THE CRISIS OF THE
AMERICAN ECONOMY AND
THE RISE OF CHRISTIAN
FUNDAMENTALISM

October, 1996
by: S.R. Shearer

BACKGROUND

More than thirty years ago, Professor Seymour Martin Lipset of Stanford (now of George Mason) reasoned convincingly that middle class fury is the fuel which feeds the flames of fascism. If this is so then Americans are truly in danger of witnessing the development of a fascist phantasm in their midst.

The great American middle class is furious - and not necessarily without reason. Increasingly it sees its wealth and societal ethic under attack from both a globalist and multicultural Meritocracy above it, and an amoral and destructive Underclass below it. It feels itself under siege - and it’s frantic as a result!

The strain of all this is slowly producing an Angst, which in turn is leading to a surge of Christian Fundamentalism with frightening fascist (or Nazi) undercurrents - precisely as Lipset predicted it would. The resurgence of Christian Fundamentalism, and its entrance into the political arena may indicate that the nation’s globalist elites are blundering badly when they assume that most Middle Americans share their multicultural social ethic and economic globalism. Indeed, the growing evidence of "de-coupling" between the leadership elites of this country and the people on this point is suggestive of an "ivory tower" phenomenon which has enveloped the "establishment" and left it dangerously out of touch with what’s really happening in the country at large.

As a result of this growing chasm, a fundamental political and social reorientation is taking place in the country. While it is being fueled by the Religious Right, it is beginning to extend far beyond "born-again" evangelicals to include elements which have never before coalesced with them; specifically blue collar Catholics and secular elements which heretofore were never predisposed to darken the doorways of a church.

So serious is the gap which has developed between the leadership elites of this country and the great mass of ordinary people, and so far advanced has the political and social reorientation progressed that prominent intellectuals can now be found who are predicting a clash between the two which could lead to chaos, rendering the nation ungovernable.

Indeed, the parallel between what is happening here and what happened twenty years ago in Iran is sobering. To that extent, the growth of Christian Fundamentalism in the United States, like the growth of Muslim Fundamentalism in the Islamic World, is more of a cultural phenomenon than it is a religious phenomenon. Just as multiculturalism, which accompanied the economic integration of Iran into the world’s economy twenty years ago, was viewed by Iranians as an attack on their culture, so multiculturalism, which is accompanying America’s increasing integration into the world economy, is viewed by many in this country as an attack on the nation’s traditional European, Christian-based culture. Moreover, the same connection between the rise of multiculturalism and the increase of sexual permissiveness, which the mullahs of Iran made two decades ago is now being made by conservative Christian leaders in this country.

Americans - in all their sometimes pseudo-sophistication - may recoil at the parallel of all this to what happened in Iran. However, the return of large numbers of Americans to a conservative brand of Christianity may, in the end, be traced not so much to a sudden desire to "find God" as to a primeval impulse to defend their traditional culture. And just as the secular elites in Iran failed to grasp the real meaning behind the rise of Islamic Fundamentalism until it was too late, so also the secular elites in the United States are in grave danger of failing to grasp the real meaning behind the rise of Christian Fundamentalism.

Should this trend continue unchecked, it bodes ill first of all for all right-thinking Christians who value the unsullied preservation of their religion from the taint of fascism, and secondly, it threatens those who - for whatever reason - fall outside a Christian (political) "World View" (i.e., Weltanschauung).

DISCOVERING THE "NEW AMERICA"

In late 1982 - fifteen years ago - Richard Louv, a special projects reporter for the San Diego Union, was encouraged by Gerald Warren, Peter Kaye, and J.D. Alexander, a group of the paper’s editors, to travel around the country and describe what he saw. Warren, Kaye and Alexander had been gripped for some time with the thought that something fundamental was happening in the country; that unprecedented and massive changes in the structure of the American economy were occurring - changes which they were only dimly beginning to appreciate; and changes which were already altering the core nature of the society with which they had grown up. And there was something more: none of them could escape the gnawing feeling that there was a "down side" to the Reagan Economic Miracle, which was then just beginning to happily spread its enchantment throughout the country. They wanted answers to their concerns. By the end of the project, so many members of the Union staff were involved in one way or another that it had become a truly paper-wide effort which resulted in a pioneering series of articles under the direction of city editor Marcia McQueen; and finally - in 1984 - in a book entitled America II by Richard Louv.

One of the first things Louv discovered in his travels, and perhaps the most striking, was the increasing PHYSICAL separation of the rich from the poor. This separation appeared to result directly from the economic changes which had taken hold on the country.

THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE "NEW COMMUNITIES"

Perhaps the most marked result of this separation was the appearance of self contained, isolated communities. Many of these communities, though certainly not all, were actually walled-in; access to them was available only through guarded gates. This novel development had actually been going on for at least twenty years, but it has drawn hardly any attention from the general public. Nonetheless, while the gradual germination and diffusion of these "walled communities" on the American landscape was little noticed - largely because their creators had designed them to be as unobtrusive as possible - their impact was becoming formidable by 1983.

Today, you can increasingly see them on the hills overlooking most any major metropolitan area in the country - clusters of expensively built single-family dwellings or "super-condos," beautifully landscaped and often dominated by steel and glass, high rise business complexes housing the corporate offices of many of America’s best known futuristic companies. They have names like Simi Valley, Rancho Bernardo, Rancho Santa Fe, Mission Viejo, New Town, Montrose, and Laguna Niguel. Many of these new outposts - which one researcher has called "New Communities" - contain their own shopping malls, private recreation facilities, parks, and bike paths; some have their own private security forces. Indeed, it seems as though they have been purposely cut off from the rest of the world - so much so that residents can often live, work, and play without ever having to venture out beyond the safety of their walls.

SEPARATE WORLDS

The separation goes so far as to include what amounts to a series of "private tax systems" - special "association or homeowner fees" germane only to the applicable association.

Louv writes that when taken in their aggregate, they "... collect more revenue than the nation’s small towns and may soon come to represent more financial power than all elected local governments in the United States." The range of goods and services bought by these "fees" goes far beyond what is available in the "public sector" and include private garbage collection, private police forces, private systems of parks and grasslands, telephone answering services, central utilities, group home owners’ insurance, etc. - all often purchased for prices far below what is available to the general public. The existence of these private "tax systems" goes a long way in explaining the tax revolt against public and municipal expenditures in recent years: so many people, especially people of means, have opted out of the public system of parks, recreation facilities, and other municipal services that voter support for the bonds and taxes necessary for the maintenance of such public systems is no longer there. Why should people vote for a system of public parks and recreation facilities they no longer need? - they have their own private systems.

For example, one of the oldest such communities is River Oaks in Houston, Texas. It has been described by novelist Thomas Thompson as a place in which a "magnolia does not fall from a branch but a gardener is there to carry it away." After dwelling on the many other private amenities associated with River Oaks, Louv goes on to describe the River Oaks Patrol Company as nothing less than a privately operated and financed police force, not merely a private security company. It has strong but unofficial ties to the Houston Police Department; a "police department" which is funded totally by a special property fee; if you will, a "private tax." Louv even says that the patrol is allowed to use Houston’s police radio and dispatch system, and is listed in the telephone book as a genuine police department.

Louv writes: "Statistically, the phenomenon is amazing. In 1980, the number of community associations surpassed the national total of small town governments, as well as every other formally recognized elected local government. At last count, according to the (National) League of Cities, there were approximately 38,000 units of elected local government in the nation compared with nearly 50,000 community associations, governing populations of a few dozen to tens of thousands. Almost all of this growth has occurred since 1971, when there were only 2,000 community associations." The number today, of course, is much greater as this phenomenon has continued to expand throughout the country.

This is the new America; the America of the well-to-do, of computers and high-tech jobs, exotic imported goods, BMWs, Lexus’, Jaguars and Volvos, "high amp," private schools, swimming pools, golf courses, and tennis courts - and all this on an impressively large scale encompassing surprisingly high numbers of people. This is the new elite; an elite which is growing ever more distant from the rest of society, and one which is increasingly disengaging itself from the communal spaces, institutions and obligations of most other Americans. Robert Reich, in his book, The Work of Nations: Preparing Ourselves for 21st Century Capitalism, writes: "(These are) people who are already positioned to thrive in the (new) world market, (and who) are now able to slip the bonds of national allegiance, and by so doing disengage themselves from their less favored fellows."

Two concepts are fundamental to any understanding of the New Communities: Separation and Protection, but not necessarily in the obvious sense one would think.

WHAT THE "NEW
COMMUNITIES" ARE NOT ABOUT

That the residents of the New Communities are separated physically from the rest of society is patently obvious. Some social scientists and media commentators have attempted to read racial, cultural and sometimes even religious connotations into this - as many of them recently (1992) tried to do in explaining away the vast differences which separated Simi Valley from South-Central L.A., differences which contributed to the unjust "not guilty" verdicts in the Rodney King beating trial.

On closer examination, however, there appears to be very little of that involved here. Most of the residents of Simi Valley were genuinely hurt by the racial and cultural allegations heaped on them by the media. Indeed, such allegations were sincerely distressing to the overwhelming majority of the community’s residents. They appear to honestly pride themselves on their multicultural attitudes and tolerance of unusual lifestyles. What seemed to have "turned the jurors off" was not racism as such, but the fear of violence. They saw Rodney King - and the people like him in South-Central Los Angeles - not so much as a black person, but as a violent person who had to be beaten into submission by the four police officers involved.

To the residents of Simi Valley the question, then, was not race, but violence! And what is true of Simi Valley is true of all the New Communities. Contrary to what is often portrayed in the press, most members of the New Communities are genuinely multicultural! Social scientists who do not recognize this fact, are "barking up the wrong tree" in trying to explain the gulf which - no question about it - does exist between communities like Simi Valley and South-Central L.A.

THE ROOTS OF MULTICULTURALISM
IN THE NEW COMMUNITIES

Multiculturalism is a genuine phenomenon in the New Communities, as poll after poll clearly attest. No doubt, this multiculturalism can be attributed to some degree to the liberal (and "politically correct") university educations most residents have received. But there seems to be a broader, more fundamental process at work here: to put it crassly, money! Participation in the economic process which has made possible their lifestyle demands a multicultural ethic. Why? - because the cornerstone of this process, the means through which they derive their livelihood - their employment, their jobs - is, to an extremely large extent, the multinational corporation.

