8/09/2005 Killed by Corporations in Bush's Economic Recovery.
There is a story on AP, this morning that said that The President is upbeat due to reports that show a supposedly steady growth in the Economy. Oh really? Well I must have been living in a cave recently because any Economic recovery has certainly passed me by. Large corporations must be reaping the harvest of all of this Economic growth, because I have yet to see the fruit of any of it, and neither has 59% of Americans polled this week. According to the report 207,000 new jobs were created in July, the best showing in 3 months, and I know why, let me explain.
Lets take for an example an industry I know something about, mine. I have worked in The Film and Television Post Production business here in Hollywood for the past 10 years. When I first started out the money was not so good, but I was willing to start at the bottom and work my way up, the way we all learned success could be achieved here in the U.S.A.
Soon after I took my first job, I got a call from another company and was offered a similar job to the one I had for more money, an offer I accepted. When that job didn't pan out I was able to get a job at a third company for still more money, I was moving up the ladder and each job I got paid more then the one before regardless of what had happened at previous jobs. A familiar pattern began emerging. I would get a new job, and within a year, the company would be bought out by a larger company, resulting in my being laid off, due to consolidation. This happened a couple of times but still I was able to find new employment for an increase in salary each time as my experience became greater. I also had a health plan, paid vacation, holidays, and sick time at these jobs.
The buy out fever continued growing with all of the small post production facilities being swallowed up by larger ones. Then the companies that had bought out the small post businesses began being bought out by even larger corporations until my job search list which once had close to 40 companies on it had shrunken down to about 10. In January of last year, I had a job which paid me the most money I had made yet; although I was still not making enough money to consider buying a house here in the L.A. area. At one point during this time I did look at a couple of houses, the cheapest one having Interstate 5, running right behind the backyard was priced at 269,000. That house was gone within a couple of days. Each successive house I looked at was more expensive then the one before even if it wasn't as nice as prices began zooming. I soon realized that there was no way I could afford anything despite making about 50,000 a year.
Turns out I was right because soon after, rumors that the company I was working for was about to be bought out became confirmed as I was laid off yet again. After a while I began doing some freelance work, which paid close to what I was making before, only with no benefits of any kind. Sick days, vacations and paid holidays were a thing of the past, and the work was not steady. I was able to get by on that for a while but eventually decided that it was time to look for another full time job. Since I was at my last steady position, the corporate takeover of the industry has been virtually completed and the results have been disastrous. In the past month I have been on 4 separate job interviews. In each case the job I was seeking was the same work I had done before, and positions were offered to me but at a little more then half the pay I had been previously making. The first time it happened I could not believe that
they were making an offer like that with a straight face, the interviewer would go over all the benefits of working for the company and try to make it look as good as possible, but when salary was mentioned, that effectively ended the interview. When the government report says that 207,000 new jobs were created they don't mention how many were lost. So now all a company has to do is lay off workers making a decent salary, and give the job to someone else who is desperate enough to take the same position at half the pay. Due to the fact that I have a very scaled back lifestyle with low expenses, and no one depending on me for their food and shelter, I have not been that desperate, but the time is coming if something doesn't change soon. During this period of course, as my money supply went down, the price of everything continues to go up. The corporation that owns my apartment building just raised the rent again, and Exxon/Mobil is charging close to 3 dollars a gallon at the corner station. So here I sit, money gone, job prospects dim, I haven't had health insurance in close to 2 years, and have been lucky to be blessed with good health, or else I would really be broke and bankrupt.
I know that this scenario is not just playing out for me because according to the latest AP/Ipsos poll which is quoted in the story that I mentioned, Bush's approval rating on the economy is at 41%, and of course we all know the real number is somewhat less. So where is this economic recovery that Bush has been talking about for the last 5 years. I looked at the stock market index something I don't do much these days because I haven't had any reason to in the past couple of years, due to the fact that I no longer own any stock, and see that the Dow is at 10,600 or about where it was 5 years ago when Jr. took over. The fed is raising interest rates again, and the housing boom, which has been the major component fueling the so-called recovery is starting to stall. When that trend takes root, and becomes a solid reality look out below.
"More Americans are working today than ever before in our nation's history" Bush said as he signed his new energy legislation into law in New Mexico. As if that is a good thing. When both parents of a household have to work to make as much as one used to then yeah, more people are working. "Home ownership in America is at an all-time high. In other words, this economy is moving." Was another of the Bush's rosy outlooks on the state of the nation. More people working at less money to support the highest housing and fuel prices in history. The economy is moving all right, and the cliff is in sight. One more round of corporate takeovers, or the bursting of the housing bubble and we all better get a set of wings and learn to fly.