No security for U.S. workers is likely to be forthcoming.

Saagar Enjeti said today 1 that, “People need certainty from their government that the check will come.” 

While Saagar does excellent work and I’m a big fan, he doesn’t understand that certainly is the last thing the ruling class ever wants its underlings to have.  Here’s Alan Greenspan explaining it:

For more than a year now, Mr. Greenspan has been gradually building his case that downsizing and job insecurity have altered the normal workings of the American economy, and yesterday he spelled out this view more pointedly and in more detail than before. Other factors have contributed to “the softness in compensation growth” despite a low unemployment rate, he said, but “I would be surprised if they were nearly as important as job insecurity.”

Greenspan is saying quite bluntly that insecure workers are easier to control and exploit.  The big people don’t ever want workers to be anything but insecure.

During World War II, while the Allies were willing to put women to work in the factories while the men went off to fight, Hitler refused to do likewise — this despite the fact that the shortage of workers was hampering the German war effort.  Hitler understood that once he took women out of the homes and put them into workplaces, it would be hard to get them out again — as the United States found out with the women’s movement of the 60s, due in no small part to women’s refusal to re-adhere to traditional norms after the experiences of the War.2 

Similarly, if the ruling class were to give workers any certainty during this crisis, workers would come to expect it.  Indeed, they would demand it once the crisis passes, because they would know it had been possible all along. 

This is the last thing the ruling class wants, and so they can be expected to resist this until the threat of open revolt is so great as to drown them all in terror.

  1. At the 7:37 mark.
  2. In his Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, William L. Shirer writes (on p. 975) that, “[Hitler] balked at carrying out the prewar plans to mobilize women for work in the factories. ‘The sacrifice of our most cherished ideals is too great a price,’ he said in March 1943 when Speer wanted to draft women for industry.” And later, “In September and October 1944 a half-million men were found for the Army. But no provision was made to replace them in the factories and offices by women, and Albert Speer, the Minister for Armament and War Production,protested to Hitler that the drafting of skilled workers was seriously affecting the output of arms.”