Amos 8,6: "We can buy up the weak for silver and the poor for a pair of sandals, and even get a price for the sweepings of the wheat."
Amos 8,7: "Yahweh has sworn by the pride of Jacob, 'Never will I forget anything they have done.' "
"During the recession, and recovery, businesses have kept very tight controls on costs by reducing inventory levels, cutting budgets and maximizing productivity per employee. This has led to massive changes in hiring and employment. Temporary hires (which have lower wages and no benefit costs) have substantially outpaced permanent employment since the end of the last recession. Since the first quarter of 2009, part-time employment has increased more than 1.5 million while full-time employment is still lower by 1.25 million. The analysts and media have been quick to jump on the idea that temporary jobs will ultimately turn into full-time employment. However, in an economy that is growing at a sub-par rate with a large and available labor pool, the use of temporary versus full-time employment may well be the "new normal". This also explains why dependence on "food stamps" have surged by over 14 million particpants during the same period." ""Corporate Profits Surge At Expense of Workers" Lance Roberts Streettalk Live July 18, 2012, advisorperspectives.com
I had a civilized conversation on a low speed Amtrak train from Connecticut to Vermont with a young violinist from South Africa attending a music symposium in Vermont.
I was on completely packed train north to fetch my car after a bike trip south, and she and her two Danish compatriots were returning to their summer music studies in Southern Vermont after taking in New York City for the first time.
As she looked around at the thriving and culturally diverse mix of folks who still ride trains (some of whom just don't have the funds for a car), in the full animation that travel brings, everything in the good old U.S.A. looked rosy, to her anyway. And truth be told we do have much to be thankful for in this country. Then we got to talking about jobs and the U.S, economy, and she offerred that in her country had adopted a policy of favoring human employment.
You may have seen this in other countries and cultures, folks at the ready for work, welcomed to be around nonetheless, still part of the team. Whereas, these days in our culture, it seems that businesses call the temp agency, or send folks home early (that's "worker training", being sent home early) or stand over you and expect full time work for a part time salary.
And by the way this progress is being brought right into our hometown, right to our doorstep.
The fact is companies in this recession have been much happier to hoard cash than hire people. Non financial U.S. corporate businesses accumulated 46% more liquid assets, up to $2.2 trillion dollars, between the 2007 and 2011 ("Corporate Cash Hoarding Holds Back Job Creation", afl-cio.org quoting Federal Reserve's Flow of Funds Data).
And between 1999 and 2009 U.S. parents of multinational companies cut 864,000 jobs, while their foreign affiliates added 2.9 million ("Operations of U.S. Multinational Companies in the U.S. And Abroad," by Kevin B. Barefoot and Raymond Mataloni Jr., U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, November 2011, as reported at aflcio.org).
And in this pro management environment who could be for anything like limited and legal immigration? Who could be against open borders? Who could be against modest economic and tax changes, in the direction of fairness, that would mend the social cohesion that gives our culture it's flavor and substance?
And likewise, who could be against managers advising us all to "look out for ourselves" rather than our fellow co-workers?
I enjoyed the train ride with the refined musician from South Africa who told me of South Africa's policy of favoring hiring people over things like hoarding cash and all the rest of the stuff that makes some corporations so so so productive, while leaving some people without any work at all.
Perhaps, as I'm thinking to myself now, we know why Bruce Springsteen is still singing, after all these years, and so loudly.
But are our "job creators" listening?
Or better yet, hiring?
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Tobin Hitt is the founder of the Zion Pentecost Mission. He is open to gospel partnership with all, and identifies with Paul's description of our mission as ambassadors for our king, Jesus, urging all to reconcile with God (2Cor.20-21). He resides in Cheshire, Connecticut.read more...