Saturday, October 04, 2008

Who lives on Main Street ... anymore?

There's talk out in the linguasphere about the term Main Street, used so often nowadays on both sides of the political aisle. When did it stop meaning "small business" and start meaning, well, "Joe Six-pack"?

The evidence isn't in (here's a place to start if you care), but there's some reason to think that, for some folks at least, the meaning hasn't actually shifted.

For example: the Senate refused to consider extending unemployment benefits for the over 750,000 American workers (the fundamentals of our economy) who have lost their jobs just this year - and it was due to Republican opposition.

This bailout bill doesn't address the problems of American workers - those who, I remind you, are the "fundamentals" of our economy - who have been working harder for less during the bulk of the Bush administration, when wages lagged far behind productivity - and prices. Especially this is true of the bottom of the wage ladder, minimum and just above. Credit was cheap. Houses could be borrowed on. Everyone wanted to lend them money. And now, they're losing their jobs right and left - nine straight months of increasing losses, with September's loss of 159,000 jobs - one hundred and fifty-nine thousand - being the biggest monthly loss in five years. They're losing their houses. They're losing their credit. What do they have left to lose?

If we can bail out Wall Street, can't we offer some help to our workers?

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1 Comments:

At 12:47 AM, October 06, 2008 Blogger OM had this to say...

It's the lie of the study of economics. You need to take one hour of Economics 101 to know this bailout/rescue is essential while saving actual workers is somehow something we'll get to if we have some spare change. And somehow we're all convinced it makes sense.

I took an introduction to international politics class, where the teacher calmly explained why, due to the possibility of a second strike, the world is safer when nuclear missiles are aimed at another country's major cities rather than at the other country's nuclear weapons. And it made sense. And that's the problem here, too--that it makes sense even though it's so wrong.

 

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