Automation- Your Job Is Not Safe From Indirect Effects, Pt 2- Solutions

Part 1 of this series addressed the challenges involving automation which affect our economy and job market. Part 2 addresses solutions which we cannot avoid having to implement at some point. If we do not implement these solutions at some level, our economy and our society as we know it will continue to deteriorate and ultimately collapse. We’re already well on the road to that conclusion.

There is no stopping it. You will not stop the advance of technology and automation. It’s here to stay and is accelerating. Technology has been advancing since prehistoric times. Technology multiplies technology. Humans have always used tools to build bigger tools, better tools, buildings and factories to create tools. Computer programs speed the development of better, faster programs. We now have programs that write programs. Computer hardware is used to develop the next generation of hardware, faster, more capable, more resilient. The more the tools advance, the fewer the number of workers needed to accomplish the greatest amount of work. The only time this is bad is when it happens in a capitalist system. Remove money for survival from the equation and it is a positive. Keep money in that equation and it becomes deadly.

WE need to adapt our attitudes. Many Americans are still stuck in the concept that Socialism is bad. Never mind that without Socialist-leaning programs our economy would collapse right this minute. Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, public schools, public roads, health departments, fire departments, police, jails, prisons, etc. Millions of jobs rely on a Socialist ideal right now. The problem with the advance of technology is that our economy has not kept pace. Our attitudes as a society have not kept pace.Most of this is because of capitalist ownership of media and domination of education, all pushing a capitalist agenda. “Capitalism good, Socialism bad.”WE need to evolve beyond this mindset. Stop giving in to fear of change. See what is happening. Stop trying to prop up a collapsing building.

Advances and opposition. Technology will continue to advance no matter the economic system. It is part of our evolution. It is the human drive to solve problems and defeat challenges. The first humans that used rocks as hammers made no monetary profit. The first humans to develop bronze, iron and steel made no money. The problem is that the same mindset to evolve and defeat challenges in our economy is opposed by a barbaric need to dominate, by greed, by ego. It is an absolute indication that our society has not evolved socially. It is this barbaric mindset which holds us back, which is apathetic or even sadistically jubilant at the suffering of human beings who lack the resources to dominate, even if that person is born with artificial socially imposed disadvantages which have nothing to do with their capabilities or true potential. It is this barbaric mindset which refuses to grant anything for free and pushes to make even the most basic needs like clean water a commodity available only for an ever-increasing price. It is that barbaric mindset which keeps those born or forced to the bottom of the economic ladder constantly fighting for mere survival until they have no time, energy or resources remaining to even make the attempt to climb higher. Mental slaves to that barbarism attempt to blame the victims of this system for their alleged failings. Surrendering our minds to that barbaric mentality means surrendering our lives, our society, our health, our children and our futures to someday be on the victim side of that equation. Many are experiencing this today as the middle class loses ground and becomes ever more insecure.

Limited options. There are only a limited number of solutions to the conditions which we are facing. Every one of those solutions involve some form of Socialism. Trickle-down economics is a demonstrated failure. Capitalists still try to claim that only capitalist solutions can save capitalism. Yet none of that is true. We have watched the flow of wealth to the top over nearly 40 years and we are now in crisis mode globally. You can cheer for your favorite gazillionaire all you like, that doesn’t mean that your paycheck grows any larger, that your personal future becomes any more secure. The rich have had sycophants groveling at their feet through all of history but when you no longer present a profit to the rich, your purpose has been served and you get thrown out like so much garbage along with everyone else. Stop licking boots.

Drop the resentment of the poor. Resentment of the poor does no good. Let’s say that some people take unfair advantage of welfare and avoid that argument. The fact is, if 25%, 1 out of four of Americans, took advantage of welfare to the tune of $1000 a month every month, that would equate to an annual cost of $990 billion. Now consider that most of those welfare recipients are likely to be supporting families. Consider that this spending would be spent in the economy, supporting jobs and incomes. The government surrendered more money than that giving tax breaks to the rich in 2018. The rich responded by using that money to buy back over $2 trillion in stock. In other words, enough to give HALF of Americans an extra $1000 a month. Yet that tax break created exactly zero jobs. Bloomberg recently reported that the job market declined by 600,000 since December 2018.

Solutions. It is obvious that the only way that the general population and capitalism itself will survive is by implementing some form of Universal Basic Income (UBI). As more jobs cease to exist, competition for remaining jobs becomes more fierce and as a result wages plummet, we are driving headlong into conditions ripe for unbridled civil war. You can deny it but that doesn’t change the truth. Look through history and the same conditions have always resulted in civil war by some name. Call it revolution, uprising or anything else, they all mean the same thing. The only thing missing at this point is some spark to light the final fuse. That fuse is lit. Flooding in the midwest, decreased imports and increasing prices due to tariffs mean that we are now facing a shortage of resources which will only be available to those higher on the income scale. As resources become more exhausted, it will mean more jobs are lost and prices escalate further. Cutting social support programs to support warfare and corporate welfare is exactly the wrong thing to do at exactly the wrong time. Yet that’s what is happening.

New ideas. It is obvious that new ideas and approaches are needed. We cannot keep applying the same old ideas which have NEVER worked and expect them to suddenly solve our problems. We have to be brave enough to accept the fact that the old system has failed and will continue to fail. Remaining in the same system for fear of change is no different than remaining in an abusive relationship because the abuser tells you that you cannot survive without them. It is the rich, the capitalists who will not survive without us. We literally don’t need them at all. Workers build and produce everything. Our national resources, including intellectual property, belong to us, not them. The profits from our efforts, our lands and waters do not belong to them by any authorization but our allowance, which has cost too much destruction, too much suffering, too many lives. The time for UBI is now. Not later. Later will be too late. Corporations are not your friends. The rich are not your friends. Corporate media are not your friends. Politicians who push the capitalist agenda are not your friends. The sooner YOU realize that, the sooner we can move forward together and build something better than we have. The other choice is that we all fail together.

— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —

I am an independent writer with no corporate sponsors or backing. The only income I make from my writing comes from views. At least I have reached the point where it makes more than it costs me! lol! (Not by much.)My writing is done in between full time (and overtime) nursing, shared custody of my brilliant daughter and mundane existence.

I have opened my new website which is intended to be a central listing of protests and political rallies across the US. It’s still a work in progress but is functional. You can find it at http://RallyAndProtest.com

Please consider becoming a patron on Patreon. I try and average at least 20 articles a month, so a $1 a month donation would come down to 5¢ per article to support independent, non-corporate writing. My Patreon page is here.

If you care to share articles with those who do not have Medium or Patreon accounts, I also post most of my articles on my own website, which has no advertising and I pay for with income from writing. My website is at https://issuesunite.com/ and all articles can be shared freely. You can always quote me, no attribution required. My goal is spreading information and awareness. The whole point is building a better, more peaceful, more equitable world for us and future generations.

