Did America ever truly “recover”? Officially, yes. We are in the greatest, and most transparent recovery of all time.
Unofficially, absolutely not. Businesses are dying; disposable income has dried up; the economy is artificially stimulated because otherwise there’s no pulse.
And middle and working class people who are the backbone of this country have been left behind because of it.
The CEO of Gallup.com, perhaps the nation’s oldest and most trusted polling company, wrote an op-ed, drawing from fresh polling data, that should give every American pause.
Citing statistics that show a precipitous decline in the comfortable status of “middle class,” Gallup CEO Jim Clifton explained how government/economic interference is killing small businesses and people who used to be employed by them.
According to Jim Clifton:
The percentage of Americans who say they are in the middle or upper-middle class has fallen 10 percentage points, from a 61% average between 2000 and 2008 to 51% today.
According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, 65% of all new jobs are created by small businesses, not large ones.
Here’s the crisis: The deaths of small businesses recently outnumbered the births of small businesses. The U.S. Census Bureau reports that the total number of business startups and business closures per year crossed for the first time in 2008.
Since 2008, a stunning 10% of working adults, or about 25 million Americans, have lost good paying jobs and have lost economic status – along with their economic security.
Worse, these millions of Americans falling on hard times are virtually invisible to the system. They don’t show up as unemployed because they either take on lower paying jobs or give up looking for work – allowing the government to patch it over and pretend that unemployment rates are at manageable and minimal rates.
As Clifton explains:
Let’s say someone has a good middle-class job that pays $65,000 a year. That job goes away in a changing, disrupted world, and his new full-time job pays $14 per hour — or about $28,000 per year. That devastated American remains counted as “full-time employed” because he still has full-time work — although with drastically reduced pay and benefits. He has fallen out of the middle class and is invisible in current reporting.
Jim Clifton, who also wrote the book The Coming Jobs War (2011), explained in no uncertain terms that the numbers must change (and soon) in order for anyone to have a chance – particularly with the accelerating impact of technology on jobs:
There are three serious metrics that need to be turned around or we’ll lose the whole middle class.
America needs small business to boom again. Small businesses are our best hope for badly needed economic growth, great jobs and ultimately accelerated human development. When we get small business to boom, we can save America, restore our middle class and once again lead the world.
These problem numbers include a) the lowest full-time employment more than two decades; b) a drastic decline in publicly listed companies, and an increase in the consolidation of large companies into even larger conglomerates (where jobs are typically destroyed) and c) the historical low point in the creation of new businesses in the United States – which once prided itself on the independent and vibrant streak of its middle class entrepreneurs.
Given the current trends, the entire Middle Class could be lost in the next few years, and the people of the future will become feudal serfs once again – albeit with really cool smart phones.
That would make just about everyone who doesn’t have the luxury of being rich – well, poor and dependent as hell on the government.
Then again, can we really be surprised after 8 years of a president that believes in tearing down free enterprise, and forcing all or most onto the state-run system?
As President Obama famously stated, “If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.”
That special “someone” is, of course, government.
Obama: If You’ve Got A Business, You Didn’t Build That
In a longer version of the statement, which was repeated numerous times, Obama said:
“Look, if you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own. You didn’t get there on your own. I’m always struck by people who think, well, it must be because I was just so smart. There are a lot of smart people out there. It must be because I worked harder than everybody else. Let me tell you something — there are a whole bunch of hardworking people out there.”
“If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen. The Internet didn’t get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet.”
“So we say to ourselves, ever since the founding of this country, you know what, there are some things we do better together. That’s how we funded the GI Bill. That’s how we created the middle class. That’s how we built the Golden Gate Bridge or the Hoover Dam. That’s how we invented the Internet. That’s how we sent a man to the moon. We rise or fall together as one nation and as one people, and that’s the reason I’m running for President — because I still believe in that idea. You’re not on your own, we’re in this together.”
The fact that Obama fundamentally doesn’t get it has fundamentally screwed over the country… and now our children will have to pay the price through lower living standards and a false economy with little real opportunity.