The Beginning Of The End
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40 Percent Of U.S. Workers Make Less Than What A Full-Time Minimum Wage Worker Made In 1968

1968 Shelby GT350 - Photo by Ben CossitorAre American workers paid enough?  That is a topic that is endlessly debated all across this great land of ours.  Unfortunately, what pretty much everyone can agree on is that American workers are not making as much as they used to after you account for inflation.  Back in 1968, the minimum wage in the United States was $1.60 an hour.  That sounds very small, but after you account for inflation a very different picture emerges.  Using the inflation calculator that the Bureau of Labor Statistics provides, $1.60 in 1968 is equivalent to $10.74 today.  And of course the official government inflation numbers have been heavily manipulated to make inflation look much lower than it actually is, so the number for today should actually be substantially higher than $10.74, but for purposes of this article we will use $10.74.  If you were to work a full-time job at $10.74 an hour for a full year (with two weeks off for vacation), you would make about $21,480 for the year.  That isn’t a lot of money, but according to the Social Security Administration, 40.28% of all workers make less than $20,000 a year in America today.  So that means that more than 40 percent of all U.S. workers actually make less than what a full-time minimum wage worker made back in 1968.  That is how far we have fallen.

The other day I wrote an article which discussed the transition that we are witnessing in our economy right now.  Good paying full-time jobs are disappearing, and they are being replaced by low paying part-time jobs.  So far this year, 76.7 percent of the jobs that have been “created” in the U.S. economy have been part-time jobs.

That would be depressing enough, but what makes it worse is that wages for many of these low paying jobs have actually been declining over the past decade even as the cost of living keeps going up.  The following is from a recent USA Today article

In the years between 2002 and 2012, real median wages dropped by at least 5% in five of the top 10 low-wage jobs, including food preparers and housekeepers.

So where have the good jobs gone?

Well, there are three long-term trends that are absolutely crushing American workers right now.

First of all, thanks to our very foolish politicians American workers have been merged into a global labor pool where they must directly compete for jobs with workers on the other side of the planet that live in countries where it is legal to pay slave labor wages.  This has resulted in millions upon millions of good jobs leaving this country.  Big corporations can pad their profits by taking a job from an American worker making $15 an hour with benefits and giving it to a worker on the other side of the globe that is willing to work for less than a dollar an hour with no benefits.  Our politicians could do something about this, but they refuse to do so.  Most of them are absolutely married to the idea of a one world economic system that will unite the globe.  Unfortunately, the U.S. economy is going to continue to lose tens of thousands of businesses and millions upon millions of jobs to this one world economic system.

Secondly, big corporations are replacing as many expensive workers with machines, computers and robots as they possibly can.  As technology continues to advance at a blistering pace, the need for workers (especially low-skilled workers) will continue to decrease.  Unfortunately, the jobs that are being lost to technology are not coming back any time soon.

Thirdly, the overall U.S. economy has been steadily declining for more than a decade.  If you doubt this, just read this article.  As our economy continues to get weaker, the lack of jobs is going to become a bigger and bigger problem.

And as our economy systematically loses good jobs, more Americans are forced to become dependent on the government.

Back in 1979, there was about one American on food stamps for every manufacturing job.  Today, there are about four Americans on food stamps for every manufacturing job.

When I first found that statistic I was absolutely stunned.  How in the world can anyone out there deny that the U.S. economy is collapsing?

But as I mentioned above, it isn’t just that the number of jobs is not what it should be.  The quality of our jobs is declining as well.  For example, one study found that between 1969 and 2009 the wages earned by American men between the ages of 30 and 50 declined by 27 percent after you account for inflation.

That is a pretty stunning decline.  And it has only accelerated in recent years.  Median household income (adjusted for inflation) has fallen by 7.8 percent since the year 2000, and the ratio of wages and salaries to GDP in the United States is near an all-time record low.

Most Americans are finding that their bills just keep going up but their paychecks are not.  This is causing the middle class to wither away, and most families are just trying to survive from month to month at this point.  In fact, according to one recent survey 76 percent of all Americans are living paycheck to paycheck.

So where do we go from here?

To some people the answer is simple.  They say that we should substantially raise the minimum wage.  And yes, that would definitely make life a bit better for lots of low paid workers out there, but it would also have some very negative side effects.  A substantially higher minimum wage would mean higher prices at retail stores and restaurants, and it would also greatly increase the incentive that corporations have to replace American workers with foreign workers or with technology.  We already have rampant unemployment in this country, and right now there are more than 100 million working age Americans that do not have a job.  We certainly don’t want to make that worse.