Automation- Your Job Is Not Safe From Indirect Effects, Pt 1- The Challenges

I’ve been writing about the effects of automation reducing jobs for several years now. More jobs are being eliminated through automation than the number sent to other countries.

Jobs which become automated will never come back. Period. The jobs do not even have to be automated in this country. They can be automated in another country. The result is the same, that the job no longer exists.

I still encounter people continuously that insist that technology creates more jobs than it eliminates. When challenged to explain how that works, they consistently fall silent. All they have is propaganda which they regurgitate, either programmed into them or which they directly promote with full knowledge that their words are false. Many of those who have challenged my statements work in the tech and robotics field, trying to justify their positions. I will admit that some of them seem to be trying to ease their own conscience. Sorry, I cannot be that nice to them.

I am not a Luddite or against technology. As a nurse, I prefer computer charting and despise paper charts. They’re a pain in many respects. They may be more secure for privacy but there have been many cases of paper charts being damaged, burned or destroyed. Once they’re gone there is no backup, they’re just gone. Forever. Plus the whole thing of chasing down the single copy of a chart when multiple offices or doctors want to access it while medical records sits on their thumbs is not fun, to say the least. As a writer, this effort relies almost exclusively on technology. Accessing information today takes a fraction of the time it once did. Sharing valid information is done in milliseconds. Mass social movements can be built in short order in this way. Independent media relies on technology, allowing us to bypass the multibillion dollar corporate propaganda machine.

Their rationale fails every time. The point where the tech propagandists fall is when I ask them to explain why companies would invest in expensive systems to reduce labor, when it would only result in more labor cost. I’ve stated before how jobs for auto workers, telephone operators, print setters, proof readers, toll booth attendants, accountants, bank tellers, cashiers, file clerks, manufacturing jobs and many more have been eliminated due to technological advances. Once systems are built, it takes only a few workers to maintain them. Updating software is done remotely, so one worker in another state or country can maintain systems. One or two technicians for a large company or from a contractor can maintain hardware for a city or several cities. Repairs are a matter of replacing disposable components.

No, trades are not safe. Of late, I have heard from people who say that trades are secure. No, they’re not. One person replied to a comment by saying he is a painter who does mold remediation. I concede that his job is secure. For the moment. Yet over time it will not be. This is true for many occupations.

The threat does not need to be a direct one.

The race is on. On his own statement, I directed him to do a search on YouTube. Right now there are many companies and universities in multiple countries developing home painting systems. Each one first does scanning and mapping of the space to be painted, stores a 3D model and then starts painting. So they are not limited to a set environment. It is a race for the first system to be patented and implemented. These systems do not do remediation but focus on viable structures and new construction.

Now, think about the implications.

Overcrowding. I’ll stick with the home painting issue as an example. Painters do not all do remediation. However, once robotic systems become widely used which eliminate an ever-growing number of jobs for new and stable construction, painters who relied on new or stable construction for income will acquire new skills which add on the their existing skills. Like mold remediation. This results in increased competition, driving down prices for remediation. Reduced pricing then results in reduced income per contract. The number of contracts will remain constant, while more workers will be competing for them. Less income per job, fewer jobs available.

Expand the concept. I have challenged the growing cry of people claiming that trade skills are secure. See that article here. However, let’s say that they are correct and I am wrong. If other occupations continue being eliminated while trade/vocational occupations remain secure, what happens? You’ve seen this before. What happens is that the number of people entering those careers skyrockets. The field becomes overcrowded, competition for those jobs becomes fierce, driving down wages and available opportunities are spread among a greater number of workers.

Ask a Programmer. One of the claims that will not go away is that there is an increasing need for programmers. That information is sorely outdated. Years ago, there was a demand for programmers who developed entire programs and systems. Those who had the skills could demand high wages. Today, thanks to competition, a programmer who could once demand $100 an hour can barely demand $30 and have to compete for that. Today, rather than building programs and systems, we have developers who develop applications or “apps” which run on top of operating systems. In many cases, apps can be developed with drag-and-drop programs developed by someone else. Even that has seen competition which demands short development time, perhaps only a few hours, at lower cost, meaning less income. In fact, tech development has resulted in systems which can create simple apps with no human programming needed. Tell the system what you want the app to do and it compiles an app for you with pre-written scripts pasted together. Developers have developed themselves out of jobs.

We already see the effects. The dwindling number of remaining occupations, the increasing number of applicants into these occupations is already apparent. Careers which once demanded high skill levels have been “dummy-proofed” through technology. That means fewer literal skills are required for most occupations. That means companies can pay less to workers and offer fewer benefits. Corporations can move entire operations to different states or countries and hire people with no skills at all. Just follow simple instructions for actions they repeat all day, every day for years. Auto workers demand far less pay than they once did. Programmers rarely program. Cashiers don’t have to be accurate. Trust me, I used to run a manual cash register. Riveters don’t rivet, they push a button and the robot rivets.

Many jobs are centralized. Talk to a telephone operator in your own state lately? Customer service technician in your own country? When you get invasive sales calls, chances are they are in New Mexico, Texas or some other country routed through a US number. I lived in San Antonio and New Mexico and those jobs have a high level of competition. My brother made a decent income decades ago as a telephone sales person for the San Antonio Light Newspaper. The Light no longer exists, driven out of business by Rupert Murdoch long before Fox News ever existed.

Worker productivity. We hear reports on financial news that worker productivity keeps rising. This is good news to investors, not to workers. Increased productivity means fewer workers are need to produce the same amount of goods. That means fewer jobs available. It’s that simple.

This is the end of part 1 of this series. Part 2 will delve into solutions.

— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —

I am an independent writer with no corporate sponsors or backing. The only income I make from my writing comes from views. At least I have reached the point where it makes more than it costs me! lol! (Not by much.)My writing is done in between full time (and overtime) nursing, shared custody of my brilliant daughter and mundane existence.

I have opened my new website which is intended to be a central listing of protests and political rallies across the US. It’s still a work in progress but is functional. You can find it at http://RallyAndProtest.com

Please consider becoming a patron on Patreon. I try and average at least 20 articles a month, so a $1 a month donation would come down to 5¢ per article to support independent, non-corporate writing. My Patreon page is here.

If you care to share articles with those who do not have Medium or Patreon accounts, I also post most of my articles on my own website, which has no advertising and I pay for with income from writing. My website is at https://issuesunite.com/ and all articles can be shared freely. You can always quote me, no attribution required. My goal is spreading information and awareness. The whole point is building a better, more peaceful, more equitable world for us and future generations.

By The Numbers

According to Dr Richard Wolff, who is always very accurate, the average pay for a CEO today is $238,000 a week. (Just under $1 million per month.)

I broke down the numbers further.

This comes to $5950 per hour (for a 40 hour week).

Going further, it equals $99.16 PER MINUTE.

Which equates to $1.65 PER SECOND.

