Monday, July 13, 2009

How We Got Here: Management Nation

We have become a nation of managers.

Perhaps it was the national fascination with "Being one's own boss". Whatever the reason that the nation accepted it, the truth remains that we have internalized the ideas being peddled by "The Rich", that is:

- American's don't want to work
- America doesn't have the talented X to do the job
- Unemployed Americans simply need to "retrain" themselves in the Next New (as of yet unspecified) Thing.

What has really happened is that the country's collective conscience has declared anything relating to labor as "icky" and to be dispensed with in the cheapest, most expeditious manner possible.

Follow for a moment the distribution of compensation today. It falls along a very bright line: people who "manage" things get compensated well (even in failure: see Wall St.), people who *do* things get paid relatively pitifully. Think plumber, teacher, fire fighter, engineer, laborer.

Any "doer" job that could be outsourced was. "It's cheaper in China" was the mantra. Any "doer" job that wasn't outsourced was replaced by flooding the labor market through immigration. Everyone was fine with immigrants (both legal and not) cutting grass and washing cars. When America ran out of "talented X", immigrants were called in to replace engineers, IT, customer service, you name it. Even doctors and nurses are feeling downward income pressure coupled with increasing education costs. (So far only lawyers have so far evaded this downward income pressure.) It is the commoditization of labor.

But there is a a downside. There simply aren't 300 million projects in America that need managing. Everyone that "saved money" watching Wal-Mart export their job slowly but surely watched Wal-Mart become their only shopping option as income, savings and yes, eventually the "Home ATM" dwindled.

Now the world wonders how America is going to pick itself up and once again become the world's favorite consumer. What America has yet to realize is that in order to consume (nay, to eat) one has to have an income.

The Rich has long contended that The Rich are responsible for the jobs in this country. They repeatedly demand that laws not impinge The Rich's ability to "create jobs". Curiously, The Rich are nowhere to be seen as we wait for a knight in shining armor to save us.

What *is* happening is the states and the country as a whole is looking at extreme tax income shortfalls as the bulk of the country go unemployed. When the bulk of the country's tax base loses jobs, the onus of tax payment has to go somewhere. People without a roof over their head are hard to coerce into tax payments. This leaves The Rich facing the outstretched hand of Uncle Sam without anyone else to shift that burden to.

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