Indentured Taxpayers and the Casino Economy

Karl Marx said at least one valuable thing. Workers of the world do need to unite, and lose their chains. If our brand of chrony capitalism doesn’t exploit workers, it certainly doesn’t value or respect them. Real pay and benefits for the vast majority of American workers have fallen precipitously over the past several decades.

Please don’t misunderstand me. I certainly don’t admire Karl Marx, or the system he advocated. He was, like virtually all famous historical figures, promoted by great powers behind the scenes. And Marxism/communism has been tried in a great many places. It obviously doesn’t provide a decent life for those living under it. In the case of the Soviets, it created misery for millions of “comrades.” And under their system, dissenting voices were sent to Siberia. That’s worse than what America 2.0 does to dissenters, like the January 6 political prisoners. But maybe if they open up the FEMA camps, and put all the “deplorables” in them, we’ll be worthy competition.

I thought about this subject while watching a Matt Walsh video yesterday. Now I often like Walsh’s commentary, and certainly agree with him on the “Woke” madness. But economically, he’s like far too many conservatives. Trusts the marketplace. Thinks the very rich “built” and deserved their wealth. Although he’s a millennial, he believes the Boomer myth, which they got from their parents, the “greatest generation.” That myth is that if you work hard, your efforts will be recognized. Cream will rise to the top. Unfortunately, nothing could be further from the truth. I couldn’t find any information about Walsh’s background. I would be shocked if he didn’t come from at least an upper middle-class family.

Walsh was ridiculing some Gen Z “influencer,” who was complaining about the dead end nature and low pay for most jobs in America 2.0. He didn’t call it America 2.0, of course, but that’s what he was describing. Walsh is only thirty seven, so he must think that his quick climb to prominence in the competitive online world of alternative media is a common phenomenon. It isn’t. Maybe he was just lucky, but my hunch is he had some wealth behind him. That’s what happens, and has always happened, in other industries, so why not the world of online “influencers?” There once was an author named Horatio Alger, who wrote stories extolling the American Dream. The rags to riches story. But he wrote fiction.

The original title for my book Survival of the Richest: How the Corruption of the Marketplace and the Disparity of Wealth Created the Greatest Conspiracy of All was You Didn’t Build That. Barack Obama said that, of course, proving that he, like Marx, was capable of making at least one sensible point in his political career. No one wants to admit that luck played a part in their success. I came up with the alternative title for the publisher. One of the best chapters in the book, in my view, was edited out of the published version. I published it on my old blog, “Keeping it Unreal.” It’s all about the upper-class backgrounds of so many celebrated figures, past and present. You can read that chapter here.

My research demonstrated quite clearly that even many of the gorgeous actresses from the Golden Age of Hollywood until the present day, came from wealthy backgrounds. I’d naively always assumed that the Casting Couch was the biggest determinant in becoming a female movie star. The reality is, to borrow Gerald Celente’s expression, that Donald Trump wasn’t alone in being born on third base, and thinking he’d hit a home run. One could argue that nearly all the most successful people in the world were born on third base, or at least second base. Their backgrounds gave them a huge advantage in the rat race. Well, actually, the rat race is exclusively for the common riffraff, the ones born to meager financial circumstances.

I’ve written about what I call the other half of America, hidden from view like the dirt under our rugs. The bottom fifty percent of Americans make less than $30,000 annually, and have less than one percent of the collective wealth. That’s a figure that should astonish all Americans. It’s a glaring indictment of our chrony capitalist system. What kind of marketplace can’t provide virtually any wealth for half of the people? If you throw in the untold millions of illegal immigrants, which probably aren’t included in the statistics, the figure might be closer to fifty five or even sixty percent. That’s not representative of a First World economy.

