Jane White – Author, “America, Welcome to the Poorhouse” Posted: January 2, 2011 02:56 PM
Last month a new political group called No Labels announced their intention to loosen the grip of both parties on the political process. The group’s slogan is “Not left. Not right. Forward.” Yawn.
As Christopher Beam put it in a recent Slate post, “The group’s mission statement is so obvious… no one would ever disagree:” Beam offers an example: “`Americans are entitled to a government and a political system that works…’ Unlike all those groups that prefer a political system that doesn’t work?”
Why can’t we go one better and agree on critical issues that are facing everybody: our job market is shriveling and our political system has been hijacked — and it’s not the Republican takeover of Congress but K Street’s takeover of Capitol Hill.
When it comes to our economic malaise, as I’ve said before, neither party’s approach to economic stimulus is working, whether it’s Keynesian or libertarian. Let’s face it, if trickle-down tax cuts could kick-start the economy it would be humming by now. As for the government stimulus favored by the Democrats, while highway restructuring may put construction workers back on the job, it’s not going to replace the engineering jobs outsourced by Microsoft to China, where it now employs more people than it does in the U.S.
When I was growing up in the 1950s and 1960s everything our family owned was made here and wages and benefits were generous. Now it’s the opposite. As former Senator Byron Dorgan observed in his book, Take This Job and Ship It, in 1970 the largest US corporation was GM, which provided decent wages, pensions and health care. Now it’s Wal-Mart, whose products are mostly made in China and their employees’ average salary is reportedly $18,000. What’s more, their benefits are not only puny but we taxpayers often subsidize them. A study by Congressman George Miller shows that a typical 200-employee Wal-Mart store is