That multinational corporations must, by their very nature, be multicultural is self-evident: the operational sphere of these corporations is global, not national. They operate on every continent, in every culture, and in every racial and religious context. The last thing they want for themselves and even their employees is too great an identification with any one particular culture or race. One has only to peruse the advertisements for Pepsi Cola (American); Coca Cola (American); Beneton (Italian); Mazda (Japanese); Toyota (Japanese {which recently ran a series of adds in California showing "all American" working class men and women on their Fremont assembly line touting Toyota as "American" a corporation as Ford, GM, or Chrysler}), etc. to gain an appreciation of the studied multiculturalism of the modern day corporation. Anything that can be perceived to "separate" the corporation and its employees from its clients or customers must be avoided - and nothing so thoroughly separates human beings from each other as race, culture, and religion.

And just how deeply American companies, even the older, more established ones - the ones usually thought of as "American" - have become involved in this new globalism becomes evident when one looks at where these companies derive their profits today in terms of sales divided between foreign and domestic markets. For example, a company as American as apple pie like the Disney Corporation gets almost 25% of its revenues from foreign operations; General Electric derives a similar amount from foreign sales; Dun & Bradstreet has 40 percent of its revenues coming from abroad; and General Motors, one-third.

Indeed, Prudential’s Melissa Brown says that the largest 100 so-called "American" companies - companies like Exxon, Ford, IBM, Mobil, Philip Morris, DuPont, Texaco, Chevron, Chrysler, Boeing, Procter & Gamble, Amoco, United Technologies, Pepsico, Eastman Kodak, Xerox, RJR Nabisco, Westinghouse, Sara Lee, Johnson & Johnson, Coca-Cola, etc. - get about 30% - and in some instances, even more - of their revenues from overseas. This is to say nothing about the new, futuristic companies like Apple, Hewlett-Packart, Unisys, Digital Equipment, Compaq, Sun Microsystems, Storage Technologies, Quantum, etc.; and foreign companies - Japanese, French, Canadian, British, Dutch, etc. which have recently transferred many of their operations to the United States - for example, Honda, Sony, BMW, etc.

Jack Welch of General Electric and chairman of the National Business Council, reflecting the new globalism of American corporations, recently remarked, "We’re all globalists now, and we are staying that way."

This kind of globalism demands an understanding and acceptance of religious, cultural, and racial differences. There is no room for parochialism here! The members of the New Communities are, therefore, sincerely and very necessarily globalist in outlook, their jobs depend on it. And this goes a long way in explaining the passion of many of the residents of these communities for all things foreign, which is often coupled with an elemental, though politely hidden, distaste for many things domestic.

THE NEW MERITOCRACY:
SEPARATION BY ACHIEVEMENT

What we’re talking about here is separation by achievement - a meritocracy, if you will; a separation which divides winners from losers in the new world economy, success from failure; achievement from ruin - and manifests that separation in terms of material wealth.

It is mercilessly Darwinian in its process and emphasizes a laissez-faire lifestyle "... where," as Lynn Ashby of the Houston Post says, "all men and women are created equal if they have the intelligence to achieve it" - that is, to somehow hitch a ride on America II’s locomotive; and by doing so, to hook themselves into the new globalism. And be clear, it’s almost impossible to overemphasize the appalling and ruthless Darwinism connected to this new phenomenon; it is truly "survival of the fittest;" and there is very little room in this brutal process for the "luxury" of racism, sexism, and religious or cultural intolerance. One either produces or he/she is out, and it matters little whether he is black, brown, white or any other color of the rainbow.

Indeed, the process at work here is not unlike the process inherent in choosing NFL players for one of today’s professional football teams. The question is winning, not fielding a team that is all white, or - on the other hand - even "politically correct." You’re either good enough at catching a football or you’re not - there’s no "ifs" or "buts" about it. There’s no room for niceties or sentimentality. There’s just so many slots on the team. Such also is the case in today’s multinational corporations, and - ipso facto - in today’s New Communities - there are just so many slots here, and the competition to get one is every bit as fierce as gaining a slot on one of today’s professional sports teams. Remarking on this brutal process [that is, first making the team (i.e., landing one of these futuristic, high paying jobs), and then fighting to stay on it (i.e., not being laid-off or displaced by someone younger and/or brighter)], Andrea Saveri, a research fellow at the Institute for the Future in Menlo Park, California says: "Lose a job ... and the whole thing (i.e., life in the Meritocracy) falls apart."

RACIAL SEPARATION: NOT A
FACTOR IN THE MERITOCRACY

The separation which ultimately divides the members of the New Communities from the outside world, then, is merit; and people who talk today in terms of racial, religious, and cultural separation are missing the point altogether.

To be sure race and culture still continue to be factors among those who have been left behind, those who have not made the transition, the jump into the hyper-drive of America II. Today, however, they serve merely to divide losers from losers, such as poor Latinos from poor blacks or poor whites or even Koreans in, places like South-Central L.A. - and no doubt this kind of separation can still be virulent.

Nonetheless, this is not the kind of separation which today is dominating the social processes which are currently at work in this country. One incident more than any other is illustrative of this point: the confirmation hearings of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. A large number of high achieving black men and women on both sides testified, but most striking were those who appeared in defense of Thomas. These were blacks who have clearly made the jump into the new Meritocracy - super-achievers like John Dogget, Leonard Cooper, Clifford Hardwick, Lovida Coleman, and Delores Rozzi who rejected any help from the outside and were determined to make it on their own.

Moreover, and perhaps most astonishingly, these were black men and women who had plainly disavowed the old black establishment associated with the Civil Rights movement of the ’50s and ’60s; people who seemed to feel more at home as equals with the Donald Trumps of this world than with the Vernon Jordans. Indeed, these blacks are among the fiercest critics of the black underclass; many of them are far more likely to "blame the victim" rather than the system. They stress the importance of individual character, morals, and culture in achieving success - assertions which, if they were made by white conservatives, would be branded as racist.

Typical of the thinking of blacks and other minorities which - together with majority whites - make up the New Meritocracy, are the thoughts of Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Professor of Humanities at Harvard and a recipient of a MacArthur Foundation "genius" grant. Gates writes: "The fact is, Afro-America’s affluent elite is larger than it has ever been ... Today many black Americans enjoy a measure of economic security beyond any we have known in the history of black America ... We (are) members of the black upper middle class ... We are isolated from (and in no way a part of) the black underclass ... (And) those (of us) who succeed are those whose ... families prepared them to be successful. As Stanley Crouch and others remind us, the familiar exhortation in those days was to ‘get all the education that you can’ - and we did ... To continue to repeat the same old formulas - to blame, in exactly the same ways, ‘the (white) man’ for oppressing us all, to scapegoat Koreans, Jews ... for seizing the entrepreneurial opportunities that have, for whatever reason, eluded us - is to fail to accept the moral leadership. Not to demand that each member of the black community accept individual responsibility for his behavior - whether that behavior assumes the form of gang violence, unprotected sexual activity, you name it - is another way of selling out a beleaguered community. It is to surrender to the temptations to act as ethnic cheerleaders (like the old black "Civil Rights" establishment) ‘selling woof tickets’ - engaging in hollow rhetoric ... ."

These blacks are typical of the men and women - black, white, brown, etc. - who today make up the New Meritocracy, populate the New Communities, and make the new global economy "roll and go."

PROTECTION AND MERIT

The second concept which is fundamental to any understanding of these New Communities is protection. Protection from what? or whom?

Well, not necessarily protection from the workers who have been left behind; from those who have, for one reason or another, not been able to get aboard America II’s steam roller. Indeed, one can sometimes detect in the members of the New Communities a certain, if elusive, feeling of sorrow, even guilt, for those who have been left behind in the cities and older suburbs to deal with the uglier ramifications of the new globalism that they have helped unleash. With some, there is a genuine distress for those who couldn’t "make the team" as it were; a compassion not unlike the sympathy - perhaps the better word might be "pity" - a younger NFL player would feel towards one of the older veterans who had, after many successful seasons, been cut from the team. Most of the members of the New Communities understand that the great majority of those who have been left behind are decent, law abiding, and hard working. They feel sorry for them and feel a certain obligation to take care and provide for them. It is merit that separates them from the Middle. It is protection they seek from those at the bottom.

* * *

THE UNDERCLASS

THE WOLF PACK

It's the Underclass the Meritocracy is afraid of - a dangerous, malignant, wolf pack which is seeking to devour everyone and everything that gets in its way.

It is the existence of this wolf pack which has caused the New Meritocracy to retreat behind the protection of their barriers. This malicious cabal of "do nothings" slinks about in the inner cities and older suburbs, stalking the hard working residents of these areas, men and women who still constitute the vast majority of working people in the country. And it is against the threat of these malevolent carnivores that the New Meritocracy feels itself arrayed, with the great mass of blue collar - and now even many white collar - workers in the older suburbs and central cities left, caught somewhere in the middle - scrambling to lift themselves up into the meritocracy, and - ipso facto - safety behind the walls, or, failing that, falling down into the Underclass and becoming inevitably a victim of the wolf pack.

The wolf pack! This is the riffraff, the mob, the rabble. The losers, the failures, the ner-do-wells, the excuse givers. The welfare recipients that are "... too lazy to get off their fat bottoms and get a job;" the ones that "make children" and little else. The junkies, the dope dealers. The Asian, black, and Latino gangs. The Bloods and the Crips. The white bikers - the Hells Angels, the Outlaws, the Pagans, the High Plains Drifters. The skinheads. These are the denizens of darkness which live off the hard work of others. This fearsome throng has taken over the old public parks and playgrounds; controls the public schools; prowls the inner cities and increasingly the older suburbs. These are the rapists, the muggers, the prostitutes that would just as easily kill you as look at you. Uzi-toting gang enforcers; cracked-crazed moms who abandon their children.

And what about the kids? the offspring of these ner-do-wells? - teens - and even preteens - who treat weapons like household toys; and who ruthlessly gun down their peers on crowded playgrounds. Children without pity like teenager Anthony Knighton who shot Schanell Sorrells, a pregnant 13-year-old girl in Deerfield Beach, Florida because she wouldn’t give him a nickel; or four teenage girls who doused 12-year-old Sandra Sharer with gasoline and burned her alive because she was "trying to steal the affections of another girl;" or two teenage sisters in Los Angeles who allegedly killed an elderly neighbor last year while another sister played a stereo to drown out the screams; or student Khalil Sumpter who police say pulled out a .38-cal revolver and shot Tyrone Sinkler and Ian Moore at point blank range at Thomas Jefferson High - a school located in a neighborhood of boarded up row houses on New York’s east side - while they were standing in a corridor not far from where the mayor was waiting to lecture them on "self-esteem."

