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America at the Crossroads of Crisis

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by Brian T. Lynch, MSW

His very name has become a dog whistle for expressing White outrage against growing minority influence in America. Trump! Trump! Trump!
His mantra, “Make America Great Again,” resonates with so many White people because they hear, “Make America White Again.”

As a country founded by immigrants and supported through slavery and exploitative labor practices for much of its formative years, the growth of a powerful, comfortable middle class in the last half of the last Century seemed like a coming of age. The rise of the middle class after World War II was vindication that our founding principles were virtuous and the diversity of our pluralistic society was our strength. We were now a world power and an exceptional example of a place where merit, innovation and hard work paid off. We were proof that immigrants can do well here. Of course the payoff was always more difficult for minority groups to achieve, especially African-Americans and South American migrants.

But now there has been some fundamental shifts in the fabric of America. The political and economic power of the middle class has been on a long, slow decline for decades. At the same time the population of minority groups and the flow of immigrants from our Southern borders have grown. Minority groups, taken together, make up nearly half of our citizens. Globalization of business has increased competition for good jobs and higher wages while domestic pressure has increased to give minority groups greater equality of opportunity. A bloody clash of cultures has arisen on the world stage adding anxiety for those of us who worry that America is losing its cultural identity. (A growing worry in Europe as well). And all the while, the American majority, made up of mostly White Protestants of Western European distraction, is being stretched and fractured by growing wealth inequality. The wages and ownership interests of most White Americans is declining while wealthy White elites are growing ever richer.

It is understandable that the timing of middle class economic decline and the growth of minority interests would seem like a causal  correlation. It is also understandable how powerful interests might exploit this apparent cause-and-effect for their own benefit, but the truth is far more nuanced, and cloaked in deceit. In an ironic juxtaposition, the New York Times published two excellent articles on the same day that highlight both our sad cultural polarization and the sinister impact of inequality on our public institutions.

In his July 13, 2016, article titled, “For Whites Sensing Decline, Donald Trump Unleashes Words of Resistance,” Nicholas Confessore writes:

“In countless collisions of color and creed, Donald J. Trump’s name evokes an easily understood message of racial hostility. Defying modern conventions of political civility and language, Mr. Trump has breached the boundaries that have long constrained Americans’ public discussion of race.”

What follows is an excellent expose on the cultural landscape in America. Then in an article titled, “How Private Equity Found Power and Profit in State Capitols,” the journalist detail how private equity firms are manipulating state and federal governments to pass legislation even more favorable to their financial interests.

The slow but steady economic decline of the middle class has taken most of us decades to recognize. That it was a planned assassination of the middle class perpetrated by corporate capitalists in the 1970’s has yet to sink in. And efforts by the elite perpetrators to distract us from their deeds by blaming the poor and pitting us, one against the other, rages on.

It may be indirectly true that minorities are somehow responsible for the economic decline that White Americans are experiencing, but certainly not in the direct ways as portrayed in the press or on the internet. It isn’t really true, for example, that undocumented immigrants are taking away jobs from White Americans.  It is true that immigration has created a growing pool of cheap, non-union labor that puts downward pressure on wages. It is also true that the pool of cheap labor has grown exponentially through the corporate globalization of commerce. But the bigger truth is that wealthy corporate capitalists have put us all in an economic vise. Almost all of us find ourselves in that proverbially overcrowded lifeboat that is about to capsize.

We seem to be at a crossroad. We can choose the Trump path to social dissolution and toss as many “others” overboard as we can, or ignore that we in the lifeboat because of the wealthy corporate capitalists (until we sink) or we can link arms to forge a new path that restores democracy and a civil economy for everyone. The only real option is to come together and face down the true source of America’s decline, the corporate global capitalists who are hoarding the fruits of our labors.



  1. Jane Boschen says:

    Great article Brian.

  2. When I saw the MSW after the author’s name I could have told you the bias of the article. The second paragraph only confirmed it. I have never personally known any social worker to have been a conservative. I have never spoken with any who knew the use of logical propositions and arguments. But all that is a given.

    Where to begin? so much misinformation and so little time to correct. Well, we know this man is no history scholar. We also know he knows very little about economics, not even a thimble full. We know he likes conspiracies of big corporations and the wealthy and the like since that describes all social ills. What then is left? Ah, we are at a crosswords. But what kind of crossroads? Oh yes, the one where our choice should be for that great social utopia, where ever and whatever that may be. The devil is in the details but that should bother our pretty heads since those with MSWs know best for us. Sounds rather like Hillary.

    The fact that there is nothing new here seems to escape this man’s knowledge of history. The corporate greed, the cabal of the wealthy, the conspiracy of the corrupted rulers. Uh, does anyone remember the age of the Robber Barons? How about the various kings and their nobility in countries like France. Ah, how about the Medici. Any one for the old Roman Empire? Athens and Sparta and Persia? Pardon me, I forgot that American education hasn’t been worth crap for the past hundred years.

