Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Millions of Americans forced to work part time

From CBS News courtesy of Eschaton:

"I've been hired by this restaurant I absolutely love, but it's a part-time position," Dublin says.
She makes $11 an hour, plus tips.

In March, of the 192,000 jobs created, 30,000 were in food services. Restaurants and bars have added 323,000 workers over the past year, but Dublin is earning a fraction of what she used to make.


In the Labor Department statistics, Dublin falls into the category of people "forced" to work part time. There are some 7.4 million of them in America.

More here, with video.

This is what conservative views on economics have created, an enormous under-class of Americans who must live hand to mouth, and that group just continues to grow.  Meanwhile, the middle class continues to evaporate; many of them have been forced by circumstances not of their making to join the precarious working class, taking whatever job, and in many cases multiple jobs, they can find simply to stay afloat, living in fear that the slightest family financial crisis will blow it all up.  And they just keep losing ground.  Don't even get me started about how members of the working class have dropped into straight up poverty.

Triumphant conservatism in the political sphere has brought us to this sad and embarrassing situation.  Capitalism, left to its own devices, seems in no way inclined to provide the American citizenry with ways to improve its lot in life, or even to live, for that matter.  And, really, when you get down to it, that's the gist of conservative economics: leave capitalism to its own devices.  We've been been consistently moving in that direction for many years now, and forcing millions to live their lives in fear and/or poverty is pretty much all we have to show for it.

The old conservative rhetoric on this is now revealed for the shrill and hollow bullshit it is.  "Stop being lazy; get a job," that's all just insulting these days.  "Go to college" and "major in the right field" is just about as insulting, now that we're seeing up to fifteen percent unemployment in some of the so-called STEM fields.  We're not going to educate ourselves out of this.  We're not going to grow our way out of this, either, because, get this, THE ECONOMY IS ACTUALLY GROWING.  The economy gets "better" but the economic prospects for Americans get worse.  If you really believe the right-wing mythology on how this all works, then you're a chump.  And if you run around pushing these myths, then you're a dick, whether you mean to be or not.  It's no longer about individual character.  No longer about how hard you work.  About the choices you make.  It's about a broken economic system that continues to dominate the political imagination because of perceived past glories.  To tell people who are genuinely oppressed that it's their fault is being a dick, no way around it.

It's well past time to force capitalism to serve the people, rather than forcing the people to serve the capitalism.