Photo by Victor Aleman

An American Scapegoat
By L.A. Ortega
July 5, 2017

"Immigrants are taking our jobs," shout a large number of folks. However, there has always been a place in the American economy for immigrants and its indigenous work force. Before and after the U.S. annexation of California in 1848, they planted, cared-for and cultivated the land. They built homes, streets, waterways and office buildings. They ran city governments, banks and parts of the trade industry; they made and sold clothes, washed windows, shoed horses, and taught school. Their centuries-long contributions helped make the economy of California grow into what is known today as the 6th largest economy of the world .

The boom of manufacturing in America created millions of jobs for immigrants, who joined a robust middle class that America had never seen before. Toasters, cars, fans, radios, TV's, blenders, refrigerators, washers, beds, dressers, windows, shoes, and many other products were made in America. Managers, accountants, tradesmen, lawyers, and college graduates had jobs waiting for them and the dream of a middle class lifestyle was soon to be theirs through this boom. But nothing lasts forever.

In the late 1980's the newspapers began to report that many U.S. military bases in California were closing, and aerospace companies were packing-up and leaving town. Tens of thousands of workers would soon be without jobs. These and other similar events begin to fast track the shrinking of the middle class in America.

Adding insult to injury, since 1979 wages for American workers have flat-lined . Middle-wage workers have seen their hourly rate increase a mere 6% over 35 years. For low wage workers their hourly rate has actually declined 5%. See Economic Policy Institute chart above. Over this same period the Cost of Living has increased 300% , what you could buy for $10 in '79 cost you $30 today. This significant negative economic impact and attack on American wage earners has went virtually unnoticed.  Professor Richard D. Wolff tell us that the following has served to mask this tragedy to America's wage earners : women entering the workforce created a two income family where stuff could still be bought without much of a hiccup; the accumulation of massive debt via credit cards; financial institutions creating a facade of money where none existed via unregulated derivative market transactions; 9/11 (the bombing of the Twin Towers in New York); the economic crash of 2008 and adult children still living with their parents . 

If we do nothing different it is difficult, if not impossible, to imagine a situation where the multi-national corporations would return their manufacturing operations (millions of jobs) to the United States . This scarcity of jobs creates a situation that make immigrants-out as the bad guys, seen as taking American jobs. This is exactly where the corporations want the American people to believe the blame should be.   However, immigrants are NOT taking jobs.  The multi-national corporations have completely moved those jobs out of the country.  Besides, the jobs immigrants have now are jobs they have always had...for centuries. It just now we are noticing it because most of the middle wage jobs are gone, relegating us to search for jobs on the lower rungs of the economic ladder.
What does that say about us? How have we let this happen right before our eyes?
Is the American dream unattainable in the current system? How long do we let billionaires' interest trump wage earners' interest?

America has money, billions and billions of dollars to create middle wage jobs in America, for Americans. Just look at the Obama Administration's military spend record. See the chart above. In 2011, over a 12 month period, the United States awarded an unfathomable $711 BILLION DOLLARS in military contracts. Five years later fallacious commentary about a depleted and underfunded military hits the Twitter-sphere, underpinning how seriously disengaged a majority of Americans really are. To allow rhetoric of an underfunded and depleted military to gain any traction whatsoever says we are simply sleepwalking through all this. The facts tells us, under the Obama Administration, a cool $5.2 TRILLION was spent on the military. Moreover, how many middle wage jobs should have been created with $5.2 Trillion?

In the late 80's and early 90's America was told major military contracts were to dry-up due to the end of the cold war. Thousands of middle wage workers would lose their jobs, and they did. However, there was a major resurgence in defense spending after 9/11. As recent as 2016, U.S. military spend continues to be extremely healthy . See chart above for U.S. Contractors and amounts funded in 2016. None of this massive spend has translated into jobs for America's middle wage earners. Where is Lockheed Martin spending their $29.4 billion dollar U.S. contract awarded last year? Should not these American dollars, spent to defend our American soil, be SPENT IN AMERICA to create middle wage jobs?!?
For the last several decades most Americans have taken a back seat in guiding and directing American policy . This disengagement by the American people has allowed for the development and implementation of a script to be played-out on us. We will call it for the purposes of this article: The Façade of a Political and Economic System that works for the People. At the script's core, money! Billionaires want more of it. Politicians need it to get into and stay in office. And, most of the general public has no idea how money works against their best interest via simple Walmart and Netflix purchases. There are two key elements to the script, The Façade and What Really Happens: 
  • The Façade: Many Politicians run on a commitment to have the people's best interest at the forefront of their agenda,
Flexing Our Economic Muscle 
We must shift into a new strategy. A strategy that allows us to flex our collective economic muscle. It is the most expeditious manner in which we can regain our proper role of controlling the agenda. A shimmer of this strategy was exemplified by the boycott of grapes led by the iconic farmworker activist Cesar Chavez. It was a simple strategy. One that all could participate in with very little pain, yet having maximum impact. Martin Luther King, Jr.s' call to boycott Montgomery Buses had maximum impact. Nelson Mandela was elected President after a series of major divestments from South Africa occurred. So without a doubt, the flexing of our economic muscle can and will have impact.
The Making of Billionaires: Money in Politics
Where does billionaires' money come from? Do billionaires print it from a machine in their garage? Grow it from trees in their backyards?  The facts suggest billionaires are billionaires because of the money you spend. Take Walmart, the largest corporation in the world with annual revenue of $481 billion. Walmart is far and away the largest and best example of how consumer spending makes billionaires. The Walton family (owners of Walmart) support politicians who support a very conservative agenda. They give millions of dollars to candidates who support their agenda of worker exploitation . In short, when you shop at Walmart you are supporting a worker exploitation agenda. The connection between you, the consumer, and the Walton's agenda (Walmart) is as real as the money you spend there. You, the consumer, are the reason for the Walton's billionaire status.

