This first day of August 2012, was not a good day for us. This morning around 10 AM, I heard my wife sobbing as she collapsed on our sofa in the living room, adjacent to my study. I got up from my desk and immediately rushed to her, but I was fairly sure that I knew why she was crying, before she could say the words I was expecting to hear.
“Chris, they just laid me off.” she managed to choke out, as she cried miserably and her shoulders shook from her heartbroken sobbing. I hugged her tightly to me, and consoled her as best I could, but she was racked with a pain that was very hard to comfort, however much love, tenderness, and compassion I could give her, and give to her repeatedly in every way I could think of.
The misery that ravaged her emotions made my own heart ache for her, but it was all too easy to understand her grief. She has been working as a photo editor for a small photo stock agency for the last eight years, and every year her job has become harder, as more staff has been laid off and she has had to work increasingly longer hours under constant and relentless deadline pressure.
The company that she worked for, depended upon much of their business coming from the publishing industry, and the publishing industry has been ravaged by online competition from the internet. Her company tried very hard to make the transition to selling the rights to photograph usage to online media, since it was so painfully clear that the publishing industry was severely contracting, and much of it dying.
But the company she worked for until this morning, is small, and ill equipped to compete with very large stock photography companies like Getty Images and Corbis Corporation – owned by a guy named Bill Gates. Getty and Corbis did to the smaller photo stock agencies what Home Depot and then Lowes did to the small neighborhood hardware stores; drive almost all of them out of business.
My wife’s employer has spent the last ten years fighting to not get sucked into that same downward spiral and financially destroyed, but every month the battle for survival has become much tougher, and now my wife has finally become a casualty in her now former company’s fight for survival.
She gave everything she had to doing her job to the very best of her ability, and she has been a model employee, almost never taking a sick day for eight years, and always willing to work long extra hours to get her work done to the highest standards, while meeting all of her deadlines.
The flood of e-mails she got today from many of her clients expressing their sympathies as well as their disappointment, after they heard that she lost her job, is the truest testimony of all to confirm her high standards of skill and professionalism in all the efforts she has made for her clients. Her clients are people who have learned from positive experience that Jean would always give them her very best effort, and do it with a cheerful and pleasant disposition.
But as of 10:00 AM this morning, my wife’s genuinely very best effort to do her job to the very best of her ability, along with all her extra hours of hard work, still wasn’t good enough to allow her to keep her job and continue to work in the profession that she loves.
It’s no wonder that she feels heartbroken and crushed – she gave her job everything she had for eight long years, under very difficult circumstances, and instead of being rewarded for her excellent work ethics and effort, now she is 52 years old and unemployed.
She called her sister to tell her what happened, and that is when her sister revealed that her husband, a construction project manager for the same company for 17 years, also lost his job this past Friday.
There is something very wrong in America today, when so many good, hard working middle class people give their jobs their very best, and instead of being rewarded for a job well done, and all their years of dedicated service, their way of making a living is taken from them. Instead of a well deserved reward for a job well done, they suddenly don’t have a job, and they have to worry about how they will put food on the table and keep a roof over their heads.
What is wrong in America today is a deeply entrenched problem and it did not begin in the White House 3-1/2 years ago. A more accurate date for when the standard of living for middle class America was put in jeopardy by certain economic policies, is 1980, and then a far more serious deterioration of the American middle class standard of living occurred after the presidential election in 2000.
The US Federal government had a national surplus of revenue in the year 2000, instead of a massive national deficit, and there was economic prosperity then, instead of a near collapse of our financial system and the worst economic recession in over 75 years, since the Great Depression of the 1930s.
And just who was it who was elected in the presidential election in 2000? Who was it in power, for the next eight years, during which our national surplus turned into a huge national deficit, and our prosperous economy plummeted into the worst recession since the 1930s? It was Bush and Cheney and NOT Obama and Biden.
Who began the Federal bailout of the Financial Corporations that caused our Great Recession? Who created the Federal bailout of Wall Street so hated by the Tea Party, while middle class Americans on Main Street lost their jobs in huge numbers? It was the Bush/Cheney administration and a Republican Secretary of the Treasury named Henry Paulson.
So if you aren’t happy with our economic situation, do not blame the current administration that has been trying to repair the damage for only 3-1/2 years, when the economic damage is the result of over 30 years of destructive economic policies created by the party of Reagan, Bush, and now Mitt Romney. The Republican Party – the party that always has, and always will continue to slant all the rules in favor of the wealthy and super rich, at the expense of the hard working but long suffering American Middle Class.
If you are hurting and angry right now, then take your frustrations out on those that history exposes as the ones who are really responsible for your suffering. Place the blame where it truly belongs – on members of the Republican party, who, unless you are wealthy, are not your friends, however much they pretend to be your friends. The truth is that Republicans will sacrifice your well being every time for the sake of their wealthiest friends, who make the massive political campaign contributions that keep the Republicans in power.
But you still have a say in this matter, and some control over your own fate. You can vote in November, and please use your vote wisely.