Do These Americans Know What They’re Wishing For?
Looked at one way, a lot of Americans are to be congratulated on their willingness to sacrifice their standard of living so that the rest of the world can live better. From what I see and hear on TV and the internet, they want the United States economy scaled back to earlier times when the government was much smaller and life was much simpler.
The times reflected in Norman Rockwell paintings, for example.
In those times, a glass of soda water flavored with syrup was a big treat. People crowded around the few available radios. And many rural residents made do with outside pit toilets.
That was a while back, of course.
Today, kids yell at their parents if they don’t get the latest version of some $200 video game, and teenagers expect to have a car of their own when they get their driver’s license.
The population of America is flooded with luxurious gadgets – from high-tech cell phones and wide-screen TVs to adjustable ergonomic beds.
Meanwhile, in other less fortunate places around the world, children are literally starving. People are being murdered and mutilated in savage conflicts over scraps of food. Girl babies are being left to die on garbage dumps because their families cannot afford to raise them.
If you consider the standard of living that Americans enjoy and the misery that afflicts so many other countries, it seems only fair that wages in America should decline while wages in poorer countries should rise.
That is precisely what’s happening. And the trend will inevitably accelerate unless current U.S. policies are changed.
Global corporations employ the cheapest labor they can find on the face of the earth and sell their wares in the richest markets available. To retain any production capability in such an environment, Americans must accept ever-lower wages and ever-fewer benefits.
The only possible brake on this process is government intervention.
Governments of countries that provide the most robust buying power – such as the United States – can and should demand compensation for the privilege of selling in their markets. This would not only provide revenue, it would also enhance the competitiveness of locally produced goods and slow the flight of jobs overseas.
But a lot of Americans don’t seem to want that.
The loudest cries I hear today are for smaller, weaker government and more powerful global corporations.
It looks as if an increasing number of Americans are dreaming of a return to the “old days.”
They should be careful what they wish for; they might get it.
Obviously they have forgotten what it was like when land barons ruled supreme and the mass of the people consisted of dirt-poor tenant farmers, enslaved miners and abused minorities.