Simply put, a CEO makes more money in 5 seconds than a minimum wage worker in the same company makes in one hour. The CEO can take a long sip of water or coffee and make more money than the worker, who spent an hour on their feet, tired, possibly sweating, dealing with difficult customers, handling sharp or hot instruments, etc.

I won’t bother going into the difference in benefits much which for the CEO means stock packages, bonuses for cutting staff, more bonuses for declaring bankruptcy and raiding pension funds or retirement accounts, full insurance paid for by the company (in other words, by low employee wages and jacked up prices for customers). All that becomes fairly moot when they could afford any catastrophic illness and have more money in investments than a real person could ever spend in multiple lifetimes.

I see capitalist puppets defending this system all the time. People who consider themselves oppressed billionaires, yet make less in a year than the CEO makes in a month. People who have no grasp of economics. They think they understand economics because they can use a computer program to balance their checkbook for them. Or because they made $1000 on the stock market last year in a folio managed by someone else. They are economic geniuses in their minds.

Back to the numbers.

I previously explained exactly how much $1 billion is because most people have no concept of it. They just hear the term all the time and have never even considered how large that number is. So, here is that explanation again-

If you make $50,000 a year, it would take you 20 years to make $1 million.

Now, $1 billion is $1 million times 1000. Yes, I mean 1000, not 100. Check your math class.

This means that at $50,000 a year, it would take you 20,000 (Twenty THOUSAND, not a typo.) years to make $1 billion.

Maybe you make $100,000 a year. Okay, so your numbers are cut in half. You would have to work 10 years for $1 million, 10,000 years for $1 billion.

Or maybe you make $1 million a year. Then you would only have to work 1,000 years, a full millennium to reach $1 billion.

Keep in mind that at the end of that time, you would not have $1 billion, you would have earned $1 billion. You would be spending during that time frame.

Thus, at $50,000 a year, to earn the $150 billion which is Jeff Bezos’ net worth, you would have to work 3 million years. (Go ahead. Check my math.) Oh yeah. He lost some of that in his divorce recently. So I guess he’s onlyworth around $115 billion now. Poor Jeff. The struggle is real.

Some people will attack me and ask, “Are you proposing class warfare?”

Actually, yes. Yes I am. That doesn’t mean I am proposing violence. I am proposing legislative changes that equalize the balance of wealth, improve the economy, improve living conditions for the 99+%.

I’ve written extensively on how the wealthy hoard money. Like capital gains. Capital gains refer to investments. Investments are not taxed until they are withdrawn, then considered income. This is no different than your own 401k. Then capital gains are taxed at a lower rate than wages. There is a cap on federal capital gains tax of 20% at the highest level. That only applies if the money is withdrawn. So, if you make $100 million a year and invest $90 million of that, you evaded taxes on that $90 million. Keep doing that for 10 years and you have evaded taxes on $900 million.

Now, apply that concept to Jeff Bezos, other billionaires and corporations. Yes, corporations do it too. One way they do this is by spending money on stock repurchases to boost stock value. Stocks they bought back using money they gained from the bipartisan tax break they recently got.

This has not even reached the concept of taxing wealth. This is only discussing income. Meaning an individual or company evades taxes on cumulative trillions of dollars in income each and every year, year after year.

Meanwhile our government debates whether we should raise the minimum wage, cuts food stamps, denies Social Security applications/claims, reduces Medicare and Medicaid benefits, schools cut teaching positions, roads and bridges collapse.

When anyone proposes increasing taxes on the top earners, that’s not taking away anything they already have. It is an increased tax on income only and is not retroactive in any way. It also does not mean they pay a 70% tax on income over $10 million, it does not mean they pay a 70% tax on the whole thing. OVER $10 million means exactly that because of the incremental tax system. So if a person makes $10 million and $1, they only pay the 70% tax on the $1. Plus, it does not affect the capital gains tax I already discussed, where they can evade most of their taxes.

So the discussion on increasing the top tax brackets sounds Progressive but it’s really an illusion. CEO’s can take bonuses in stock packages. Capital gains are still a thing. Corporations pay no taxes on money spent on stock repurchases, bonuses, etc.

I’ve previously suggested a much more effective idea. Implementing a maximum income. Not wage, income, meaning from all sources.

Such a maximum income could be quite generous. Like $50 million. That is annual income. If you need more than that to live on every year, you don’t need more money, you need therapy and lots of it. Anything above that cap would be taxed at 100%. Corporations should be taxed at a percentage of profits. A 15–20% profit margin should be enough for any corporation. Bonuses and stock repurchases would not be deductions. Of course, capital gains would be taxed annually and at the standard tax rate.

If this idea were implemented, then over time it would be a possibility that Americans below that income level would not have to pay any income tax at all. Especially if we cut our military spending. The result would be all the money currently paid by most Americans on taxes would then be spent in the economy. Know what that does? It increases profits for the rich while improving lives for the rest of us. It creates jobs, real jobs with living wages. It boosts the middle class considerably. The rich do not create jobs. Consumers create jobs. In fact, the rich destroy jobs by laying people off to boost stock values and dividends. Corporations force small businesses out of existence.

These are not radical ideas. This is reasonable. It preserves capitalism but balances it. The alternatives to this are radical, either in favor of the rich as we have now or in favor of literal revolution. These ideas are peaceful and rational.

Back to that class warfare thing. One thing to realize is that the rich have waged class warfare against us for generations. We have simply hunkered down and tried to avoid the missiles and mortars falling all around us, destroying our planet, our country, our lives. It’s time to fight back.

— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —

I am an independent writer with no corporate sponsors or backing. The only income I make from my writing comes from views. At least I have reached the point where it makes more than it costs me! lol! (Not by much.)My writing is done in between full time (and overtime) nursing, shared custody of my brilliant daughter and mundane existence.

I have opened my new website which is intended to be a central listing of protests and political rallies across the US. It’s still a work in progress but is functional. You can find it at http://RallyAndProtest.com

Please consider becoming a patron on Patreon. I try and average at least 20 articles a month, so a $1 a month donation would come down to 5¢ per article to support independent, non-corporate writing. My Patreon page is here.

If you care to share articles with those who do not have Medium or Patreon accounts, I also post most of my articles on my own website, which has no advertising and I pay for with income from writing. My website is at https://issuesunite.com/ and all articles can be shared freely. You can always quote me, no attribution required. My goal is spreading information and awareness. The whole point is building a better, more peaceful, more equitable world for us and future generations.

Trump’s Immigrant Detention Industry Is The Worst Form of Socialism- Pt 2

As I noted at the end of part 1 of this series, the immigration detention industry is paid for by society, yet offers no direct profit to society.

Contrast this with Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, etc. These programs offer direct societal benefits of providing a direct income or medical care. Under our current system, they do result in corporate profits but only afterthe money or service passes through the hands of the beneficiary.

