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<nettime> Dumpster Diving into the American Dream ....
Patrice Riemens on Tue, 10 Jun 2008 00:36:10 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> Dumpster Diving into the American Dream ....

bwo of GoaNet/ Venantius

xcerpted from, Squeezing the American Dream: Workers Face Diminishing
Returns by Nicholas von Hoffman. The book by Steven Greenhouse is called The
Big Squeeze: Tough Times for the American Worker

A day seldom passes but a member of Congress takes the floor to remind us in
mawkish tremolo that the hundreds of thousands of people trying to get into
the U.S. are proof positive of the power of the American dream. If
Greenhouse is right, and there is no reason to believe he is not, that
American dream is just that -- a dream.

"Northwest Airlines," Greenhouse writes, apropos of some people's dreams,
"gave laid-off workers a booklet entitled '101 Ways to Save Money.' But the
booklet added insult to financial injury. 'Borrow a dress for a big night
out' and 'Shop at auctions or pawn shops for jewelry' were among the tips it
offered. And then it suggested, 'Don't be shy about pulling something you
like out of the trash.' " Dumpster diving into the American dream. You can't
make stuff like that up, and this book is full of such revealing anecdotes.


You may be surprised to learn that the pleasant person from FedEx Ground
delivering your package owns the truck which he or she has parked in front
of your house. FedEx Ground drivers, you will find out in Steven
Greenhouse's The Big Squeeze: Tough Times for the American Worker, are not
FedEx employees.

They are what are called independent contractors, although it demands no
little effort to discern what about their position is independent. If they
do not do what they are told, their contracts are abrogated forthwith.
They are required to buy their own truck with 60 monthly installments of
$781.12, which comes to $46,867.20. Plus there is a final kicker payment
of $8,000, all of which adds up to a grand total of almost $55,000. On top
of this, as an independent business person, the driver must bear the costs
of insurance, maintenance, fuel, repairs and the fee for the FedEx uniform

FedEx Ground drivers who want to take vacations must hire their own
replacements to cover the routes while they are gone. If a FedEx Ground
independent contractor can afford it, he should take a vacation because
the hours are long, the work is hard and the compensation is less than
princely. A driver will take home between $25,000 and $35,000 a year.


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