An iron will and collective immediate actions are required
This is first of a series of essays on the present day American experience
Today is a work day in America. Lamentably, many of our fellow Americans will not be going to work today or they will be working at jobs that barely keep them alive. This is a very serious problem and a simple and direct solution is available if we have the will to pull together as Americans. What are you prepared to do about that?
Let all who gather here to read this document pray that it be God’s will that we be spared the sorrow of bitter, protracted unemployment and the pity of bad jobs that pay less than necessary to live a decent life, even as so many of our brothers and sisters in America have not been so spared. And, let us resolve to help those not so spared.
How did America come to this? How did the great, gleaming hope of the world become reduced to a people who do not smile, a people who cower in fear and live in the shadows and in perpetual anxiety that tomorrow the already long lines of the desperate will grow longer still? How few are the smiles in America? How rare the upbeat message? How many look down at the streets as they pass and not at the glorious sky and the radiant sunshine above their heads?
The unemployment and bad jobs situation must be changed and immediately so. We pray most for the young. To the young, we who are older than you now say: we do understand, we have read the list of the forgotten of your age 18-30 and we are aghast at your numbers—fully 35% in no job or in a bad job. This is ruinous for America. It is a situation that is cancerous, insidious, and lethal. Those who are political leaders have avoided this horror for far, far too long. Now, we, who are older than you, face it with you, the afflicted, straight on, with clear eyes. We will change America with you, or she will surely die with you. Without the implementation of a drastic and immediate solution, yours will be America’s last generation. Our mission is that urgent.
There is a solution! It simply requires an iron will and great tenacity and very hard work—and a suspension of back biting on all sides. The solution lies in a collaborative effort between the political, commercial, financial, and worker sectors to bring jobs back to America and to do that straight away. We are Americans—all of us. It is time to put the collective shoulder to the wheel and labor mightily to push this nation to the top of the mountain again. Once on that mountain top, we will see again the clear sky and the golden sun and we will be once again a happy people.
But, first to our very hard work. This crisis must be treated as the absolute moral equivalent of December 8, 1941, that day, plus one, after America was attacked by the Japanese Empire. Let’s do these things—very quickly:
The president must call an emergency joint session of Congress and that joint session must agree, the day of the President’s address, these laws for him to sign that very day:
*A federal law that eliminates any and all corporate and other business taxes on commercial American enterprises of all sizes.
*A reciprocal law that all tax reduction benefits thus derived by business will be used exclusively to employ American workers, working in American businesses and producing American products and services using American raw materials. Such a reciprocal law will demand of business that it provide detailed, tangible evidence of compliance.
*A reciprocal law that Americans be compensated with a good wage and good benefits to include health care and genuine private retirement benefits, to include continued company paid health care on retirement under this program. What constitutes a good job and good benefits will work itself out in the subsequent days—not weeks—days—of negotiations between the applicable interested parties. Put quickly, the employer must take good care of the employees by law.
*A reciprocal law that, in the time it takes for business to hire workers under this program, all evictions and foreclosures in America be halted until the workers have a chance to get back to a stable financial condition.
The next day after these three laws are passed and signed, an arranged meeting of the following groups will meet at Washington to agree their immediate implementation:
- Leading Representatives of industry, manufacturing, retail and other commercial entities.
- Representatives of the trade unions.
- Representatives of the financial and legal sectors.
The goal of all these groups meeting together is to bring good jobs back to America immediately. It can be done easily. Large corporations and smaller companies must bring back all jobs now held off shore in order to participate. The details of this stipulation will be worked out by the finance and legal representatives at the meeting and be monitored by the federal government and the trade unions for compliance. Every sector does its part and every sector benefits. Thezero sum game that so preoccupies Washington thinking—that somebody always has to win and somebody likewise always has to lose–does not apply to this plan. The idea here is to jump start the American economy by massive hiring of workers in all commercial sectors. No group is left out in the cold. No one loses anything and everybody gains.
As we are in a new century, it is time that America begin to live in that century and not in the prior one. Most of those who will read this have lived the bulk of their lives in the previous century and, as such, think in a manner that is now dated. This makes solving the new problems that face us difficult because we simply do not know how to approach them in a manner that is likely to work.
The hot button words of the previous century, both in politics and commerce, are simply antique ways of addressing and approaching today’s most pressing problems. America faces some very real and extremely dangerous problems, but they can be corrected comparatively simply with the right outlook, comity of opinion and will to act on the part of the political, labor and commercial sectors for the common good.
That said, far and away, unemployment and simply bad employment is the number one concern to be addressed in this country today. We make little distinction between absolute joblessness and the more widespread condition of having a highly educated young demographic working for the foreseeable in dime stores. America cannot survive with such a bleak employment picture.
It is a national imperative to bring jobs back to America and to keep them here. It is similarly an imperative to have all American flagged companies employ American workers and that every stitch of retail product is made in America by American citizens.
Rather than turning all elements of the debate over how to create and encourage finding good jobs for good American workers into a political re-hash of old concepts of social structure, let’s take the best elements of seemingly conflicting attitudes and get to the business of solving the problem. Yet, of course for the reader who has had his mind formed in the previous century, words do have meanings. Can apparently conflicting concepts come together to solve the problem of bad jobs in America? We say, yes indeed!
Consider first socialism—a word with a most nasty reputation. America has, indisputably, been a socialist nation for eighty years and few, if any, would move away from the main elements of that structure. Yet socialism is an extremely hot, political, and, somewhat less so, commercial hot potato. No conventional politician admits to being a socialist when in fact, they all are—and we all are. However, the reality is that socialism, while it plays a role in advanced society, must take a secondary chair to commercial interest. After all, it is business that hires people and puts them in real jobs. Likewise, business produces necessary goods and services needed by the nation. Socialism run amok destroys commerce and that is not in the best interest of the nation. If this solution is given a proper chance to work, commercial enterprises must take proper care of the workers—providing good pay, good benefits and, of great importance, good retirement programs of the sort that were prevalent in the very recent past—by law. Such good pay and benefit laws will serve to calm the social anxiety so prevalent today and make for a happier, more secure and productive work force.
Consider second free market capitalism as a political construct. There, the vogue obsession is with balancing budgets and eliminating deficits. In real life, these concerns are academic abstractions. Again, we ask—what, tangibly, have these things to do with getting Americans good jobs—right now? Again, the obsession ought properly to be with nurturing commerce–directly. In the anticipated system, the employer will provide a good wage, sterling health care and good, old fashioned, retirement benefits. The massive new tax base of well paid workers thus created will quickly eliminate deficits and balance all federal, state and local budgets.
Both sides must put aside their intense enmity for one another to get this absolutely imperative program moving. Right away. This is an idea that cannot have any, legitimate, rhetorical enemies.
It is not complex to accomplish this end. It requires simply the will to get the massive and spreading cancer of unemployment and low level employment cured and cured quickly. This aggressive cancer, this wasting of good people who cannot participate properly in the work world no matter how hard they try, must be addressed as such—a hostile enemy of America. We propose the latter day, moral equivalent of a day, plus one, past Pearl Harbor, to immediately put into place an equally aggressive attack on this employment cancer. At Washington, any new idea suggestive of real progress is always met by the cry “Oh, but this is so much more complex than that!” To which, we, Americans all, now say “Just do it—make it uncomplicated—and be doing it right away!”
With God’s Grace and our iron will to work together toward a common American end, we will succeed!
JOHN DANIEL BEGG