None of this is true with immigrant detention centers. Instead the money goes first through the hands of the corporation. The corporation determines how much a worker gets paid after first considering their own profit margin, which is their first and only concern.

It is true that these facilities provide jobs and incomes for those that work there. They may boost local community revenues to some degree. However, this can only be seen as a temporary situation. There will come a time when the immigrant population will become so low that these facilities will decrease, leading to these facilities being closed again.

This could very well leave these communities in even worse condition than they began. You can count on the fact that many municipalities and local businesses will take out loans based on the increased revenue they see in the immediate present. So will many individuals, taking on new debt in the form of mortgages, vehicles, credit card debt and so on. Once the facilities begin reducing staff, cutting hours and closing doors, this party ends and the cleanup begins. The income will be gone and the bills will still have to be paid.

As long as these facilities remain open only for the purpose of detaining immigrants, this system is unsustainable. Eventually so many immigrants will be deported or naturalized that the end is inevitable.

For the record, the Socialist statement is also true of all of ICE, minus the corporate profit.

The alternative is considerably worse. That another use is found for these facilities. Like turning them into federal detention facilities. For whom? That’s the terrifying thing to think about. We already see laws being enacted to make it illegal to protest against corporate interests such as oil pipelines. We see laws being put in place which may well lead to it being a crime to protest our government giving billions in aid to Israel. I have no doubt laws already exist making it a crime to protest weapons manufacturers.

This in a country already hosting the largest prison population on the planet at any time in history.

Should these facilities turn into federal detention centers for other purposes, that would mean some working at those facilities would no longer be eligible to work there because employment criteria would change. These facilities would no longer be holding areas but actual prisons. The criteria for employment would then require security screening and training above and beyond anything currently required. In some cases, it would require training in restraint procedures and weapons training. (Of course, many currently working there would likely look forward to such things.) The inmates would be deemed “dangerous dissidents” and “terrorists”, even if they were someone like me, an anti-war, mostly pacifist blogger pushing for changes to our system which benefit everyone. ICE would likely be repurposed into a federal police force to identify and round up people like myself, then detain us with no charges, no right to representation, no Habeas Corpus at all.

Should that happen, many of those incarcerated would be family members, friends, social and business associates of those working in the facilities. Make no mistake that it would become a criminal act to protest the facilities themselves.

Some are going to claim that this projection will never happen, that it is unrealistic. Yet we have already gone so much further into what can only be described as fascism that our country is looking more like a dystopian nightmare than any sane person currently living in this country could believe. We are bombing 7 countries, collapsing our economy while corporate news denies it’s happening, spending an unbelievable amount on “defense”, threatening military action against at least 5 more countries, sanctioning our allies, destroying our own industries, handing all of the wealth to the already insanely wealthy, denying medical care and even food to those at lower income levels, poisoning our own water and land for the purpose of corporate profits, obliterating human and Constitutional rights at every level. What the HELL makes you think you are not next?!!

The last irony I will mention is this. Many of those who support these detention centers like to view themselves as “Christians”. The Bible teaches one to love your neighbor, love your enemy, feed to poor, heal the sick, judge not and to treat others as you wish to be treated. It also teaches you to welcome foreigners into your home and treat them as a guest, not only as an equal but with honor. One of the greatest sins listed in the Bible is pride and arrogance. The worst part for alleged “Christians” is that the majority of the immigrants from Mexico and South America are far more devout Christians than those who choose to eject them from this country.

Each day we force regime change on other countries, dictate laws to our allies and neighbors, imprison those who flee the results of our policies, separate families, kill innocent people in the name of “prosperity” and “security”, we deplete our resources, surrender our wealth, stain our reputation.. and create enemies. We are now creating terrorists within our country and in immediate neighboring countries. Those we have harmed for the sake of our own greed will seek restitution in some way, at some time. As individuals and as nations.

This country has suspended a Damoclean Sword above our heads with our actions as a society. It is only a matter of time before that sword falls and we have nowhere to turn to evade it. Live by the sword, die by the sword.

— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — 

I am an independent writer with no corporate sponsors or backing. The only income I make from my writing comes from views. At least I have reached the point where it makes more than it costs me! lol! (Not by much.)My writing is done in between full time (and overtime) nursing, shared custody of my brilliant daughter and mundane existence.

I have opened my new website which is intended to be a central listing of protests and political rallies across the US. It’s still a work in progress but is functional. You can find it at http://RallyAndProtest.com

Please consider becoming a patron on Patreon. I try and average at least 20 articles a month, so a $1 a month donation would come down to 5¢ per article to support independent, non-corporate writing. My Patreon page is here.

If you care to share articles with those who do not have Medium or Patreon accounts, I also post most of my articles on my own website, which has no advertising and I pay for with income from writing. My website is at https://issuesunite.com/ and all articles can be shared freely. You can always quote me, no attribution required. My goal is spreading information and awareness. The whole point is building a better, more peaceful, more equitable world for us and future generations.

Trump’s Immigrant Detention Industry Is The Worst Form of Socialism-Pt 1

I have offered the definition of Socialism in this way many times- Any program or legislation created for the benefit of society, paid for by society is Socialist in nature.

Now, typically what I am referring to are programs such as Social Security (Where did you think that name came from?), Medicare, Medicaid, public schools, public roads, health departments, fire departments, consumer protection laws, FDIC, FDA, EPA, the Forestry Service.. I could go on but think that makes the point. Each of these provide direct benefits to society in a way that outweigh any cost. They create jobs and result in financial gains to the community at large while actually increasing tax revenue by maintaining jobs so that businesses and employees are paying taxes, local, state and federal.

Now we come to Trump’s programs. The title refers to the immigrant detention program but I refer to much more, which I will cover later.

First, in Trump’s case, I will add the disclaimer to the above definition- Any program or legislation created for the ALLEGED benefit of society, paid for by society is Socialist. I will also state that the conditions I am about to describe can be applied to many programs which are Socialist in concept, yet have largely assisted in the flow of wealth to the top. However, Trump’s programs have cut out a huge part of what funding once made any pit stop at lower levels of the economy and are instead mostly direct corporate welfare at the highest degree.

Many of the immigrant detention centers have been intentionally built in remote areas with few employment opportunities. Part of this is because this is where much of his base resides. They are also areas which have seen once-thriving industries move out, leaving communities devastated. I’ve written about this before here:  https://issuesunite.com/small-business-decline-over-generations/

It’s understandable to a degree why these facilities are supported in these communities. The people in these small communities have been watching their communities suffer, dry up and waste away slowly over many years. So, when something comes along which offers an income and possibility to revive their community, they will support it.

Many of these communities also resent immigrants, especially illegal immigrants, who have come here willing to work for much lower wages. Unfortunately, they fail to recognize the fact that it has been capitalists who hired the immigrants because they could pay lower wages and hoard the wealth. In the process, it was the capitalist that eliminated the job for legal citizens.

