infrastructure improvements require knowledge of our economic history of the past century.

Making America Competitive in a Global Economy

The knowledge of our country’s history and past accomplishments as an economic power is the equivalent of the recollection of our life’s studies and experiences. If you are over 60 years of age, you have lived through the golden years of the industrial manufacturing complex when we owned and conquered the economic world. If you are 45 years old or younger, you probably, unless you studied the literary writers of the early 20th century (Lewis, Fitzgerald, etc) and the history, economics and social organizations of that time period you have no base line to understand how the inequalities between the private sector/wealthy and labor (the working and lower middle class, farmers displaced due to mechanization, Anglo-Saxon, European immigrants, Native Americans and African Americans) who not only had a great disadvantage in wealth but who also averaged over 25,000 deaths per year (quarter of a million for decade of the 20’s) and 100,000 permanently injured each year (one million for decade of the 20’s) . Our country lost approximately 117-118,000 thousand during at that time the first industrial World War.

In today’s 21st century economic global marketplace we see similarities that our nation wrestled with between the private sector and labor during the explosion of our country’s industrialization (1900-1930) and those change agents of social innovation that finally erupted in the early-mid 1930’s with the initial New Deal programs during the first term of President Franklin Roosevelt’s Administration. We are now well into the third decade of what is known as the knowledge base information age and 21st century new economy. When our nation evolved from the agricultural nation of the late 19th early 20th century to the new mechanized industrial economy that would launch us into the greatest economy ever witnessed on earth there was a period of time where people of labor were left to fend for themselves. We lost 90% of the farm workers during the industrialization of farming. These displaced farmers and their families now had to decide where they would be of best economic value. Actually I believe most of them thought of it this way, “Where do I put a roof over my family’s heads and how do I put food on the table.”
Today we have seen the dismantling of the industrial manufacturing complex in America and those same plants and jobs are now manufacturing and producing the very same goods in China, India, other Asian nations, Brazil, Eastern Europe, and Mexico for the most part. We have seen so many people be disenfranchised without new skills to become economically serviceable in America either because of their age and our lack of our nation structuring of social change agents to retrain the vast majority of these workers. There has been some training and the Obama Administration even set aside some monies with the Recovery Act, but still it has been too little and probably too late to have those 50-65 year olds feel like their fully engaged in our new economy. Even the private sector and Wall Street have outsourced operational and administrative jobs off shore at typically a 70 to 80 percent savings in workers’ wages and benefits. How many times have you called a corporations customer service number only to realize you are talking to someone on the other side of the globe these past ten years.
The workers and laborers have always been dispensable in our American Economy. How is it that a business’s balance sheet equates its equipment as an investment and defines their worker’s as an expense; this actually gets at the core of how the private sector values workers? Actually though when we look back in twenty or thirty years we will actually define what is going on with the disfranchising of the American worker not so much about government policies or off shoring of jobs but for the very fact that we were in the middle of the economic evolution from out of our industrialized economy to a information knowledge base economy.

For the disenfranchised worker though, today not only feels like an inequality, but has become an inability to make or even have the ability to pursue a decent sustainable wage to raise their family, take care of elderly family members, and themselves during their silver years.

So when we look back at the period of the 1920’s, and if you are interested in researching my statements, I promise you you’ll find what it was like in America then is very similar to what it is today. You’ll notice that our structural organizations that only paid heed to the corporations and wealthiest of us American’s; the 10% who had control of approximately 90% of our nation’s wealth during the decade of the 1920’s. That means if we do the math, the elderly, the workers, the sick, the immigrant, the Native and African American split the remaining 10% between their 90% of the population. As was mentioned above, if you had a job you had a good chance of not coming home after a day of working 12 hours during a 6 day work week, better yet, being killed or maimed for life. You also had no one to represent or speak for your economic rights. Actually, between the years of 1905 to 1917 (right up to entering WW I) period we witnessed the Socialist movement trying to take a hold and dig in to represent those unrepresented people of our economic and political system. My question to you is how does one obtain life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness under such draconian authoritative economic structures?

Like the economic growth we experienced between the 2002-2006/2007 period; the roaring 20’s, the Jazz Age, witnessed prosperity (mostly with the upper class), evident by real income for manufacturing workers per year going up by 1.3 to 1.4 percent and the wealthy, the holders of common stock gaining 16 plus percent per year. Hello, do you see the evidence to what was happening then to what is going on now? The wealthiest today does not pay on the low Bush tax cuts of 34-35%, no; they pay at most 18-20 percent. Their investment in multinational corporations does not go to growing the American economy, the American worker, or the American infrastructure for the 21st century; no, it is going to those emerging nations and the bottom line of the corporations profit line.

Back in the early part of the 20th century we also witnessed that the labor unions did not have the influence when they did go on strike with workers in different metropolitan and even rural regions of America. After numerous strikes attempts brought on by local and regional union organizations especially after WW I, the corporations had all the support of our local, state and national government. Local governments would deputize non striking workers, the state would mobilize the National Guard, and the federal government used a two prong assault by sending in federal troops and mobilizing the Justice Department to quell any union uprisings. A lot of good working family wage earners were brutally beaten and jailed during these periods when the main goal of the union strikes were for better and safer work conditions, a five day work week and decent wages to support their families.

