The American dream

Two items:

  • Business Is Booming: “This rise in profits, however, has not been accompanied by a rise in employment, wages, or national income. Official unemployment hovers just under 10 percent, and the Federal Reserve is predicting that it will stay at around 9 percent throughout 2011. Gross domestic product increased by just 2.5 percent during the third quarter of 2010. The Wall Street Journal has calculated that as a result of this combination of high profits and stalled prosperity, after-tax second-quarter profits of American companies as a percentage of national income were the third-highest of any quarter since 1947.” Funnily – perhaps not as in funny haha the author of the article points to Germany as an example of a different – yes, the Germany we used to love to laugh at when they muddled about with their outdated factories and unions and such, while we was all soaring into the post-industrial Shangri La of symbol interpretation and fast lanes and virtual this and that.
  • Workers face broad assaults: “He is worried, he says, about a lot: the future of the bankrupt supermarket chain he works for, the midcareer colleagues who feel trapped and hopeless, and anyone, really, who strives for a middle-class life anymore. He’s been stocking shelves and moving groceries through the checkout line for the same Philadelphia-area chain since the Vietnam War. It’s how he put a child through college, bought a $28,000 rowhouse, and pays for the occasional movie when he and his wife go out for a treat.” You see: there was a relatively long period after WWII where the Yankee dollar was so strong and the world was so young that everything was possible: get a job, any job, move to the suburbs, two car garage, maybe a boat – life was good. Then reality came knocking… But, then again, the biggest illusion, the biggest successful sale of them all was to make all those folks genuinely believe that they were now bona fide middle class and had some interests in common with the bosses in the country club over there. Not so. But at least the streets of Madison have shown that something is stirring. Perhaps belatedly, one could fear.

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