The myth of upward mobility

Barbara Ehrenreich by David Shankbone, New Yor...

Barbara Ehrenreich by David Shankbone, New York City (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is from Bright-sided, How the Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking Has Undermined America by Barbara Ehrenreich published in 2009.

“In reality, Americans are less likely to move upward from their class of origin than are Germans, Canadians, Finns, French people, Swedes, Norwegians, or Danes.”

To understand what life in America is like for those earning the minimum wage, I highly recommend the author’s other book, Nickel and Dimed; On (Not) Getting By in America.

Mitt Romney/ latter day Henry Ford?

Henry Ford in 1888.

Henry Ford in 1888. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

How many jobs could a job creator create
If a job creator could create jobs?
How many jobs would a job creator create
If a job creator would create jobs?

A job creator will create jobs if and only if he/she can sell the manufactured goods/services for a profit. If there are no buyers who can afford to buy, there is no reason to hire anyone to produce the goods/services, no matter how low the tax rate.

Henry Ford was a famous job creator. Most people have heard how he paid his workers $5 per day so that they could afford to purchase the cars they built and that Ford sold. Most people have not heard the rest of the story. Ford hired most of the skilled workmen in the Detroit area, creating a labor shortage for other employers in the area who could not or would not match his high wages. Once the other employers in the area went out of business, Ford was able to lower the wages he paid, since his employees could not find other jobs in the area. It is employer abuses like that that lead to the formation of unions.

We want job creators to create jobs here in America for American workers. Those jobs must be jobs that pay well enough that American workers can afford to be consumers of American produced goods and services. Jobs are not good jobs if the workers can afford to buy only goods/services produced outside the US.

In her book Nickle and Dimed, Barbara Ehrenreich described working at Wal-Mart. Her wages were so little that she could not afford to shop there even with an employee discount. Those are not the jobs we need job creators to create. If wages were low enough, we could put everyone to work, but what would be the point? If the wages were so low that workers could not feed, clothe or house themselves without government assistance, then those jobs have little value to the workers or to society. Those jobs would represent a government subsidy to the employers, enabling them to pay lower wages.

Food stamp president

English: Newt Gingrich at a political conferen...

Image via Wikipedia

I am REALLY angry with Newt Gingrich for calling Barack Obama the food stamp president. REALLY ANGRY. So angry that I am seeing RED. I am not so much angry at the name calling as I am about his insensitivity. Look at the man; just step back and look at him. He does not appear hungry and he probably never has been or will be hungry. Here is a man who can afford breakfast at Tiffany’s, lunch at Tiffany’s and dinner at Tiffany’s.

Before he repeats that charge one more time, I would like him to read Nickel and Dimed, On (Not) Getting By in America by Barbara Ehrenreich. Then I would like him to try living on the minimum wage as she did to actually experience how difficult it is in America to live on less than a living wage let alone a minimum wage or less. You could consider that life a free, weight-loss diet plan, the minimum wage diet.

According to a recent article in the local paper by AP reporter, Jesse Washington,  49% of food stamp recipients  are white, 26% are black and 20% are Hispanic. The number of people receiving food stamps is up about 50% in the last three years, principally because of unemployment in the Great Recession. By age the largest single group is the elderly living on a fixed income or Social Security. The next largest group by age is children and the disabled. I suppose that Newt would prescribe that they work to feed themselves, probably at a wage below the minimum wage.

Please see Hunger | Love thy neighbor | Jack Abramoff | Newt Gingrich | My advice to Newt

Job creators

Ford assembly line, 1913.

Image via Wikipedia

How many jobs could a job creator create
If a job creator could create jobs?
How many jobs would a job creator create
If a job creator would create jobs?

A job creator will create jobs if and only if he/she can sell the manufactured goods/services for a profit. If there are no buyers who can afford to buy, there is no reason to hire anyone to produce the goods/services, no matter how low the tax rate.

Henry Ford was a famous job creator. Most people have heard how he paid his workers $5 per day so that they could afford to purchase the cars they built and that Ford sold. Most people have not heard the rest of the story. Ford hired most of the skilled workmen in the Detroit area, creating a labor shortage for other employers in the area who could not or would not match his high wages. Once the other employers in the area went out of business, Ford was able to lower the wages he paid, since his employees could not find other jobs in the area. It is employer abuses like that that lead to the formation of unions.

We want job creators to create jobs here in America for American workers. Those jobs must be jobs that pay well enough that American workers can afford to be consumers of American produced goods and services. Jobs are not good jobs if the workers can afford to buy only goods/services produced outside the US.

In her book Nickle and Dimed, Barbara Ehrenreich described working at Wal-Mart. Her wages were so little that she could not afford to shop there even with an employee discount. Those are not the jobs we need job creators to create. If wages were low enough, we could put everyone to work, but what would be the point? If the wages were so low that workers could not feed, clothe or house themselves without government assistance, then those jobs have little value to the workers or to society. Those jobs would represent a government subsidy to the employers, enabling them to pay lower wages.

Please see Occupy Wall Street | Economic justice