Though I will not demonize the capitalists too much.

There are a number of ironies involved here. For one, in many cases these communities would have died off long ago if not for the immigrants. The immigrants spend their earnings in the community, keeping local businesses afloat. This is why business owners in some cases hired them in the first place. Consider a small business owner in a small community with no viable larger employers, so consumer spending is extremely low. They are barely keeping their doors open, so seek to pay lower wages to remain in business. I am convinced this is less common than the capitalist who hoards wealth. Small local business owners would have to contend with blowback by their own community, of which they are a part. We have seen corporations busted for hiring illegal immigrants at low wages with full knowledge of the legal status of the worker. No matter the case, if the profit margin were lower, if immigrants were not spending money in the local businesses, the businesses would cease to exist. One can claim that this would leave an opportunity for another business to open but that opportunity already exists.

Another irony is that residents in these communities will often object to businesses being forced to pay a higher minimum wage because the business would have to close. They don’t even see the irony in this statement, as paying citizens higher wages than immigrants is doing exactly that.

It is also ironic that many of those in these communities claim to object to Socialism. It is capitalism which has left their communities devastated and abandoned.

Yet now these very communities are turning to what is a Socialist program. The immigrant detention industry is genuinely an industry. It sells nothing, manufactures nothing and poses no direct community profit. All of the facilities are either government owned or corporate owned. Any profits made go directly to corporations.

However, the cost of building, maintaining and staffing the facilities is paid for by society. So are the profits.

Why Stock Repurchases And Low Interest Rates Are Problematic

We hear a lot of opinions stating how stock repurchases are a problem, yet no detailed explanation of why they are a problem. In tandem with low interest rates, both pose major issues for the US economy leading to the diversion of wealth to the top. In other words, wealth inequality.

One of the biggest reasons stock repurchases are a problem is because when companies spend their liquid assets to buy back their own stock, those funds do not go to infrastructure, capital improvements or employee wages. In fact, much of the time employee wages suffer for the sake of diverting money to buying back stock.

Why do companies focus so much on stock value, when it has little or no correlation to profit margin? Mostly because for many years corporate executives have received stock packages as part of their compensation. Sometimes the stock packages can actually exceed their wages. Stock packages as compensation are not taxed when disbursed to the recipient. They are not taxed until the stock is sold. As a result, corporate executives are more than willing to sacrifice profits, employee wages/benefits, capital maintenance, improvement and repair in order to artificially increase stock value. If the stock value increases, so does their wealth.

Now, you may think that this is fine because they will have to pay taxes on any accumulated wealth when they sell the stock. That’s not exactly true, either. As a general rule, what they are likely to do is buy other investments immediately, once again deferring taxation. Even if they cash out stock entirely, it is taxed at the capital gains rate, which maxes out at 20%.

The damage and denial to employees via denial of wage increases, increasing employee cost of insurance or complete cancellation or raiding of employee benefit programs is something which is never recovered for the many working for a company that engages in such behavior, which has become extremely common. If employees fall short on wages or benefits, the result is often debt to meet an emergency. Debt which can take years to pay off and can set off a chain of debt which they may never escape.

In addition to corporate executives, major stockholders demand making dividends and forced increase of stock values. This often leads to layoffs, wage reductions and loss of employee benefits as well. If they get what they want, this is why CEO’s of failed companies are given massive bonuses voted in by corporate boards, even as the company declares bankruptcy.

Low interest rates have been contentious for many for several years now. This is considered by many, including myself, to be a form of continuous quantitative easing. What it means is that financial institutions can borrow money from central banks at very low rates, all the way down to 0%. In some cases, the financial institutions are the stockholders. In other cases they can then loan money to corporations at extremely low rates to fund stock repurchases.

This leads into a cycle where the corporation borrows money to repurchase stock, increasing stock price. Now they have a debt to pay. Company profits are then used to pay the debt, rather than used for wages, improvements, etc, same as mentioned above. The company may state a certain profit but not mention that that profit is before making payments on outstanding loans. Of course, the loan allows them to maintain a certain level of cash on hand, obscuring the fact that the company may be deep in debt. Long as the stock price looks good and continues to rise.

Just this week, stock prices have been climbing after falling for a month. Not enough to overcome the losses, so the stock market has still lost nearly 1700 pts in only one month. The reason for the rise was the Federal Reserve Bank stating they may decrease interest rates soon.

At the same time that stocks are rising again, so are precious metals. Historically, stocks and precious metals are on a negative feedback mechanism, where if one rises the other falls. This alone is a clear indication that stocks are rising via stock repurchasing. Outside investors are diverting their funds to precious metals, which are far more secure. Generally if investors do not invest in stocks, they move to bonds, which are more mobile than metals. This is an indication that investors are now setting in for a longdecline in the stock market and business climate. They do not see stocks or bonds as safe or profitable.

Until the early 80’s under Ronald Reagan, companies buying back their own stock was illegal for exactly the reasons detailed above. Because allowing them to do so allowed them to manipulate stock price at the expense of the actual business, employees and even outside investors. The thing which limited the practice organically for many years was the balance of using available cash versus taking on debt with loans. Since 2008, the debt from taking on loans and paying interest on those loans has been nearly nonexistent.

If liquidity runs dry, companies have one of two options. Sell off stock, driving stock value down. Of course, the first to sell off the stock while it is at peak will be corporate executives. Any punishments fail to ever equate to the profits made. Or the company can declare bankruptcy. Not because the business is not profitable but because of losses in stock value.

The result for outside investors, employees, contractors and debtors is the same- they lose. Mass layoffs and loss of benefits. While executives walk away richer than ever.

The Next Crash Is Mandatory

We all know that another crash is coming and it’s not far off. Some will not admit they know it because of their own fear. Basically, if they admit knowing, it becomes real. Better to close their eyes, plug their ears and remain in denial. That’s not going to stop it.

Perhaps they think something will change and avert it at the last second, like some action movie. It’s too late for that. The timer on the bomb has reached 0 seconds, the fuse is gone. We’re just waiting for the actual explosion.

What I am saying is that anything that could have stopped it from happening was not done when it could have been done. Now it is unavoidable. Just a matter of when.

Honestly, the next crash started some time ago. It’s more of a phased demolition than an outright explosion. A planned demolition.

Some sources claim it will happen in 2020, some slightly later but not much. Others say it is going to happen this year. I’ve been expecting it for a long time and have stated numerous times it would happen sooner rather than later. The ones saying it will happen in 2020 or this year were saying not that long ago that it was ten years out. They revised their predictions earlier, I revised mine later.

