The New York Times notices labor arbitrage

Wow. The New York Times, through personal stories notices America is creating the new poor:

Economists fear that the nascent recovery will leave more people behind than in past recessions, failing to create jobs in sufficient numbers to absorb the record-setting ranks of the long-term unemployed.

Call them the new poor: people long accustomed to the comforts of middle-class life who are now relying on public assistance for the first time in their lives — potentially for years to come.

Yet the social safety net is already showing severe strains. Roughly 2.7 million jobless people will lose their unemployment check before the end of April unless Congress approves the Obama administration’s proposal to extend the payments, according to the Labor Department.

Wow, way to go main stream press. You're just noticing something that has been going on for 30 years? The article mentions a few realities. Firstly, people, especially women over 40 are getting thrown out of the labor force. Secondly they finally mention that workers are being labor arbitraged. Labor arbitrage is displacement of workers by age discrimination, cheaper wages to foreign guest workers, offshore outsourcing, younger workers (it is perceived they are cheaper), to plain forcing others to work themselves into the ground to make up for the lost personnel

Large companies are increasingly owned by institutional investors who crave swift profits, a feat often achieved by cutting payroll. The declining influence of unions has made it easier for employers to shift work to part-time and temporary employees. Factory work and even white-collar jobs have moved in recent years to low-cost countries in Asia and Latin America. Automation has helped manufacturing cut 5.6 million jobs since 2000 — the sort of jobs that once provided lower-skilled workers with middle-class paychecks.

Every time I see a stock price soar because some company announced layoffs, I would like to scream. It doesn't even pay out in the long run, yet Wall Street rewards those who are most shitty to their employees (ex-employees).

The Times goes onto to describe the poverty levels are so low, many cannot qualify for food stamps, even though they are dirt broke.

But I will note while the Times claims only 75% of those unemployed are able to collect unemployment insurance, that number is much higher, due to so many who do not even count as employed by the BLS. It is estimated that only 48% of all those working even qualify for unemployment insurance.

We also have the claim that businesses are supposed to maximize profits for the shareholder, our favorite catch-all excuse for bad behavior that often does not translate into maximizing profits for the shareholder. Do executive bonuses maximize profits? Do leveraged buy outs? Bottom line this is not how corporations used to operate and had a responsibility not just to shareholders, but to their employees and the nation itself.

The article also wrongly assumes that education and skills will save the day. This is simply not so, with the obvious example being those with technical skills and degrees. Jobs have been offshore outsourced in droves, along with foreign guest workers displacing U.S. workers in these fields.

While this article acknowledges the problem, folks on this site are way beyond that. We need legislation and policy to not only create jobs, but to change the entire U.S. business culture to put workers first.

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