And as far as Thomas Jefferson High is concerned, it is not the only school which serves as a killing ground for the wolf pack. Fully a quarter of the nation’s large urban school districts now use metal detectors to search for weapons carried by students. A shooting at Castlemont High in Oakland, California sparked a teacher’s walkout recently. "Teachers are much more fearful in the middle schools and upper elementary grades - fifth, and sixth grades - than they ever were before," says Bill Martin, a spokesman for the National Education Association. Metal detectors, locker shakedowns, and armed police patrols are now taken for granted in many big city schools. Teachers are learning a new kind of civil-defense drill - hitting the ground when gunfire erupts. This is what happened at Fulton Junior High School in Van Nuys, California: as kids ran for cover, a lone gunman opened fire across the school playground, wounding two students. This is also what happened to Patrick Daly, who was gunned down on a Thursday afternoon, in December - a week before Christmas - in a crossfire by a group of teenage drug dealers. Daly was principal of Public School 15, an elementary school at 71 Sullivan Street in the heart of New York’s notorious Red Hook waterfront district. His quiet 24-year struggle on behalf of his pupils had been featured on national television. He had been out looking for one of his fourth-grade students who had earlier left the school in tears after an altercation with another 9-year old. Some of the parents remarked later on "life in the killing fields" of Red Hook: "It always seems that the good are killed here first."

And criminologists are predicting that this population of young killers will only explode in the decade to come: a generation of street-wise, battle-hardened kids who are desensitized to violence and grief. Kids who have seen everything - kids like the survivors of civil war in Lebanon and Northern Ireland - kids like Kenyatta Miles of Philadelphia, who was sentenced to death for shooting another boy for his sneakers. "It still ain’t going to bring him back," Miles taunted the boy’s family when his sentence was announced.

THE HUNTING GROUNDS

Reporting on one of the hunting grounds of these wolf packs, Tom Morganthau writes, "... (it) is a vast residential cage in which most of the population is held prisoner ... To ride through ... (it) on a busy Saturday night is to watch the real-life version of Blade Runner. The cops rush back and forth in their black-and-whites, sirens blaring, while helicopters clatter through the night sky to pinpoint the sources of intermittent gunfire with their searchlights. Law-abiding citizens cower behind locked doors and barred windows, fearful of going outside ... ." Morganthau goes on to stress that what is going on here - and in South Dallas, South Philadelphia, the Bronx, etc. - has virtually everyone scared. A great number of the children are simply out of control and seemingly beyond the reach of any form of family, community, or societal authority. What’s going on is not so much a rebellion against white authority, as so many establishment blacks and old-line liberals maintain, as it is a rebellion against all authority. Basic human values - the values of work (welfare is so widespread in these areas that there is no longer any stigma in receiving it - it has become a way of life), love, personal growth - seem to be breaking down. These areas, says Wellesley College political scientist, Wilber Rich, are reverting to "... a state of (animalistic) nature in the ... Hobbesian sense." The social contract is breaking down and the war of all against all has clearly begun. This is the world that set Los Angeles aflame in the spring of 1992: a time bomb that is also ready to explode in every other major city in the United States.

THE "HAVE NOTS" VERSUS THE "HAVES"

Los Angeles may be a precursor of things to come. And be clear here; despite the rhetoric of the old liberal establishments, the rampage in Los Angeles in the spring of 1992 was no race riot per se. Looters of all races were involved. They took over stores, streets, and even entire malls. Blond kids loaded their cars with stereo gear. Blacks scrounged through a gutted Radio Shack. Filipinos in a banged-up clunker stocked up on baseball mitts and sneakers. Hispanic mothers with children in tow browsed the gaping chain drug marts and clothing stores. A few Asians were spotted as well. Downtown, a mob of blacks, whites and Hispanics torched the guardhouse outside police headquarters, lit a fire in city hall, then trashed the criminal courts building. By the time the riot was finished, 44 were dead; 2,000 were injured, many seriously; and $1 billion worth of property had been looted or gone up in smoke.

Tom Matthews of Newsweek reported that the rioting in Los Angeles was unlike Watts in almost every respect. It did not appear to be racially motivated at all - despite the fact that it was white police violence on a black motorist which initially sparked the incident. Indeed, the beating and subsequent "not guilty" verdict appeared to serve as merely an excuse to riot. More than anything, it resembled a war of the "have nots" against the "haves" - "... a manic fiesta, a TV game show with every looter a winner."

Echoing Matthews, Tom Morganthau wrote: "... race, to judge by the orgy of looting in L.A., was arguably less relevant than class - less a factor than the violent nihilism of a new and dangerously alienated generation of left-outs. This is not 1968 - and Rodney King, despite his moving attempt to preach peace and conciliation during the rioting, is not the martyr to social justice that Martin Luther King, Jr. was."

Matthews continues by describing several experiences he had during the riot: "Toting a Hefty bag full of electronic calculators, a 13-year-old black kid looked up dizzily and said, ‘My mom’s not gonna believe the stuff I got today’. With the looters such a wild rainbow of races, it seemed more plausible to look elsewhere (rather than back to the 1960s and Watts: editor) for what had possessed them. Richard Cunningham, 19, a clerk with a neat goatee, ran 10 blocks from his home to defend the Wherehouse from looters who were swiping CDs and videos ... Standing by the cash register, he said, ‘They don’t care for justice (as did the great majority of those who were involved in most, though certainly not all, the civil rights protests of a generation ago; protests which were led largely by black church leaders and ministers dedicated to non-violence and associated with the Southern Christian Leadership Association: editor), they don’t care for anything. Right now they’re just on a spree’. Three men lurched down the street toting a couch from a furniture store up the block. Cunningham shook his head. ‘They want to live the lifestyle they see people on TV living’, he said. ‘They see people with big old houses, nice cars, all the stereo equipment they want, and now that it’s free, they’re gonna get it’."

Frank Washington, also of Newsweek, wrote: "Violence became contagious. One teenager urged a group to break into Gee Gee’s Liquor Store ... Once they were in, passersby stopped for a share of the spoils. Some of the looters seemed to be looking for targets of opportunity. They were black and Hispanic, men and women, even children brought by their mothers. Motorists drove by signaling approval with honking horns and thumbs up ... Another mob broke into Ken’s Market, a block away, and set it on fire ... Sirens could be heard in the distance, but no firefighters or police came ... ."

CAMPED AT THE GATES

And there is no sign that these modern-day Vandals and Huns are going to retreat from the gates and go home. They’re here, they’re camped just outside, and they’re waiting to get in. Indeed, for the first time, the looters foraged far beyond the ghetto areas in South-Central Los Angeles. They extended their reach up to Hollywood, south to Long Beach, west to Culver City and north to the San Fernando Valley; they even grasped at the gates of Beverly Hills before being repulsed, like marauding infidels at the gates of Vienna 500 years ago. The message seemed clear: unlike previous occasions, this time the murderous rampage of these latter-day Huns extended far beyond their own enclaves, and panic was spreading as a result.

Moreover, their numbers are increasing! Membership in the gangs that rule much of central Los Angeles is growing. For instance, a 235-page report issued in May of 1992 by the staff of L.A. County district attorney Ira Reiner estimated that the region has about 1,000 gangs with a total membership of 150,000. Indeed - though the Reiner report did not say this - there are some who insist that at the present rate of growth, gang membership in Los Angeles may will approach half a million by the turn of the century. Moreover, the study said that gang-related homicides in the county increased more than 200% between 1984 and 1991 - a period of only seven years.

Like diseases, gangs can be contagious. According to University of Southern California gang expert, Malcolm W. Klein, in 1961 there were 23 cities with known street gangs nationwide. Today there are 187. Practically every state has some kind of gang problem. Nor is it any longer limited to inner-city districts or major urban centers. Gangs can now be found in older suburban areas and cities with populations as small as 5,000. The spread of gang activity to cities across the country is part of the reason the FBI is reinforcing its antigang effort. And, according to Charlie J. Parsons, special agent in charge of the FBI’s L.A. regional office, many of these gangs are heavily involved in drug distribution.

According to the Reiner Report, each gang is a mini-crime wave. There is little hope that police action can stem the growing tide of violence. Indeed, despite the deployment of specialized gang units in every L.A. County law-enforcement agency, gang membership and homicide rates continue to grow almost geometrically. According to Reiner, Hispanic gangs have been 60 years in the making, black gangs 30, and Asian gangs - the new kids on the block - 15 years, except, of course, the old "Tong" gangs of the New York, L.A. and San Francisco Chinatowns, which have been around since the 1880s.

And what are members of the New Communities to think when black rap singer Sister Souljah tells the Washington Post "... if black people kill black people every day (in the ghetto), why not take a week (off) and kill white people?" Or when Ice-T raps out in a song entitled "Body Count," "... I’m ‘bout to bust some cops off. I’m ‘bout to dust some cops off ... Die, Die, Die Pig, Die!"?

Indeed, what they seem to be saying is "... look out, we’re coming after you!"

THE ROAD WARRIORS

Moreover - and to make matters worse - in recent years there has also been an extremely rapid rise of white gangs: the skin heads and the outlaw biker gangs. Indeed, some experts estimate that the white gangs pose a far greater threat - both in terms of membership, sophisticated weaponry, and potential for violence - than do all the black, Asian and Latin gangs combined - especially as they have begun to coordinate with the white militia movement. Federal law enforcement agencies, including the FBI, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF), say that the white outlaw bikers are one of the nation’s largest organized criminal networks after the Mafia. In fact, when one counts the "hangers-on," which surround the gangs themselves, like so many jackals around a pride of lions, it might very well be safe to say that these white gangs are the largest outlaw groups in the country. The "peripherals" constitute a group forty to fifty times as large as the organized gangs themselves!

White gangs are big business! Andrew Serwer, an expert on these gangs, writes: "The feds believe the Hells Angels and the other large outlaw gangs [the Sons of Silence, the Pagans, the Outlaws, the Bandidos (which is a white gang, despite the Hispanic implication of the name), the High Plain Drifters, etc.] earn up to $1 billion a year ... from drug dealing, prostitution, gunrunning, theft, extortion, and (contract) murder. That’s ... less than La Cosa Nostra ... but the outlaw bike gangs are more vibrant and growing faster. The (Hells) Angels, the biggest and most sophisticated, ... have a tight management structure, sophisticated communications systems, and - when they need it - paramilitary discipline."