Considering that the crash has already started, my own predictions have been far more accurate. The signs that the crash is happening now are all around us for those that are conscious enough to see. From the stock market falling in late 2018, barely becoming stable and then falling again, again and again. Those recoveries were false, brought on by stock repurchases funded by tax breaks courtesy of Trump and a bipartisan CONgress. I repeat, bipartisan.Now that theater has ended and stocks are falling again. This time, so are bonds. The federal bond yield curve has been inverted for months now, meaning 3 month bonds have a higher yield than 10 year bonds. Yet 3 month bonds aren’t selling. Not enough confidence in the next 3 months for them to sell. The stock market will not be recovering again. There is no more quantitative easing available. Bonds dropping means liquidity is dried up. Investors are pulling out.

Outside of the stock market, we’ve heard the reports. Wages flat or below real wage growth when accounting for inflation. More people without insurance than in decades. Consumer confidence and CEO confidence is down, capital investments are frozen in place or falling. We’re well on track to have more retail closures this year than at any time in US history. Contrary to MSM reporting, production is down as well. Mass layoffs tell that story. All of that is without even mentioning farm losses from extensive flooding through the entire Midwest.

So, it’s established that the crash has begun but isn’t yet being called that. It may be called a market decline or whatever term some WAR Street puppet uses to make it sound nicer. It’s still the later part of the leading edge of a crash.

Here is what many do not realize. That this crash is not only inevitable, it is now mandatory. This is the late stage of capitalism which Marx predicted long ago. This is the point where capitalism feeds on itself because there is nothing else remaining for it to feed on. The UN issued a report stating that capitalism is unsustainable at this point, as it is the greatest threat to the environment we face. I have written before, explaining how perpetual growth is unsustainable and not necessary. At this point in capitalism, only the largest entities have the capacity for growth and that can only happen by consuming all it encounters.

The coming collapse will be difficult, violent, tragic and will take lives. How many lives depends largely on us. How we function as a society, as a community to support each other and unify to stand against the economic powers attempting to oppress us even further. Attempting to feed on us.

We’ve allowed them to feed on us for far too long, allowing them to get stronger while we got weaker.

The good part is that when this collapse comes, that is going to be our chance to rebuild as something stronger, something more sustainable. Believe it or not, society can function without money. Society is older than money. There are societies in the world today which function without money. Am I suggesting eliminating currency? No. I am suggesting not allowing our society to be monopolized by those who hoard money and use it to rule over us. Could we eliminate money? Yes, we could but I know we are not yet evolved enough as a society for that to happen. Too many are too brainwashed.

What I am suggesting and what we absolutely must achieve is a society in which society comes first and foremost. Money comes much later and is not allowed to take precedence over life, health, environment or anything else. A society where limits are placed on capitalism and the rich pay their fair share. Where limits are placed on how rich a person or business can become. Where our government has no direct ties to business, thus corporate/business lobbying and campaign donations are criminalized.

This will be our only realistic path forward where we don’t wind up with just more of the same as we have now. The only people who support our current system are those who have benefited from this system until now, with no view or concern for the damage it has caused, even if they were aware of that damage. Some could claim at some point to be unaware but in the last few years they can no longer make that claim. They know but don’t care. Even as they see the system imploding, they think they will be immune. They are wrong.

Every end is a beginning. As this economic cycle comes to an end, we need to insure that this end is permanent. We need to lay unbridled capitalism to rest in a forgotten grave with no ceremony, no remorse, no bereavement. We can do better, we must do better.

Before that beginning comes to pass, we must suffer this collapse. Then build again from the ashes.

No, Things Are Not Getting Worse (Socially)

My gf, among many today, feels overwhelmed and believe that our society is getting worse. I beg to disagree ferociously.

This has been one of my major points in the Marketing of America series. That the media makes it an absolute point to promote the negative. To make you fearful, angry, anxious, depressed. Then advertise military contractors, antidepressant drugs, etc. Be sure to tune in tomorrow so we can tell you what else you should be angry and depressed about, who we need to invade/bomb/hate next.

However, that’s not even my point here. My point here is that our society has gotten considerably better on social issues over the last few decades. It continues to improve, especially with younger generations. They are the least racist, sexist, prejudicial, warmongering, most aware and supportive of Socialism in many forms in the history of this country.

Over decades, we have battled against prejudice. We’ve made tremendous progress which we would not have recognized 25 years ago. We have Muslim members of Congress, more females and openly gay members of Congress, state and local governments than ever. Though none of that means their policies are good as a general rule. Don’t vote for gender, sexual identity, religion, etc. Be informed of policies. We have openly gay military members, including transgender.

Look at the advances we have made against domestic violence.

We’ve had a black president. We have black television stations.

We have Russian television, local Asian radio and TV stations, Hispanic stations, social groups for Muslim-Americans, Russian-Americans, Mexican-Americans, Atheists and more. Gay pride parades, Black History Month, museums dedicated to the atrocity of slavery while we have movements to remove racist figures from public spaces.

We have rising awareness of the role of Russia in WWII while more awareness of the frauds the US government has instigated in starting wars dating back more than a century. We know Hawaii became a state because of US military occupation for capitalist interests.

We know the wars we are in now or trying to start which our government is trying to incite for the purpose of stealing resources from other countries. Not many people 25 years ago had any idea what the petrodollar was. Today, that system is failing and we can talk openly about it and be understood in many cases.

Our awareness has increased, social movements to enact change have happened rapidly in the last 25 years because of the internet. Even more rapidly since the rise of social media and independent media. While the corporate media still pushes fear and false narrative for the sake of profit, we have other sources asking the questions that need to be asked, revealing truths that need to be displayed.

The real problem we have is that for too many years we were blindfolded without realizing it. That blindfold has been ripped away. As a consequence, we have the powerful attempting to force the blindfold back on against our will. Some people want the blindfold back on so badly they shut their eyes forcefully and try to insist we do the same. For the rest of us, we are trying to adjust to the light and see clearly. That process can be painful. Some of us had that blindfold ripped away much earlier than most. We can lead the way but cannot force anyone to follow. Though like it or not, eventually we must all open our eyes to see the path ahead.

That path ahead is one we must walk together. We cannot allow for treachery. The powerful, failing to blind us again, will try and lead us along a far more dangerous path and divide us. We can allow for minor mistakes but be always careful to avoid intentional deception. Once a so-called “leader” has been shown deceptive, we need to never follow that person again.

I know it is uncomfortable, even highly distressing to see the ugly face of the monsters we live amongst. However, they have been here all along and with us every single day, hiding their faces. The one thing I can say is that it is much easier dealing with the monsters and monstrosities they represent when they are out in the open.

The main thing to grasp is that the monsters are the minority. We have seen multiple white supremacist rallies where opposition protesters have vastly outnumbered the literal Nazis on hand. Compare that to KKK marches of the 60’s.

As a majority of society, we now oppose the Clinton Crime Bill of 1996, welfare reform, trickle-down economics, for-profit prisons, police abuse, incarceration of non-violent drug offenders, sexual assault in all forms, corporate bribery of elected officials, wars for profit, price gouging by drug companies, the poisoning of the environment… In other words, we have awakened. Many of us. Sadly, some have not awakened yet but more are doing so daily.

