I too am angry, frustrated and outraged about the direction of our country. But my anger is of a different sort. You see, while many of you yearn for a yesteryear where African-Americans, Hispanics and women were relegated to second class citizenship, my frustration is with a political party that did everything it could to stymie economic growth and derail a President who simply wanted to steer our country out of the doldrums of global recession. Looking back over the Obama Presidency, one glaring fact is clear, Republican obstruction and recalcitrance in Congress not only slowed the pace of our recovery, it exasperated an already toxic environment in Washington DC where division is the order of the day. It’s no wonder polls of our “Do Nothing” Congress are in the single digits. I often wonder where we’d be as a country if Republicans made a decision to work with President Obama instead of colluding to make him a one term president. By the way, how did that effort turn out?
Anyway, what if Republicans backed efforts to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure? Millions of Americans would be positioned to collect a check to pay their bills. And if you remember, when President Obama took office, we were hemorrhaging jobs – upward of 800,000 per month for the first six months of his presidency. The unemployment rate was hovering over 10% nationally. The stock market was sputtering. And, we lost over 8 million jobs. Where are we today? According to the July jobs report, the US economy has added 255,000 jobs. We’ve recaptured nearly 15 million jobs with 75 consecutive months of private sector job growth. The national unemployment rate holds at 4.9%. The stock market is seeing record numbers. And gas prices? My goodness, in most states, the cost of gas is under $2.00 per gallon – much needed relief for virtually all American families. All of this with the implementation of a stimulus package economists say should have been much larger.
I wonder though, if there was an unprecedented bi-partisan effort to rebuild our roadways, railways, bridges; sewer systems, ports, levees, dams; aviation systems and energy grids would there have been even sturdier job growth, perhaps several million more Americans working? In terms of our national infrastructure, we’d be the envy of the world. Instead, China and our Western allies are outpacing and outshining us in these critical areas. Republicans blew our chances at arriving at bi-partisanship, compromise and consensus. They’ve blocked everything. Republicans obstructed every effort to move our nation forward. But I get it, you’re angry. You can’t get pass your prejudices. You’re still not willing to accept Barack Obama as your President. And, it’s much easier for you to blame government for your problems instead of the real culprits that are causing you pain and misery. And now you’ve placed trust in Donald Trump to champion your cause. And while “Outsider” Trump leads the Republican party, let me explain why he isn’t worthy of your vote.
Donald Trump is the epitome of a corporate scoundrel willing to exploit and undermine the middle class, working poor and the American worker. And while it’s true Trump employed a lot of people, independent contractors and other entities were left in the cold when Trump used bankruptcy to skirt responsibility to the people that placed faith in his feckless business acumen. It’s the likes of Donald Trump that find benefit in undermining the American worker and paying people less than a livable wage – while his profits provide for a more than comfortable living.
While you direct your rage at government, it is American corporations and the investor class that exploit your labor by setting stagnant wages so that profits fill their coffers while you try to figure out how to pay bills and feed your family. Hey angry white man supporting Donald Trump, has it even occurred to you that while Trump lambastes China and our trade policies, his personal wealth is as a result of exploiting overseas labor while simultaneously undermining American workers?
Think about it: Trump’s suits, ties and other apparel are made in foreign countries, not because of burdensome trade policies, but because paying American workers a decent or living wage would impact his profit margins. To put it simply: It’s easier and more profitable for Trump and his ilk to pay a factory worker in China $1.00 a day than you $15.00 an hour. Why? Because cheap labor allows people like Trump to live extremely well while you struggle to make ends meet. Your quality of life is undermined while Trump’s empire is buttressed by exploited labor. And as always, standard fair for Trump, corporate giants, the GOP and the investor class is to blame our regulatory system and tax structure as the impetus for shipping jobs overseas. Placing blame on regulations and taxes is as specious and dishonest as his feigned outrage and cynical campaign.
Look, I get it, you hate Hillary Clinton. I won’t try to convince you to cast a vote for someone you dislike nor will I minimize your angst and fears. What I will tell you is, your trust in Donald Trump is misplaced. Hopes for a Trump Presidency will not change your financial situation for the better. The real target of your frustration and outrage should be aimed at corporations and investors that think it’s ok to pay American workers wages they can hardly live on – while they themselves live the good life. Your problem isn’t simply government, burdensome regulations or the corporate tax structure. The anxiety and uncertainty you’re grappling with is the result of the place where your paycheck is signed.
Trump knows this. The CEO, President and Upper-management of your job are intimately familiar with how this system works. American corporations, multinational conglomerates, The GOP; the investor class and Wall Street work in tandem to ensure that profits continue to swell the coffers of the 1% – ultimately undermining the American worker. So too are financial institutions complicit in this scandal.
While Trump bellows anti-TPP fervor and has you arguing about our trade policies, you’ve been shrewdly maneuvered into looking pass the real transgressors – the so-called Free Market, American corporations and potentially your employer. The government isn’t forcing major corporations to ship jobs to China, India and other countries. Factories and plants haven’t closed because of a dictatorial or totalitarian government, it’s cheap labor, swelled coffers and the prospect of living extraordinarily well that undergirds why this once booming sector has shuttered.
The call center in India where you hope to resolve issues with your cell phone, cable or other services isn’t a government orchestrated scheme, corporate giants have found cheap labor to bolster profits and satisfy investors. While you’re barely able to make ends meet, it’s helpful to remember in the 1950’s the CEO to worker pay ratio was a mere 20-to-1. Today’s studies suggests CEO pay is 354 times that of an average employee. No one argues that a CEO shouldn’t earn a higher wage than an employee. But when the pay gap is this wide and the average worker’s salary is stagnate or reduced, it’s only fair to highlight the moral contradiction.
If corporate profits are high and compensation packages are worth millions – while full-time jobs are winnowed from 40 to 30 hours per week, something is fundamentally wrong. The free market has become a low wage labor camp where the working poor barely survive and the so-called Middle Class struggles to maintain their standard of living.
The backbone of our economy is the so-called working class and working poor. This group or class of worker largely supports the infrastructure of our tax system, retail industry and in a major way, undergirds Wall Street and the functioning of our government. Pick any industry and it’ll be easy to demonstrate how its underpaid workers are baring the weighty load of its existence. While our nation puts a great deal of emphasis on so-called “Job Creators,” it’s the working class and working poor that sustains our economy.
There’s not a product or service in existence without a worker to fill orders or cobble together the materials to bring products to market. At some point the emphasis must shift to the working class. We have become beasts of burden. Our corporate infrastructure and economic system exploits our labor. We’re settling for low wages as if it were a privilege to be devalued and underpaid. And, as the weight of an entire business is hoisted on our shoulders, we fail to see the injustice in the arrangement. But for the rancor Washington DC , you would connect the dots and expose the real threat to our democracy and way of life. Donald Trump and his ilk represent all that you loathe about government. Trump is no more a friend to you than the entities that put profit above the American worker and American families. It’s time for Angry White America to lift the veil of this scam and redirect the rage. It’s also time to demand a new patriotism from American corporations, businesses and employers. Put American workers and American families ahead of profits. Put American families first. And as it relates to Donald Trump’s run for President, his apparel line belies the notion that he’s really interested in your well -being.
Ron Holland is the host of the Public Affairs show, ‘COMMUNITY VOICES’ on WOSF – Old School 105.3 and WPZS -100.9, Charlotte. He’s also a Producer and Assistant Production Mgr. with both stations. Any thoughts on this week’s commentary, send Ron an email: firstname.lastname@example.org
To Angry White America: The Donald Trump Supporter was originally published on praisecharlotte.com
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