A new “wage insurance” program proposed by President Obama would have taxpayers subsidize the income of workers who have had their jobs eliminated and who end up in new jobs with lower salaries.
The administration’s proposal to Congress acknowledges that the U.S. economy has been producing mostly low-pay, low-skill jobs, as WND has reported.
Many Americans have seen their jobs eliminated as a result of so-called free trade deals, offshoring, imports, unrestricted immigration and globalization.
Experienced workers on average see a pay cut of 10 percent when they lose their jobs. Workers with more than 20 years on the job see an average 25 percent pay cut, according to the White House.
The proposed “wage insurance” would replace half of the lost income, up to $10,000 over two years. It would be available to workers who were with their prior employer for three years and make less than $50,000 in their new job.
Wage insurance will be in the budget Obama submits to Congress next month. He will also seek funds to retrain workers for new careers. Studies show such training programs have mixed success. When “retrained” workers find new jobs, it’s often at steeply lower wages.
President Obama pointed to wage insurance as part of his vision of a “new economy” for America in his State of the Union address.
Obama stated that “the global economy” means companies can locate anywhere in the world and have less loyalty to America.
But rather than push for the domestic production of goods, as China and many of America’s international trading partners do as a prerequisite for access to their markets, the president called instead for a package of government “benefits and protections” to provide “a basic measure of security.”
At their outset, Social Security and Medicare were envisioned as “old age insurance” for those too old to work. Unemployment insurance was to provide temporary assistance to those who were laid off through no fault of their own.
With wage insurance, critics says, the administration is extending government assistance to job-holders as well as job-seekers and resigning the nation’s citizens to a future of low-wage work and government dependency.
The president is selling the plan as a benefit to wage earners. But critics charge it is actually another taxpayer handout to global corporatist entities whose business model relies on cheap labor.
Washington’s policy of unrestricted immigration provides cheap labor to meat packers. Low-paid immigrants make up a majority of the labor force in the U.S. meat and poultry industry.
The government essentially subsidizes WalMart, which reported profits of $130 billion in 2015. The retailer can cut payroll costs, critics argue, because many of its employees receive food stamps.
While the Obama administration acknowledges the dearth of better-paying jobs in what it calls the “new economy,” it continues to pursue trade and immigration policies that are lowering wages for Americans.
Obama is pushing the TransPacific Partnership, one of the largest free-trade agreements in history. Manufacturing jobs have disappeared from America following the passage of North American Free Trade Agreement, NAFTA, and China’s entry into the World Trade Organization.
The free trade policies have had an “ethnic cleansing” effect, according to a shocking study co-authored by Angus Deaton, a Nobel laureate in economics. Middle aged, white, working class men and women have been getting sicker and dying in greater numbers since 1998, when the offshore outsourcing of factory jobs went into high gear, according to the study.
The study, published in the National Academy of Sciences journal, shows life expectancy rose for other demographic groups in that period.
The mortality rate for this group increased markedly between 1999 and 2013, most likely because of drugs, alcohol and suicide, the Washington Post reported. Death rates for the same group dropped steadily before then.
“Half a million people are dead who should not be dead,” Deaton told the Washington Post.
White non-college educated voters, the group hardest hit, voted against Obama by a record 26 points in 2012.