Why the middle class is being destroyed

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(KPLR) – In Monday's Jacology, Charles Jaco looks at why the middle class is being destroyed.

So now Amazon will be using the U.S. Postal Service to deliver packages on Sunday. I wonder how that'll work, since Amazon treats its low-wage no-benefit warehouse workers pretty badly. A great series of articles last year in Mother Jones magazine called, I was a warehouse wage slave, shows what I mean, and workers are regularly fired for talking to each other on the warehouse floor. Why would anybody put up with that sort of low-wage nonsense? Because they need the money, as little as it is. And so many people want work that workers can be replaced.

Forty percent of all jobs created since the crash in 2008 are low wage, no benefit, mc-jobs. Here in the St. Louis metro, high-wage jobs now make up less than 20 percent of all jobs. In fact, wage growth for most Americans has been around zero for a couple of decades. But all this has happened as corporate profits and corporate productivity are setting records. In plain English, workers are producing more, at lower wages. Or robots are producing more, at no wages. Or workers in Malaysia are producing more, at a quarter an hour. And corporate owners and executives pocket the profit.

Take for instance the Gap Corporation, which owns Old Navy. Al Jazeera did an investigation into labor conditions at factories that make Old Navy jeans. They found 12 year old girls working in 21st century sweatshops. Those jobs used to be American jobs. But then, maybe cheap jeans are all we can afford these days, since our incomes have dropped. But here's what's funny. As more and more of us fall through the cracks, public policy makers are shredding any safety net.

They're slashing food stamps. They’re cutting unemployment benefits. And they say it’s because people on those benefits just need to try harder. This is because the conservative lawmakers who want benefits slashed in a sinking society suffer from what psychologists call a self-verification bias. That means they're so narcissistic that they honestly believe all of their success is self-made. That's generally an annoying, but harmless delusion. Until they’re given power to victimize people facing hard times; people who used to be part of what we nostalgically call, .the middle class.

I'm Charles Jacoand that's Jacology.

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Email: charles.jaco@tvstl.com