Monday, January 09, 2006

The War On The American Middle Class.

US household income has been stagnant for the last 5 years. US infant mortality rates are on the rise. Millions of Americans have slipped into poverty. There is an unspoken war being waged against the American middle class, a class war that the world’s 2nd richest man Warren Buffett says that his class is winning.

The purpose of this war is nothing more than to redistribute as much wealth as possible from common Americans to the richest men in America, in an organized system of servitude to the American corporate elite.

No American is free from this war, not even your average McDonald’s burger flipper. Meanwhile, the US leads the industrialized world in gun shootings, robberies, infant mortality, and a long list of several other categories. And while the Reich Wingers may blame this on race, perhaps it is actually the cause of this very class war.

So what would we find out if we compared the standard of living between a McDonald’s burger flipper living in San Antonio, Texas to your average McDonald’s burger flipper in France, and translated it into US currency?

For one, our McDonald’s worker in France spends 5 more hours a week with his family. In France a full time work week is 35 hours, as compared to the US’s 40. That gives that worker, if he has children, more time to rise them and make sure they are going to school, and staying out of trouble.

But that’s not all. If you are a woman and you have a child in the United States you will be granted 6 weeks off the job. But you will get no pay in that time. This law, the Family Medical Leave Act, was the first bill President Clinton signed into law. Conservatives have been outraged by it ever since. But what about a McDonald’s worker in France who has a child? She has a choice of two options. She can take a year off of work, and be paid $1000 a month, or she can take 3 years off at $700 a month. Additionally, families with two children receive an extra $350 subsidy in order to rise their children.

But that’s still not all. Should your child be born with some medical problems, you’re simply up the river without a paddle. Chances are that you simply cannot afford medical insurance for yourself or your family working at McDonald’s in San Antonio, Texas. That very same health care in France, and indeed in every other industrialized nation in the world is free to all their citizens. And not only that, but child care in France is free as well. Child care for the Texan mothers? How much can you afford?

But that’s still not all. That McDonald’s worker in San Antonio can work there for the rest of their lives, and will never get a paid vacation. Even for American workers who do get vacation, it is usually 1 to 2 weeks a year. What about that McDonald’s worker in France? After a year of employment, that worker will get a guaranteed 5 weeks off in paid vacation.

As your child starts to grow up, in San Antonio you can send him to public school, which is free from kindergarten to high school. Of course, conservatives have been fighting this for the last 20 years. But what about that child in France? Public education is available there from pre-school all the way up to earning your PhD in college.

Should you loose your job at McDonald’s, in San Antonio, Texas you might be able to get unemployment insurance, which would only be about 450 bucks for 26 weeks. Should the same happen to you in France, you will get a thousand dollars per month until you get another job.

But what about the cost of putting a roof over your head? In San Antonio, a two bedroom apartment for you to live in is roughly $700 a month. But in France, housing for low wage workers is only $200 a month.

And after years of working at McDonald’s in San Antonio you can retire at the age of 67 and collect social security. What is the retirement age in France? 60. Furthermore, life expectancies are longer in France than the United States, so in France you will be able to enjoy more of your golden years before you eventually kick the bucket.

And finally, what about pay? We all know that McDonald’s workers are scraping the bottom of the barrel…at least in the United States. In San Antonio, Texas a McDonald’s worker doesn’t have to be paid no more than $5.15 per hour. On average, McDonald’s tends to pay new hires between $5.25 and $5.75 per hour. But what about that McDonald’s worker in France? Adjusted for US current dollars, new hires at McDonalds in France make over $9.00 per hour.

And if that didn’t give you a moment to pause, then get this: The top 10 richest people in the United States, three of whom are from Microsoft, and another three who are from Wal-Mart, are worth $228.3 billion dollars. In France, the top 10 richest people are worth just $68.2 billion, and the richest person in the country, Liliane Bettencourt, is a woman.


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