Jobless Recovery

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

A Jobless Recovery is Like a Moneyless Paycheck

"Jobless Recovery--A thrilling revisit of The Grapes of Wrath." Barbara Silkstone, author of The Secret Diary of Alice in Wonderland, Age 42 and Three-Quarters

Jobless Recovery is fiction. Really.

About the book:

Dave Griffin is a poster boy for the American consumer. He drives a blood-colored Behemoth model SUV, has a new home in the suburbs, a beautiful girlfriend, a great job, and all the benefits that come with middle class life in America. Then Dave's employer replaces American computer programmers with cheaper imported labor in order to increase company profits. Soon Dave is out on the street. But he still believes in the system. All he has to do is bring the problem to the attention of the media and the people in Washington to get results, right? Wrong. Very wrong.

Meanwhile, Dave's friend Joe Tremaine, a former FBI agent, is struggling to stay sane. Cynical Joe knows better than to trust anyone in Washington or in corporate America. He embroils Dave in his fraudulent money-making schemes, and when Joe decides to educate the powerful senator who has been the driving factor in eliminating American jobs, his plan goes awry. Can an unemployed computer jockey manage to keep Joe--and himself--under the radar? Or will the oddly-shaped bundle in the back of Joe's truck lead to big trouble with the feds?

The part in the book about American tech workers losing their jobs to cheaper tech workers imported from India is absolutely true. Have Americans had to train their replacements? Absolutely true. Are the imported workers paid less than the Americans? Absolutely.

Outsourcing is bad--jobs go to China, India, or wherever. But insourcing, bringing workers to the United States on work visas to undercut wages and take jobs from Americans right in this country, is far worse. It is absolutely true that this is happening.

I called Washington (many times) and I was told this is legal and there's nothing I can do about it. I even have it in writing from the U.S. Department of Labor that the H-1B law is full of loopholes and there are no protections whatsoever for American workers. The worker importation laws were signed into law by President Clinton. Since then, you can see what's happened to the economy. I have called senators and representatives, the White House, The U.S. Department of Labor, and the U.S. Department of Commerce. I received absurd answers very much like those given to my main character in the book. It's all a bunch of meaningless government speak that does nothing to address the fact that our country is being economically dismantled.

For so many years Americans have been expected to drive the world economy with consumerism, but how are we to do this without jobs? Every company wants the benefits of doing business in the U.S. with its stable government and relatively affluent consumer base, but they don't want to hire Americans and pay American wages and adhere to American labor laws. At the same time they expect Americans to fight and die in the U.S. military to protect their interests. First they told us we didn't want service jobs, so when those went away we were told to upgrade our skills and get manufacturing jobs. When those went away, they told us to get an education and get tech jobs. Now those are gone to outsourcing and insourcing and we're told that it's globalization and we are supposed to "deal with it." We've been lied to you and thrown by the wayside.

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