What does a scorpion and a frog have to do with the blame-game focused on China, the public schools or Obama?

I agree that when it comes to Obama’s Race to the Top and Common Core war on U.S. public education, he is a wrecking ball—with help from Bill Gates (net worth $76 billion), the two most infamous Koch brothers (net worth $41.9 billion each) and the Waltons (family net worth $152 billion), and a few other billionaire oligarchs—who want to give U.S. children to profit-hungry corporations and lower-paid, temporary and less-skilled teachers in addition to higher paid CEO’s and Charter school managers.

But, I can’t agree that China and/or Obama are the problem when it comes to the economy, unemployment or the loss of middle class jobs, because U.S. corporations have been earning record profits for years, and many of the lost middle class jobs have nothing to do with President Obama’s economic policies and everything to do with the same power hungry, greedy corporate capitalists who are drooling over the $1 Trillion in annual state taxes/fees that supports the U.S. public schools.

In fact, it should be obvious to anyone who isn’t an ignorant fool, that the corporate agenda is profits and more wealth for those at the top.

How much wealth?

Mother Jones.com reports that the top 3.17 million Americans control 34.6% of American’s net worth while the bottom 285.3 million share 26.9% of that net worth.

To make sense of those numbers, according to the Federal Reserve, the net worth of all Americans totaled $123.8 trillion or 723% of GDP as of the first quarter of 2014. Translated, that means the wealthiest 3.16 million Americans are worth about $42.8 Trillion—or divided equally , $13.5 million each—while the rest of us are worth about $33.3 trillion or—divided equally—about $116.7 thousand each.  That means the wealthiest 3.15 million are worth 115.6 x more than the rest of us. And, let’s not forget that almost 50-million Americans, including 1 in 4 children, live in poverty, and millions of adults who live in poverty work for poverty wages for corporations like Walmart—for instance, to boost profits.

Did you know that Walmart teaches its workers how to apply for an estimated $6.5 billion in annual food stamps or $65 billion every ten years.

In addition, Mother Jones says, the annual income of the top 0.01% is about $24-million compared to an average of $29.8 thousand for the other 99.99% of Americans. … Wall Street profits have soared 720% while the unemployment rate for working class Americans climbed 102% and home equity dropped 35%.

And, if you really think everything sold in the U.S. is made in China taking away jobs for Americans, think again.

The Manufacturing Institute.org reports: “A common misconception is making the rounds: that domestic manufacturing is vanishing. This misperception is based on consumers’ daily observation of foreign-made products visible on store shelves and the media’s focus on the loss of jobs in the sector. But the facts do not support this pessimistic view. Manufacturing in the United States remains vital and important to the U.S. economy and is globally competitive. … Not only is manufacturing large, its industrial output has risen steadily over time. Over the last ten years ending in 2008, manufacturing value added has increased 22 percent.”

Did you get that? The value of manufacturing in the U.S. increase 22-percent over a recent ten-year period, while 8-million Americans, who worked in that sector, lost their jobs in the last 5 years.

In, Can smart machines take your jobs? Middle Class jobs increasingly being replaced by technology, The New York Daily News.com reported, “In the United States, half of the 7.5 million jobs lost during the Great Recession paid middle-class wages, and the numbers are even grimmer in the 17 European countries that use the euro as their currency. A total of 7.6 million midpay jobs disappeared in those countries from January 2008 through last June.”

The New York Daily News continued: Those jobs are being replaced in many cases by machines and software that can do the same work better and cheaper. “Everything that humans can do a machine can do,” says Moshe Vardi, a computer scientist at Rice University in Houston.

In conclusion, before you blame President Obama or China for lost jobs and high unemployment, look closer at America’s capitalist billionaire oligarchs, corporate CEO’s and Wall Street.

Do we really want to return to the pre-progressive era of no labor unions, small government and the Robber Barons of 1900 when 40% of Americans lived in poverty with an unemployment rate of about 5%.

Using the two percentages in the previous paragraph, how many  Americans do you think had  jobs back then and worked for poverty wages?—an era when women had no rights and children, as young as five, who lived in poverty, could easily be sold into servitude to factories and coal mines, a form of slavery that included child prostitution.

In fact, who suffered most during the Great Depression that ran from 1929 to 1939?

Historical Statistics and Analysis on Unemployment, Poverty, Urbanization, etc., in the United States reveals that by 1933, the unemployment rate had rocketed from the 1900 5% rate to 24.9%, but the poverty rate was still stuck at about 40%.

What does that reveal—that most of the workers who lost their jobs during the Great Depression were already living in poverty and working for poverty wages, and they went from next to nothing to zero, from barely starving to starving and homeless, and most of these working Americans were willing to work long hours for almost nothing to survive.

Before you believe anything the 21st century want-to-be Robber Barons claim through their media propaganda to fool you, remember this:  “A scorpion asks a frog to carry him over a river. The frog is afraid of being stung during the trip, but the scorpion argues that if it stung the frog, both would sink and the scorpion would drown. The frog agrees and begins carrying the scorpion, but midway across the river the scorpion does indeed sting the frog, dooming them both. When asked why, the scorpion points out that this is its nature.”

For the 21st Century Robber Barons, greed and the exercise of power is their nature, and they will destroy our country and our civilization to achieve their goals.

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran,
who taught in the public schools for thirty years (1975 – 2005).