So raising the minimum wage would not solve our problems.  It would just redistribute our problems.

What we really need to do is to return to the principles that once made this country great.  In early America, we protected our markets with high tariffs.  Access to the U.S. market was a privilege.  Foreign domination was kept out, and our economy thrived.

It is definitely not “conservative” and it should not be “liberal” to stand by and watch millions upon millions of our good jobs get shipped over to communist China.  We need more “economic patriots” in America today, but unfortunately they appear to be a minority at this point.

And once upon a time the U.S. economy was actually a free market system where rules, regulations and red tape were kept to a minimum.  Our nation blossomed under such a system.  Sadly, today we have become a nation that literally has millions of laws, rules and regulations.  The control freaks seem to run everything.  In fact, the Obama administration recently forced one small-time magician out in Missouri to submit a 32 page disaster plan for the little rabbit that he uses in his magic shows for kids.  That is a very humorous example, but it is a perfect illustration of how absurd our system has become.

Another thing we could do to turn this around would be to get rid of the IRS and the income tax.  Did you know that the greatest period of economic growth in U.S. history was during a time when there was absolutely no income tax?  If you doubt this, just read this article.

And of course probably the most important thing that we could do for our economy would be to get rid of the Federal Reserve.  The Fed is a massive Ponzi scheme and it has played a primary role in creating almost every single financial bubble in the post-World War II era.  Right now we are living in the greatest bond bubble in the history of the planet, and when that Fed-created bubble bursts the pain is going to be absolutely excruciating.  In addition, the value of our currency has declined by over 96 percent and the size of the U.S. national debt has gotten more than 5000 times larger since the Fed was created.  The Federal Reserve is at the very heart of our economic problems, and we desperately need to shut it down.

Unfortunately, our politicians are not even willing to consider these solutions, and most Americans are way too busy watching Toddlers & Tiaras, Honey Boo Boo and other mindless television programs to be bothered with the real problems that our country is facing.

So needless to say, the great economic storm that is coming is not going to be averted.  Most of the country is still asleep, and most people are going to get absolutely blindsided by the economic nightmare that is rapidly approaching.

Sorry Protesters: Your Jobs Are Being Sent To China And They Aren’t Coming Back

Did you see the huge crowds of protesters that flooded the Michigan Capitol on Tuesday?  They were there to protest two bills there were being considered by the state legislature that would limit the power of unions in the state.  Michigan lawmakers approved the bills and this absolutely infuriated the protesters.  There is a lot of passion on both sides of this debate, but I am afraid that both sides in this debate are missing the bigger picture.  If we keep shipping millions of our jobs to China, there isn’t going to be work for anyone no matter how much power unions have or don’t have.  During the month of October, the U.S. trade deficit increased to 42.2 billion dollars.  Our trade with China accounted for most of that deficit.  Our trade deficit with China in October increased to a new all-time one month record of 29.5 billion dollars.  Nearly 30 billion dollars that could have gone to U.S. businesses and U.S. workers went to China instead.  Since 1975, a total of about 8 trillion dollars that could have gone to U.S. businesses and U.S. workers went to the rest of the world instead.  Shiny new factories are going up all over China, and meanwhile our once great manufacturing cities are degenerating into desolate wastelands.  So what is going to happen when all of the good paying manufacturing jobs are gone?  Are we all going to fight bitterly over whether we should unionize the low paying jobs that remain at places such as Wal-Mart and McDonalds?  Such an approach is not going to bring back prosperity to America.  We desperately need to start building things and start creating real wealth inside this country once again.  We desperately need to stop sending tens of thousands of businesses, millions of jobs and trillions of dollars of our national wealth out of the country.  Unfortunately, I don’t see anyone out there holding protests about our trade deficit.  Nobody really seems to care, so our economy will continue to bleed good jobs and the middle class will continue to be destroyed.

The funny thing is that the workers that are out there protesting these union bills actually voted for the politicians that are killing their jobs.  Both parties are married to the one world economic system and the “free trade” agenda, and Barack Obama has been one of the worst offenders.  He has been pushing for more “free trade agreements” throughout the past four years, and yet union workers continue to support him enthusiastically.

How foolish can they possibly be?

Yeah, let’s merge American workers into a global labor pool with workers in third world countries on the other side of the globe that work in absolutely nightmarish conditions for as little as 45 dollars a month.  That sounds like a great idea, doesn’t it?

