Project Middle Class Death

Repost from the old site.
There have been quite a few articles lately about meatpacking plants in the US. Through the 1960’s and 1970’s, these were union jobs all filled by hard-working Americans. That’s all gone now, and all of the work is now being done by illegal aliens or more recently refugees from foreign lands. Most of these articles have screamed about how no Americans are willing to do this kind of work.
It’s quite interesting how plenty of Americans were willing to do this admittedly unpleasant work in 60’s and 70’s, albeit at union wages that you could buy a house and raise a family on. The unions were broken via a corporate conspiracy. This plot has been unveiled an Atlantic Monthly article, but I have not been able to find it.
First of all, the meatpacking companies moved their plants away from the large cities to smaller towns. It happened in LA – they moved to Las Vegas. There was no business reason at all to move to Vegas – it was done for the sole purpose of breaking the union. They hoped to break the unions by having the old employees stuck in Los Angeles and not being willing to move due to family ties.
The idea was to get the local rural people around Vegas to work for nothing, along with the few loyal workers who might move to Vegas to follow the company, who would work for less than previously, but not for as little as the new hires.
When they couldn’t find workers to be dupes for them (surprise!) they somehow managed to bus in Mexicans. From Mexico? Apparently. This was in the early 80’s, when Ronald Reagan, still champion of so many working class White Americans called Reagan Democrats, was President.
The US construction companies pretty much broke the unions, one by one, in the 1970’s and especially in the 1980’s. Somehow, an incredible cultural narrative has been constructed that tells us that only Hispanics, especially illegal aliens, are capable of or expected to do construction work.
When my friends worked construction in 1975-76, you could buy a house and raise a family on those wages, which would be the equivalent of $40-45/hour now for union jobs laying drywall. If you go around now looking at construction jobs, look hard, very hard, for the sight of a White man working construction. He barely exists.
It’s all Hispanics doing the work. Mostly illegals, but the market is so flooded with low-skilled labor that you even have a lot of legal Hispanic immigrants and even Hispanic Americans doing this work. The business owners scream and fuss and carry on that they can’t get White workers to do this work anymore. That’s because it doesn’t pay crap.
I do not really want to diss on any ethnic group. I’m sure back in the union days there were Hispanic-Americans who could cut the high standards of union work, where you cut it or you’re gone. Nowadays, for whatever reason, the private housing built by cheap-labor Hispanics – legal, illegal, whatever, is well-known to be garbage.
Everyone knows this, the White workers like my own brother who are constantly browbeaten by their bosses (“You better shut up and knock it off or I’m going to replace all of you with Mexicans!”), the hip Whites tuned in to the construction scene, probably even the businessmen-criminals themselves.
The problems often start cropping up within a year or so after the builder’s warranty ended. Sagging roofs, foundations so poorly laid they start cracking and splitting. Pipes so poorly fitted and installed they cause leaks; with the predictable high cost of ripping out wallboard to replace them.
That’s the price of that cheap Hispanic labor for you. One would think that after labor costs declined from $42/hour in 1976 to $4-10/hour in 2008 (2008 dollars), the businesses could “pass on a lot of those savings to the home buyer.
That’s what the right-wing and business crowd always tells us is so glorious about crap wages – the consumer saves bigtime. In the case of homes, not one nickel got knocked off the price, ever. All those savings just translated into extra profits for the builder.
There is a rightwing, classist line that the crushing of the US worker occurred because US union workers had gotten fat and lazy and were demanding too much money! The poor suffering businessmen just could not make a profit anymore! They were in danger of losing their yachts, and their mansions were about to be foreclosed!
In the 1970’s, a lot of US businesses started screaming hardship. That’s because our standard of living in this country was as high as it has ever been (1973). Wages were rising right along with productivity, and no capitalist will stand for that for very long.
At this time, most unions said that if the companies opened their books to independent auditors of the unions’ choosing, the unions would take the cuts the company was claiming were needed. The whole thing was just a massive lie because none of the companies ever opened their books. Chrysler did, but only because they were forced to.
The whole thing was a shell game – a plot to make it look like if they did not offshore, they were going to go out of business. As it turned out, they went ahead and offshored anyway.
All of the offshoring happened because at this time, business schools started teaching the profoundly unpatriotic notion that the purpose of a business is to generate vast paper profits for their skyrocketing bonus and stock option plans. Prior to the 80’s, most CEO’s weren’t compensated so lavishly for short term stock actions, and they managed it like a family business.
It really was a cultural shift, and it once again coincided with Mr. Reagan, whom 53% of Americans say is a hero.
On American Renaissance, a worker tells the saga of one of these shlock MBA’s:

The place I worked for just had a president of one of its divisions leave. The man was a complete failure. No product came in at schedule or expected cost. He instituted stupid money wasting policies that could be found in any of the CEO worshipping books around. He walked away with over $40 million for his 5 year stint as a lowly division president – $30 million from stock options.All the stock growth was just from being in the right place at the right time. Now that we can’t grow the top line, because our primary products have completely penetrated the market, we are talking about moving production overseas. There is nothing wrong with our workforce, nor are they greedy and lazy. We just can’t get the stock price up and too may bonuses are dependent on it.

