We may no longer need elevator operators or assembly line workers, as David Hoppe writes in “Unemployment Going Up” (June 18-25), but we do need prison guards and soldiers in the Middle East. Over the past three decades, American businesses have created a lower-wage, low-benefit, “flexible” labor market and young workers today entering the workforce will face the hard reality of not having the same level of quality jobs and secure retirement that older generations have enjoyed. Indeed, the decline of union membership during the past few decades has left the working class with little or no defense against this onslaught from corporate America.
Meanwhile, a recent study by the Associated Press found that CEOs’ compensation grew by 3.5 percent last year despite slowing economic growth, falling profits and mass layoffs. Today’s generation of young workers was raised entirely after the decline of the “American Dream” that began in late 1970s and ’80s. They were raised after the dismantling of the auto industry and after President Reagan’s attack on Big Government social services and after the Republican-controlled U.S. Congress rolled back much of the New Deal. It is this younger generation with nothing left to lose who can turn the tide. It’s their world to win and the time is now.