I know, not quickly enough. Much as I would like, we can’t smack the rest of them on the head with a 2×4 to beat some sense into them. Long as they think they are in some way secure, they will not be remotely aware of the suffering around them. That’s why I recently wrote that the coming crash is something which absolutely must occur. To bring discomfort to the too-comfortable. It’s the only thing they will understand. Rip the privilege out of their hands. When the stock market crashes, they cannot blame immigrants or Russia. Though you can count on them trying to do just that.

We’ve been through far worse, especially if we have lived long enough. At least the media discusses some of it because we have a president who is too stupid to hide it behind pretty words. We’ve had a fence along our southern border since Bill Clinton. We’ve had the largest prison population for well over a decade. For all his bluster, so far Trump has not started any new wars yet. Yet. What is happening with the economy would have happened under Hillary. More gradually perhaps but it was going to happen. We could have another president who used nice words, allowing the media to cover up everything they did in some way, just as they have for years.

So stop stressing over current conditions. Yes, we have things to worry about but it’s not all because of one name or one party. Knowledge is power and we must share our knowledge. Real knowledge, not just blame. Blame fixes nothing. We absolutely must do all we can to awaken those around us who are not yet awake. We can’t do that if we are so anxious and petrified that we cannot function effectively. Focus on the real source of problems, not some knee jerk emotional reaction every time you hear certain names. Know who the real enemies are and call them out.

— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —

I am an independent writer with no corporate sponsors or backing. The only income I make from my writing comes from views. At least I have reached the point where it makes more than it costs me! lol! My writing is done in between full time (and overtime) nursing, shared custody of my brilliant daughter and mundane existence.

Please consider becoming a patron on Patreon. I try and average at least 20 articles a month, so a $1 a month donation would come down to 5¢ per article to support independent, non-corporate writing. My Patreon page is here.

If you care to share articles with those who do not have Medium or Patreon accounts, I also post most of my articles on my own website, which has no advertising and I pay for with income from writing. My website is here and all articles can be shared freely. You can always quote me, no attribution required. My goal is spreading information and awareness. The whole point is building a better, more peaceful, more equitable world for us and future generations.

The Programming of America: Pt III, Downsizing Government

One of the big things being pushed by media and corporate culture, in tandem with Libertarians (I’ve written about them before) and Republicans, along with centrist Democrats to a large degree, is the desire to downsize our government.

This is something I have covered in the past in a different form. The size of our government has nothing to do with our prosperity. Many of the largest government programs (after the military, which I will get to) support millions of jobs and add value to our lives on a daily basis both directly and indirectly. Schools, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, police, fire departments, libraries, health departments, the Forestry Department, the CDC, the EPA, the FDA (okay, in intent more than current function) and on and on. Without these government programs and agencies, from local to federal, our economy and environment would collapse, sold to the highest corporate bidders.

Some claim they do not trust our government. Government per se is not the problem. The problem is how beholden our government officials are to corporate interests.

Some Americans are foolish enough to think censorship is perfectly acceptable as long as a corporation does it but reprehensible when a government does the same thing. Never mind that only a few corporations own most of the media and all internet access. Yes, an ISP has the right to censor your content and even what information you can access. That can be your cable, telephone or cell service provider. All because corporations fought to eliminate Net Neutrality. They won, you lost. FB, Twitter or anyone else can block you, eliminate your account along with history and never allow you back in. They do not have to tell you why.

Some Americans are raging against the China Social Scoring system. Are you kidding me? We have the same thing here, it’s just not called that. Much of it is also run by corporations. In China, a low social score does not prevent you from getting a job, it prevents you from getting some jobs which are connected to the government. Here, you go through a background check which can include your social media history. If you are critical of the government, try getting a government job or even a job with a government contractor. Go ahead, try it. I dare you. Yet here you can be denied a job with a private or corporate employer for the same background check, even if they have no connection to the government.

In addition, private individuals will check your social media accounts to decide if they will associate with you.

There does not have to be a number associated with it to be a social media score. Information is compiled by faceless, sometimes nameless entities. Some are known, like Transunion and Equifax, credit score reporting agencies. Ones that check your social media don’t have to offer names, the criteria for judging or the fact that they ever looked at your information. They can judge you worthy or unworthy according to who is on your friends list, what groups you belong to and comments you have made on different threads.

Right now you are being monitored by the NSA. You do not have to be a US citizen. Not by a long shot. You do not have to be a terrorist. Not by a long shot. You do not have to be critical of the government. Not by a long shot. The fact that you are reading this article has been logged on an NSA computer. The phone call you made a few minutes ago to your mother, your child or Mr/Ms side piece was logged and recorded.

This country has over 1300 superfund sites. Nearly every single one of them exist because of corporate malfeasance. They poison the environment, break laws, lie about it for decades. Then when they no longer can wring a profit out of an area, they abandon it, may change their names to avoid responsibility and the taxpayer picks up the bill to clean up the mess. That process and expense can continue for decades, even generations. Your grandchildren and great grandchildren will be paying for cleaning up many of those sites. If you or they do not die from cancer or be disabled by birth defects as a result of that poisoning.

Yes, the size of some parts of our government needs to be downsized. Like the military. In money, our military budget is roughly six times larger than the next largest military budget, which is China. As far as size and extent, we are up to 100 times larger than Russia. Russia has 8 military bases outside of their country, while we have 800 foreign military bases. We have forces on every continent, ocean and nearly every country on earth. While our government rages on about how this country or that country is being “aggressive”. I’ve mentioned before that this onerous expense is paid for by you, me, every man, woman and child in this country in ways most never imagine.

I have challenged those who claim we need to downsize our government, asking them for specific examples of what should be downsized or eliminated. 99% of the time, they have no answer at all. They are just regurgitating the crap they have devoured by corporate influences. The other 1% of the time they offer inane responses which offer no solutions to any problem at all. They are just uneducated, uninformed, apathetic whores to corporate profit.

Too much? Nah. I really hope the karma of these people bites them in the ass.

The honest truth is that we may hear anecdotal stories of government overreach. Most of the time, anecdotes are all they are. Other times that overreach is a result of corporate influence, such as the legal status of cannabis, brought about by bribes by alcoholic beverage companies, drug companies and for-profit prisons in conjunction with systemic racism. In other cases, overreach can be caused by inadequate resources of government agencies, such as child welfare agencies. In other words, it is literally a case for expanding government, not reducing government.Those problems are caused by understaffed agencies with underpaid workers who come under fire if they offer an inadequate response. Those same workers may be in their jobs by dedication to protecting children or similar motivations, so they would rather overreact than underreact and have a child injured or killed because of weak actions. They would prefer to do a deeper investigation but cannot do so because of lack of time and resources thanks to their case load. Of course, that case load is a result of their job being seen as an expense which offers no monetary profit.