There you have it. All the mergers, all the demands for wage and pension cuts, all the hiring of illegals and refugees and cheap labor this or that, all the breaking of unions, all of this is just to get the stock price up so executives can fatten their wallets on the bonuses. It’s doesn’t have anything to do with international competition or any of that.
You think any MSM media source will tell that? Dubious. Lou Dobbs, the sole populist voice in our nation’s mass media? Perhaps. Good luck finding another one.

0 thoughts on “Project Middle Class Death”

  1. Today’s crop of MBA’s are intolerable.
    Business schools release them into the business world, a bunch of officious minions.
    We have an MBA who lords over us, he’s a young, clean cut married guy who is tainted by the bottom-line garbage they teach now and the lack of human understanding. Book smart only. Everything he does is obviously driven by the precise maneuvering of maximizing profit while being completely clueless of the organizational destruction needed to get there.
    Where do they get these people!? Everything he does parrots the corporate practices line to a fault. The quality of people I work with is a fraction of what it was even 10 years ago. Thus, the salaries are not what they were 10 years ago either. They put together shit, their work is shit, they are stupid and unwilling to do more than their official duties dictate; yet, we somehow hit our “numbers” so no one cares that the quality of my department reeks like excrement!

  2. This plot has been unveiled an Atlantic Monthly article, but I have not been able to find it.
    Do you mean the articles by Eric Schlosser? There is a summary of some of his work here:
    http://www.theatlantic.com/past/docs/issues/2002/01/schlosser.htm
    http://www.organicconsumers.org/irrad/slaughterworkers.cfm
    Many meatworkers are lured to the United States from Mexico by Spanish radio advertisements paid for by U.S. meat companies, which bus the workers to factories in the rural United States.
    The treasonous corporate scumbags should be shot.
    The problems often start cropping up within a year or so after the builder’s warranty ended. Sagging roofs, foundations so poorly laid they start cracking and splitting. Pipes so poorly fitted and installed they cause leaks; with the predictable high cost of ripping out wallboard to replace them.
    That’s the price of that cheap Hispanic labor for you.

    I hardly know anyone who lives in a new(ish) house. But if I meet some open borders SWPL and they complain about their McMansion falling apart, I’ll be sure to remind them of this.

  3. You know, I just find it ironic. The same SWPL liberals who blame humans for ruining the environment are big open borders enthusiasts.
    Never mind that overpopulation results in environmental decay.
    And these same SWPL liberals who give lip service to how materialism and corporate greed harm the U.S. (of course, they just give lip service) frequently argue that illegal immigration is good because it reduces prices and helps the economy (which I dispute).
    So on the one hand, materialism is bad. But at the same time, illegal immigration is good because it provides cheap labor, never mind its other drawbacks!
    SWPL’s are pieces of shit. I would know, because I’ve lived around SWPL types, including my own mother. She spews the same exact bullshit in favor of open borders, and self-righteously accuses me of racism when I say boo (granted, race has a good amount to do with it for me, but it’s not the exclusive reason).
    At the same time, she’s incredibly prejudiced against the white working class and poor, frequently deriding them as stupid and reactionary white trash.
    White liberals are the definition of hypocrisy, and many people, black, white, or brown, would agree with me.

    1. You know, I just find it ironic. The same SWPL liberals who blame humans for ruining the environment are big open borders enthusiasts.
      Never mind that overpopulation results in environmental decay.

      Absolutely. The liberal identity fetishist (not sane leftist) viewpoint is purely emotional, not based on any sane economic/material analysis whatsoever. The CRT/SWPL attitude is “let’s you and him help the poor brown people.” They are tormented with white guilt and want some kind of justice done, but they don’t want to give up anything at all themselves. In fact, they feel entitled to be paid quite handsomely, no matter what silly job they do.
      And these same SWPL liberals who give lip service to how materialism and corporate greed harm the U.S. (of course, they just give lip service) frequently argue that illegal immigration is good because it reduces prices and helps the economy (which I dispute).
      They’re oblivious to their own hypocrisy and greed.
      Robert’s articles, especially the previous “immigration madness” one, sum up the contradictions in the SWPL-dominated US left program better than anywhere else I’ve seen. The needs and rights of working class US citizens have been erased. Jacques Ellul said that propaganda has to be everywhere, all the time, to work. Few blogs have called bullshit on the CRT “extreme class reductionist” attack meme like this one.

