Sunday, October 16, 2011

More Foolishness from Robert Samuelson

Nattering nabob Robert J. Samuelson is nothing if not predictable. Once again, in his WaPo latest column ('Downward Mobility Squeezes the Future'), he uses the tactic of identifying a clear and serious problem - the overall downward mobility of working Americans - but pins its cause to a red herring.

Yes, we know downward mobility is upon us: incomes have stagnated for the average working American since 1973 with inflation factored in, and the median wage for workers of all types (other than the top 1%) has actually decreased a full 7% since 2000. Meanwhile the wealthiest have seen their incomes and percentage of national wealth soar.

Why has this happened? Samuelson, not one to miss a beat with his favorite hobby horses, blames a lowered productivity, i.e.:

"Without higher productivity, broad living standards won't rise..."

But he also incites generational war by blaming older demographics as imposing an ongoing burden both on the economy, and the young, i.e.

"Productivity improvement have already been committed to demographic trends we can't alter (aging)"


"The squeeze will continue. In 1990, there were 32 million Americans age 65 and over; by 2040 that's reckoned at 80 million. Rising costs for Social Security and Medicare have created a new political dynamic: if benefits for the elderly aren't cut, burdens on the young will go up.."

As usual, it's time to set the record straight.

First, as regards productivity, it's the highest it's ever been. Indeed, higher than any other nation, say even in the Eurozone. The reason is simple: corporations have achieved this vast increase in productivity at the cost of more than 5 million American jobs - either downsized (with the remaining work done by half or less of the people left), or technology (e.g. replacing human hands with robots, or the case of grocery cashiers...replacing them without automated checkout scanners).

Thus, this complaint is bogus. Further the argument that "productivity improvements have already been committed to demographic trends" is also bogus! No, they are not being used to subsidize an elder population but rather to support and subsidize the largest, most cancerous military-industrial state in the whole world - which spends more on "defense" than the next 25 nations combined. Last year, for example, the Pentagon budget sucked up $796 billion! That is nearly 60 cents of every dollar.

Even the much talked about looming "cuts" to defense are a joke, barely $350 billion over ten years, which is chicken feed!

Want to know why our younger generation will likely be poorer than their parents? Look no further at the future being stolen from them by the malignant military industrial complex, which seems to grow ever bigger- driven in part by the insane "war on terror" meme. Let's face it, this meme's satiation point will never be reached until nearly every dollar is spent for nothing other than military weapons (like the F-35 of which 2,443 are planned at over a half billion bucks) and more security including spying technology.

Corporations already have spy monitors located in their restrooms, as well as computer technology that can count keystrokes on any employee or even see what he's doing any minute. Imagine that power multiplied by the Pentagon, once they set to work making their special $1 million artificial "insects" - actually spying robots able to fly over civil protests and report back to HQ.

Now, what if...instead of pumping billions into such bullshit, we used it to repair roads, bridges, water mains, etc. and put people to work?

What if, instead of rewarding corporations for repatriating jobs back from China or India we fined (or higher taxed) their asses for sending them off in the first place? Over 3 million dispatched the past four years, with some companies (e.g. G.E., Cisco) now sporting more than 4 times the jobs outside the country than in! (According to a WSJ article from 3 days ago, p. B1) Where were fuck were the powers that be when this was going on? Who was minding the store?

It is this erosion of wealth in our midst - resulting from over productivity in priding ourselves on job cutting, military spending beyond anything necessary to ward off attacks, and sending jobs overseas...that has gutted our national wealth and squeezed the future for us all. Meanwhile, the fat cat fuckers sit on billions, hell trillions, and do nothing but buy luxuries, go to mllion dollar resort villas for "rose wine wraps" and foie de Gras, or short stocks and commodities for the rest of us, sending prices of everything from fuel to food spiking.

But does Samuelson mention any of this? Fuck no!

The man would rather raise the specter of inter-generational warfare and further divide this nation than tell the fucking truth. But then, what can you expect from a Neo-liberal hack who is himself brainwashed (or maybe "greenback-washed') by the corporate state. Who, let's be frank, would rather have us at each other's throats than going after their jugulars!

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