Stagnated Wages? Everybody Knows.

Everybody knows that the dice are loaded.
Everybody rolls with their fingers crossed.
Everybody knows that the war is over.
Everybody knows the good guys lost.

Everybody knows the fight was fixed.
The poor stay poor, the rich get rich.
That's how it goes.
Everybody knows.

The 1950s, '60s and '70s was a time of real torment for the wealthy. They complained about a crisis of democracy (they said we had too much of it) and warned that socialist terrors like free health care or publicly funded education would be the death of us all. Finally, around 1980, they regained control of society. Business has had their way for the past 25 years or so. The result?

According to the latest Stats-Canada report, the rich got richer and the poor got poorer.

The small-L liberal - a.k.a. "neo-conservative" - argument has been that a rising tide floats all boats. Let the owners of private wealth become wealthier, they say, and the wealth of all will increase. Use public money to support private profit, they say, and business will create a society in which everyone prospers.

In fact, business created a society in which (some) businesses prospered while (most) workers and parents and children and seniors suffered increasing poverty and poor health.

Oh, and this just in: business is also tampering with our climate and may well bring about a global collapse of human society that will last for several thousand years.

The Adam Smith, small-L liberal, corporate-welfare, neo-con crew are adapt at blaming the victims. Note, for example, today's Globe & Mail's "what wrong with immigrants" editorial. (Answer: they chose Canada?)

The editorial also held up that tattered old "there is a clear link between higher education and better earnings" excuse.

That's certainly true. I'd earn about $1000 more each year doing the same job I do now if I invested $20,000 and four years in getting a University degree. When my job finally goes to a retired public school teacher with the right credentials (so you know the work is done well) and a pension (so you don't have to pay them much or employ them all year), people will agree that I "ought" to have gone back to school instead of wasting time... er, helping adults learn to read and write and add fractions? supporting family literacy and community development? winning awards for my work?

But that's all about credentialism - employment discrimination based on certification, not performance - and it is entirely artificial. It doesn't explain poverty anymore than poor health can be explained by saying people keep catching colds.

In other news, yesterday, multi-millionaire Frank Stronach (whose auto-parts company made $207 million in profit in the past 3 months) said the problem with the auto industry in Canada is that workers get paid too much. Presumably, he's not talking about himself, or planning to return whatever extra he thinks he's picked up undeservedly.

Everybody knows that it's now or never.
Everybody knows that it's me or you.
verybody knows that you live forever,
hen you've done a line or two.

Everybody knows the deal is rotten.
Old Black Joe's still picking cotton
for your ribbons and bows.

Everybody knows.

- S. Robinson, L. Cohen.

No comments: