The Case of The Creeping Crud
In her 2020 book ‘Waste’, Catherine Flowers speaks to the practice in Alabama – throughout the South – of keeping the poor and ignorant poor and ignorant so that there would always be a cheap source of labor on hand. In a September 2021 House Budget Committee hearing, a member from neighboring Georgia patiently explained the economic necessity of cheap labor; how increased wages were a threat to small businesses; and how any increase in wages would necessitate an increase in immigration in order to keep labor costs low for the good of the economy.
When a red state pol says that wages need be kept low for the good of the economy, whose economy are they talking about? Surely they don’t mean the economy of those being asked to work for next to nothing. They must mean the economy of those who benefit from those people working for next to nothing. Someone like themselves, maybe? Or, more likely, those who financed their, the pol’s, political campaign. If they and their benefactors are them to whom the benefits flow, then who are those to whom so little flows? The them-nots, of course. The haves and the have-nots; the thems and the them-nots; …; …; ….
Was a time when people from the poorer states either went north, west, or east to work in states where they were paid union scale wages. Where they could earn enough to live on, enough to even be able to save some. More than a few saved enough to return ‘home’ and build a house, buy a farm, start a business, …. Then, the economies of the poorer states were greatly dependent on the wages in the wealthier states. The wealthier states provided the good remittance jobs, and the market for their products. The car plants in Michigan drove economies in states hundreds and hundreds of miles away. Today, by and large, those then ‘poorer’ states make up the now ‘Red’ states; the wealthier northern, eastern, and western states, the now ‘Blue’ states.
Over the years, many of the factories of the wealthier states moved south to avoid paying union wages. When they did, workers in the south thought that at half union wages they were cutting a fat hog. They were indeed; until and before their employers began offshoring production first to Mexico, then Asia; or, if they stayed, hiring immigrants for less.
Crabs don’t do big picture. In the world of crabs, if there is even a possibility of someone doing better than you, bring them back down. In hindsight, it was evident from the get-go that there was no way mitches were ever going to be happy until they had imposed their 18th-century economics on the rest of the nation. Took a while, (40 years, maybe?), but, today, many workers in the blue states no longer make a living wage. Today, 40% of all American workers, including those in blue states, do not earn a living wage. Particularly since 1980, this 18th-century economic kudzu has spread across the land. And, no, it did not originate in Japan. It is all the fault of Unions, Hillary Clinton, Liberals, Socialism, Extreme Liberals, Nancy Pelosi, Democrats, Immigration, Abortion, Women’s Lib, Activist Judges, and Joe Biden. Finding someone to blame is a time-tested means of denial. So, giving them someone to hate.
My how things have changed over the past sixty and more years: The former-reb dixie-dems are now the tea party, conservative caucus, heritage foundation republicans. Now (since 1928?), the dems are the party of Lincoln. The ‘Yankees’ of the North are now the ‘Blue States’; or, simply the ‘Liberals’.
Or have they? After lo these many, the story is still, “If we can’t win, don’t get our way, we’ll pull the house down.” On January 6, 2021, Mo was saying, “pull it down.” Neither Mark Meadows’ nor Mick Mulvaney’s allegiance was to the union. Neither was The Recently Disposed One’s. Nor Mitch McConnell’s. Nor, Kevin McCarthy’s. As for those who voted for the likes of such? Crabs will be crabs.
How dare the government of the United States of America act to accord these them-nots with decent wages? Social Security? Environmental Protection? Occupational Health and Safety? When the Constitution plainly says:
We the haves, in order to have a more perfect oligarchy, get to decide.
First, we (the haves) must kill democracy. Kill it aborning using Gerrymandering, Jim Crow Laws, Court Packing, …, by whatever means necessary. Elections are acceptable if and only if we (the haves) choose the candidates and control the vote. When and if manipulation of the manipulable by cultural wars, racism, bigotry, and disinformation fail to control the way the have-not’s vote, we must then act to keep the have-nots from voting; throw out their vote, if need be. When all else fails, cheat like hell. No trifling. A little democracy is a too dangerous thing.
We the haves must undo any and all that the government has ever done for the have-nots. What can not be undone must either be defunded or found unconstitutional by Our Supreme Court of the haves. The EPA, OSHA, The USPS, healthcare, childcare, education, …, the GI Bill, …, seatbelts, were/are all bad for the economy. Deregulate now and forever! Defund if need be!
Access to a good education? Too dangerous. Keep the poor and ignorant poor and ignorant for the sake of our economy. Worker safety is expensive; worker unit replacement is more economical. Healthcare is only meant for those who can afford it. In spite of all the history, all the evidence to the contrary; wages must be kept low. Like with the broken clock, time will eventually prove us right.
There are many a reason for this time of America’s descent, our recent race to the bottom. But, there can be little doubt, the same people who have been trying to bring America down from within for 150 years, directly and indirectly, played, are playing, a big role in our demise.
The Compromise of 1877 that provided the blueprint for Trump’s 2021 attempt to ‘Stop the Steal’, was used to get the first federal troops out of the South paving the way for Jim Crow Laws that lasted until the 1960s (the good old days). In 1879, democratic congressmen representing former slave states threatened to bring down the house by starving the government, unless all the troops were removed. America still hasn’t recovered from all the economic success that ensued.
In early 2020, Senator Mitch McConnell, Kentucky, shamelessly opposed the House’s version of the CARE Act from the Senate Floor because it would give money to the Blue States and Cities for such as (in his opinion) too high government employee wages and pensions. This after having bragged of securing free gratis $17 Billion the year before for Kentucky that came from – – – – – the Blue States and their radically Blue Cities.
In September 2021, Alabama’s Governor Kay Ivey shamelessly announced that Alabama would use Alabama’s appropriation from the CARE Act, not for food, rent, healthcare, nor any of those things for which it was intended, but to build prisons. In her rationalization, she, too, alluded to what she thought the wasteful ways Blue States had spent their share.
Let It Bleed
The issue is an ancient one that has a few possible solutions. The most common one is slavery. Then you have feudalism, sharecropping, peony, indentured servitude and other forms of forced labor. One solution can be a permanent underclass based upon race, caste, religion and so on. The last one is called immigration. Immigration works well as long as there are people willing to work hard for nothing. The American Dream is all about one generation working hard to give their offspring a chance to escape poverty. When it works, there is no one left to do the labor unless of course you create a permanent underclass with no chance of escape.
You forgot what I taught you?
With the exception of Wages, everything else is Overhead associated with Labor. The only way to reduce the cost of manufacturing is reduce Labor the smallest cost of the manufacturing and then the Overhead goes away.
You can reduce some Overhead as we did when consulting. Most of it is mandated by law. So you become more efficient with 5-spindle CNC equipment or refocus your factory, etc.
Or you outsource your business to other countries with less Overhead.
Typically the portion of Labor is small in a product.
Small in a product, perhaps, if we’re talking about manufacturing, but not agricultural work of various kinds, meat processing, or many areas of retail sales, and child, home, and healthcare. Also landscaping.