His third book is Crazy is Normal, a classroom exposé, a memoir. “Lofthouse presents us with grungy classrooms, kids who don’t want to be in school, and the consequences of growing up in a hardscrabble world. While some parents support his efforts, many sabotage them—and isolated administrators make the work of Lofthouse and his peers even more difficult.” – Bruce Reeves

lloydlofthouse_crazyisnormal_web2_5

Lofthouse’s first novel was the award winning historical fiction My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. His second novel was the award winning thriller Running with the Enemy. His short story A Night at the “Well of Purity” was named a finalist of the 2007 Chicago Literary Awards. His wife is Anchee Min, the international, best-selling, award winning author of Red Azalea, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year (1992).

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3 thoughts on “What does a scorpion and a frog have to do with the blame-game focused on China, the public schools or Obama?

  1. “Poverty” needs defining. When I retired, I sold my home in Florida, shipped household goods to California, climbed in my airplane, and flew to San Diego. With over $100,000 in cash, a new car waiting for me in California, and a condominium soon to be mine, I was classed as living in “Poverty.” Why? I had cash income of less than the poverty level. I was not suffering.

    M.A. Hodges

    • Yes, there are people who are classified as living in poverty based on income and not net worth. I wonder if anyone has done a study on that. Curious, I Googled that and came up with term I haven’t heard or considered before: asset poverty, and I found an interesting paper here:

      https://www.russellsage.org/sites/all/files/u4/Haveman%20%26%20Wolfe.doc

      However, I suspect that in 1900—before they had the measurements in place today—the numbers were fairly accurate, because in 1900, the high school graduation rate was 6.4% and even in 1940 as the Great Depression was starting to wind down, HS graduation was only at 50.8%.

      According to Russell Sage.org, in 1900, the median years of schooling for the top 20% was less than 12 years, while the Median was less than 8 years and the bottom 20% was about 5 years.

      Yet by 2000, those numbers changed dramatically. The medium years of education for the top 20% is now more than 16 years, while the median is almost 14 years, and even the median for the bottom 20% is HS graduation.

      https://www.russellsage.org/sites/all/files/Fischer_Hout_Tables%20Figures.pdf

      Looking at the charts on Russell Sage.org clearly demonstrates that the development of the public schools and colleges have more than done their job to educate that part of the population willing to cooperate and learn.

      Then there is this about the myth of poor people being lazy:

      Laziness is one of the cultural traits commented on in the previous section, but we felt it deserved special mention because of how pernicious this myth is. Anyone who claims that extreme poverty is due to laziness has either not checked their facts or don’t trust the facts for some reason. Unfortunately it seems that the origin and longevity of this myth may be due to self-serving and racist aspects of rich world cultures.

      This argument has been leveled in the past against essentially every nation that was once poor. In the late 1800s there were similar accusations pointed at the Japanese. Japan is now known for their heritage of strong work ethic. Sachs goes through many examples of this sort of misconception in his book. We believe the crux of the matter was illustrated best when he said, “Stereotypes that Africans work little and therefore are poor are put to rest immediately by spending a day in a village, where backbreaking labor by men and women is the norm.” Studies have shown that poor adults spend more time working than their wealthy counterparts.

      Then there is the Retirement income gap between rich and poor. The working rich are in a position to accumulate retirement income that when retired does not appear as income making them look poor because poverty is based on income but, because most wealth of working Americans is concentrated in the top10% and especially the top 0.01%, it is only logical to conclude that most of the people who live in poverty are really poor and only a small number of people who may appear poor in retirement are actually wealthy through their assets. It’s a fact that the wealthy have more options to invest and shelter their money from taxation, but for those who are the working poor who are paid poverty wages, that is all but impossible.

      For instance: If life were a race to accumulate assets and savings, the winners would be crowned in retirement. With a lifetime to stockpile resources, some seniors’ wealth outshines the gross domestic product of small countries. Case in point: Retired movie producer David Geffen, worth $6 billion according to Forbes.com, surpassed Bermuda’s 2012 GDP of $5.5 billion.

      At the other end of the spectrum, more than 9 percent of those age 65 and older lived in poverty as recently as 2012. This year, living in poverty means an annual income of $11,670 or less for a single person and $15,730 for a household of two.

      With the exception of Social Security, income in retirement is largely a result of the savings an individual was able to stockpile while working. Relatively few workers still receive pensions from their employer. Large disparities in retirement income are the expected outcome, says Jack VanDerhei, director of research at the Employee Benefit Research Institute.

      http://www.bankrate.com/finance/retirement/retirement-income-gap-between-rich-and-poor-1.aspx

      In conclusion, you are an exception who belongs to a small minority of
      Americans who earned lots of money while working and acquired the assets to support an affluent retired lifestyle while appearing income poor. For instance, Bill Gates. Most of his great wealth is tied up in the Gates Foundation. I wonder how his income is now that he isn’t CEO of Microsoft. Maybe he doesn’t have any income. Based on taxable income alone, would Bill Gates then qualify as someone who is poor on paper.

      I think it is fairly safe to measure how many people who live in retirement who are actually poor based on education level and annual earnings between 18 – 65. And to support this theory, I refer you to a NY Times piece from 2011 that said, “Yet as it turns out, millionaires on food stamps are about as rare as petunias in January.

      The Internal Revenue Service reported that 2,362 millionaires collected a total of $20,799,000 in unemployment benefits in 2009; 18 people with an adjusted gross income of $10,000,000 or more received an average of $12,333 in jobless benefits for a total of $222,000.

      http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/13/us/gop-bill-would-block-food-stamps-and-jobless-pay-for-millionaires.html?_r=0

      If we use the numbers reported in the NY Times, then we have less than 2,400 wealthy petunias in January compared to a total of 47-million Americans who collect food stamps and almost half of that number is children under 18.

      Do a little math and we discover that about 0.005% of people in the U.S. classified as living in poverty are probably wealthy.

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