Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
In the USA add in the dolorous effects of the "for profit" medical insurance racket, health care system and ad driven drug sales by Big Pharma.  In many areas, those  in small businesses do not have access to quality medical insurance.  Instead, they get to pay the same as those who do, but get only a maliciously gamed shell of a policy which seems to work until one needs it.

Government employees at almost all levels have "primo" medical insurance, job security, relatively high wages and excellent retirement benefits. This is one reason for the push to "privatize" public sector services where possible. (Another reason being to provide opportunities for well placed elites to suck money out of taxpayers pockets.) In the private sector it is much as Frank describes.  The "core" portion of large and medium companies has shrunk dramatically.  Better be in it or get a public sector job.

The only path I see out of this disaster is to delegitimate the justifications for the current system and put in place tax structures and social and economic policies that favor substantial investments in projects that provide real value to society and that pay a living wage.  Rebuilding our energy and transportation infrastructures would be a start.  If the current "financialization" fiasco continues to collapse as spectacularly as has been the case for the last year, the entire parasitic financial sector could be self eliminating. The challenge is to prevent most people's lives from being destroyed in the process.  This is made all the more daunting by the fact that the relevant supposed regulatory agencies, The Fed, SEC, etc., seem concerned not with the public well being but with protecting the interests of those financial institutions and those who run them.

In the 19th century labor protests regularly met with violence from police and state militias. This continued up through the Great Depression.  One wonders if we have regressed to that state--yet.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Jul 10th, 2008 at 12:23:13 PM EST
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