Where do Reed Hastings and his billionaire cronies get their millions of dollars to support a privatization agenda? You guessed it. You, the consumer. In the first quarter of this year Netflix added 5 million new subscribers, which translates into Reed Hastings having more money to push a privatization of public schools agenda. If you knew that every dollar you spent on Netflix was a dollar that Reed Hastings uses to bust-up teachers' unions, would you still spend that dollar on Netflix? 

Consumers are in the drivers' seat, not Reed Hastings or the Waltons of Walmart. Given the current and significant impact money has in our political system, we must be watchful of where our dollar goes after we spend it. Money drives the agenda. We (consumers) are providing the money to those influencing the agenda. Collectively, as consumers, we control all the power politically and economically. So why do we continue to close our eyes, cross our fingers and hoping the right thing is done by Mitch , Paul and the other big dummies (elected officials perpetuating rhetoric without the basis of fact, e.g. "the undocumented are taking our jobs")?  We run this show!! Let us start acting like it.

Make a commitment today to dump Netflix. There will be easy-access-to-entertainment withdrawals, but they will subside in a month or two. Believe me when I tell you that I loved my Netflix for two years. I know first-hand the withdrawals you will suffer, because I loved binge-watching my favorite old programs on Netflix. But you know what? Supporting public school teachers, our children and their parents was more important than a little convenient entertainment. January 13, 2017 I dumped Netflix and have not looked back. I am asking all of you who care about the future of education, our children and the economy, to dump Netflix and then tell two friends.

We must understand billionaires are aggressively engaged in the privatization of public education because it means big money for them. There is $70 billion per year going to Education in California. The children's interests are a distant second for these billionaires, make no mistake about it. If the billionaires truly cared about the children, they would be making investments into education, not politicians. For one, they could have paid for every kid to have Internet at home, one of life's most basic tools that currently eludes two million children in California. But that is not what the billionaires are doing. They are working hard at getting privatization candidates elected whom they will control.

3 Easy Steps for Consumers to Re-claim Control of the Agenda
1) Leave the immigrants (undocumented) alone. They are not the problem. They have always had and most certainly will have a place in the American economy. Immigrants are not why there are no jobs in America. The spending of $711 BILLION DOLLARS in military contracts outside the U.S. is one big reason why there are no jobs.   The theater of mass deportations and stricter enforcement threats is not in the name of the American worker. Rather it is in the name of fulfilling prison bed quotas . Promises have been made by the current President of the United States to the Private Prison Industry It is costing U.S. taxpayers 10x's more money to lock-up children, mothers and hard-working fathers (undocumented individuals) than if we had just left them to their economically-contributing ways.
2) Find-out who the top donors are for Mitch , Paul and the other big dummies
and make sure you are not spending your money there. You might also want to contact them to find-out where Lockheed, Raytheon, General Dynamics, Boeing, and Northrup are spending billions of our dollars. Once a week send them an email or make a phone call asking for those jobs to be performed in the U.S. or don't approve the contracts for those companies. 
3) Collectively as consumers, we are the ruling class. We are the source from where billions of dollars are going to politicians not serving our best interests. We can have massive impact on the agenda. Our Goal must now be: Know where your dollar goes after you spend it. Refuse to spend your money with companies who are acting against your interests.
Individually it is extremely difficult to compete with the billions of dollars in politics today. However, collectively we can flex our economic muscle and dictate policy. We are the ruling class. Let's start acting like it!   

Cyber Civil Rights Activist
Founder One Million NIU (New Internet Users)
IT Training Expert

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