The jobs we used to have. This will make you sick!
The companies that were.
It must be hard for the post outsourcing generation to even imagine the thousands of employers that dotted New York's capital city. Prior to franchise stores and tax breaks for exploiting impoverished over seas workers, Albany, N.Y. was once the place to find work. Cities of the northeastern United States were not only the hubs for manufacturing and assembly line work but, center stage for all industry with many employment opportunities. In the 50's people faced discrimination issues and other obstacles. Finding a place that was hiring was not the main concern of the day. There were once sales offices and distribution centers, private non-franchised stores, hotels, factories, and food and lumber producers. There were offices with opportunity on every corner all over town. Many of these industries, such as communications, paper production, wood, storage, and distribution centers all worked together in trade supporting each other.
Right down from the State Capitol Building on the corner of Howard Street sat the Home Telephone Company. Around the corner on State Street stood The Hotel Wellington. They opened doors in 1923 a few doors away from Municipal Gas Company at 126 State Street. Montgomery Street was the home for the New York Telephone Company. On Colonie Street there was Albany Preforated Paper who stored at Terminal Warehouse. Central Warehouse was another employer on Colonie Street. At 833 Broadway employees for Boardman and Gray made quality crafted pianos. At 927 Broadway there was the Albany Iron Works Plant. Broadway was home to Adam Ross Stone and the RTA Distributers. RTA was the large distribution center. Today the building with two towers still stands. They worked distributing for local RCA Records and RCA electrical appliances. In the same neighborhood was Empire Welding, Mack Trucks, The Albany Felt Company, and Hudson Valley Paper that supported the local publishing and printing businesses. On Pearl Street CMP car heating made heat systems for the electric street cars. Along Pearl Street sat Wooster Funiture, Kresge, and rows of independent stores and more independent hotels. At the foot of State Street the Delaware and Hudson Railroad Company built their main offices. That building is now the Administratve Offices for The State University of New York. My father was an engineer for the D&H Railroad. My mom once worked at Hykes Textiles Mills over the river in Rensselaer who was home to many more businesses such as The Bayer Company who made asperin.
So what went wrong? First problem was Racism. Racism, racism, racism. Through the 1960's and 1970's there were purposeful initiatives to take these jobs away from people of color moving up from the south and shift jobs elsewhere. It was a way to keep people down. Roads, highways, and bridges were built through urban neighborhoods cutting people off from the rest of America. The next problem was union busting. Companies went south before they went off shore. They built factories and businesses in areas where rural areas where the non-unionized and educationally deprived poor could be paid less. At this same time America was shifting to the franchised system. Independent stores were closed out or bought up under the priveleged title of a franchise. Last, as franchises grew and took over the economy and the south pushed for unions. The idea grew that corporations could exploit foreign poor. Over seas people who were fighting to stay alive would work for pennies. By these tactics corporations avoided compliance with new environmental laws that were being passed in the states. They avoided paying health insurance or a living wage. They avoided dealing with unions and the enforcement of the 40 work week. They could demand long hours and slave wages from desperate people far away. The corporations became so wealthy from this system they were able to hire lobbyists and put bring energy into rewriting tax laws in their favor. Greed took over while fairness went out the window and out of the country. Slavery became legal again as long as it was not here.
One thing they forgot is that when so many companies followed this path the American people were left with nearly no jobs for the working class. If you never finished college you were screwed. We became a nation of those who were professionals and those forced on assistance. Today we have 12 million Americans still out of work and another 12 million who simply gave up looking. Our depression rates are high. Poverty is out of control. In America today one in five children are at risk for hunger. Just think of how much tax revenue would be collected by each state if all of these people were working living wage jobs and buying homes. The answer is in the billions.
Combining this revenue loss from the outsourcing of jobs with corporate welfare and tax breaks for big corporations gave every state in the nation a tax deficit. Taxes continually raised on the white collar. Revenue is collected from a smaller and smaller group of people and they resent it. Corporations began to push the "blame the poor idea" and supported politicians who did rightfully knowing the cause. The outsourcing of jobs stole away American living wage jobs and the American dream for many of us.
We have to reboot the system. The system is broken. Please support American businesses. Be vigilant about labels. Look for the union label. And most of all, buy local to grow the local economy.
What do you think?