      1. They are tormented with white guilt and want some kind of justice done, but they don’t want to give up anything at all themselves. In fact, they feel entitled to be paid quite handsomely, no matter what silly job they do.
        I remember reading a comment of Thad’s on Abagond (before he got banned) basically saying, “many of the people posting here are English speaking, middle class, college educated Americans. Black or white, that gives so much more accumulated advantage over the rest of the world that it isn’t even funny, and yet I don’t see them doing any soul searching over that, much less recommending solutions.”
        He then went on to say that this is why he has trouble taking all these white anti-racist rants against “white privilege” seriously, and essentially regards it as crocodile tears.
        Like Tim Wise, for example. While he agonizes over all the invisible “white skin privileges,” is a college educated, upper middle class American who continues to live in a nice home worth around 640K.
        This gives him far more “privilege” than most Americans of whatever race, much less most people in the world.
        But I don’t see him giving any of that up. No, he’ll keep his handsome speaking fees and book promotions, thank you very much.
        And meanwhile, the average white Joe needs to make sacrifices and “deconstruct their whiteness” before they can be trusted on anything else.
        CRT should have been abolished a long time ago.

    1. @ FPY
      Good question.
      First, the thing you need to keep in mind is that SWPL’s think that everyone wants to be just like them.
      In that sense, they see Asians as yellow-skinned white people, for both economic and social reasons. Asians, in many ways, are much more assimilated into mainstream white culture than blacks and Hispanics, so this reinforces SWPL’s seeing Asians as yellow-skinned white people.
      Also, remember, SWPL types are consumed by guilt. Since they aren’t very comfortable around blacks, (and to a smaller extent Hispanics) they make themselves feel good by liking/being friendly with Asians, since they are also non-white.
      Whereas blacks make them feel guilty and threatened, Asians make them feel comfortable.
      This isn’t to say that SWPL’s are non-prejudiced against Asians. They do subscribe to the “model minority” stereotype. And while they somewhat admire Asian discipline and hard work, many of them regard Asians as overly studious and too serious. I think they also see Asians as docile and polite.
      Generally, SWPL’s see Asians as non-threatening, “model,” and much easier to get along with than blacks and Hispanics.
      Well, that’s my take on it, based on my experience with SWPL’s in the Bay Area.

  4. Dear BAG
    Does SWPL mean Stuff White People Like? I agree with you totally that politically correcties tend to be hypocrites. They combine a horror of racial prejudices with strong social and religious prejudices. The social prejudices are directed against rural, working-class and small-town whites, and the religious prejudices against conservative Christians.
    Ultimately, political correctness is cheap. You can be politically correct without ever showing any diligence, courage or generosity because ultimately it is about expressing the right attitudes. Never mind doing something, it is about expression, not action.
    For instance, in Canada, foreign doctors are now called international doctors, but at the same time Canada does not scruple to import doctors from third-world countries that have a far lower doctor/population ratio than Canada, thereby worsening their health care. Calling foreign doctors international does not require any sacrifice, but renouncing foreign doctors does.
    Regards. James

    1. Calling foreign doctors international does not require any sacrifice, but renouncing foreign doctors does.
      Good point. People like Bill Gates who poach the educated people from poor countries get to save money on salaries, bring down wages AND put a PC feather in their caps. Nice racket.

      1. To the extent that leftists do denounce outsourcing and neoliberalism, it’s only to shed crocodile tears for Hispanic immigrants or the exploitation of 3rd worlders.
        Never mind the devastating effects on AMERICAN workers.
        (oh, wait, that’s right. We stole the land from Indians and parts of Mexico, and since most Mexicans are part Indian, they’re completely entitled to come here and do as they please, regardless of what effect they have on white workers. Silly me)
        *sarcasm off*

  5. Here’s more info about the meatpacking plants:
    http://cis.org/2006SwiftRaids
    Expressed in 2009 dollars the average hourly wage for a worker in this industry was $21.75 in 1980 compared to $12.03 in 2007. This represents a 45 percent decline in real wages. This decline in wages can only be described as enormous, and devastating to the standard of living for workers in an industry that once sustained a blue-collar middle class.

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