With all the manufacturing jobs sent overseas, where will new jobs come from? “Service sector,” they say. What, exactly, are those jobs like?
Do you remember the hype about NAFTA-how it was a great idea because it would open up new markets for American products? This turned out to be a colossal joke and the joke is on us. Rather than open up new markets for American products, it opened new labor markets for American corporations, who promptly established manufacturing in Shenzhen and used the U.S. as the destination for Chinese products. We now export scrap metals and hides and import televisions, cell phones, and computers, resulting in a huge trade deficit. When is the last time you saw a television for sale that was made in the U.S?
The Corporate-Government Money Machine
It is nice that this has greatly enhanced the living standards in China. Even a $300/month job is better than no job at all. It has MASSIVELY enhanced the bottom line of a few mega-corporations, who in turn contribute to political campaigns in order to get more pro-corporate concessions and on and on until we find ourselves where we are now. Where we are now is hurting; unemployed, foreclosed on, credit ruined, school loans coming due and no decent jobs with which to repay them. To add insult to injury, pro-corporate pundits mock the 99% who got slammed-they are lazy, they want entitlements, they shouldn’t have gotten in debt (buying Chinese crap that made the corporations uber-rich.)
$10 an Hour
Those light manufacturing jobs are gone forever, they tell us. Globalization can not be reversed, they tell us. We will have service jobs. I suspect the millions of citizens will end up in “service jobs” like waiting tables and working retail. They will be making $10 an hour, working holidays and weekends and if they don’t like that, they are soft, lazy and spoiled. Let’s look at a budget for a person making $10 an hour. After taxes, this is about $1400 a month. Below is a very optimistic budget for such a service worker.
Live in a Dump
Though this depends on where you live, around here a person could get a rather dumpy rent for $500. Now he has $900 left. Utilities are maybe $120, phone service $50. Now he has $730. He would like to eat and that will cost him about $60 a week, if he doesn’t eat out. He has $490 left. How does he get to work? He needs a car, but can he afford a car payment? Assuming his credit has not been destroyed by past unemployment, he gets a clunker for $300 a month. He has $190 left.
Hand to Mouth
Gas, oil, etc, costs him $80 a month and mandatory car insurance costs $60. Now he has $50. He should save for car repairs-without a car he loses his job and sinks into homelessness. But he can’t-he needs clothes, cleaning products, personal hygiene stuff. He’d like to go to a movie, go on a little vacation-but he can’t. He’d really like to buy presents for his loved ones at Christmas-good luck.
On the Edge of Homeless
He has no health insurance, he doctors his own illnesses. If he should become seriously ill, he is ruined, he will lose his job and be evicted from his shabby rent. If his clunker breaks down, he is ruined. He can not afford a vacation, he cannot afford to patronize the very store or restaurant where he works for forty hours a week, therefore he can not “stimulate the economy.” He lives in a dump, drives a clunker, works full-time under crappy conditions and can not even afford a small vacation. He is always living on the edge of ruin-one illness and one car breakdown away from homeless. This is the future our leaders hold out for most of us. If we complain we accused of being socialists or communists (though communist China is OK because they are making profits there.)
Extinction of the Middle Class
The truth is, the 1% considers most of us to be superfluous. They think they don’t need us any more; they have the whole world to exploit for labor. It’s kind of a natural selection thing, the world changed and we didn’t adapt like they did, so that means they are the fittest and should survive and we should…what? We should– my dear 99%, become extinct-and leave lots of wide open spaces for the 1% to enjoy. Oh, they still have jobs for a few of us, tending their manor houses, doing their laundry and bringing them meals-you know, SERVICE JOBS.