Saturday, April 26, 2008

Cheap Labor Junkies are Killing US

"I've Seen the Needle and the Damage Done"
-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.

Carlini explains:

“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.



Anonymous said...

the argument for the nursing and skilled labor shortage hoax is based on fear of losing global competitive advantage.if the globally disadvantaged come here to work, naturally, they will be moving thinks "why pay them what Americans were earning?" for that matter, why pay Americans what they need to live on, or at all?why bother educating their children when they are no longer needed, etc. etc.
everyone (including illegal immigrants)who works pays into ss, even if if those ss numbers are stolen.what kind of person would turn away another human being from healthcare for an inability to pay?this is by no means the fault of immigrants who come here to take jobs to improve their lives, but of the people in power who like you write, want profits over us all.

this hospital closing is yet another statistic, one we can expect to see rise all around the country as hords of people flood them for medical care without money to pay.where will healthcare money come from?do we slow down immigration,build more hospitals,hire more of our own workers,train more healthcare professionals, take it out of the bloated military budget for corporate, evil wars?yes, all of the above,however, your emphasis appears to be on slowing immigration which may not directly reduce the problem.the best cure for this broken immigration system would be to to hire citizens first, then fill vacancies with immigrants as opposed to the other way around. however, i don't know how that can happen without a major social upheaval, much like the kind we are starting to see with the growing antiwar movement.although we are hearing more noise, i don't see much progress there, either.

2Truthy said...

anon, Your suggestion that this problem would be alleviated by hiring Americans first and then filling vacancies afterwards is beautiful in its wisdom and simplicity. If only our "leaders" had the same mental and moral capacity to figure this out;(

Marcus Aurelius said...

I am a male R.N.. The USA and other countries are in the grips of "monopoly capitalism."
What is "monopoly capitalism"?
In "monopoly capitalism" capital is exported from a nation instead of the finished products of the nation produced by the nations own workers.
What is "capital"? Capital is money, labor, and industry.
In the case of nursing, labor is imported in the form of the unjust immigration into the USA of foreign nurses.
"Monopoly capitalism" tends to destroy "true capitalism" which is characterized by competiton and free enterprise.
"Monopoly capitalism" tends to concentrate both political and economic power in a few individuals and entities while impoverishing the general populace (the nursing profession in this instance).
In "true capitalism" both political power and economic power tends to be increased and more widely disbersed amongst the general citizenry (the nursing work force in this instance.)
We need to address the evils of "monopoly capitalism" as it affects nursing, as otherwise, economic theorists assert that the same will produce a severe labor shortage in the same and might result in dramatic socio-political-economic changes which would limit our traditional freedoms.
Economic theorists assert that "monopoly capitalism" is the last stage of capitalism before some form of socialism takes it's place.

2Truthy said...

Marcus, thank you for this explanation of "Monopoly Capitalism." My former neighbor, the RN, used to talk about how chaotic is was to have to train imported nurses, many who had questionable degrees/certificates in nursing from other countries. Have you encountered this?
Don't you long for the days when capitalism, or "true capitalism" as you mention, managed to spread the wealth?

James Carlini said...

Sometimes I roam Google looking for references to my columns.

Thank you for your perspective on my column. I try to tackle issues that the mainstream media seems to either ignore or write fluff pieces on.

Forget being politically correct - we need to become politically accurate.

Now you should read about Michael Reese - Another One Bites the Dust at my BLOG:

People have to wake up and realize that we have some huge problems and we need to address them before we slip further into what I believe will be worse than a recession because it will be permanent.

The closing of hospitals are a national epidemic due to people walking in for "free" medical care. This raises everyone else's rates. Many people - due to job erosion - cannot keep picking up the indigent's tab anymore because they can hardly pick up their own tab anymore.

Werldview said...

USA loses advantage over outsourced labor.

In Singapore, the perception is now the USA no longer has to ship out American jobs, but will have to import a couple of billion of the third world's poor to do all kinds of mindless shit work in the U.S. That way, they get a carbon footprint tax payout and elites still rule.You think your cities are crowded now? Ain't seen nuthin yet.