We’ve merely moved the movie “Metropolis” to Shanghai and Singapore and dozens of other eager cities. We’ve transferred our racism and made racism a foreign commodity like Hello Kitty products.
All of the above is why hundreds of thousands of people protested the WTO in 1999-2000. To no avail. The elite of America and elsewhere in the so-called Western world were too busy thinking of all the pretty mansions and luxury cars they were going to get out of, well, injustice.
This brings-up the second factor: The every-man-for-himself attitude of companies doing business in America. If the business elites aren’t fighting the concept of a living wage, they’re moving their business elsewhere to save on “capital expenses”. While they’re waving the American flag like drunken fools in their television commercials, these people are selling-short the American worker. How’s that for patriotism?
I’ve long said this to friends: What is work about anyway? Is it about making money for a small circle of very rich people? Or is it about providing income for all? Apparently to that small circle of very rich people, it’s about the former. Who cares about the latter? Over the last 50 years, the small circle of very rich people has managed to gut unionization in America, and many states outlaw collective bargaining—while at the same time huge business associations practically fix prices in the market. Something’s got to give.
Hence, Occupy. Have a nice day.