HIGHTOWER: Corporate Redistribution of Wealth

Once again, the "Don't-Worry, Be-Happy" media machine has been working overtime, with the Powers That Be trying to convince a falling Middle Class that the economy is performing almost perfectly.

Not only do they point to Wall Street's spectacular profit rise, but they also brag that millions of new jobs are being created. Say what? I was born at night but it wasn't last night.

Aside from the fact that most of these so-called "jobs" are poor-paying, temporary positions with no benefits, the Happy-Face crowd conveniently ignores another pertinent point: our economy also is losing millions of jobs. In just the last three months, for example, International Paper and Woolworth said they would punt 9,000 workers each, Stanley tools and Fruit of the Loom cut 5,000 each, and Whirlpool just axed 4,700.

As usual, Wall Street investment houses were ecstatic about these mass firings, pumping-up the stock prices of the companies -- which just happens to put big bucks in the pockets of the executives doing the firing. The day after Whirlpool announced that it was offing 10 percent of its workforce, for example, investors cheered by giving Whirlpool stocks a 14 percent boost.

What we have here is a redistribution of wealth from America's working families to super-rich investors. It's done in the name of "productivity," "efficiency" and "competitiveness" -- but it's really nothing but stealing from the many to profit the few.

In their candid moments, economists are beginning to concede that knocking down the middle class is thievery ... and stupid. Stephen Roach, chief economist for Morgan Stanley, now says that corporate downsizings have not produced real economic advances, but only what he calls a "labor crunch recovery," which amounts not to increased productivity, but profiteering on the backs of the corporate workforce.

This is Jim Hightower saying ... You'll know the economy is doing well ... when you are.

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