The first, and probably most important, myth that affects most Americans is the story that the reported "robust economy" has huge benefits for all and that anyone who desires a job can get one.
To begin with the most obvious basics, the statistics regarding unemployment are completely worthless, as we well know, and contain no information that should be included in any intelligent debate on the economy. When the government pats itself on the back and proclaims an unemployment rate of around 3%, they do this nation and its people a tremendous disservice. What that 3% signifies is that 3% of all Americans of working age are still registered with a federal employment agency or are using federal programs for assistance in looking for a job. That is all that this number indicates, nothing else. Not included in those figures are the millions of Americans who are no longer eligible for unemployment assistance and those who are employing every means at hand to acquire employment except federal programs (mostly a problem in rural areas where few, if any, federal positions exist) or those who have found only part-time employment but desperately seek full-time jobs and those who must work two or three or more jobs part-time just to make enough to obtain the barest of life's necessities and those who have just given up the search due to a lack of education or employment skills or any of the hundreds of other reasons that have been ignored in the government's statistics. If those American's who fit these descriptions were sensibly and honestly included within the unemployment figures, the true rate would be a minimum of 10% and possibly as high as 15%.
Looking at just one segment of the population's unemployment realities, when the true number of black males in America is adjusted for the undercount in the last census and the 800,000 black men caught up in the conservative's War on Americans Who Use the Wrong Drugs and were imprisoned, their unemployment rate is closer to a full 25%. (1)
Next, the efforts of conservationists to force business to drastically change their manufacturing and disposal of toxic pollutants and wasteful energy consumption in order to stop our planet's fall into a period of massive global warming will only serve to bankrupt Corporate America and destroy our economy.
The most obvious problem with this argument is that not every portion of Corporate America carries full blame for the production of waste gases such as carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide and methane and on and on. Thus, the effects of an effort to greatly reduce or eliminate these excess gases being expelled into our atmosphere will only be felt by those few who are primarily responsible, such as the oil monopolies and auto manufactures and chemical producers and electric utilities and the like. All of these industries have available to them technologies that can minimize or do away with these pollutants but, as has become the habit of Corporate America since 1980, they refuse to do so unless the costs are quickly recovered through more tax payer sponsored Corporate Welfare or by forcing the consumer to pay outrageous prices for the cleaner product, insuring that the status quo can be maintained.
Consider the electric car. Brought out to great fanfare in the press, it has quickly found itself out of production due to "lack of consumer interest". At $30,000 each and with very limited sites where the vehicle could be recharged that lack of interest is understandable. Had the car been priced far lower (and the R&D costs spread out over a longer period) then the car would have been within reach of the average buyer. Had the system of recharging not relied on complicated "paddles" and costly to install "recharging outlets" but, instead, been dependent only on existing wiring and outlets that were already installed in most buildings and homes then the benefits of an electric car would have more heavily outweighed the disadvantages such as the limited range and slower acceleration to highway speeds. These drawbacks could have been minimized in later models as the technology improved and customer tastes changed from the current obsession with automobiles that can exceed the posted speed limited in less than a minute from a standing start, but disregarding the huge fuel and maintenance costs, and replaced it in more and more consumer's minds with the clean and efficient and, overall, far less expensive alternative of the electric cars.
Granted, such a change in production would, indeed, prove to necessitate some costs to the automobile and petroleum industries but, as has been the main question of these articles from the beginning, which is more important, the profits of a few industries in Corporate America or the life and health of this planet and all of its passengers? For my regular readers, we can all agree that this question is rhetorical as only mankind matters and the business cycles of Corporate America is completely secondary to all such issues. We have all witnessed, over and over, Corporate America whining and crying that this regulation or that government control costs too much when what they really mean is that being a decent citizen of this small world cuts into today's profits and only rewards the tens of thousands of generations that may follow this greedy and corrupt one.
When looking at the chemical industries, the proposition has been put forth, both here and in other progressive arenas, that legislation must be passed which would compel all companies manufacturing any toxic or carcinogenic or other man-made pollutant to also create a process by which those chemicals can be disposed of in a environmentally safe manner. If no such process could be found, then those chemicals would be banned from production both domestically and in all foreign subsidiaries of any company doing business in America. This would obviously include all processes which, as a part of the process or as a waste of a process, entails the use of any radioactive substance.