During the early part of the 1920’s, 4,250,000 Americans were unemployment and by 1927 that had dropped to about 2,200,000. Our countries unemployment before this last recession was at 4 to 5% and grew to over 10 % in less than a year with us losing as much as 750,000 jobs per quarter for the last few quarters of President Bush II’s Administration and continuing into the first quarter or two of President Obama’s Administration.

How does this affect our modernizing our infrastructure? First, we as a nation need to realize that this new information age economy needs to have economic plan established to ensure the survival of America during this century. Multinational corporations are not going to do what is best for the country. They’re not set up to do what is best. That does not mean that the members and workers within those organizations are unpatriotic. No, it does not mean that they are purposely cutting the legs of our American economy off at the knees. What those corporations are supposed to provide for in their mission are the profits for the survival of the corporation and most importantly to keep the revenues streaming in for the profits of their share holders.

The New Deal was successful not because it stopped the depression in its tracks after the crash of Wall Street in 1929. It did half unemployment but what it did was initiate the social change agents of our nation’s economy by guaranteeing every working American a job. It set the precedent for nominal government intervention into the economy to ensure the survival of the economy. There were situations back in the 30’s after Roosevelt had taken the oath of office that saw corporations continue to cut prices of products at the detriment of that corporation and the market itself in order to eliminate competition. There are those who will tell you if this had not been curtailed that our economy would not have had the industrial base to switch to a war time manufacturing industry to fight the on slaught of authoritarian fascism in Europe and Japans Imperial expansion in the Asian markets.

So when I explain we need a economic plan to grow our economy for the 21st century I do not want government to control the market place but I do want the government to be the watchdog, the referee, the umpire to recognize when we are creating situations or not creating situations that will allow our nation to continue to be the power it had become after WW II in the world. We are competing against some very smart and because of how their system of government is established we have competing nations that do not have to wait to have both houses of Congress and the Executive Branch to agree to every decision made. I do not want to change our system of government either, I just want us to realize this evolution into an information knowledge based economy does not allow for down time for a country to have the three branches of government to always be on the same page.

Establishing an economic plan that could be agreed upon by our branches of government would enable us to plan, expedite and create the new economic businesses to keep us at the top. It would require the understanding now that we need to build our infrastructure up to meet the challenges of the 21st century. It means we need to accept that alternative energies to power our country are ready to be implemented. Yes the petroleum, coal and nuclear industries are now facing their end of life with the growth of just the solar and wind industries this past decade. We are close to being able to go on line with building a new grid system; a smarter system that would have the security in place to keep terrorist from effecting our economy and to reroute energy to different parts of the country without the need to build more power plants that only go on line a few weeks out of the year.

The infrastructure system and energy sector would be the perfect bridge needed for our working wage earners. The real estate built industry has been mainly responsible for the lost of the 8 million jobs in America. No growth in this economic sector can take place until we have worked through the inventory and mortgage tsunami created by the fall of Wall Street in 2008. But we can take the infrastructure and energy sector to create the jobs needed to employ the remaining Americans that have not been able to find jobs because they do not exists.

We do not at all need to totally fund the $1.2 trillion dollars to rebuild our economies water, sewer, bridges, rail, education, and energy sectors. Yes we can develop the infrastructure banks we supported in Europe after WW II to rebuild Western Europe. These banks have been very successful the past 60 years providing investment return on investments to the bond holders as Europe rebuilt itself.

The last essay spoke of the political party that most likely would support the growth and recovery of our whole nation, not just the protection of the corporations and wealthiest of our nation. The truth can make people very angry, but the following facts are as true as the Sun rises in the east and sets in the west every day, not just sometimes but all the time. The 9 trillion of dollars in debt in our nation during the last three Republican Administrations is directly correlated with the political economic plan of the Republican Party; starve the income of the country and force the nation to rid itself of those social change agents to our economic structure. They would love to have both Medicare and Social Security privatized. Let’s be honest, Wall Street and the Health Industry would love these social programs privatized. You hear all the time on the fair and balanced network and the conservative talking head radio shows that both programs are going broke. Not to day, not tomorrow but someday. Well these programs have served our 90 percentiles very well. Instead of heading down the rabbit hole America, instead of buying into the fantasy of both these powerful sectors of our economy let’s be proud that we do not let elderly people starve and not have a place to sleep after their working years. America, let’s be proud that we do not let the sick and frail die because they do not have health care.

The wealthiest and most powerful corporations have done nothing but made huge amounts of money since their income taxes have been halved from what they were in the 1970’s to now, just like they were halved during the 1920’s before our greatest economic depression. We are not out of the woods yet by any means America. If we do not create an economic plan for our country’s future, if we do not create the jobs that we could easily create at unbelievably low interest rates, if we do not continue to take care of our most frail, sickly and elderly citizens and create the systems that take investments by Americans and yes even a little higher income taxes and infrastructure banks the 1930’s depression will seem like child’s play compared to what will happen to our great nation now.

The middle class during the same period has done nothing other than lose more and more economic power, lost or did not stay up equal to inflation with their wages and of course have been left out in the cold with the new informational knowledge economic age. If I can state anything in today’s essay it would be this; if you are not aware of our past history; if you do not understand the basic causes of a nation’s economic downturn; if you do not especially understand why our government must be a part of the social change agents to ensure our peoples survival by ensuring our economic survival, you will have no one else to blame accept the person staring back at you in the mirror today. Happy researching.


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