The Third Party Is a Silent One

Job Growth. Politicians always tout it, but in reality, they have very little to do with it. The ones who make it happen are Corporate America. And if we base our political decisions about who runs this country solely on job growth then we’re letting big business run the country.

I used to work in economic development so I probably had to watch what companies were doing more than the average person. I had to watch who was expanding, who wasn’t, who could be expanding but was holding out. That’s what you do in economic development. You chase jobs to try to bring them to your communities.

After watching the Sunday morning political shows, I just wanted to share what others probably didn’t see because they didn’t work in economic development. During the last four years of Obama’s presidency, American business had some of the highest profits ever. Highest in the history of their business. Highest in the history of our country.

There was article after article about how profits and cash reserves of companies were the highest they had ever been and yet salaries were down and so were jobs. Why is that? Well, one way to make more money, like they did back in the days of old, was to work employees to death, pay them nothing and boost the production and sales. Oh, and they didn’t have to provide insurance back in the day either. Strange how that’s coming back in style, isn’t it?

So companies were making huge profits from right after the housing bubble (2007-2009-ish) until January 2016, just as the presidential election was heating up. Is that a coincidence? Are there any coincidences? In politics, not so much.

During Obama’s last term, companies weren’t hiring, not at a pace to catch up to earlier levels, although our job rates still showed an increase. Companies were making money hand over fist. They wore people out. I know. I’ve been on the receiving end of that. I’m one of those people that a company kept on staff after making cuts but kept adding more and more work onto my plate. I can tell you, that’s not a fun place to be. It sucks.

And all those jobs that disappeared, that put people out of work … they kept those jobs. They just located them somewhere else to boost their profits. And if they cut jobs, they didn’t cut the workload. They just piled it onto one of the suckers who they kept on staff.

You can’t blame politics for that. You can only blame the business decision makers. They value money over providing quality of life for their communities and their employees.

If we want to change politics and the ills of our country, we need to focus on fixing business and their place in our lives. We’re such a consumer economy. We buy and buy and buy.

I’m not any different. I’m not accusing any one of any thing that I’m not guilty of myself. I want the latest gadgets a lot of times or that one thing that’s going to my skin glow like a newborn baby. It never does, but I buy it anyway.

Hope. It gets you every time.

But buying and buying and buying only benefits business. Some things help us, but not everything. Maybe even most things we buy don’t help us. They’re just things. Things that boost profits.

Let’s think about this for a second. We are gradually getting rid of public libraries (and the old bookmobile system that I loved) but the book-selling industry is doing quite well. Something we once got for free, we’re now paying for it. Just saying. Something to think about.

But back to my point. Companies were getting rich and workers (and to some degree our country) suffered. Then as the election heated up, everything dropped. Jobs. Profits. Everything. Come January 2016. Just as the Republican party was hammering it out. Just as Trump was making a climb. Trump, the epitome of American industrialism, right? Convenient, right?

Now, after 6 years of crazy profits and not adding jobs under a Democratic president, suddenly the job market is booming. The stock market is booming. Regulations have been slashed for companies — by a president who has put Corporate American business leaders in every high-ranking position possible.

Does anyone else see a correlation here or is it just me? We have a third party in this country. But it’s a silent one. It doesn’t run for office. It just supports one candidate over another. For all those folks who are looking at politicians for their economic woes, they’re looking in the wrong direction. Well, perhaps, those politicians who can be bought and sold like candy or who may personally benefit financially from lax business regulations have something to do with it.

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