The white gangs love firepower, and the weapons they use can match or exceed the fire power of most any police department in the country. Police have seized vast quantities of handguns, silencers, shotguns, fully automatic M-16s, AK 47s, MAC-10s, and Uzis, as well as LAW rocket launchers, grenades, dynamite, bombs of all types, and C4 and other plastic explosives. Sewer reports that in their illegal activities, the white bikers use walkie-talkies, mobile phones, pagers, cash counters, scramblers, police scanners, fax machines, sophisticated computers, and video surveillance. Government agents even recovered an ultra sophisticated, custom-made radio detector that CIA officials would have been proud to own.

Just how violent are the Hells Angels? Well, take just one Angel alone, Yves "Apache" Trudeau. He admitted to killing 43 people between 1970 and 1985; and when one chapter got out of hand in 1985, the Angels decided to liquidate it by wiping out its members - which they promptly did, killing six of them and dumping their bodies in the river.

THE UNDERCLASS

This is "the Underclass, the wolf pack - the world of Mad Max, the Road Warrior and Thunder Dome; out of control; lawless; armed to the teeth; swarming with defiant youths. A seething, smoldering witches brew; foaming with rage and misery - "... ready," as John Singleton, the young director of Boys N the Hood, has said "to boil over at any moment." A world of broken glass, smoldering buildings, the whine of police sirens, gunshots in the distance, abandoned cars, trashed apartments, and liquor stores - and which today is no longer confined to the central cities, but is spreading outward and encompassing many heretofore untouched, clean, blue collar neighborhoods and older suburbs. And anxiety and apprehension are spreading! - an Angst which many commentators see as similar to the kind which today is producing right wing extremism in Europe (particularly in Germany and France).

* * *

THE AMERICAN MIDDLE

THE END OF THE AMERICAN DREAM

Last November, James Adamek, mayor of the Village of Posen, recalled his childhood to Paul Glastris of U.S. News and World Report. Thirty years ago, Adamek related, he had grown up in this blue collar community south of Chicago. It was something like "The Wonder Years." Dads would gather on Saturdays at the lumber yard on Western Avenue, moms at the flea market on 147th Street, teenagers at the roller rink or the Dog ‘n’ Suds. At night, Adamek and his friends would climb to the top of his backyard slide and watch cartoons on the screen of a nearby drive-in-movie.

Today, that thirty year-old picture of Posen has become a bit frayed at the edges. Though its three-bedroom ranch houses are still mostly well kept, the roller rink, the flea market, and the lumber yard are vacant lots, part of a larger decline brought on by the devastation to the steel industry where most Posen men worked. The devastation was caused by cheap steel imports which began flooding the country during the 1970s. While some mills in the area have made a comeback as producers of specialized steel, wages have not. Real median household income in Posen dropped nearly 12 percent since the 1960s, a time when most wives didn’t work outside the home. The drop in household income occurred despite the fact that most of Posen’s wives now hold full-time outside employment. U.S. News reports that similar very noticeable patterns of decline are appearing in cities throughout the country - cities as diverse as Atlanta, St. Louis, Minneapolis, and Dallas.

Meanwhile, the crime rate in Posen has risen dramatically as the under-class from Chicago has intruded on the small suburb. And Posen is not alone in experiencing such decline and the increasing encroachment of the underclass. According to a U.S. News and World Report survey of census data from six representative metropolitan areas, a full 35 percent of America’s older suburbs are currently experiencing similar declines - though a few suburbs, especially those properly situated, have transitioned up into "closed communities" housing the New Meritocracy - like Hoffman Estates 20 miles northwest of Chicago.

Writing in U.S. News & World Report, Paul Glastris says: "... the biggest reason for the deterioration of working-class suburbs is that the post-industrial economy passed them by." The old "assembly-line" and manufacturing jobs which sustained these communities - like those which the old steel mills in Posen once provided - have disappeared, and have not been replaced.

FROM $15 AN HOUR TO $7

Brian O’Reilly, writing in Fortune Magazine, explains: "The Great American (industrial) Job Machine, which once routinely churned out millions of high-wage (manufacturing) jobs (and supportive white collar work) ... is shifting gears - downward. Solid middle-class jobs, the kind that allow a single worker to be the family breadwinner, have been disappearing in record numbers and are being replaced more often than not by lower wage jobs, many of them astonishingly inadequate. This change first hit factory floors in the 1970s. Though U.S. manufacturers have bounced back in the global competition (by "restructuring" and "increasing productivity" - words which have come to mean permanently laying off countless numbers of workers and producing the same goods with far fewer people at much lower wages), their ability to generate an abundance of good (high paying) jobs hasn’t. Now the same ugly trend is devastating the long-invulnerable service and white collar sectors as well." For example, in the past few years Connecticut lost tens of thousands of insurance and high tech white collar jobs, California hundreds of thousands of aero-space jobs. These jobs are gone and will not be replaced by comparable ones.

Remarking on the phenomenon of "down-waging" that is sweeping through the American workplace, Pulitzer Prize-winning reporters Donald L. Bartlett and James B. Steele write: "American workers are increasingly being forced to move from jobs that once paid $15 an hour into jobs that now pay $7."

Putting "down-waging" in perspective, Bartlett and Steele continue: "Measured in terms of buying power ... (the wages of today’s workers) fall far short of their parents’ and grandparents’ earnings. To understand why, let’s go back in time, to 1952 and the opening of Levittown, Pennsylvania ... (perhaps the greatest) symbol of (America’s) flourishing middle class (of that era). It took a factory worker one day to earn enough money to pay the closing costs on a new Levittown house, then selling for $10,000. More importantly, that was an era when the overwhelming majority of families buying homes relied on the income of (only) one wage-earner. In 1991, it took a ... worker eighteen weeks to earn enough money to pay the closing costs on that same Levittown home, now selling for $100,000 or more. Unfortunately, even if the average ... worker of the 1990s had the minimum down payment, his income would be insufficient for him to qualify for a mortgage in Levittown ... On a more mundane level, a store clerk in 1952 had to work two hours to pay for 100 postage stamps. In 1991, a store clerk had to work six hours to buy (the same) 100 stamps (now costing 29 cents)."

O’Reilly writes, "Suddenly millions of Americans worry not merely about staying employed, but about staying employed in jobs that will support anything close to their current standard of living. That’s why ... the general level of economic anxiety in the country has climbed to unprecedented heights ... Declining incomes, or the fear of future declines (is everywhere rampant)."

HOW SERIOUS?

Just how serious is the job situation? "Very serious," says O’Reilly. For example, take the so-called job expansion of the 1980s: though the U.S. economy added 13.6 million full-time jobs between 1979 and 1989 (and has continued to do so between 1993 and the present), this much-touted boom was a bust for many workers. A Fortune analysis of Labor Department wage data reveals that nearly five million of these jobs paid less than $250 a week, or $13,000 a year, after adjusting for inflation. That’s below the official poverty level for a family of four. More than 1.6 million of those low-paying jobs were positions in restaurants, stockrooms, and retail sales, where the chances for promotion are low.

Echoing the findings of O’Reilly, Bartlett and Steele write, "Between 1981 and 1991, a total of 1.8 million (high-wage) manufacturing jobs (permanently) vanished in the United States - a decline of 9 percent (in only 10 years)."

Using a slightly different measure, the Census Bureau calculates that 18.9% of full-time workers had low-wage jobs in 1979. Ten years later this dismal figure rose to 23.1% of the work force, and the recent recession pushed it up to 25.7%. This means that one-quarter of the American work force earns wages which places them at or only slightly above the official poverty level for a family of four.

And for industrial workers who thrived on last decade’s defense buildup, the peace dividend promises mainly pink slips. Robert Paulson, a consultant with McKinsey & Co. in Los Angeles, estimates that aerospace accounts for 20% of the manufacturing jobs in California. But only 15% of those workers have easily transferable skills. Many more have arcane talents, those of aero-dynamicists or composite materials shapers, and half are employed in paperwork and support jobs dealing with federal contract and hiring rules. Demand from nondefense employers for those talents is negligible. "They won’t get jobs designing mass-transit systems or environmental technology," says Paulson. "They will wind up working in Kmart or selling real estate."

Since 1993, this process has only accelerated.

TRADING JOBS

According to Labor Department data, the fastest-growing occupations in the U.S. - a group that includes paralegals, medical assistants, and computer repairers - will generate a total of 694,000 new jobs between 1989 and 2000. Among the other careers that will provide the greatest number of new jobs during the 1990s, says the Labor Department, are janitors and maids (556,000), waiters (551,000), and hundreds of thousands more receptionists, hospital orderlies, and clerks.

And these are the jobs which are supposed to take the place of middle America’s old high-paying industrial jobs? Hardly!

Moreover, in terms of higher wages, the "low-end" high-tech workers - which represent the vast majority of employees in high-tech industries - are not participating at all in the fruits of the high-tech revolution unleashed by the New Meritocracy. The wages for these workers are often less than one third what they were in the old-line industrial sector.

Everett M. Rogers, a professor of communications at Stanford University who has studied the Silicon Valley social structure, is amazed at the disparity between what he calls the "two classes" of high-tech workers in what he had thought was one of the most economically successful spots in the nation. "When a typical engineer changes jobs in Silicon Valley, it usually means a 15 to 20 percent salary increase," he says. "But at the other end of the scale, the high-tech companies prefer to hire as electronics assemblers Third World women, boat people, Filipino and Mexican nationals, many of them undocumented immigrants. Part of the reason they hire them is they’re docile, they don’t even think about unions. So there’s a two-class structure. The professionals, who live in the north part of Santa Clara county, are paid very well. But the assemblers live in a very poor district in the south county. These are very, very different worlds. Two worlds: one is the Third World, the other is the high-tech future scenario." Echoing Professor Rogers and others like him, The Los Angeles Times warned ominously on December 21, 1992 of "... the proliferation of low-wage jobs (and) the (growing) chasm between rich and poor ..." which is becoming so common nation-wide.

THE SOCIAL CONSEQUENCES FOR THE NEW POOR

The financial stress of "life in the middle" caused by ever tightening household budgets has been extremely debilitating for countless families. There is no sign that this stress will abate in the foreseeable future. Indeed, in the last three years alone, real family income declined an additional 4.4 percent.

Just how much this stress has contributed to the general malaise affecting middle American families was demonstrated recently by a computer model developed at the University of New York. The university fed job, gross national product, divorce, and other demographic data into an econometric model to arrive at the conclusion that for every 1 percent rise in the unemployment rate, approximately 10,000 more divorces occur.

