We have all read the “official” unemployment rates. I have always wondered how many people believe those rates. Several years ago the author Barbara Ehrenreich said the real unemployment rate was closer to 30 percent. It must be even worse by now. When I attended our grandchildren’s Christmas play at school, though it was the middle of the day, there were many working-age fathers in the audience.
The official rate is pure fiction. Welfare, Social Security and unemployment programs are costly for the simple reason that many are on them who were employed and working to pay for them a few years ago. This is the hidden, or maybe not so hidden, cost of cheap imported goods.
We are told that Americans are not trained for “tomorrow’s jobs.” Really? We live in an area with multiple colleges. We have several large trade schools. We have high schools training people for college. “Business leaders” tell us we are all too stupid to do tomorrow’s jobs? It is sheer propaganda. After claiming that they cannot find anyone who is qualified, they then go to their obedient Congressman and get foreign workers, while American kids are paying to learn the skills for what they have been told were “tomorrow’s jobs. And when tomorrow arrives, someone else will get the job.
In the meantime, many complain that they cannot understand the person on the other end of a help line. If a Puerto Rican had a Spanish accent, employers would say he was not qualified. Change that accent to an African or an Asian accent, pay him cheap, and suddenly the person is qualified.
Of course the American kids qualify for the Army, so they can protect the sources of the goods for corporations.
When large investors have their investments threatened, Congress does something to help them. But an American who invests years of his life and incurs debt to acquire training on the word of our business leaders that he is learning “tomorrow’s job” will be labeled a deadbeat who cannot pay his exorbitant student loans by working minimum-wage jobs.
Where will unemployed Americans get relief? They will have to drastically change their voting habits. Both major parties have supported the exportation of good jobs from the United States. Both have supported excessive immigration in the face of high unemployment. Locally, Six Flags houses foreign workers in dormitories while Americans are left looking for a summer job. I think we can expect the same from a casino.
In 1960, if a person had told me that organized labor would support politicians who exported jobs from the U.S.A., I would not have believed it. But it does now. The lack of jobs is the fault of the two major parties, from the President down to the local precinct captain, and those who support them, such as organized labor. Springfield politicians do not fault the national politicians for the unemployment when they visit. They snuggle up for that photo shoot. Labor unions, their allies, brag that they get workers a paltry wage increase, then support politicians who support shipping jobs to countries with slave labor.
We need to sweep out the major parties.•
Robert Underwood lives in Springfield. He ran for the U.S. Senate in 2008 and has been a member of the United Auto Workers and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.