Whether it’s Matt Walsh, or some comfortable Boomer, it’s unfair to dismiss millennials or Gen-Zs as whining snowflakes. They are the Boomers’ children and grandchildren. If they are indeed lazy and entitled, don’t we bear some responsibility for that? After all, we raised them. The young “influencer” that Walsh denigrated made some salient points. My generation-and I’m at the tail end of the Boomers- did have it much easier than the millennials and Gen-Zs. We had lots of decent jobs then, where you could climb at least a bit up the ladder, that didn’t require a college degree. It bears repeating that I was a community college dropout, and I did pretty well. We got yearly raises, had much better benefits, and a far less toxic work environment.

Ellen Goodman described the working world in bleak but undeniably true terms when she said, “Normal is getting dressed in clothes that you buy for work and driving through traffic in a car that you are still paying for- in order to get to the job you need to pay for the clothes and the car, and the house you leave vacant all day so you can afford to live in it.” How many working class people don’t hate their jobs? Yet, they are forced to spend one-third of their lives doing them. Ordered around by supervisors and managers that are universally unenlightened, prone to favoritism, and now adherents of the “Woke” agenda. They all hear about the lucrative year-end bonuses top management gets, while they get nothing.

Huey Long is my political hero for many reasons. He was advocating a thirty hour, even perhaps a twenty hour work week, in the early 1930s. He wanted all workers to be guaranteed a month’s vacation. Thanks to pressure from him, the best part of the New Deal was the 1938 legislation passed that created the forty hour work week, overtime and vacation pay, and opened the door to tangible benefits for lower paid employees in all industries. My grandfather, who died in 1930, was typical of his era. He worked seven days a week, 365 days a year, as a security guard. They let him go home for lunch on Christmas Day. Worked his entire life without going to the beach, or anywhere else. Stricken with cancer, he had to toil until the end because there was no sick leave.

Think of the coalminers in places like West Virginia. Dying at tragically young ages. Spending one third of their days in darkness underground, breathing in the toxicity that will kill them early. Our system- chrony capitalism- fought every effort made in their behalf. They felt perfectly fine underpaying them, exposing them to dangerous working conditions, and helping to create all those widows and orphans. In the postwar boom, great factories existed, which provided a real living wage and nice benefits to those working the assembly lines. Now, these “unskilled” laborers (the demeaning term invented to reveal just how little they are valued), have no factories to apply to, because we’ve outsourced our industry. And they have to compete with cheap immigrant labor. For scraps.

The reason why Survival of the Richest was ignored by all prominent voices on the Left except for the likes of Naomi Wolf, is that I talk about the impact of immigration. Immigration is unquestionably the main reason for the drop in real blue-collar wages, and the virtual elimination of meaningful benefits. And the great capitalists- whom Libertarians still inexplicably worship- dismiss the issue by taking a swipe at the workers they refuse to pay a living wage. How often have you heard that immigrants are “just doing the jobs that Americans won’t do?” I lived in a time when no illegals were around to mow the lawns, or do the landscaping. Someone used to do all that, because it got done. American citizens just can’t work for slave wages.

Economic statistics are not exactly consistent, when it comes to figuring out the average salary for an American worker. It usually is somewhere in the $50,000s per year. But I’ll put it higher than any source does, and use $100,000 as an average salary. We know that’s not right, but it suits my purposes here. If you work the usual fifty years, and average $100,000 over the course of time (which very few people would ever do), you would have made $5 million collectively. That’s a decent Christmas bonus for top executives. Carly Fiorina got a $40 million golden umbrella when HP fired her for gross incompetence. Think about that; someone getting eight times what an average worker earns in sixty years, in one lump sum. For failing miserably at the job.

The average salary for a Major League Baseball player last year was $4.9 million. Essentially the same as a full-time worker makes in sixty years. And again, that’s using wildly inflated stats. The average American salary is much closer to $50,000, So do the math- $2.5 million for a lifetime’s worth of often grueling physical labor. That’s pocket change to the average CEO. The average NBA player makes more than double what a blue-collar worker earns in sixty years- at around $10 million per season. Eighty games of bouncing a ball. We know how much movie stars can make for a single picture, although Hollywood appears to have killed the goose that laid that particular golden egg.

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