Part Time Nation – An Incremental Economic Decline

Part Time Nation reflects an incremental economic decline.

Do not trust governments more than governments trust their own people.
– Andrei Sakharov

Part Time NationThe official government unemployment figure will almost always be misleading with an intentional effort to undermine the true numbers. Unfortunately, a majority of Americans will believe this false and misleading information which amounts to nothing but political propaganda. Issues arise from the manner in which such data is collected and how it is crafted to reflect a misleading figure.

The number touted by the main stream media often intentionally ignores a number of unemployed and underemployed Americans. Individuals who have stopped looking for a job due to loss of faith in obtaining any employment as well as those working part-time only positions. There is also the issue of new job creation. Numerous articles and erroneous information on the creation of jobs to mislead the public to what the grim situation entails. The government does not reveal that most new jobs being created now are low wage ones often without any benefits. Most of these positions are only in the service and retail based sectors. In addition all are either part-time jobs, temp jobs or are “independent contractor” jobs. Many of the lost jobs are gone forever, including construction jobs, finance jobs and manufacturing jobs.

Since the sheer volume of unemployed Americans dwarfs the few job openings, companies can be exclusive in the selection process. Many will hire abundant workers for part time only, temp positions. In addition, many companies are careful to keep hours low enough so that the majority of their employees do not qualify for expensive “full-time benefits”.

This is shaping a dangerous trend in America. Good jobs are rapidly disappearing and being replaced by low paying service jobs with little or no benefits and slave wages. In numerous American households, both parents obtain multiple jobs. However, many of these families can’t even pay the mortgage and are massively in debt.

This has become the new “American Dream” for millions of Americans. They are learning to survive on the barest minimum as the standard of living has now declined to Third World levels. In essence globalization has created a huge cheap market labor pool which will eventually result in a slow and steady equalization of global working standards.

The American Dream was destroyed when numerous Presidents, Congress, bankers, financiers and CEOs sold out main street America. Privatized profits with subsidized costs and access to “new and emerging” Chinese markets with illegal cheap labor. Chinese gain was the American workers loss and officially sanctioned. As a result, America is now the creditor.

According to a recent report from the National Employment Law Project, higher wage industries accounted for 40 percent of the job losses over the past 12 months but only 14 percent of the job growth. Lower wage industries accounted for just 23 percent of the job losses over the past 12 months and a whopping 49 percent of the job growth.

This indicates jobs are being created but only those of the lowest levels and sectors which often are insufficient for American families to maintain any normalcy under previous standards of living. Coupled with inflation, this creates a situation of unrelenting hardship for most families struggling to survive on a daily basis.

Wal-Mart is not the only major corporation that says that inflation is coming.  Hershey has just announced price increases of about 10 percent on their entire line of products.

Arianna Huffington, co-founder of the Huffingtoin Post, paints a grim picture of the State of the Union: “Every day, Americans, faced with layoffs and tough economic times, are forced to use their credit cards to pay for essentials such as food, housing, and medical care–the costs of which continue to escalate.” P. 77.

“Upward mobility has always been at the center of the American Dream — a promise that if you work hard and play by the rules, you’ll do well, and your children will have the chance to do even better.”

In her book, Third World America: Why I Wrote the Book and What We Need to Do to Save America she believes America’s middle class is under assault. The American Dream is becoming a nightmare. One in five Americans are unemployed or underemployed. One in nine families unable to make the minimum payment on their credit cards. One in eight mortgages in default or foreclosure. One in eight Americans on food stamps. Unfortunately, there are no lobbyists for the American Dream.

Another key issue which compounds the issue of being unemployed, is the alarming trend among certain companies and recruiters of hiring only those who are currently employed. Employment experts say they believe companies are increasingly interested only in applicants who already have a job. Some job postings include restrictions such as “unemployed candidates will not be considered” or “must be currently employed.”

“I think it is more prevalent than it used to be,” said Rich Thompson, vice president of learning and performance for Adecco Group North America, the world’s largest staffing firm. “I don’t have hard numbers, but three out of the last four conversations I’ve had about openings, this requirement was brought up.”

Some common reasons for such exclusionary practice, includes the belief that an unemployed workers skills may have grown stale or, for a rainmaker type job, losing touch with key contacts may be an issue. It is also believed that a potential employees former company, would have only laid off or downsized workers not considered among their top candidates, and thus by process of elimination, cut only those who would not make the “grade.”

There is no law prohibiting discrimination against the unemployed, though advocates said the practice could be illegal if it had a disparate impact on minority groups.

“The question is, what are we going to do about it? Are we going to shut off the lights, curl up in a ball, and slap a victim sticker on our foreheads? Or are we going to shake off the blows, take a deep breath, hitch up our pants and head back into the fray? Are we going to wallow in despair or rage against the fading of the American Dream?”

–Arianna Huffington