-Very Special thanks to the Timeless Neil Young-
Why are hospital administrators, corporate executives, State Department officials, and academic provosts so addicted to profits over people? When will Americans demand them all to put down the crackpipe?
While catching up on a backlog of always must-read posts at Carrie’s Nation, I came across this article that Citizen Carrie referenced in her excellent post Decisions, Decisions by my fellow Chicago native James Carlini entitled Financial Collapse: Student Loans, Hospitals, and Cars.
James Carlini describes how the lack of white collar jobs for American citizens is interrelated to this country’s economic collapse as perpetrated by the “false premise of cheap labor.” Carlini cites how the flood of cheap labor has led to the recent closing of suburban Chicago's St. Francis Hospital, which strikes a personal chord with yours truly. This was a hospital that prided itself on never turning anyone away without ability to pay. Now, this hospital community once defined by highly competent doctors and nurses has been kicked to the curb by a greedy consortium of hospital administrators and local politicians who are hellbent on flooding this community with cheap labor and one less hospital for neighborhood residents to go to when they get sick or injured…After all, they’re only people, or to the hospital CFO, irritating red numbers on spreadsheets...
I grew up on the South side of Chicago and a close family friend and dear neighbor (an RN) saved my little brother’s life (literally) when he got hit in the head with a hockey puck during practice at the park ice skating rink one block from our house. Luckily, this wonderful RN happened to be home that afternoon after school when my adorable eight-year old little brother came staggering into our house with a gash on his forehead, slurring his words, flailing his arms and foaming at the mouth while my parents were at work. I didn’t’ know what the hell to do but first try calling our RN next door neighbor, Marge, who ran right over and correctly diagnosed that he was having a seizure, rushing him to the emergency room with my mother who had just pulled into the driveway.
Our neighbor Marge was the ultimate, competent quintessential nurse -- always caring about everyone. She loved nursing, and worked as an RN at St. Francis for many, many years until reluctantly leaving the profession only a few years ago. She was a highly regarded O.R. nurse but eventually quit the profession as hospital administrators, under the auspices of the Great Nursing Shortage Myth reduced her compensation and increased her workload because they refused to hire more competent nurses like herself -- NOT because they were not available, but because the Hospital refused to pay wages adjustable to cost of living and inflation. Thirty five years ago, she made more money than she would now and like millions of highly trained O.R. nurses across the country with husbands to support them, the abiding sentiment for these highly stressed, overworked and underpaid professionals is "who needs this abuse?"
In his article, Carlini explains how corporations that import cheap labor are directly responsible for driving up costs by putting “a strain on schools, hospitals and other institutions that require more funding to handle the increased demands.” He offers a compelling example of the recent closing of suburban Chicago’s St. Francis Hospital where over 1,400 healthcare professionals lost their jobs and how immigration damages the economy by negatively impacting the balance of what he describes as Alpha, Beta, and Gamma consumers.
“The erosion of alpha consumers has been happening for at least the last eight years. To me, this clearly fuels the acceleration of credit indebtedness.”
Carlini continues that Beta consumers can’t buy into the full American dream hierarchy, but this assertion is only accurate if Beta consumers can’t pool their resources. I keep thinking of Alan Greenspan's INCOME EQUALITY manifesto …Beta consumer mobility could actually “work” if master planners increased immigration numbers of impoverished “skilled workers” from the third world who will work for slave wages here, thus driving down wages across the board and handing over the jobs currently one American could do to say three or four "skilled cheap foreign workers." Essentially, these immigrants would recreate their former, cramped dwellings here by living in small, overcrowded housing, lumping two and three families per household as urban residential master planners appear to be doing. “Big ticket” items such as housing, automobiles and plasma TV’s would be purchased by households with increased head count, each contributing their whopping $45K-$65K annual salaries as IT workers, nurses and financial analysts that Americans formerly did for twice/triple the salary. This would, of course, be an improvement for them but clearly erode the quality of living for Americans but so far, it is highly doubtful that quality of life – or anything --- is what the master planners have in mind for the growing non-elite class, better known as the rising “have-not” dying class.
Carlini’s description of how the flood of cheap labor led to the closing of suburban Chicago's St. Francis Hospital strikes a personal chord. Sadly, this is happening to hospitals all across the country while the flood of "legal" immigration continues to erode our communities as the author describes. What can be done about this erosion of quality of life?
To summarize with a wise “Carlinism"
“Cheap labor is not cheap. Their benefits have to be picked up by others.”
But every junkie’s like a setting sun, and so far, the complacent plebes who refuse to hold our presidental candidates' Ferragamo encased feet to the fire on this issue are their enablers.