The econometric model developed by the University of New York was recently substantiated by a study just released by the Census Bureau. The study documents in stark terms the social impact of job loss, and the resultant poverty which inevitably follows, on American families. The report was the bureau’s first systematic analysis of social and economic conditions under which households were created and dissolved in the 1980s. The report states, "Poor two-parent families were about twice as likely to break up as were two-parent families not in poverty." Donald J. Hernandez, the Census Bureau demographer responsible for the report, says that "... stresses arising from low income and poverty" appeared to contribute substantially to the breakup of two-parent families.

The likelihood that a two-parent family will break up increases when the husband does not work, and it is even greater when neither spouse works. The Census Bureau found that 12 percent of poor white two-parent families had dissolved within two years, but only 7 percent of white families above the poverty level had broken up.

Among African American two-parent families, 21 percent of those who were poor broke up within two years, compared with only 11 percent of those who were not in poverty. Among Latino families, the dissolution rates were about the same for poor and non-poor households: 11 percent and 9 percent, respectively.

"Over the last decade or two, there has been a lot of emphasis on the rise of one-parent families as a cause of poverty," Hernandez said in an interview. "But this report shows that the opposite process is also important." Hernandez observed that "many poor one-parent families formed within the last year were already poor before their two-parent families broke up." That was true for 26 percent of white families and for 39 percent of African American families.

"When you look at one-year transitions into poverty," Hernandez said, "most of them are associated with job losses and income reductions, not with major changes in family structure, such as the breakup of two-parent families."

Similar correlations can easily be demonstrated between economic stress, on the one hand, and child neglect, spousal abuse, alcohol and drug addiction and other moral failures on the other hand.

DOWNWARD MOBILITY

The fear of unemployment, the inability to meet bills, foreclosure, repossessions, lost credit - these things are the stuff from which the nightmares of the middle class are made. For example, take the lead piece in a Business Week Magazine article entitled "Downward Mobility." The title, which appeared on the cover, was accompanied by a caption that read: "Even a recovery will not bring back the thousands of jobs lost ... Here’s how some people cope."

The article began, "IT’S ALL AROUND YOU ... Well-paying jobs in large corporations are permanently disappearing ... Only a quarter of those laid off will be reemployed in big companies. The rest will work for smaller companies, consult, or ‘temp’ - at 20% to 50% less pay. BUT IT CAN’T HAPPEN TO YOU ... You see friends, relatives, and neighbors losing their jobs and failing to find new ones. But your company is too profitable, or you’re too powerful within the organization. And (even if you did lose your job) you’d never be out of work for long: you’ve got marketable skills and a golden resume. ... UNTIL IT DOES. Welcome to downward mobility. You spend months trying to find another job as good as the one you just lost. You use up all your savings. You get another job with a much smaller company at half the pay, but that doesn’t last long either. This time you get no severance package. NOW WHAT? You face reality and realize your family income will be drastically reduced ... . Kiss the credit cards goodbye. Everybody in the family works - your spouse, your kids. You turn to your church or synagogue for networking, mortgage money, maybe even soup ... ."

The article then goes on to describe what happened to Allen Stenhouse: "Several years ago Allen Stenhouse had a steady annual income of $50,000, a 24-year career in insurance, a ... (home) in West Hartford, Conn., and a marriage of 14 years. He had worked his way up the hard way ... Two days before Christmas three years ago, Stenhouse was laid off ... by CIGNA Corp. Despite good outplacement help, intense networking, dozens of interviews, and hundreds of resumes mailed, Stenhouse has yet to find permanent work. He divorced, worked for minimum wage in the stockroom of a Marshalls Inc. discount store, and lost $13,000 of his savings starting up his ... (own business). Early this year, his ... (home) was foreclosed and auctioned off. He owes the IRS $22,000 in back taxes and penalties because he withdrew his 401(k) retirement funds early. Several months ago, he sold his camcorder, photocopier, and fax machine to pay bills. Today, Stenhouse lives on ... Social Security disability. He has no medical insurance ... ‘I have lost the fight to stay ahead in today’s economy’, he says. ‘I was determined to find work, but as the months and years wore on, depression set in. You can only be rejected so many times; then you start questioning your own self-worth’."

And it’s not only Stenhouse; it’s people like Larry Weikel and Belinda Schell. Both used to work at the Diamond Glass Company in Royersford, Pennsylvania. But in August 1990 Diamond was shut down - and both Weikel and Schell, and 275 other employees, were out of work. Weikel now works part time at a marine-supply store. His wife works in a sewing factory making about $6 an hour. When he lost his job, Weikel refinanced his mortgage on the family home and has been draining his savings ever since just to stay afloat. Jobs that paid the $15 an hour he made at Diamond simply don’t exist any more in Royersford.

Belinda Schell also was forced to go back to work - as a nursing home aide making minimum wage - far below the wage she had been earning at Diamond. Diamond Glass, later Anchor Glass, was sold to Vitro, S.A. and moved its operations to Mexico. Similar glassware plants which Vitro bought in the U.S. - in Vernon, California; Gulfport, Mississippi; and San Leandro, California - were also shut down, and their operations were moved to Mexico.

Then there is Mollie James. James lives in a well-kept, two-story home in Paterson, New Jersey. For thirty-three years, James worked for a company that manufactured electrical components for fluorescent lights. She earned almost $8 an hour. James is now unemployed and her job is now being performed in Mexico by wage earners earning less than $1.50 an hour.

Bartlett and Steele ominously continue: "Whatever your status - a married couple with children, a single person, a married couple without children, a single parent with children - if you work for a living and if you are in the middle-class income range ... the chances are that your standard of living is falling or will do so in the coming years. (And) if you are striving to join the middle class you are working against long odds."

Alarmed at this trend, observers like Paul Glastris find themselves echoing Richard Louv’s concern of sixteen years earlier in America II : "(All this) ... is producing a nation in which people of different incomes live in increasing isolation from each other."

RE-EDUCATION: AN
EMPTY PROMISE

And what about the promise of re-educating unemployed workers for new jobs? This is a solution which has been touted by leaders in both political parties as a panacea for growing worker unemployment or under-employment.

Reg Murphy, former publisher of the Baltimore Sun writes, "The promise of retraining programs runs the risk of becoming a cruel hoax. It simply is not practical to believe that a man or woman who has worked in a blue-collar job for most of a career is going to don the white jacket of a life-science professional. Nor is it humane to tell all these workers that their problems will be behind them after a 10-week course in computer technology."

The AFL/CIO also calls it largely a hoax; a myth perpetrated by employers who have moved their plants "offshore" to help ease increasing tension among the American workers who have been left behind. Richard Rothstein, a research associate of the Economic Policy Institute seems to agree. Rothstein writes: "Apple Computer Chairman John Sculley was a leadoff speaker at Bill Clinton’s December ‘Economic Summit’. Sculley claimed American industry can’t compete because inferior public schools turn out poorly qualified workers.... Sculley was seconded by economist Alan Blinder ... Blinder (and Sculley) were wrong ... (An employer survey) ... found more than 80 percent of America’s employers were satisfied with new hires’ education ... Only 5 percent expected future increases in skill requirements."

Rothstein then went on to describe a successful move by Ford Motor Company into Chihuahua, Mexico. The Chihuahua plant, using uneducated, low skilled workers, achieved the same productivity as its plants in the United States. Rothstein concludes, "Even if American high school standards are less than other nations’, there is surely a plethora of underemployed grads in our ... cities whose skills are at least equal to those of Mexican dropouts."

Rothstein could also have easily noted that Sculley’s company - as Professor Everett M. Rogers of Stanford had earlier noted - has become rather infamous for hiring as electronics assemblers Third World women, boat people, Filipino and Mexican nationals - many of them undocumented immigrants.

What new educational skills are needed here by American workers? - also, that economist Alan Blinder has become somewhat noted as an "excuse-provider" for big businesses’ moves "offshore."

Speaking on the "real world" practicality of American middle class workers in competing successfully with Third World labor forces in an unhindered, free trade environment - even with the help of the best re-training programs available - Ross Perot recently told the New Republic, "I am not a protectionist. But pragmatically, as a guy who understands business, if I can build a factory in Mexico, pay my labor a dollar an hour, hire a 25-year old work force, have little or no health care, little or no retirement, have no pollution or environmental controls, then if you are the greatest businessman in the world, if you are Einstein in business, trying to compete with me in the United States, you can’t even get into the ring with those numbers."

THE END OF EQUALITY

Increasingly, we are facing a situation in which there exists three Americas - separate and unequal - which uneasily exist side by side with each other. Three societies in one nation with little understanding of the others; which eminate from a different set of "mindsets;" and which - in a very real way - have contempt for the others:

  1. The New Meritocracy: the global and multicultural elite which has a secularist and "world-order" mindset - and which is, if not outright anti-Christian, ambivalent towards religion.
  2. The American Middle: which is essentially white, Euro-centered, and Christian - caught in the middle.
  3. The Underclass: which is essentially minority-based, perceived to be amoral, jobless, abandoned and without hope.

Each has its own separate set of values and ethics; and each has very little understanding of the other.

In The End of Equality, author Mickey Kaus warns: "The less citizens of different classes (income levels) mix in neighborhoods and schools, the greater the chance that a snobbish (multi-tiered) European class structure will take hold. To many, that doesn’t seem very American."

And there is little indication that the continuing division of America into a multi-tiered European class structure will end any time soon. Writing on the appearance of a "New Community" in Stockton, California, Dan Walters, a columnist for the Sacramento Bee, wrote, "A local television station aired an almost gushingly positive report recently on a new residential subdivision near Stockton that features the latest in personal protection systems.

"The development expands the 'gated community' concept with television monitoring of streets and private security guards who keep out the unwanted. Mindlessly, the television report never raised the larger issue of what such a development reveals about the society in which it exists ... The high-security development near Stockton symbolizes the fear that is gripping Californians, especially those in the ... upper-middle classes - a fear of becoming a crime victim, of being overwhelmed by social upheaval, of losing status and privilege ... The common factors that create a sense of community are decreasing as Californians collect themselves into tribes, gather into enclaves and deal with one another warily, at arm’s length, with weapons and guards nearby. Gated communities ... are all symptoms of that (fear) ... The state is evolving into a highly tribalized society - and that certainly is a sick society."

