Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Signs of our times

I live in Minneapolis and often drive up and down Highway 169, a major north/south artery just to the west of downtown. I don’t know how old the road is, but over the decades, numerous small to medium sized businesses grew up along 169, and its entire length is lined with buildings of various sizes intended for white color companies. On one of my last drives to the north end of the highway and back, I became aware of something that on prior trips had gone unnoticed. I was passing dozens and dozens of “For Lease” signs. I was taken aback by the number of signs on both sides of the road indicating that building space was empty and in need of tenants.

Over the past few months, we’ve had numerous reports from the mainstream media on the improving economy, often accompanied by photos of a smiling Obama. Unemployment is dropping, Wall Street is booming, and the economy is rebounding! The “For Lease” signs along 169 tell a different story, and many progressive writes are pointing out that while things appear to be getting better, it’s more wishful thinking than a reality for many Americans.

The economy is certainly booming for the one percent of people at the top of the ladder, those whose biggest worry is how to avoid paying taxes on the billions they make. For the rest of us, not so much. There is a revealing article from Alternet today that blows past the smoke and mirrors to reveal the dark side of our current economy. Here is just one statistic from the article:

The average U.S. household pays $400 to feed and clothe employees of Walmart, McDonalds, and other low-wage workers.

There are other dismal but important statistics cited in the article clearly showing that the American economy is not improving for the bottom 90 percent. Our government, and the media, are failing and fooling the majority of this nation’s citizens.

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