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Only War For The Working Poor

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Ever since I saw the 1997 movie Starship Troopers, I have watched with trepidation for the time when those who go to war increasingly get preference for employment as prospects dwindle for the majority. We have come to those times.

President Obama’s latest jobs initiative seeks to address the mounting unemployment numbers of the ex-military. Many of these people joined the service due to a lack of jobs in the first place, only to emerge from the military with worsened prospects than when they got in. I’m sure by focusing on jobs for the military, Obama seeks to water down the massive Republican intransigence that intends to make him a failed president; as if he isn’t already. Supporting our troops is such an important thing for the GOP to back, isn’t it? Oh! Wait . . .

As much as I want to see our military receive the pay and benefits they are promised in return for their service in the corporatist wars for profit, I have to ask loudly “What about the rest of America’s unemployed? What the hell do you intend to do about them, Barry?”

Obama supporters are adamant that their champion is a man of the people, very vocal in his defense, and quick to point to lists of his alleged accomplishments as proof that he’s for the working class. Yet when Obama’s actions are examined by those not blinded by partisanship, any such defense is easily breeched.

Take specifically the claim that Obama saved the auto industry. I have to ask for whom he saved it. No other governmental takeover of any private industry has cost as many workers their jobs, pay, benefits, and retirement as has the federal government’s ownership investment in GM and Chrysler. In fact, in no other such privately-owned entrepreneurship have any workers lost their jobs due to forced governmental restructuring. No other failed entity has even been taken over by Obama’s administration, even though the majority of the banks should have been.

But Obama wants to run on a reelection platform which shows an improvement in employment. That isn’t happening, despite the news lately. The numbers are juggled to reflect the best possible news in the headlines. But if one bothers to read into the depth of these articles, the real news can still be found. Investors insist on getting the real dope even if the average easily bored reader rapidly shifts attention to Kim Kardashian’s latest corporeal exposé once the economic details backing the headline have been found higher up.

For example, Bloomberg, after praising the economic improvement, lets slip low in the article that the number of long-term unemployed “was little changed at 5.52 million and accounted for almost 43 percent of the total.” This means that the hard-core of the unemployed will remain that way, left behind in the campaign circus that seeks to enhance the good news while burying the bad.

Mohamed A. El-Erian, chief executive officer of Pacific Investment Management Co., is quoted in this same article as telling Bloomberg Television’s In the Loop that, “…we should not lose sight that we have structural issues that aren’t being dealt with.”

As El-Erian expands in an op-ed published by The Washington Post, “The pace of job creation is certainly picking up but, as yet, is insufficient to overcome our unemployment crisis.”

Thanks to foolish tax and economic policies which were allowed to gut the nation of its industrial output, about the only employment option left for American workers is to go to war for corporate profit. We don’t make much in America anymore. Just take apart any of those Big Three vehicles which are now selling better in the US, and discover where the components that comprise that “American-made” vehicle were actually created. The electronics, for example, a growing portion of every vehicle, are made in Asian plants, such as Apple’s infamous Foxconn contractor, and under similar conditions. Those jobs once belonged to Americans, especially those former unionized electrical workers at Ford Co. spin-off, Visteon in Northern Indiana. Those workers, screwed both by their union and by their employer out of pay and jobs, now face draconian “right-to-work” laws passed by their legislature to make sure that the poverty they now endure won’t be improved upon even if they should get a new job. But the price of that Ford is still where it was five years ago!

Faced with such a bleak employment future, three hots and a cot doesn’t look so bad. But don’t get shot! Don’t get a mug full of IED fragments! It could ruin your chance of having employment after your enlistment ends. Should you get through your service unscathed, you would be better off than the average American without a DD-214. You at least would be considered for a position as national park maintenance. The rest of the civilians can contest with the bears for the contents of the dumpsters. Those too injured during their service to be employed would be among the latter.

It’s only a matter of time before the next military service requirement enters the scene. In the movie, one is a civilian until one completes service in the military. Only then does one receive citizenship and the right to vote. I’m sure that in between drooling over the chapters in anything by Ayn Rand, Republican visionaries devour Starship Trooperssocial engineering theories and plot on how to make such provisions part of the law. Obama has just opened the door to that future, one which will be propped open should the GOP actually decide to pass this proposed bill. But even if the GOP wait until there is a Republican in the Oval Office, they will point back to Obama’s dream of screwing those who don’t serve in favor of those who do, as the justification for such drastic changes in the social traditions of America.

Then you really will be on your own, just as the One Percent want you to be.

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About pessimist

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Realist –

    Take specifically the claim that Obama saved the auto industry. I have to ask for whom he saved it. No other governmental takeover of any private industry has cost as many workers their jobs, pay, benefits, and retirement as has the federal government’s ownership investment in GM and Chrysler. In fact, in no other such privately-owned entrepreneurship have any workers lost their jobs due to forced governmental restructuring.

    That’s some really wicked Kool-Aid you’re drinking there, guy, laced with all kinds of hallucinogens and amphetamines. Normally I’d ask for some of what you’re smoking, but whatever it is, is doing a real number on your brain. Thanks, but I’ll pass.

  • Igor

    The last sentence of realist’s article bears repeating:

    Then you really will be on your own, just as the One Percent want you to be.

    Yes, an isolated disorganized worker has almost no bargaining power against the well-organized corporate complex, except for a few glib people able to BS and bully their way into positions of power thatthey can parlay into the next step up the ladder. But of course there are few of those jobs, which is why they are always prating about them: they can sucker a whole bunch of people by advertising the one guy who made it.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Interesting set of connections, Realist.