Sitting in a rocking chair on the porch, maybe do a little traveling around the country, visiting family and friends. That's how many of America's working people dream of spending their golden years after a lifetime of hard work. Sadly for most working class Americans, this will be nothing more than a dream.
Three-quarters of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck. Fewer than one in four Americans have enough money saved to cushion the blow of a job loss, medical emergency or some other unexpected event, let alone retirement. Incomes for the poorest Americans grew by only $59 (adjusted for inflation) from 1966-2011. Now, this is the hard part to take: America is richer than ever before; the problem is that the top 10 percent take 80 percent of the money.
Business CEOs who serve on the Business Roundtable fair much better with their golden nest eggs for retirement. For instance, Wal-Mart CEO Michael T. Duke has a retirement nest egg of $83,379,524. The Business Roundtable wants to raise the retirement age for Social Security and Medicare to age 70, knowing full well that poorer Americans have a shorter life expectancy. They want us to work until we die!
The 400 wealthiest Americans are worth a record $2.02 trillion. A collective fortune slightly larger than Russia's economy. Since about 1980, CEO pay has skyrocketed while working families' wages have remained stagnant, despite major increases in productivity.
Corporations park their profits overseas to shrink their responsibilities as taxpayers. Sixty large U.S. companies shelter $1.3 trillion overseas, and avoid paying their fair share. The U.S. Treasury could receive $455 billion if it was able to tax the profits from the 60 companies, assuming a 35 percent tax rate.
It isn't hard to see that the American worker is getting cheated, just take a look at the balance of your savings account. If we as workers expect our employers to ensure that we are fairly compensated for our labor, with health care and able to live a dignified retirement, we will be gravely disappointed. If workers want to get a slice of the pie, and not just the crumbs, we have to do it for ourselves! Despite what the employer class would have us believe, labor unions are an organization of working people, not rich guys in Washington. Many workers are foolishly against unions. These workers seem to side with the people who oppress them; perhaps these workers are afraid of falling out of favor with the high class. They admire them and want to be like them. The rich like us to be wanting of them, admiring of them and needing of them. They enjoy being able to say, "look what I've done for you." They also enjoy taking it away when we fall out of favor. If workers want to live a decent lifestyle and reverse this sickening inequality, then we must do it for ourselves! Labor unions are the only way to make companies bargain with workers to ensure our security, or we can keep waiting for their scraps like a begging dog.