Do you want fries with that?
The Commerce Department said yesterday, that personal incomes took a dive across the U.S. last year except in areas with high volumes of federal government and military jobs. This comes on the heels of an article in the Financial Times, where Edward Luce picked apart the American Dream, reporting, "The annual incomes of the bottom 90% of U.S. families have been essentially flat since 1973 -- having risen by only 10% in real terms over the past 37 years. That means most Americans have been treading water for more than a generation. Over the same period the incomes of the top 1% have tripled. In 1973, chief executives were on average paid 26 times the median income. Now the multiple is above 300." The simple reality is that while every industrialized country in the world has a solid safety social safety net, made up of robust programs like social security, medicare, unemployment benefits, and welfare for those unable to work, the historic social safety net for the United States - because these programs are quite minimal in the US - has been a well paying, unionized, manufacturing job. But 30 years of Reaganomics, Clintonomics, and Tom Freidman, Flat Earth insanity has moved those jobs to China, Vietnam and India, leaving American workers to say, "Welcome to Wal-Mart" and "Do you want Fries with that?" Until we bring our jobs home and re-empower our unions we are left with a frayed and largely ineffective social safety net - and even that safety net itself is under attack from conservatives and big business. This is why the average American working family is one paycheck away from living on the streets.