Friday, April 17, 2020

While the Top 10% and the Fed Cheer Stocks Rebounding, the Bottom 60% Lose their Livelihoods and Lives

If you have any doubt that the Fed and Wall Street will some day be dismantled, please re-read this "real life in America" list again.
The pandemic is a stark, brutal spotlight on income/wealth inequality in America: while the top 10% who own the majority of the nation's wealth cheer the Federal Reserve's relentless pimping of the stock market, the bottom 60%--America's vast underclass of low-paid, marginalized, gig-economy, Amazon warehouse precarious proletariats (precariats)-- are losing their livelihoods and tragically, their lives as the pandemic ravages the ranks of those who cannot work at home and those whose health is impaired by the ceaseless struggle to survive in Unequal America.
The inequality isn't just in wealth and income; it's in what that wealth and income can buy-- stability, security and better health. While there are plenty of wealthy Americans in poor health, there's no getting past the reality that those with big incomes, 7-figure net worths and gold-plated healthcare insurance paid by their employer or family-owned enterprise can afford to be gym rats, hire personal trainers, get regular dental care, eat costly delicacies from Whole Foods (Whole Paycheck to precariats)--in other words, everything needed (including the financial security that enables a good night's sleep) to be slim and healthy.
America's vast Underclass is dying in the pandemic because their health is impaired by inequality.
As long as there are plenty of precariats earning less than $30,000 a year to walk their dog, empty Mom's bedpan, ship their order from an Amazon "fulfillment center," a.k.a. 21st century sweatshop, deliver their groceries from Whole Foods, drive their Uber ride, clean their McMansions, etc., the top 10% could care less about inequality in America.
Like the Fed, their focus is on the stock market, their free money machine: thanks to the Fed, your wealth doubles or triples without actually having to produce any value at all.
The excuse is the wealth effect: the Fed's pimping of the top 10%'s free money machine gives the top 10% the financial "animal spirits" confidence to buy, buy, buy services that create all those precariat jobs.
Here's a brief primer for all the top 10%ers who have no idea of what life is like for America's 60% Underclass:
1. Income is insecure as shift/hours per week/gigs are all uncertain.
2. When you are at your job, you're overloaded with work: the pressure never lets up.
3. You have long commutes, long hours.
4. There are insufficient rewards and recognition for your labors: low pay, no stock options, supervisors pressured to fire people, not praise them.
5. There's no trust or community at work; you're either competing for miserable pay in the gig economy, or you work with a constantly shifting mix of people. There's no trust or support.
6. Every day is an object lesson in unfairness: all you see are workers being treated unfairly while invisible bosses skim huge paychecks or millions/billions in stock options.
7. You cannot value or have pride in your work because the product/service is garbage, as defined and dictated by your overlords, who care only about maximizing profit by whatever means are available, i.e. lowering quality and hiding this from customers.
8. There are few avenues for advancement, unless you want to become a slave-driving crew chief for another lousy dollar or two an hour.
9. There's no way to get ahead, as your wobbly paycheck barely covers expenses, and any savings are wiped out by dental emergencies, car repairs, desperation-soaked loans to relatives, etc.
10. The constant overwork and all the anxieties of economic insecurity have undermined your health.
If you have any doubt that the Fed and Wall Street will some day be dismantled, please re-read this "real life in America" list as many times as needed to break through the obsession with the free money machine of a Fed-pimped euphoric stock market.
The pandemic might yet have a positive consequence if America's vast Underclass eventually decides that enough is enough.
Money and Work Unchained $6.95 (Kindle), $15 (print) Read the first section for free (PDF).


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