On NPR this AM, I heard something about the “Middle Class Task Force” run by Vice President Biden. I’m trying to envision this task force? Will it include soldiers coming to rebuild schools and roads with private contractors like in Iraq and Afghanistan? With billions to spend- just like our military?
As far as I can tell, it’s going to do nothing like that. Here’s the link?
the Middle Class Task Force
The Task Force is a major initiative targeted at raising the living standards of middle-class, working families in America….
Goals of the task force:
- Expanding education and lifelong training opportunities
- Improving work and family balance
- Restoring labor standards, including workplace safety
- Helping to protect middle-class and working-family incomes
- Protecting retirement security
The only problem? There are very few “middle-class and working family incomes” left.
While Washington has waved the fear of terrorists (whose main weapon is fear- not much else) at us for years- and siphoned a trillion or two off our balance sheet to pay for the wars and “Homeland Security” they’ve forgotten about the people who pay for it all who want “job security.”
Our politicians are so enamored with their friends who contribute to their campaign war chests (many of whom make their money by building war machines) that they don’t realize what 11% unemployment means these days.
Things have changed since the last time unemployment was this high. For example, we still had people making things in this country other than items that are sold with the line “do you want fries with that?” Our manufacturing sector has been decimated. The last time unemployment was this high- Apple actually manufactured computers on this continent, and GM still owned over 51% of the car market. We also weren’t paying people exorbitant compensation for firing Americans. And, that’s the root of the problem.
There is no reward for hiring Americans anymore.
You’ll get paid more by laying off the factory worker in Dayton, Ohio, and sending your manufacturing to China. You’ll get paid more for figuring out how to cut your payroll by sending your “back office” jobs to India. You’ll get paid more for not making things at all- but playing games with things like “Credit default swaps” and short-selling stocks with money that’s not yours in the first place. And you’ll make huge bucks by driving up the costs of health care which is primarily funded by business- as less and less people in this country have jobs that come with health care.
Note to task force: there isn’t much of a middle class left to protect or save.
In fact, some would say we only have three classes of people left: the wealthy, the poor and those who work for the Government.
If we want to see a return to prosperity in this country, we have to restore rewards for hiring Americans. We need to do it NOW.
While we have American soldiers fighting for our safety half-way round the world, we have an entire society fighting for survival, while bankers still collect billions in bonuses after we had to bail them out. It’s a rather sore point- one that the members of Congress don’t seem to get.
The people who paid for those bonuses (both with tax dollars, and by being screwed left and right as the Wall Street Casino has gone roller coaster on us) are not too happy about the prospect of facing higher crime- as people resort to stealing to survive- and with less cops on the streets (because we’re more concerned with peace in Iraq than peace here).
How do we fix it?
Tie the prime rate moves to everyone, not just the players on Wall Street. The prime rate has dropped 6 points- yet credit card rates and penalties continue to climb. If you have the power to create money- as banks do, it’s time to do it responsibly.
If you don’t own it, you don’t get to take wild compensation. This applies to any non-founder running a publicly traded company. Shareholders must come first. If you want to protect pensions and retirement funds- you have to make sure the money goes back to those who have skin in the game- not just the pied pipers at the helms. Steve Jobs and Bill Gates built empires and deserve compensation- idiots like Bill Nuti of NCR walked in and cleaned out the pantry, without any skin in the game. If you want to get paid more than $500K a year, during a time of war when others are willing to die for their country- you best be responsible for paying a lot of Americans.
It’s time to limit executive pay by formula based on average paycheck, number of employees and amount of personal investment. You hire a lot of Americans and pay them well, you take care of your shareholders, then, and only then, can you make a ton of money- and, btw- you have to take at least 50% of it in long-term notes, since we’re not playing for quarterly results anymore- it’s got to be for a much longer time frame- 10 years or more.
If you don’t like these rules- simple: Take your company private. Either it’s an Employee Owned Stock Plan, or privately held. Have at it.
It’s also time to stop government from being responsible for “economic development” with “incentives” to lure business. Having the clerk at Piggly Wiggly in Georgia who makes $8 an hour- have her tax dollars go to subsidize Bill Nuti’s $2K per hour salary is criminal. The $100 Million Georgia “invested” in moving NCR not only took money out of the clerk’s wallet- it left Dayton, Ohio, without a pants pocket to hold the wallet.
While the whole health care debate has moved away from actual health care to “health insurance” it’s been the straw that’s been killing the American employer and an awful lot of Americans literally, for too long. Unhealthy people can’t work and then can’t pay taxes. It’s to our government’s advantage to have a healthy productive workforce. The sooner we move to a single payer, the better off we are. Eliminate the entire health insurance industry and move directly to outcome based compensation for doctors. Reward doctors who keep their patients healthy, and turn medicine back into an honorable profession.
I don’t expect anyone in Washington to see these ideas, because, they seem to be convinced that this is still a Democrat vs Republican thing.
The longer they keep it up and they’ll find it’s an us vs them thing, and they will quickly realize that they are grossly outnumbered.
We don’t need a task force, we need a revolution. It can either start in Washington, or when the people rebel against Washington.
Anyone want to lay odds on which will happen first?