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Monday, August 1, 2011

US Jobless Rate is Staying at Depression Levels

Philadlephia Inquirer, reported on its front page that Merck, the pharmaceutical giant, is planning to lay off 13,000 of its employees over the next four years.

That’s one-sixth of the company’s total global workforce, and you can bet that the vast majority of those laid off will be workers in the United States.

The announcement of the layoff plan comes as the $46-billion sales company announces second-quarter sales rose 7 percent to $12.15 billion, and that net income had nearly tripled to $2.02 billion over the year-earlier three-month period.

Two years ago, Merck acquired competitor Schering-Plough Corp. for a price of $41 billion, and subsequently laid off 16,000 people, or roughly 15 percent of the combined workforces of the two merged firms. Now it’s heading for a new round of layoffs.

It’s the reason that the economy is staying in a state of depression (not recession, which just refers to the size and direction of the gross domestic product). Instead of hiring more workers as profits rise, companies, which have reportedly piled up an astonishing $1.2 trillion in profits, instead of spending that money are making existing smaller workforces just do more work in the same number of hours (overtime is actually down, and paychecks are shrinking). They are even figuring, “Hey, we’ve got these people working harder for less pay, so why not make them work even harder?” and are laying off even more people, like Merck says it will be doing over the next few years. (If they do spend any of their cash hoards, they spend it abroad in cheap-labor countries, not here in the U.S.)

We are on a downward spiral. Wages are going down, people are working harder for less. That means nobody can buy cars and houses, or even, increasingly, needed healthcare. Tax revenues are also falling, which is why the federal deficit has been rising so much (Note to President Obama, to the Democratic Party hacks in Congress, and to the hopelessly inept and inane corporate media journalists: not because of so-called “entitlement” spending!).

This is not a situation that is going to get better. It is going to get worse, unless and until people wake up and retake the government. Corporate America is going to keep squeezing American workers until the government starts creating enough public sector jobs to remove some of the understandable fear people have now about being sacked, until labor unions can organize successfully without being undermined by unpunished illegal anti-union actions by managements, until attacks on critical programs of support like Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and Unemployment Compensation are ended, until the rich and the corporations stop getting a free ride on taxes, and until the country stops engaging in endless wars and in blowing over half the national budget on the military.

Corporate greed, which is nothing more than the greed of the men who run the corporations, knows no compassion or concern. Profits have tripled at Merck, and instead of sharing the wealth generated through the hard work of their employees, Merck rewards them by laying off thousands of employees. 

1 Timothy 6:9 But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.10 For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

James 5:1 Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you. 2 Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are motheaten. 3 Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days. 4 Behold, the hire of the labourers who have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth: and the cries of them which have reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord of sabaoth. 5 Ye have lived in pleasure on the earth, and been wanton; ye have nourished your hearts, as in a day of slaughter. 6  Ye have condemned and killed the just; and he doth not resist you. 7 Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain. 

God's justice may nor rain down instantly but it will in due time.God waits patiently for men in power to be just and righteous but as is always the case, the rich and powerful turn more and more to wickedness rather than towards love and compassion. But the Day of Judgment will come, sooner than most people expect, and then no amount of money will be able to save the rich and powerful; on that day they will be poor and powerless, just like the people they now oppress and rob.  

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