U.S. Workforce, Localities
in Process of Disintegration
July 2, 2010 (EIRNS)The social significance of the ongoing long-term unemployment in the United States became more clear with the recent release of a May survey of 3,000 American adults by the Pew Research Center. That survey concluded that more than half (55%) of all adults in the labor force say that in the past two years, they have lost their job, taken a cut in pay, taken a reduction in hours, or become involuntary part-time workers. Add their spouses, their parents, or adult children, and virtually every American worker has been hit with a job or wage retrenchment during this collapse.
This collapse of employmentitself caused by the deliberate deindustrialization of the United States and the replacement of industry by the financial gambling economy, over the past 40 yearslies at the root of the spreading disintegration of social life throughout the United States. Unemployed and poor workers do not pay taxes. The collapse of tax revenues has hit localities with hurricane force, causing them to carry out waves of cutbacks in services.
While some of these local cutbacks were temporarily mitigated with Obama's stimulus program, nothing was done in that program to address the fundamental problem of the collapse in productive employment. And at the same time, the mass of toxic paper dominating the nation's financial system has been protected, and increased. In fact, only a Glass-Steagall reorganization of the U.S. banking system would create the conditions for the massive amount of new investment in infrastructure, which is required to reverse the situation.
As of late June, the disintegration process has become extreme. Localities around the country are cutting police departments, fire departments, teachers, and libraries. Salary cuts and furloughs are being handed down. Medical services and other social supports are being eliminated for the poor, handicapped, and elderly. Local infrastructure is being sold off to financial sharks, for a minimal amount of money up front, just to pay current bills.
This is what a New Dark Age looks like, and there is not much time in which it can be stopped.