Welcome to OCEA's Layoff Nation
- Worker Resource Pages -
One of the main motivations for OCEA establishing this "Layoff Nation" website was our need to address more fully the problem of "two Americas" -- a problem which confronts all of us.
"Two Americas." It's a short phrase, which on its own doesn't tell us much. But it is easy to recognize two different Americas when you think about it a little from the standpoint of day-to-day "family economics," and "the American Dream."
One America is having a hard time making ends meet, while the other America gains huge profits through the work of the first group. One America is taxed to the limit, while the other finds tax-breaks and loopholes. One America has trouble having its voice heard, while the other benefits through powerful connections with solidly vested special-interests.
The conservative "think-tanks" try to refute these realities with talk like this: "Counting taxes and safety net benefits while balancing the quintiles to contain equal shares of the population dramatically transforms the picture of inequality in the United States." So says The Heritage Foundation, an influential conservative "think-tank." They are one of the main combatants in the class-warfare in the United States. They claim that class warfare does not exist, and that the phrase is simply a byproduct of liberal politics. But make no mistake about it: when anti-union, anti-employee, anti-middle-class powerhouses say that there is no class warfare in the United States, this statement is simply one of the weapons which they are using in the war!
Are there two Americas? Yes, there are. It is not a simple division between the rich and the poor. Nor is it the middle class (or what's left of it) versus the wealthy. Nor is it the big corporations against the little guy. In fact, it is all of these things and more!
At OCEA, we definitely see two Americas, each with a different philosophy.
The first America is the uncomplicated, straightforward America. If you are looking at this website, and especially if you have been laid off, you are almost certainly part of this America. You are the typical, everyday American. You don't make much money, usually. You hope to, someday. (And you don't hold it against the other guy, if the other guy happens to have money.) But your main concerns are for your own wellbeing, and the wellbeing of your family. You want a decent job. You want emloyment security. You want decent, affordable healthcare. And you want a decent retirement. Most of all, you have values. You wouldn't mind being well off, but "how you get there" makes a big difference. You care about "the other guy."
The second America isn't that pretty. It is made up of people who have a sense of entitlement that is actually quite difficult to fathom. We watch this other America, and see its behavior, without understanding how it can exist. In extreme cases, it is corporate CEOs being paid tens of millions (or hundreds of millions) in salaries, while driving their companies into the ground. It is politicians who make decisions to further their own careers, at the expense of the working man or woman. In Orange County, it includes politicians and executive managers who cold-bloodedly lay employees off by the hundreds, without so much as a fare-thee-well. It is people who have no real conception of the concept of sharing the pain--not even symbolically!
So, if you are in the first group, welcome! We hope you find something of value in our "Layoff Nation" website. At OCEA, we believe that you are part of our struggle, regardless of where you live!