Tuesday, January 27, 2009

You Were Just Terminated - Now What?

Just yesterday lay offs totaling over 70,000 were announced by companies from a broad range of industries. What will happen now to those displaced and what is the short and long term damage to our economy?

In the short term the loss of those jobs means financial hardship for the families that are losing a paycheck. and a double whammy to the local, state and federal governments. Now the government must start paying out unemployment insurance and lose the payroll tax deductions associated with those jobs. You have to wonder how an economy that is shedding so many jobs will ever be able to recover from a hole that seems to just get deeper by the day. The last time jobs were being shed at this rate was in the early 1980's and back then the prospects for future job growth were still intact.

Since that time we have lost our manufacturing base, our Unions have been decimated and our gap between rich and poor has grown exponentially. White collar jobs are now disappearing at an alarming rate, being replaced by cheap but educated labor in countries such as India and the Philippines. Even our service sector jobs when possible are being outsourced to these foreign lands. Are we seeing the final death knell for the American Middle Class? I would say the answer is yes unless we act forcefully and soon. We must reverse this trend to the lowest common denominator and fight to restore our middle class. Without a vibrant middle class we will become just another country where the rich control everything and the poor are jut lucky to get by. The problem is how can we restore this nation to its former glory?

One way is to pass the Employee Free Choice Act. We must give the American worker all tools necessary to fight for a living wage. We must demand that public funds are never given to companies that outsource our jobs. We must encourage small company creation with tax incentives and tax those companies heavily that ship our jobs overseas. We must change the corporate culture that the future stops at the next quarterly earnings report.

How about charging tariffs for labor performed out of the country for customers that live in the country? How about having fair trade and using tariffs to offset the cost of lower labor abroad? There are common sense steps we can take to level the playing field.

Events this week show us that these companies could care less about us but that their executives are still enriching themselves at taxpayer expense. Can someone tell me why the handouts to Merrill Lynch and Citigroup have not been called in?

It is time for drastic action by the American workforce or soon we will all be fighting over those jobs that supposedly Americans will not do.

No comments: