serf rose phoenix-like to a minimum wage which now allows him to afford a standard of living just under the poverty level. American society has plenty of them, and their numbers are growing all the time. The Census Bureau acknowledges not only that 32.5 million Americans are living below the poverty level, but that less than a third receive welfare assistance! {B6} Perhaps the most tragic aspect of all is that in 1986, two million adults who lived below the poverty level held full-time jobs!! {B7} Can any ethical government expect its citizens to spend 40 hours a week working to earn a living BELOW the poverty level? Surely, this is an insult to human dignity. Back in 1981, a full 36% of workers paid on an hourly basis received the minimum wage, or within a dollar of the minimum wage!! {B8} The hardest hit are America's youth. Since 1973, the poverty rate for the under-30 group has nearly doubled to 22%. {B9}

Those working in a restaurant for minimum wage sometimes get to take home some of the leftovers, but if they make beds and empty urinals in a hospital, they probably couldn't afford to catch anything from the people they work around. Why? Because they would have to work for at least three weeks to pay for a single day's hospitalization. Medicare costs have risen an average of 8.5% per year since 1984. {B10} By 1987, more than 11 million children had no health insurance. {B11} What makes the situation even more shameful is that of the 37 million Americans who entered the 1990's with no medical coverage, the majority were employed! {B12} The fact that health care is becoming an unaffordable luxury in America is made more evident when one becomes aware that America ranks 20th in infant mortality behind Spain and Singapore. The shocking truth is that almost 40,000 of the 3.8 million children born in America in 1986 died before their first birthday!! {B13} Moreover, on any given night in America, there are approximately 100,000 homeless children. {B14} This figure may be seriously understated because a group of San Francisco lawyers known as "Public Advocates" estimate that in the San Francisco area alone there are 48,000 homeless and that more than 10,000 of that number are children. Why so many homeless? Simply because Capitalism practically demands homelessness. The self-regulating market forces of supply and demand, that America so proudly markets to the world, dictate that builders have little or no incentive to build housing for people with little or no money, but plenty of incentive to build more office space for wealthy corporations despite the fact that 100,000 homeless American children are growing up socially and economically deprived in a country which has had a nationwide office space vacancy rate of 18% for the last five years!!! In Manhattan for example, 8.9 million additional square feet of newly completed office space came on-line last year, but only 2.5 million square feet of it was rented. {B15} Another cause of the homelessness can be traced back to unemployment.

Unemployment (Exported Jobs, Imported Cheap Labor)

The root causes are extremely important, and to appreciate them let's think back to the 50's once more. Back then prosperity seemed within everyone's reach. Homes were beginning to sprout two car garages, and practically everyone's standard of living was on the rise. Here's what changed all that.

The prosperity of the 50's that generated and fueled the American Dream, occurred because American corporations were employing American workers. Now, they hire the 3rd World.

Because the American economy was booming at that time, and much money was being made, organized labor began to demand a fairer share of the prosperity. American corporations reacted by shutting down their American plants, and building their non-military related factories and manufacturing installations in Second and Third World countries. Tax legislation allowed the elite to write off the costs of building their factories abroad. In effect, taxpayers have paid for virtually all the American owned factories abroad! By doing so, the corporations were not only robbing North America of much needed employment opportunities, but were simultaneously exploiting the cheap labor and natural resources of poorer nations in the latest version of colonial exploitation. American corporations still help white South Africans to exploit and repress the blacks.

Moreover, the success of the anti-apartheid movement, since the 50's, displeased many of the corporate elite because they knew that eventually even the blacks would belong to organized labor groups, and that the days of cheap black labor were obviously numbered. This development greatly accelerated the practice of shutting down factories and industries in America and rebuilding them in Third World countries to take advantage of the remaining pools of cheap unorganized labor. The industrial exodus caused such a shortage of jobs for unskilled and semi-skilled men, that more and more women were obliged to enter the work force to enable families to cope economically. On average, women have been paid from 65%-70% of what men earn for the same job. {B16} Today, employers are still trying to discriminate against women, with regard to salary equality and career opportunities, in an effort to keep women as a cheaper source of labor than men.

Newsweek pointed out in its March 13 1989 issue, there are now about 140 million Americans between the ages of 20 to 64, and a staggering 30 million of these individuals are unemployed! {B17} But, just as the government hides much of its deficit "off budget", so it has ways of excluding many of the unemployed from its official figures. Those who have quite literally given up looking for work don't even get included in the government's seasonally adjusted unemployment figures, so the true picture of reality remains hidden. For political expediency, unemployment figures can be deceivingly and artificially reduced when required, at taxpayer expense again, through "make work" programs. Nevertheless, jobs are being constantly exported. According to Department of Labor statistics, the blue-collar factory work force decreased by 11% in the last decade alone. {B18}

General Motors provides an excellent example of a corporation which deserted the American work force for cheap labor abroad. The current movie "Roger and Me", which deals with the after effects of General Motors laying off over 32,000 employees in Flint Michigan, should help to draw attention to the problem. {B19}

The American textile industry is currently in the process of relocating to places like South Korea where the cost of skilled garment industry workers is about $2.50 per hour, which is less than the American minimum wage.

General Electric too is preparing a deal to buy 50% (plus one share) of Tungsram, an Hungarian manufacturer of light bulbs. With Hungary's average wage at 81 cents per hour, G.E.'s loyalty to the American work force will pan out to be just another of the illusions that Americans must shed. Chicago-based Schwinn Bicycle Co., and Guardian Industries, a Michigan-based glassmaker have already taken the plunge.

With the widespread demand in Eastern European countries like Poland, Hungary, and Czechoslovakia for a taste of capitalism, it won't be long before we begin importing name brand bicycles, fridges, etc., instead of employing Americans to make them. The rush to do so will most likely intensify before the unification of Western Europe takes place in 1992. In Poland, the cost of labor is even cheaper, a mere $40 per month. {B20} However, Americans should keep in mind that where wages are low, cost of living is usually correspondingly lower. In other words, Poles don't have to fork out $300-$500 per month in rent.

In 1988 alone, spending by overseas subsidiaries of American firms increased by 23% to $42.3 billion. {B21}

Not only were the taxpayers footing the bill, lower labor rates gave them higher profits. On top of that, the elite were often able to negotiate tax advantages with the foreign countries, so all in all, it has been a case of "to hell with the American work force".

The economic elite have such a strong control over public opinion and government in the West, that they knew they could virtually abandon their own populations, and allow the standard of living to deteriorate because the desirability of Communism and even Socialism has already been virtually purged out of the psyche of the Western mind. However, the elite know they will have to put up with a growing amount of grumbling. But because they control the government and the media, they will safely be able to allow the standard of living in America to gradually drop to the point that it approaches the rising standard of living among the developing nations.

Another method the elite have been using to maintain a downward pressure on American wages has been to make sure that almost all immigrants coming to America come from the cheap labor countries. Even though practically all the immigrants now coming to America fit this description, there is a push on to accelerate this process.

Despite the existence of 30 million eligible unemployed Americans, the Deputy Editor in chief of Forbes magazine, M.S. Forbes Jr., editorialized in the Jan 8 1990 edition that the nation was actually suffering from a "People shortage". He went on to add that, "There are not enough young people entering the labor force. We badly need to revamp our immigration laws so that many more

{B6} "In poverty's hard clutch, little chance to escape" Insight (Apr 3 1989): p9
{B7} "How we can win the war on poverty" Fortune (Apr 10 1989): p128
{B8} "Why the nickel and diming over the minimum wage" BusinessWeek (Mar 27 1989): p35
{B9} "America's income gap: the closer you look the worse it gets" BusinessWeek (Apr 17 1989): p79
{B10} "Fixing the deficit: where there's no will, there no way" BusinessWeek (Oct 2 1989): p31
{B11} "How we can win the war on poverty" Fortune (Apr 10 1989): p127
{B12} "There's nothing universal about plans for universal health care" BusinessWeek (Jan 22 1990): p39
{B13} "How we can win the war on poverty" Fortune (Apr 10 1989): p127
{B14} "Rich land, poor kids" The Economist (Jan 7 1989): p25
{B15}"A slump that's built to last" BusinessWeek (Jan 8 1990): p122
{B16}"What's dragging productivity down? Women's low wages" BusinessWeek (Nov 27 1989): p171
{B17}"Plenty of workers are waiting in the wings" BusinessWeek (Mar 13 1989): p98
{B18}"White-collar bloat" Forbes (Oct 17 1988): p34
{B19}"The real villain in "Roger & Me"? "Big Business" BusinessWeek (Jan 8 1990): P42
{B20}"These countries are up for sale" Forbes (Dec 25 1989): p130
{B21}"Croesus Incorporated" The Economist (Feb 18 1989): p67