In a government of the people, by the people, for the people I see no reference to corporate profit or control mentioned. The founders of this country abhorred corporations. Remember the Boston Tea Party? That was waged against the East India Tea Company, a corporation. The entire Constitution of the United States references personal freedoms. Historically our laws and governmental institutions have been in place to support those freedoms from those very corporations that seek to destroy our freedom for their own profit and benefit.

I will bring this back full circle. The people who promote the concept of downsizing government are rich capitalists who want fewer rules and regulations standing between them and higher profits. They want lower taxes, lower paychecks for workers, fewer environmental regulations. They view social support programs as nothing but blockades between them and your money. They view you as an expense and an inconvenience. They view the environment the same way. They view international borders the same way.

The same rich people own nearly all media in this country and try to limit or eliminate the influence of the small percentage of media they do not own. The corporations which do not own media pay the media corporations to represent their agenda while ignoring what is best for the people of this country. In that effort, they employ psychologists, media experts, retired government agents to influence your views through fear and intimidation.

I am not in favor of downsizing the government, other than the military and their contractors. I am in favor of expanding the government. That does not mean I am in favor of Communism. Mostly because we are not evolved enough as a culture for that. Yet. Until that time, I continue being in favor of Social Democracy which forces the reinvestment of resources into our own country and places limits on corporate control of your every breath.

So which is it for you? Smaller government and removing controls from those who have no concern for your well-being, even your life? Or maintain/expand a government in which we have a voice?

— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — 

I am an independent writer with no corporate sponsors or backing. The only income I make from my writing comes from views. At least I have reached the point where it makes more than it costs me! lol! My writing is done in between full time (and overtime) nursing, shared custody of my brilliant daughter and mundane existence.

Please consider becoming a patron on Patreon. I try and average at least 20 articles a month, so at $1 a month that would come down to 5¢ per article to support independent, non-corporate writing. My Patreon page is here.

If you care to share my articles with those who do not have Medium or Patreon accounts, I also post most of my articles on my own website, which has no advertising and I pay for with income from writing. My website is here and all articles can be shared freely. You can always quote me, no attribution required. My goal is spreading information and awareness. The whole point is building a better, more peaceful, more equitable world for us and future generations.

Inflation Is A Myth

Capitalism and the capitalist media, even education, teaches us that inflation is a fact of life. That’s not true. This is where you should be asking questions.

Labor cost. One myth we are told is that the cost of labor drives up the cost of goods and services. This raises the question of why workers need pay increases. Of course, the answer is the increasing price of goods and services, often just for basic survival. If prices did not keep increasing, workers would not need increases to their pay.

Automation. One method businesses use to decrease the cost of labor is automation and technological advances. While it comes at an initial cost for capital outlay, the entire reason companies do this is because it saves money on wages and worker benefits in the long term. Technology increases productivity, meaning each worker can make more products, serve more customers. This means the company needs fewer workers. Pay remains the same, the cost of benefits stays the same or keeps costing the worker more each year. Automation often completely eliminates jobs. Do prices go down commensurate with the decreased labor cost? No but company profits keep going up, prices keep going up and corporate profits keep going up.

Raw materials. We hear the argument that the cost of raw materials keeps increasing. Typically, this is not true. Corporate mega-farms use more machines than labor. While labor costs have increased, go back to the second paragraph of this article. Many raw materials are imported because of lower cost. Like steel. China isn’t “dumping” unwanted steel on corporations. The American corporations are buying that steel. This goes back years, when corporations began buying steel from China because they did not want to pay for the cost of American labor. Which caused the near collapse of the US Steel industry. Consumer prices never decreased but corporate profits kept increasing. Pick any raw material that is imported yet available domestically and the same rule applies.

Lawsuits. One claim is that lawsuits drive up the cost of goods and services. You would have to look more closely by specific industry and company but lawsuits account for less than 1% of the cost of business in this country, overall. Even when faced with lawsuits, the damages are minor and still make the abuses which led to the lawsuits worth the price, leaving corporations with massive profits. The worst thing that happens is that their stock price dips for a few days. Who pays the cost of the lawsuits in reality? Consumers.

Tariffs. Numerous companies have laid workers off or exported jobs while citing tariffs as a rationale. This is disingenuous at best, a complete fabrication at worst. I’ll go back to steel as an example. If the cost of imported steel increases, it does not increase for only one company, it increases for all companies that utilize imported steel. So the cost of products increases across an entire industry, like vehicles. The consumer pays the price. The corporation preserves their profit margin. While sales may decrease, that is more of a function of stagnant wages than increased cost. Consumers either cannot afford or are hesitant to pay the higher prices.

Taxpayer subsidies. The ultimate fact of the matter is that while media rages about a “free market”, we do not have a free market. We truly have no idea how much we pay in subsidies to corporations. Lots of estimates but real numbers are elusive. From milk to corn to oil to gas to soybeans and on and on. One big problem is that subsidies are not always direct. When corporations pay wages so low that employees qualify for public assistance, we foot the bill. That’s subsidizing that corporation. When a company offers free shipping but the government offers subsidies and tax deductions for that company, that’s a subsidy. When US troops provide security for poppy fields in Afghanistan or navy ships protective escorts to oil tankers, those are subsidies. The entire military industrial complex is nothing but subsidies. So are superfund sites. The purchase of vehicles and fuel by small local governments all the way up to the US military are subsidies to vehicle manufacturers and oil companies. So, we pay the subsidies, then we pay the price at the pump, in the grocery store, on our utility bills… Socialism for the rich and corporations, capitalism for the rest of us.

Real inflation control. If we even discussed real inflation controls, it would implement such mechanisms as corporate profit caps by percentage of gross income, not allowing for stock repurchases or executive bonuses. It would look like implementing a maximum income. It may include price controls without subsidies. It would include stringent penalties for consumer abuse and price gouging. It would enforce anti-trust laws and practices. It would penalize every job eliminated or reduced while maintaining or expanding production levels. It would make stock repurchases illegal.

No going back. The point to be made here is that there is no going back on inflation. Not within our current system. Yet there is no valid rationale that bread is not 25¢ a loaf. Or that gas costs as much as it does. There is no valid rationale for oil being a top export and top import.That does not increase our energy security, does not help the environment, does not control cost or inflation.

Inflation is a myth. Like I began, inflation is a myth. A story we are told and just accept as fact. We have lived our lives without really questioning why prices increase while wages do not. We recognize the need to increase wages without asking why we need to do so just for survival. Schools teach inflation, media preaches inflation, corporations profit from inflation while causing most of that inflation for their own bottom line. Politicians promise to control inflation, then offer subsidies we pay for in order to maintain the profits of the corporate structure that causes inflation, in effect rewarding those same corporations.

Stop accepting the idea that inflation is a fact of life. It’s not. It is not a consequence or complication of capitalism. It is a core feature of capitalism.