THE GROWING FRUSTRATION

In the end, however, it will not be the Meritocracy or the Underclass which will write the final chapter to this unfolding drama; it will be Middle America, where the vast majority of citizens are. As things stand right now, the American Middle increasingly feels itself in danger of collapse. Its dreams for a better life fading. Its middle-class ethic, most basic values and lifestyle are all under attack - both from above and from below.

Richard Louv warned sixteen years ago: "The Middle has an extreme sense of what it deserves (in terms of material wealth and the cultural and societal ethic which that wealth supports) ... Should the frustration rise too far ... there will be no place to hide - no walled community ... will protect anyone (from the violence which may result). When the wage spread has occurred in other countries ... it has resulted in (chaos and the rise of) totalitarian governments ... Wage spreading is ... creating an explosive situation. While American executive salaries are zooming ... the wages of the ... (Middle) are falling rapidly."

Robert J. Samuelson continues: "If you grew up in the 1950s ... (you) came to believe that prosperity was inevitable (or, as Louv puts it, "deserved") ... Every age has its illusions. Ours has been ... (the) fervent belief in the power of prosperity."

Take this dream away, and Middle America may go ballistic; if that occurs, America runs the chance of unraveling.

THE URGE TO SET THINGS RIGHT

But that is exactly what is happening: the dream is vanishing for millions of middle class Americans. Caught between the Meritocracy and the Underclass, envious of the one and frightened of the other, economic security for countless numbers of Middle Americans has become nothing more than an empty dream. As Bartlett and Steele have said, "... if you work for a living and if you are in the middle-class income range ... the chances are that your standard of living is falling or will do so in the coming years." Many - especially the globalists of the New Meritocracy - believe that nothing can be done, that Middle Americans should simply and quietly accept "downward mobility."

But in believing that Middle America will "go gently into that good night," the New Meritocracy may - in the end - only be revealing how detached and isolated they have become behind the walls of their "New Communities."

The chances are - like most other besieged communities down through history - they will fight. And if they do so, "... there will be no place to hide - no walled community ... will protect anyone (from the violence which may result)," as Richard Louv has observed. In the end "... the Middle ... , not the poor (the Underclass), could present the greatest danger ... (to American democracy) ..." as it attempts to "set things right" and reestablish its economic foundations and cultural and societal ethic.

* * *

FREE TRADE

WHAT’S REALLY HAPPENING?

The search for easy, national solutions to the economic difficulties besetting the American middle class may in the end prove elusive. Tinkering with the tax code; re-educating displaced workers, usually for lower paying and sometimes even non-existent jobs; fiddling around with interest rates, etc. - the old, tried, pre-globalist methods of re-righting the nation’s middle class - have proven inadequate.

Alfred E. Eckes, "Ohio Eminent Research Professor" at the University of Ohio and chairman [1982-1984] of the U.S. International Trade Commission during the first Reagan Administration, traces the roots of the American middle class’s current economic dilemma back to the nation’s effort to fight communism after the Second World War.

THE COMMUNIST THREAT

It’s sometimes difficult for many younger Americans to understand the fear of communism which so gripped the United States after the World War - especially in light of communism’s recent bankruptcy and collapse. But to those who came of age in the late forties and early fifties, communism seemed like an irresistible tide which was all but ready to carry them away. Eastern Europe had fallen behind the so-called Iron Curtain. China had disappeared behind the Bamboo Curtain. Most of America’s western allies were still reeling from the devastation of World War II. In addition, large Communist Parties had taken hold in France and Italy; and Greece and Turkey were teetering on the edge of revolution. Finally, the old European system of colonial empires - which for two centuries had done so much, justly or unjustly, to stabilize what later became known as the Third World - was coming unraveled, throwing that part of the world into political and economic turmoil and making large tracts of Asia and Africa easy prey for the Soviet Union.

In the light of these developments, Nikita Kruschev’s boast in the 1950s that "We will bury you" seemed like no idle threat - indeed, a boast to be taken very, very seriously.

FREE TRADE AND THE FIGHT
AGAINST WORLD COMMUNISM

In order to combat this threat, the United States embarked on an incredible effort to tie the free world to itself economically, thereby creating reliable and compliant allies in its struggle against world communism. Remarking on this titanic effort, Professors George Friedman and Meredith LeBard write: "After World War II, the United States set about establishing a system of alliances, binding together a vast coalition on three principles: hostility to the Soviet Union, collective security, and ... trade. Behind this strategy was a deeper one: using American economic strength to entice nations close (geographically) to the Soviet Union to risk war with the Soviets in return for the substantial economic benefits of membership in the American bloc." "Free Trade" was the name given to this policy. Friedman and LeBard continue: "... (the) free trade regime ... was created by the United States for several purposes, not the least of which was political. The postwar free trade regime, which continues to reign today, had the effect of opening (U.S.) markets to the exports of recovering economies ... (These nations) took full advantage of the opportunities available (in the U.S. market) ... and grew prosperous (thereby)."

THE ORIGINS OF FREE TRADE

The emphasis on opening up the huge American market to aid foreign allies first began to surface at Bretton Woods and the 1947 Geneva trade negotiations which produced the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT). The thought behind free trade was simple: even if the United States poured massive amounts of money into Europe and Japan to rebuild plants and equipment, as it was beginning to do with the Marshall Plan, the goods produced by these plants could not be sold. There was no market for them; no one in Europe and Japan had the money to buy what was produced. A market, therefore, for the goods and services produced had to be found: and that market was the United States.

The idea of opening up the U.S. market for European and Japanese goods and services was initially pushed by a relatively small State Department group led by Undersecretary of State, Joseph Grew. By the beginning of the Korean War, Dean Acheson and George Kennan had also joined Grew in pushing free trade as an instrument of U.S. foreign policy. By the end of the Korean conflict, free trade had emerged as the principle instrument of U.S. foreign policy.

This is critical in understanding the concept of free trade, and ipso facto, the current economic dilemma of the American middle class: free trade as an idea was birthed in the State Department, not in the Department of Commerce. From the beginning free trade was, and is today, a creature of politics and diplomacy, not commerce and economics. Political and diplomatic forces, not economic and commercial ones, shaped U.S. interest in free trade. Professors Friedman and LeBard write: "The free trade regime was not ... primarily (an) economic event, but a political one. It was a means toward a political end: internal harmony in the alliance and the creation of healthy economies and societies within the alliance."

GLOBALIZATION AND THE STATE DEPARTMENT

Today it is fashionable to hold to the idea that the present global economy emerged in the 1970s and ’80s as the result of irresistible technological change and overwhelming economic forces. No doubt these forces have greatly contributed to accelerating the process. But the globalization of the world economy began long before these forces were ever in place; long before the widespread use of the computer, and the possibility of instantaneous electronic fund transfers. The globalization of the world’s economy had its genesis not primarily in abstract economic and technological forces, but in distinct policy decisions the United States made as a result of its struggle with world communism.

Moreover, to say today, as some do, that the United States needs trade with the rest of the world to sustain its level of economic well being simply does not agree with the facts. The truth of the matter is that the United States enjoyed its highest standard of living - during the 1950s and early 1960s - at a time when it carried on very little foreign trade vis a vis its overall Gross National Product. Why? - because it possessed in itself all the attributes of great wealth: (1) an abundance of natural resources, (2) powerful and dynamic business combinations, (3) a well educated and motivated work force, (4) a well developed physical infrastructure, and (5) a powerful internal market.

No other nation on earth possessed all these advantages in such abundance and balance. Friedman and LeBard continue, "The U.S. ... (is) generally self-contained and able to generate growth without extraordinary dependence on either exports ... or imports ... As (a) continent rather than (a) mere nation, (the United States) ... is not defined (by its) ... basic needs in terms of foreign economic policy (as are countries like Japan and Germany)."

For example, the U.S. requirement for imported raw materials is almost negligible: U.S. import requirements for coal/lignite (0.4%), nonmetallic ores (4.5%), iron concentrates (3.4%), farm products (1.3%), chemicals (5.5%), food (2.8%), lumber (1.0%), primary metals (4.2%), scrap metal (0.1%), all others (12.9%) are very limited, especially in comparison to the needs of countries like Japan and Germany. Only in oil, where the United States imports almost 44.6% of its requirements, is the United States truly dependent on the outside world; and even here, it has the military muscle to keep it flowing and/or adequate substitutes - coal and shale from which to manufacture man-made (ersatz) petroleum products.

THE U.S. DILEMMA IN A NUTSHELL

On a tit for tat basis, the United States would gain far more than it would ever lose if it exchanged, even today, all of its foreign export markets in return for the internal U.S. markets which it gave away to foreign competition as a result of its free trade policies. The return of high paying jobs to the United States would be staggering. Of course, it would mean economic chaos for the rest of the world.

And this is the nub of the U.S. dilemma: EITHER the return of high paying manufacturing jobs to the U.S. coupled with chaos in the outside world, OR the increasing impoverishment of its own middle class coupled with presumed external peace and harmony. Speaking concerning this dilemma, Friedman and LeBard write: "The United States cannot lay ... (free trade) aside without unleashing (economic) chaos in the world, chaos that would inevitably endanger the physical security of the United States."

"RESTRUCTURING" AND "MODERNIZATION"

It’s important to note that U.S. businesses at first vigorously resisted the notion of free trade. Business leaders and trade unions were very cognizant of what was happening. Nonetheless, the pressure of the Cold War made such a course of action - the abandonment of free trade as a U.S. foreign policy instrument - all but impossible.

After the disastrous effects of the so-called Kennedy Round of the GATT agreements took hold in the mid 1970s, American businesses essentially gave up the struggle to protect their internal U.S. markets from the ravages of the State Department’s Cold War policies. Determined to make the best of a bad situation, American businesses began "restructuring" and "modernizing" in order to be more competitive in the new free trade environment the State Department had thrust upon them.

This restructuring took essentially two courses: the movement of manufacturing facilities "offshore" to take advantage of cheap foreign labor, and the "modernization" of U.S. facilities to enable these plants to manufacture products with far less workers than before - and usually for much lower wages.

In its impact on the middle class, "restructuring" and "modernization" meant three things: (1) the flight of U.S. manufacturing facilities, and ipso facto, manufacturing jobs, abroad, (2) the manufacture of products in the United States with far fewer workers, and (3) the press of management to reduce worker pay in order to be competitive in global markets. The net effect of all this so-called "restructuring" and "modernization" has been, of course, the growing pauperization of the American middle class.

