“You load 16 tons, and what do you get? Another day older and deeper in debt.” Those famous words sung by Ernie Ford in 1955 have little meaning to the Gen-Xers and millennials who have never experienced the world that those words describe. And this brings to mind another famous quote from George Santayana, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”
The gradual disappearance of a comfortable middle class in America is no accident. It results from a carefully conceived and executed plan by a tiny faction of oligarchs who want America and the outside world to provide cheap labor to produce their products and unconstrained, worldwide markets in which to sell those products. Most American workers have become, in a sense, those frogs being slowly boiled to death because they don’t sense the increasing temperature in the pot.
There used to be what is called a “social contract” between businesses and their employees. In return for fair wages and benefits from the company, employees gave loyalty and productivity to their employer. In the new era, companies simply want to maximize immediate profit for shareholders. The contract is gone, and workers are paying the price.