    • DataHeart says:

      I invite you to add factual content to support you various assertions, or even just take one assertion and supply some supporting evidence. I love data. (Warning: I break and reverse course quickly when contrary facts can be verified.)

  3. Yes, we went through a period of using slavery. As an economic measure one could easily argue that slave labor was not economically justified when comparing units of production and final output. As an offence against morality (face it, the moral against it is of modern origin, hence a little leeway may be granted to our ancestors) that took a bit of time to finally gain momentum. But what particular exploitative labor practices were being used by our founding fathers? We did have labor guilds where apprentices worked for a pittance but that was part of the labor contract. One received room and board and education for the right to learn a trade and become a journeyman. Farmers who were better at the business of farming hired day labor or yearly retainers for farm work, what where is the exploitation? That is the ideal of a free market. One man offers work at one wage and another man is free to either accept the contract or reject it. Of course the other option is to go into business for yourself. You could always share crop and through hard work and careful management of your time and efforts gain the capital to purchase you own farm. Or one could go westward and find land sold by the government or speculators and try to develope one’s own farm that way. You do not seem to be aware of how this country was settled.

    Is it always the wealthy white elites? Are there no black or hispanic or asian millionaires or billionaires in this world? You seem rather ignorant on this point. Did you not bother to do the least due diligence in your research?

    The idea that migrants and even those who are here illegally are not taking away the jobs of “Americans” is superficial bull at best. When labor unions price the services of union members to a point that few can afford such labor then will that not create job opportunities for those willing to work for far less? What is the hourly wage for a carpenter in your state or general locality? What is the rate for an electrician or a plumber? Care to guess? I have used non union labor for several building projects and let me tell you, my labor costs were halved. Were they illegals works? Don’t know and don’t care. But they were taking jobs away from union members because union members had priced themselves out of job. That is how a free market works. On the other hand, if you wanted to pick fruit in California, something that requires skill, by the way, as a white individual you would never be hired. I knew a lot of individuals who use to pick fruit for the extra income when they went to college. Can’t be done now. There is a lot about economic conditions that you don’t know. Yet you pontificate as though you posses the truth.

    Yes, the global corporation development has come to roost. Do you know why? Why did textile mills go south into Virginia and other southern states? High union wages for one, increased local and state taxation for another, and numerous regulations by government entities for another. But that never lasted very long. It became cheaper to build mills overseas where wages were cheaper, government taxes were far less, and regulations were almost non existent. What did you expect? Businesses do not operate at a loss for long.

    Wealthy corporate capitalists, my god, do you even know what capitalism is? Do you even understand the ideal of capital and how it is generated? Are you really that ignorant? Do you understand that one can be a socialist and use capitalism as an economic force? As for the corruption in the economic and political system of today that is both nationwide and global, well yes, it exists. It has always existed. Did you ever hear of John Law? Go look him up for god’s sake. At the turn of last century Argentina was poised to become a world economic superpower. What happened? How did Brazil as one of the BRICs fall from economic superpower to corrupt and bankrupt state? You write about stuff which you know not and then ask me for content?

    It not that i am trying to bash your head in, I am merely trying to point out to you that you might expand your education before you try to paint such overly broad strokes of ignorance. Consider the fact that you have an MSW. That means that you are most likely working for some government agency. If so, then you are a member of some public employees service union, something which is a conflict of interest since a public employee union will not bargain fairly with the government which employs its members. Thus you are overpaid and enjoy benefits that private sector employees, both union and non union do not enjoy while being paid by taxes collected from the public. You will enjoy great pension benefits and health benefits that the average individual can only dream about. You complain about the wealth corporate capitalists and yet you suck the public teat for all its worth. The fact is that the global corporations are practicing a wealth distribution on a scale that would make Marx blush. That’s right, where do you thing the wealth of the middle class and working class has gone? To China and third world countries. And now China is seeing it’s nascent middle class wealth being sent to other third world countries. But you are oblivious to it all. You do not understand economics. And as all this wealth is being redistributed around the world the joke is no the globalist corporations because in America fewer individuals are able to afford the goods offered. Most Americans have spent as much credit as they possibly can and now they can’t afford the payments. Why? Because more and more of their jobs are being outsourced and their incomes have declined. The ultimate irony is that while you think you will have that nice fat pension and health care plan, you haven’t paid for it, you relied on the taxpayer. Well guess what, what happens when the taxpayer is tapped out and your pension goes bust? It’s happening pal, the retribution is coming. Yet you can’t see it. You have a very myopic view of life and I am trying to open it up for you.

    • DataHeart says:

      I can’t address every unsupported claim you make here but I did start by addressing one of your more verifiable questions. In fact, it is the basis of my latest blog post for today. Please feel free to read it and comment if you like.

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