Writing on this phenomenon, William Pfaff has written, "The argument for ... (free trade) is that expanding trade generates increased prosperity for all ... Theory said that rich-country industries would increase their productivity through investment and technological innovation. (However) it has proved easier to force wages and benefits down and transfer production to low-wage countries. Thus, the search for competitive efficiencies in the advanced countries ... has in practice turned into a competition in creating unemployment and lowering labor and welfare standards. Average wages have fallen in real terms, and social protection has been sharply reduced. This is obvious in the United States, where the average wage has collapsed, the average family has been forced to depend on two incomes rather than one to maintain the standard of living it previously enjoyed, medical insurance for workers has been reduced or removed and pension funds too often have disappeared in the course of corporate mergers or simply been looted by corporate management ... High tariffs certainly contributed to the Great Depression of the 1930s. But it is equally clear that low tariffs are contributing to the great recession of our own times - the competitive austerity and disinflation, and competitive unemployment and ‘social dumping’, of the 1990s."

Commenting on the permanence of "downwaging," on the American workingman, the Wall Street Journal recently cited a study by economists Louis Jacobson, Robert LaLonde and Daniel Sullivan which found that of 6,500 laid-off Pennsylvania workers most were earning an average 25% less than they had been making five years after they had first been laid off. Losses were greater among workers fired by big firms in unionized industries and among those living in areas with high jobless rates - and this admission from an icon of free trade, the Wall Street Journal. And the assumption here was plain - that the findings in this study could be applied to the country as a whole.

Ironically, however, the same "restructuring" and "modernization" which led to the impoverishment of the American middle class has accomplished exactly what business managers had hoped for: manufacturing output has actually climbed 26%, close to a trillion dollars in inflation adjusted dollars, in the last 15 years. Output per employee is up by 37%, and productivity has spurted upward over the past seven years by almost 3% a year on average. Exports have also been climbing fast, from $168 billion in manufactured goods in 1985 to around $370 billion in 1992. That’s more than a doubling in less than a decade.

GNP is also rising. The problem in all this, however, is that while GNP continues to rise, the growth is not creating new jobs. The loss of good, high paying, manufacturing jobs continues at an all time high in such major US companies as IBM, McDonald-Douglas, General Motors, Boeing, Sears, Pratt & Whitney, etc.

Joseph Gorman, chief executive officer of TRW, sees the contraction of high paying, middle class jobs continuing for years to come. In announcing layoffs numbering 10,000 employees last year, Gorman somberly remarked, "I don’t see the United States regaining a substantial percent(age) of ... these jobs ... for five or (even) ten years (if at all)." In an interview aired by CNN on February 4, 1993, a frustrated and somewhat confused President Clinton essentially agreed with Gorman’s analysis.

Rather than creating new jobs, the wealth that has been amassed by the rise in GNP has flowed instead as additional affluence into the pockets of the new globalist, free trade oriented Meritocracy - and all this despite the claims of these same globalists that this abundance would eventually trickle down to the middle class in the form of new, high paying jobs, and not just jobs as their "nannies," maids, cooks, gardeners and chauffeurs. This is what’s worrying the Clinton Administration.

For example, in 1959, the high point economically for the middle class, the top 4% of Americans (2.1 million individuals and families) earned $31 billion in wages and salaries - the same as the bottom 35% (18.3 million individuals and families). In 1989, the top 4% (3.8 million individuals and families) earned $452 billion in wages and salaries - the same as the bottom 51% (49.2 million individuals and families). What all this says is that the nation is headed toward a two-class society where the top 4% make as much as the bottom half of U.S. workers.

FREE TRADE AND FOREIGN POLICY

Returning to the reasoning behind the policy of free trade and the Gatt-Bretton Woods agreements, Lester Thurrow, Professor of Economics, Dean of MIT’s Sloan School of Management, and a member of the editorial board of the New York Times, elaborates: "...the GATT-Bretton Woods system ... was designed to help ... the industrial world rebuild from the destruction of World War II ... If countries could be made rich, they would be democratic. If their richness depended upon selling in the American market, they would be forced to be allies of the United States." Reinforcing the thinking of Lester Thurrow, Professors Friedman and LeBard write, "GATT was the foundation on which the Western political system rested: without GATT the American alliance system would crumble."

Professor Eckes, continues, "The trade agreements program increasingly became an instrument of administration foreign policy after World War II. Britain and other World War II allies lay exhausted - their industries generally outmoded, their finances weakened - while the Axis powers (Germany, Italy, and Japan) were left with devastated economies. For nearly a decade after 1945 a Marshall Plan mentality caused Washington to pursue ... foreign relations designed to make overseas allies self-sustaining (economic) participants in a thriving open international economy, even at the expense of domestic American economic interests."

Eckes elaborates, "To strengthen free world economies and help contain Soviet expansionism the executive branch (beginning with Harry Truman and extending even to the current administration - both Republicans and Democrats) ... rolled back tariffs and removed trade restrictions ...opening up the giant American market to the world’s manufacturers ... (Indeed) the record suggests that for diplomatic and national security reasons the U.S. government sacrificed thousands of domestic jobs to create employment and prosperity elsewhere in the noncommunist world."

Friedman and LeBard write: "The willingness to endure economic discomfort for political ends was the hallmark of American foreign policy from 1945 onward. The American obsession with the Soviet military and political threat was the safety net for Japan as well as other countries ... . The U.S. rationally calculated that it would be better to endure ... economic pain than the political disaster of a European or Japanese realignment with the Soviet Union."

TRADING AWAY AMERICAN JOBS FOR ALLIES

In essence, Eckes says, "... the United States ... trad(ed) access to the American market for foreign policy favors" - that is to say, the American government undertook a deliberate course of action designed to trade American jobs away in exchange for allied support in the struggle against world communism. The coin which made this policy work was jobs - selling American jobs, in order to create jobs in other countries, in exchange for allied loyalty. Eckes goes on, "The State Department, Commerce Department (acting as a subordinate to the State Department) and (the) Economic Cooperation Administration all promoted foreign exports to the dollar bloc (i.e., to the United States) ... They approached this task with enthusiasm, unconcerned about long-term competitiveness and employment issues, or the need to secure (reciprocal) market access for U.S. exporters."

THE 1955 BILATERAL TRADE AGREEMENT WITH JAPAN

Eckes singles out the bilateral trade agreement signed with Japan in 1955 as one of the most egregious examples of sacrificing American jobs for foreign policy advantage. Eckes calls the Japanese trade agreement of 1955 as nothing more than a series of one-sided tariff concessions geared to stimulating Japanese exports to the United States, thereby creating Japanese jobs at the expense of American jobs.

The State Department and the National Security Council both insisted that the treaty was necessary and the expense to the American workingman worthwhile for reasons of national security.

President Eisenhower strongly backed the program of trading American jobs to Japan in exchange for Japanese compliance in the American alliance system - indeed so much so that Eisenhower once remarked to Republican congressional leaders that "... all problems of local industry (i.e., the loss of American jobs to the Japanese) pale into insignificance in relation to the world crisis."

THE THINKING OF THE TIME

Typical of the kind of mentality which drove these trade policies is another remark made by Eisenhower regarding a trade dispute over houseware products between Britain and the United States in 1954: "(It’s) silly to impose import restrictions on clothespins from 11 foreign countries to protect six small companies in the state of Maine ... ." (The dispute, however, involved much more than clothespins - and Eisenhower knew it; he was merely being facetious.)

OTHER EXAMPLES OF FREE TRADE

And there is more! Indeed, the examples are almost too numerous to cite in any detail. A few examples from the 1950s will suffice.

In a case regarding Germany over glassware, the State Department warned of "grave political repercussions in the Federal Republic of Germany ... (repercussions which) would provide the Soviet Union with unanswerable material for propaganda."

In a second case over scissors, the State Department argued that relief for U.S. workers would have considerable adverse effect on German workers in the Ruhr where "... Soviet propaganda has already had considerable effect." In a third dispute with Canada and Mexico over lead and zink imports, the State Department warned that import restrictions would gravely compromise our "... opportunity to combat communism in this hemisphere ..."

In a fishery dispute with Canada and Iceland, the State Department once again intervened against American workers. As a result, "... two countries that sold virtually no fish fillets to the United States before World War II (eventually) gained, with U.S. economic assistance, ... 80 percent (of the U.S. market) for frozen groundfish fillets."

And all this at the expense of American jobs. None of this is understandable on purely economic terms. There was, and is today, simply no economic rationale for it. Friedman and LeBard write, "... free trade was (always) a political tactic far more than an economic principle for the U.S." The "grave warnings" of the State Department over glassware and scissors in Germany seem so silly now, but at the time the State Department was deadly serious. America’s war with communism was being waged using American workers as cannon fodder.

It should be said, however, in defense of the State Department that at the time the policy of "free trade" was devised - that is to say, in the late 1940s and early 1950s - no one could foresee the terrible consequences to American middle class jobs that would finally accrue fifty years later. President Truman wrote in the late 1940s: "Our industries dominate world markets ... American labor can now produce so much more than low-priced foreign labor in a given day’s work that our working men need no longer fear, as they were justified in fearing in the past, the competition of foreign workers."

GROWING DOUBTS ABOUT FREE TRADE

There were some, however, who recognized early on that the policy of "free trade" that the United States was so successfully using in its war against communism could someday come back to haunt its creators. For example, former Senate Finance Committee Chairman Russell Long (D-La.) was one of the first to perceive that the executive branch’s enthusiasm for "free trade" to assist overseas allies clashed with this nation’s long-term interest in maintaining high-paying, industrial jobs and a viable manufacturing base at home. For nearly twenty years, until his retirement from Congress in 1987, Senator Long regularly criticized the State Department for using trade concessions as bargaining chips in foreign policy negotiations or to buy votes in the United Nations.

Senator Long over and over again charged that "... to save the world from communism the State Department believed it would be worthwhile giving away every industry we have."

And Senator Long wasn’t just blowing smoke. Others also - not just Democrats like Senator Long - had grave doubts about the wisdom of free trade. For example, so naked did Eisenhower’s policy of trading away American jobs for foreign policy considerations eventually become, that even businessmen in his own cabinet, including Treasury Secretary George Humphrey and Commerce Secretary Sinclair Weeks, were disturbed. Eckes writes "... that they (Humphrey and Weeks) increasingly felt that Eisenhower’s policy was wrong, and they anticipated (it) ... would (eventually) bring vast unemployment (or underemployment) to the country."

