Take a look at any of the candidates for governor this year in Massachusetts ,with one exception, and you’ll notice that “Jobs and the Economy” take center stage. Yes sir, you betcha, jobs and the economy, that’s all you want and unfortunately, that’s all you are going to get.
If you are like me, and odds are you are, you are a laborer. In simple terms, you work for a living. You don’t own a large company with many employees; you don’t live off your investments, rental property, and so on. If you are able to support yourself with your labor and enjoy a few days off, we call you middle class. If your labor cannot support you no matter how hard you work, we call you poor. As more and more of us are learning, there is a thin line between the middle class and the poor and that line is vanishing.
Here’s a video from Elizabeth Warren that explains is more. It’s about an hour long, but worth your time:
Here’s the problem. Since the early 70’s, we laborers have been working hard and that hard work has pushed the GDP, soared the DOW, and created mountains of wealth. Unfortunately, that wealth has gone elsewhere, not to us laborers. For the past forty years we’ve asked for and elected representatives in government who promised to deliver “jobs and the economy” and that’s all labor got.
No one who is a laborer is immune from this. Even doctors today are feeling the pinch. Adjusted for inflation, a general practitioner in 1970 was making $185K. In 2011, that figure fell to $161K despite the fact that in this time, there has also been a doubling of patients seen by doctors per day. I just looked over my earnings since I started working in 1971 and discovered that I am just another example of many of us who are working more, making less, and paying more for necessities, especially health care. It’s hard to imagine that in 1974, as a kid out of high school, I managed to make $45K (adjusted for inflation) plus full medical, and two weeks paid vacation.
By the way, in this same period, corporate profits have soared and corporate tax payments have been reduced by two thirds. But hey, you wanted “Jobs and the Economy” and that’s what you got. If you are like me, you want to know where all the money went if we all got jobs and the economy grew. The CEO of a local not for profit hospital network raked in $2.1 million in 2011. The CEO the nation’s third largest health insurer added $30.7 million to his piggy bank in 2013. Sheldon Adelson, the casino guy, is currently pocketing $32 million……per DAY! (No wonder the casino people have money to burn trying to get a piece of citizens of Massachusetts) All that money comes from someone else’s labor and if you are wondering who that someone is, look in the mirror.
In closing, if you want the same old same old, your choices are simple. You can’t throw a rock into the crowd of candidates from either party and not hit someone pushing for “jobs and the economy” and casinos. Just pick one and stay on the same path we laborers have been on since 1970.
But if want more than a job, if you want justice, if you want an egalitarian America where your hard work really does pay off in your bank account, where you are able to get your own health insurance without being held captive by your employer (or his religion), vote for Don Berwick, the only candidate running on more than “Jobs and the Economy”.