Oh, but you don’t want to work for 45 dollars a month?

You don’t even want to work for 450 dollars a month?

Well, then the big corporations that fund politicians like Obama will just take your jobs and send them halfway around the planet.

Do you think that your unions will save your jobs?

Michigan already has the highest rate of union membership in the Midwest.

It also has the highest rate of unemployment in the Midwest.

Over the past couple of decades, thousands of businesses in Michigan have either closed down or moved facilities overseas.

Did the unions prevent any of that?

No.

If union bosses really wanted to do some good, they would be organizing protests against our incredibly foolish trade policies.

But instead, they tell their members to vote for politicians like Obama and then they run out to the stores and fill their carts with huge piles of products that were made in China.

Union workers need to wake up to one fundamental economic fact – in a one world economic system, the big corporations simply do not need you.  They can make their products in lots of other countries where it is legal to pay slave labor wages.

But instead of getting upset about what is really killing their jobs, union workers in Michigan are screaming mad about a couple of new laws that will take some power away from the unions.

That is kind of like being obsessed with a broken fingernail when your leg has just been sawed off and you are gushing blood all over the floor.

Oh, but union workers did put on a good show up in Michigan.  The following is how a Bloomberg article described the protests…

Officials spent days gearing up for crowds brought out by the legislature’s sudden action last week to give initial approval to three anti-dues bills, which exclude police and firefighters. At least one helicopter buzzed overhead today, and mounted police surveyed the protesters. Signs reading “Don’t hurt working families” dotted lawns.

The crowd numbered more than 10,000, according to State Police Inspector Gene Adamczyk, with more buses still arriving. The Capitol was closed when it reached its capacity of 2,000.

The anger surrounding these protests was almost palpable.  One state representative even declared that “there will be blood”.

Meanwhile, many of those same protesters will buy toys for their kids that were made in China with wrapping paper that was made in China and they will put them under a Christmas tree that was made in China.

Merging our economy with the economy of communist China was one of the stupidest economic moves that we could have ever made.  They are systematically taking our wealth, and then we have to go over there and beg them to lend money back to us.

Pretty soon the Chinese economy will dwarf ours.  According to the National Intelligence Council, the GDP of Asia will have surpassed the GDP of North America and the GDP of all of Europe combined by 2030.

But if we had never opened up trade with communist China none of this would have ever happened.

Why won’t American workers get upset about this stuff?

Do you really want your standard of living to decline to the level of a Chinese factory worker?

You can see some photos of what life is like for workers in China’s toy factories right here.  This is what the future holds for American workers unless something is done.

For much more on how our trade policies are absolutely gutting our economy, please see the statistics in this article: “55 Reasons Why You Should Buy Products That Are Made In America This Holiday Season“.

But no, the big unions will never dare oppose Obama.  They love him far too much to do that.

Meanwhile, we continue to bleed good jobs.  Large companies have announced the elimination of more than 100,000 jobs since November 6th, and it looks like 2013 is going to be a very difficult year for American workers.

If you are an American worker, you need to ask yourself why anyone would want to hire you in this kind of economic environment.  You are 10 to 20 times more expensive than workers on the other side of the globe.  In addition, our politicians just keep piling more rules, regulations and taxes on to the backs of the employers in this country.  It is more difficult than ever to make a profit from the labor of an American worker.

Honestly, I understand why most small businesses don’t want to hire anyone in this economic environment.  It just doesn’t make sense.  For much more on this, please see this excellent article by Charles Hugh-Smith.

And there are signs that things are going to get even worse.  For example, the NFIB Small Business Outlook survey dropped like a rock during November.  That is a very bad sign for hiring.

And another ominous sign for the economy was that the latest trade report showed that imports and exports are both declining.  That is usually a signal that a recession is coming.  Exports fell faster than imports did, and that is the reason why the trade deficit grew.  If imports and exports both fall again next month, it will be time to become extremely concerned.  When imports and exports both decline, that is a sign of slowing economic activity.

The United States will always need to trade with other nations, but we need to do it in a way that is balanced and that protects American workers.  Right now there is a one way conveyor belt taking businesses, jobs and money out of this country.  If we don’t do something about our mammoth trade deficit, we will have no chance of reversing the steady decline of the U.S. economy.

Hopefully we can get the American people to wake up and realize this.  Instead, most of the comments at the end of this article will probably be about the pros and cons of unions.  That will be yet another sign that most people still don’t get these issues.

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