Great news, people. As a recent headline puts it: “Household wealth back at pre-recession levels.” Oh joy — we’re all rich again!
Or not. The article attributes the gain in household wealth to “surging stock prices.” But before you start ripping up your floorboards in hopes of finding your household’s share of this bounty, note that the wealthiest 10 percent of Americans own 80 percent of all corporate stocks. They gained wealth, not you.
Meanwhile, those financially stretched Americans who’re struggling to find a job are literally being toyed with by the corporate powers. Today’s massive backlog of unemployed and underemployed workers allows corporations to bring in hoards of top-quality applicants for one job. They force these seekers to return five, seven or more times for senseless rounds of interviews — then the company whimsically decides not to fill the opening at all.
From Google to Starbucks, major corporations have roughly doubled the duration of their interview processes in the last two years. The New York Times tells of one fellow who applied for a video-editing job. He was run through a gauntlet of nine interviews and made to undergo psychological and personality exams, plus a math quiz and a spelling test — after which, the company simply closed the opening.
The job-dangling corporation, on the other hand, can simply force existing employees to shoulder a heavier load, while it trifles with applicants. In CorporateSpeak, this run-around is laughingly called looking for “the purple squirrel” — setting absurd job standards that no one in existence can meet.
Even a dog knows the difference between being tripped over and kicked. The way workaday Americans are being kicked around today is revolting, both in the sense of being abhorrent — and inducing a revolt.
This opinion column does not necessarily reflect the views of Boulder Weekly.