Thursday, December 27, 2012

A Sea Change, Not a Cycle

Obama-Lincoln Portrait
Obama-Lincoln Portrait (Photo credit: nathangibbs)
On New Year's Eve the U.S. reaches its statutory debt limit.  Treasury Secretary Geitner sent this letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid:

Whether the U.S. backs away from the so-called fiscal cliff or not, a sea change has swept across the country.  And it is impacting all of us.

1.  Organized Labor in the private sector, if not DOA on January 1, certainly enters the new year on life support.  Membership at this year's end stands at an historic low of 6.9% of all private-sector workers.
Why? Because in this globalized economy, they can no longer protect their members' jobs nor deliver the compensation and benefits of days gone by, when America was the leading manufacturer in the world.

2.  The professions no longer insure their practitioners an upper-middle-class lifestyle.  Vets are working for Pet Smart.  Dentists are working for corporate dental chains.  Young lawyers are suing their law schools for misrepresentation.

3.  K-12 teachers and their unions are under siege.

4.  Higher education is being blasted by revolutionary changes, which don't necessarily benefit our students.

So, when I say in my earlier Blog posting this morning that Obama, like Lincoln, is President at a critical time in our history, I mean that the Great Recession was not just a cyclical dip precipitated by an economic bubble. I am suggesting that a permanent paradigm shift is sweeping over us.  Whether the middle class will survive this deluge remains to be seen.

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