American workers are expected to work more than 40 hours each week to make a living wage. American workers average less than two weeks paid vacation each year. American workers are seldom allowed paid leave for the arrival of a child. American workers are rarely offered adequate health insurance or retirement benefits.
Today, Thanksgiving Day, 2019, millions of Americans were not allowed to celebrate one of America’s major holidays. The greed of capitalistic businesses including Walmart, Target, Best Buy, Macys, and many other major companies use “Black Friday” to increase profits at the expense of their employee’s lives. Hail ‘Black Friday,’ which begins on Thursday, November 28, in 2019.
Let me take you back to a time when our nation cared more about its people than profit. When I grew up in the 1950’s, retail stores were closed on Sundays and holidays. Business leaders believed that their workers should have time to be with their families and worship at the church, mosque, or synagogue of their choice, and celebrate the holidays with those they loved. Today, profit is far more important than people.
I am not speaking from the position of an outsider looking in. I had many jobs in my life, and to be honest, that was a serious mistake. The longest number of years spent working for big companies were in the airline industry and the casinos in Northern Nevada.
I was just 21-years-of age in 1967 when I began my employment with Bonanza Airlines at Los Angeles International Airport. I was young and unaware of what would be more important in the future. We worked every holiday; and were often forced to work overtime on Christmas, Thanksgiving, and other major holidays.
After 10 years, I left the airline industry and began a career where I worked for myself. I enjoyed ‘real life.’ I did not work on holidays and could take time off from my job whenever I needed to. Ten years later, I moved to Reno, Nevada. My life changed again. In 1987 I began working for the casinos. Once again holidays were something I despised; more work and very little additional pay. I hated Christmas, Thanksgiving, and New Years; they were more work and less pay.
My point is that Americans live to work; they do not work to live. We have less time off than any other developed nation around the world. More importantly, we are not respected or appreciated for our efforts.
One half of all Americans struggle below the poverty line or in low income jobs. In Washington, Republicans refuse to increase the minimum wage. They support corporations who make billions of dollars each year at the expense of their employees. When Trump took office, there were 548 billionaires in America. Today, there are 704. In 2017 there were 10.1 million millionaires; today there are 18.6 million millionaires in the U.S. Under Trump “the rich have become richer, and the poor have become poorer.” Electing a wannabe billionaire was the greatest mistake in American history.
The middle class is disappearing as the gap between the super-rich and the working class widens with every year. We are becoming a third world nation. In just a few years American workers will become slaves to the 10 percent of Americans who control 90 percent of our nation’s wealth.
Capitalism has failed; as it always does. The working class eventually becomes slaves for the wealthy as greed displaces the value of workers. After the great recession of 2008, caused by the failed fiscal policies of another Republican President, attempts were made by Democrats to guarantee the betterment of lives of low-income Americans and a serious effort to reduce the number of Americans living below the poverty line. Today, thanks to another failed Republican, good paying jobs are disappearing, and the quality of life for the majority is in decline.
Significant change cannot happen as long as Republicans remain in control of any segment of our government. They have failed the majority for more than 30 years.
The 2020 election is the most important in history. The Republican Party has become our enemy and our votes can destroy them. We can save America.
Op-ed by James Turnage
“The Truth Lives Here”
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