None of these industries need go bankrupt in order to clean up this planet and keep it clean in the future. It may well force the companies to lower their dividends to their market owners during the transition but, in the end, any company that cannot keep up with the needs of its customers and the demands of the environment has no place in our future, anyway. (2)
The third myth is that the only way to save public education is to take even more money from it and allow parents a choice through voucher programs since only competition cures any and all societal ills.
This one is a no brainer for everyone but a conservative or a religious fanatic who just can't stand other children receiving a real education based on fact and not on some ideological belief system that disputes or ignores all facts and reality and relies completely on "faith".
First, the Constitution is perfectly clear on the subject of the unconditional wall between church and state in America. Not one penny of our tax dollars may ever be given, in any manner, to any organization affiliated or sponsored by a religious organization. Nevertheless, this wall has been illegally breached by the state of Wisconsin, which will pour $70 million into private and religious schools, as well as Milwaukee's $30 million already stolen from the public school system and given over to ."rescue poor children from poor schools even though a full 75% of students using these vouchers this year alone have never been enrolled nor attended public school for even one day in their lives.
The reality is far simper and far more fair than religious fanatics and their followers in government would have you believe. The state of Kentucky is a magnificent example of the fact that the Right's sad decades in power has left the budgets for educating your children far behind in the race towards cutting taxes and raising tax breaks for Corporate America. This conservative agenda is the basic problem for our children's lack of a decent education, not some religious extremist's vision of evil teachers ignoring their lesson plans and replacing it with liberal and Communist political agendas.
The depths of the conservative's wicked agenda is exposed in that reading scores for elementary and high school students more than doubled after the state of Kentucky, under court order, increased education funding by 42% between 1990 and 1994. The money was directed by the court to finance the training of thousands of teachers, set up before and after school programs and to help institute curriculum changes. In fact, this court order also resulted in a 52% reduction in the gap in spending between wealthy school districts and poor school districts. This last fact only proves my contention that every school should be funded completely fairly with poorer districts receiving funds equal to those invested by wealthy parents ands groups in their district schools and paid for through increased taxes on the wealthy. All children, no matter what their parent's economic status, deserves the very best education available. Vouchers are not now nor have they ever been the answer to our children receiving a quality education. In fact, the one solution that the conservatives constantly ignore is the one that will also benefit the rest of America and, in fact, the world. All that is needed from the conservatives is their complete and utter removal from all phases of our political and spiritual lives and to return to their seventeenth century caves where they belong. That last is just my opinion, you understand?!? (3)
Finally, let's tackle the myth that Corporate America loves (because, even in times of massive layoffs, it insures each upper level manager and executive a nicely sized kingdom that will only be reduced from the bottom up). That is the truly insulting belief that employees won'' work hard without the strict supervision of well paid managers looking over their shoulders eight to twelve hours a day. The reality is that Corporate America employs three times as many mid and upper level managers per worker as their counterparts in Japan and Germany. This propagates the growing disparity in income between the average American who does the real work and the managers whose only ability is to administer.
The reality, as many studies have repeatedly shown, is that employees who participate in the decision making surrounding their job and who are enrolled in profit sharing plans always pays off in increased productivity and a happier work place. It's really pretty simple, all Corporate America has to do is treat their employees like actual human beings and give them the same respect that they demand, themselves. Yes, this may possibly slightly cut into the profit sharing that the executives enjoy but, in the long run, any group of workers who fell respected and heard by their managers will repay that benefit with improved productivity and that significant but long belittled employee offering, loyalty. (4)
Gentle readers, the responsibility to inform this nation of the truth that Corporate America wants hidden falls directly on those few of us who still care deeply about that faint and flickering light, truth. Whenever you find information that you believe needs to be shared, you have my complete permission to send those who care copies of any and all articles you wish. I only ask that this site and I are credited in some way. It is, indeed, up to us.
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