THE EFFECTS OF FREE TRADE

The effects of free trade on American jobs were immediate. For example, as a result of the 1955 Bilateral Trade Agreement with Japan, Japan more than doubled its share of America’s manufactured imports between 1955 and 1960 - from 7.6 percent to 15.4 percent; and Tokyo achieved its first postwar trade surplus with Washington in 1959. Over the same period, however, the U.S. share of Japan’s manufactured imports declined by almost one-third.

In subsequent tariff negotiating rounds this pattern of exchanging access to the U.S. market for foreign policy advantages continued. During the Dillon Round of GATT which concluded in 1962, the Kennedy administration sacrificed import-sensitive domestic producers and agricultural export interests to appease the European Community. Indeed, on agriculture the United States made particularly damaging concessions. It acquiesced to the EC’s highly protective Common Agricultural Policy - even over objections from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Professor Eckes writes that "... the State Department’s insensitivity to domestic (job) concerns (was so egregious) during the Dillon Round (that it) created particularly bitter feelings on Capitol Hill."

Moreover, the pattern of trading away specific domestic interests for foreign policy reasons was not confined to labor-intensive industries. Eckes writes that available documents in the National Archives and various presidential libraries reveal that similar considerations eventually influenced decisions affecting high-wage industries producing products like automobiles, steel and consumer electronics, among many others. During the Johnson Administration, for instance, the State Department fashioned an automotive products market-sharing agreement with Canada. The result was a one-sided "free trade agreement" opening the U.S. market to Canadian automotive products. The result: a $657 million automotive products trade surplus with Canada in 1965 turned negative. Over the last 25 years the United States has experienced deficits with Canada in all but one year.

THE KENNEDY ROUND

The greatest damage to American jobs, however, occurred during the so-called "Kennedy Round" which concluded during the early 1970s. Indeed, the collapse of what Brian O’Reilly of Fortune Magazine called "The Great American Job Machine" can be traced to this particular round of American trade concessions. The gutting of the American steel industry, and all the jobs that went with it - for example, the jobs which had built the community of Posen - was finalized during this round. The foundation was also laid for the emasculation of the American automobile industry, and the subsequent building of the Japanese auto industry.

But the damage to American jobs by the Kennedy Round was not confined to such well-known industries as steel and automobiles. Take nonrubber footwear, for example. In 1970 a 50 percent reduction in the duty on nonrubber footwear granted in the Kennedy Round took effect. Shoe imports soared - especially from Italy, Japan and Spain. At the time domestic production of nonrubber footwear was 82 percent; but by 1992 the position of foreign verses domestic nonrubber footwear was reversed, with 88 percent foreign production verses only 12 percent domestic production - which translated into a loss of 148,000 American jobs.

Over and over again domestic producers sought relief from the government, but the State Department would swing into action. For example, during the Nixon Administration, Secretary of State William P. Rogers warned President Nixon that a decision to impose restraints might invite retaliation against military bases in Spain and opposition to U.S. goals in Vietnam by the Japanese. In the Carter Administration National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski opposed assistance to American workers as harmful to the administration’s overall foreign policy. He warned that U.S. trading partners "see shoes as a test case" and indicated that import restraints on shoes would poison our relations with Japan and Europe.

The archival evidence also indicates that the Ford and Carter Administrations also rejected trade-remedy petitions from U.S. industries in order to avoid unsettling allies. Similar considerations with Japan influenced trade-remedy requests against Japanese producers of automobiles, heavy construction equipment and steel.

THE KENNEDY ROUND AND JAPAN

So successful was Japan in trading foreign policy compliance to American security interests in exchange for greater access to the U.S. market that Japan’s Mainichi Daily News openly boasted : "... Japan ... (has) won the Kennedy Round tariff-cutting negotiations ... ."

Professor Eckes agrees. Expanding on the comments of the Mainichi Daily News, Professor Eckes explains, "While average post-Kennedy Round duties on nonelectrical machinery fell 5 percent ad valorem for the United States ..., Japan insisted upon retaining rates averaging 12 percent. Moreover Japan retained its discriminatory industrial policies, including subsidies and import restrictions, and continued to bar access to the Japanese market. Indeed on nonelectrical machinery Japan’s average tariff in 1972 actually exceeded 1954 levels, reflecting increased protection for computers and other office equipment. For transportation equipment the average import duty at the end of the Kennedy Round was 3.8 percent in the United States, 7.1 percent in the EC and 12.2 percent in Japan. Moreover many countries, including Japan, imposed high nontariff barriers, such as excise taxes and registration fees on large American-style vehicles. (These restrictions have only increased further in recent years - almost in inverse proportion to the decrease in tariff duties - editor) (In addition) ... Japan excepted ‘almost all strategic industrial goods’ from tariff cuts."

Professors Friedman and LeBard write: "The United States has paid an extremely high price for its relationship with Japan. The U.S. has (in effect) permitted Japan to close its consumer and capital markets to American companies, while allowing Japanese companies access to American markets ..." The cost of all this to American jobs has been staggering.

ADDITIONAL DOUBTS:
JOHN KENNETH GALBRAITH

Early in the Kennedy Round in March 1964, Harvard economist John Kenneth Galbraith became so alarmed at all the jobs which were being traded away that he wrote President Johnson the following warning: "If we are screwed on tariffs (again), this will have an enduringly adverse effect on the ... (country). It will be a serious problem for years to come."

Eckes writes: "Galbraith’s forecast was prescient. As Kennedy Round tariff cuts were implemented, the U.S. merchandise trade surplus vanished. From 1893 to 1970 U.S. exports consistently had exceeded imports, but beginning in 1971 the United States generated merchandise trade deficits in 19 of the (last) 21 years ... A series of Tariff Commission investigations ... found that rising imports, resulting from tariff concessions, was (the) major factor causing unemployment among (American) workers ... ."

THE REAL LOSER: MIDDLE AMERICA

Professor Eckes writes: "America’s current economic problems have roots in those one-sided trade policies. A series of unilateral and nonreciprocal concessions have contributed, cumulatively, to a demise of domestic manufacturing and to the loss of production jobs. Indeed implementation of the final Kennedy Round tariff cuts in 1972 coincides with the beginning of a twenty-year decline in domestic earnings and manufacturing jobs (which correlates precisely to the beginnings of decline in such middle-class suburbs as Posen, Illinois). In 1991 American workers earned average weekly wages 20 percent below 1972 levels. Meanwhile the textile and apparel industries lost over 600,00 jobs, while steel and automobile sacrificed another 500,000 positions. For every basic manufacturing job lost, three to four supporting jobs are also lost. Measured in declining income and jobs, the burden of global leadership thus has fallen heavily on ... American workers. Labor-intensive manufacturing jobs have moved abroad to low-cost Third World countries, leaving a caste of poorly skilled American workers living in Third World conditions here in the United States."

HOW MUCH CAN MIDDLE AMERICA TAKE?

Eckes concludes, "Chairman Long, and his Republican and Democratic colleagues on the Senate Finance Committee, anticipated this reaction years ago. At a hearing in January 1976 he (ominously) warned Secretary of State Henry Kissinger: "If we (continue) to trade away American jobs and farmers’ incomes for some vague concept of a ‘new international order’, the American people will demand from their elected representatives a new order of their own, which puts their jobs, their security and their income above the priorities of those who dealt them (such) a bad deal."

And just how entrenched the globalist notion of "the new international order" that Senator Long was talking about has become in the governing elites of this country was amply demonstrated in a column by Robert Kuttner which was syndicated by the Washington Post Writer’s Group throughout the country. Writing on the devastating layoffs at Boeing, which had been necessitated to some degree by subsidized competition from the European Community’s Airbus program, Kuttner wrote with seeming disdain towards the Boeing workers, "As an American, I would like Boeing to thrive. As a human being, I would like the global economy to produce rising living standards for all ... So I am no protectionist, if that means jingoist." Easy to say for a man who’s probably making over $300,000 a year!

We have now - after 50 years - finally reached that day of reckoning. The American middle class has been pushed about as far as it is willing to go. The Meritocracy still had enough political strength remaining to push the NAFTA treaty through - but that may very well be its "high water mark." There is a growing unwillingness on the part of American workers to be used any longer as cannon fodder for the globalist vision of State Department dreamers and the multiculturalists who thirst for a "new world order."

As Richard Louv warned ten years ago, the American middle class has an extreme sense of what it deserves in terms of material wealth; it also has a much more profound sense of what is right in terms of a cultural and societal ethic than the globalists of the new Meritocracy are willing to admit.

As we noted earlier regarding Middle America’s social and cultural concerns, the same might be said with regard to its economic concerns: decisions have been made with regard to the economic future of the American middle class with very little thought as to their ultimate consequences. As a result of all this, we may be fast approaching a time when Lipset’s social hypothesis regarding middle class rage will be put to a decisive test.

And America’s leadership elites may be making a grave mistake to believe that the middle class will hold up under such a test. The parallel to what happened in Germany when the German middle class was forced up against the wall under similar cultural and economic pressure is frightening.

The Nazis ultimately took power in Germany with less than thirty-nine percent of the popular vote [and in terms of their support in the general population (as opposed to that part of the population that actually voted), with perhaps as little as twenty-five percent support]. Persuasive arguments can be marshaled to show that this figure is now within the grasp of the Religious Right. After all, Bill Clinton achieved the presidency with only forty-two percent of the vote and with a coalition far less disciplined than the one the Religious Right is currently constructing.

Whether or not this can be translated into an actual governing coalition - especially in view of some of the Religious Right’s radical social agenda - is anybody’s guess; but the object shouldn’t be to see how close we - as a society - can get to the precipice without falling off. After all, this isn’t a game - and people who think it is, are in for a rude awakening. Both the Religious Right and the Secular Right are "playing for keeps."

We need your help to spread the word concerning Antipas Ministries and the eschatological viewpoint it represents; WE NEED YOUR HELP BECAUSE WE DO NOT "LINK" WITH OTHER SO-CALLED "CHRISTIAN" WEBSITES which are, for the most part, "in the tank" insofar as their loyalty to the United States is concerned - a loyalty that has made them partners in the BLOODY trail the American military has left in its TERROR-RIDDEN rampage throughout the world, as well as making them partners in the abject poverty that American corporations have imposed on the peoples and nations the American military machine has ravaged - A BLOODY, TERROR-RIDDEN RAMPAGE THAT HAS TO A LARGE DEGREE BEEN CARRIED OUT IN THE NAME OF THE "PRINCE OF PEACE." [Please see our articles, "The Third World as a Model for the New World Order," Inside the American New World Order System" and "The American Empire: The Corporate / Pentagon / CIA / Missionary Archipelago."]

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