|Listening to the Bush - Cheney team the last couple of weeks, one would think that we are approaching an economic era that has dollar bills falling out of the average guy’s pockets, sugarplums and lollipops lying free for the taking along the highways and fairies standing on street corners handing out 100 dollar bills.
This almost would be laughable if it weren’t so sad. While companies make billion dollar profits off the backs of average workers by outsourcing their jobs overseas, they usually leave the remaining workers with less pay and benefits. Other companies with healthy profits are freezing pension plans while some with government sanctions are doling out pensions with huge decreases in what once had been promised. Millions of Americans saw their overtime pay taken away by Congress last year and together with the bankruptcy rule changes will pull thousands into the poverty ranks after catastrophic medical bills or other life changing events occur.
An economic report in November showed that workers' wages were down, with unit labor costs dropping by an annual rate of a half percent. Add to that the increase in gas and heating costs and the "food chain effect" will cause an increase in prices for goods and supplies we all need. 'Sure doesn’t look to me like the average guy’s life is getting any better.
Right now there is a budget package before Congress that cuts billions of dollars from things like Medicaid, food stamps, college loans and the school lunch program, while the Bush bunch is out touting permanent tax cuts that go mainly to the upper two percent of our society. None of that helps out the average guy or makes his economic life any easier; the hurt it will cause in the lower income community will be substantial.
While the poverty rate has risen each year for the last 5 years and the gap between the Wealthy and everyone else widens, Dear Leader must be preaching to the choir about his booming economy. It doesn’t boom in Middle Class America. Actually, no one here has even heard a small pop.
By the way, after writing this last night, I noticed the stock market hit 11000 today. I was curious as to the effect it might have on our average guy, so I asked him if that had changed his opinion on any of the things we had originally discussed yesterday. His reply: “With Christmas, braces for my kids’ teeth, paying the gas bill, buying clothes and shoes for my kids who seem to outgrow them every two months or so, paying my college kids’ tuition, paying the outrageous car insurance for my teen drivers, and with the pay cut I had to take last month to keep the company I work for afloat, I had two cents left over to do me another week until I was paid again. I checked and I couldn’t find any stocks I could buy for that. So, does it affect me? NO, IT DOESN’T!”
St. Joseph, MO