Monday, March 11, 2013

The death of the middle class

I can't argue with a single word of this.

I'd think that there would be a winning political message in this, but the Republican party is hopelessly statist and would rather feed the Big Government beast (at the expense of the middle class) and pay off their big business friends.  The Democrats only care about the underclass and big business anyway (and actively despise the middle class who show all too much initiative for the Dems liking).

Bottom line, the country is screwed.

It brings to mind the hollowing out of the Roman Republic, when the backbone of society - the small freeholders who made up the core of the army - all fell into poverty and went on the dole.  After that, it was just a matter of which Imperial group came out on top.  Sulla or Marius, Caesar or Pompey, it didn't matter to the old Roman middle class.

Democrat or Republican party, it won't matter here.  This is related:
To be perfectly honest, the fundamental problem with free trade is not that the federal government allowed foreign companies to sell their goods in the US, but that the federal government imposed a massive regulatory regime on domestic producers, as well as costly taxes, and generally onerous labor laws.  The US government basically hamstrung domestic businesses, than invited their less-restricted foreign competitors to compete in the US market.  The results are not surprising.
Americans should be livid at the federal government for destroying economic prospects and transferring their wealth to elitist corporate overlords.  The fact of the matter is that major corporations have benefitted from this massive betrayal of the American people as it has allowed them to gut American wages by hiring poor people in third-world countries to the jobs that American workers are essentially legally prevented from doing (or at least competing on price).  As a consequence, the unemployment rate is extremely high, wages are low, and now the benefits of free trade have disappeared as prices of food and energy continue to rise.  But at least the corporate elites have enjoyed billions in profits as well as multimillion dollar bonus checks.  This particularly insidious form of crony capitalism has ensured that future generations of Americans will seeing their standards of living erode while the corporate elites who betrayed and brainwashed, with help from elected politicians and corrupt bureaucrats, live high on the hog.
There's not an inch of difference between the two parties on this.  Clinton signed NAFTA, along with a bunch of new regulations.  Bush increased the number of countries in Free Trade Agreements from 3 to 16, and added a ton of new regulations (hello, Sarbanes-Oxley, which destroyed the high tech startup IPO market).  Obama has, well you see what's going on.

The only thing I'd add to Simon Grey's excellent analysis is that both parties conspire to keep the borders open, and that illegal labor undermines legal labor just like when the currency is debased.  When the Romans cut the amount of silver in their denarius, people stopped taking the old, pure silver denarii (because nobody could tell if they were good or not).  Bad money drives out good, and illegal labor drives out legal in the presence of minimum wage laws.

Bah.  Must be Monday.


Unknown said...

Yeah. Monday.

For almost the past twenty years, I've lived outside the US, spending (at most) 5 or 6 weeks per year inside the country, so I don't have nearly the feel you do for conditions on the ground there.

Just from what I see, though ... If I didn't already own land there--well to the west of the Mississippi, thankfully, and separated from the Left Coast by at least one mountain range--I might not even be trying to repatriate.

At least I'm in a reasonable position for transitioning to subsistence horticulture. That's convenient, because that's what I expect it to come down to. I haven't bothered trying to figure out how to feel about the situation.

Economics? Politics? Ha. Frelling. Ha. Capitalism in theory might be Dagny and Hank, but capitalism in practice is all James and Wesley.

And lots of places are worse.

Monday. Yay.

Divemedic said...

This sentence is the problem that I have with the linked article:
"But by then, the damage will significant and will take a considerable amount of time and effort to reverse."

The situation is already irreversible. Social security, Medicare, and the interest on the money we have already borrowed are by themselves more than what the government collects, and only getting larger. The only way to fix things is to eliminate them. It is already too late to phase them out, they must be eliminated. Now.

But that won't happen, because the politician that suggests that will have a political life span measured in terms of microseconds. No, we are riding this all the way to the bottom.

The problem is that the government may be out of money, but they have plenty of weapons, and plenty of people who will sell out for food and relative comfort in exchange for operating those weapons.

We are about to see a dictatorial police state the likes of which has not existed on earth. Things are going to get really bad.

Paul, Dammit! said...

The covert contract in both camps to maintain a steady-state of illegals is so often understated. As my formerly-illegal alien wife has stated multiple times in her homespun wisdom, the issue is not the illegals, but the citizens who employ them. There isn't a single illegal alien getting by who isn't empowered by a citizen trying to save some pennies.

ASM826 said...

"Bottom line, the country is screwed." I agree. Others may pick a different point, but I think the Supreme Court ruling on Obamacare was the last straw. We now have so much debt (and another 8 to 10 times the debt in unfunded liabilities) that it is unrecoverable. They know it, too. Why else are they building a drone armada, buying 2700 M-RAPs, and 1.6 billion rounds of combat ammo for Homeland Security?

Anonymous said...

"But by then, the damage will significant and will take a considerable amount of time and effort to reverse."

For clarity's sake, I meant that recovery will consist of a rebirth of civilization, which I imagine will take hundreds of years, if not over a thousand, and will see a lot of violence and minor revolutions in the interim. I think that recent developments pretty much spell the end of not only America, but of most of the civilizational advances of the past two centuries, and getting back to this point will take a ton of time, blood, sweat and tears. I strongly doubt that anyone reading this will witness the rebirth.

deb harvey said...

hi. met a lady from a north-central state. factory there all illegal aliens with forged papers. natives out of work, put out of decent-paying jobs by illegals brought in by company--be fair, they can't compete with imports in some fields-- lady told us immigration official always warns company when inspection will take place. those with 'inadequate' papers told by personnel officer to 'get better papers'.
so, the corruption is at plague stage.
without integrity we are doomed.