Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Goodbye, Greyhound

"Goodbye, Greyhound" OCTOBER 5TH , 2005

This is the headline for today's front page of the Canton Repository.

Many of you may be like myself ---we forget there are people who really
to watch their pennies --- not dollars, but the small change also.

Greyhound Company's closing down service to Canton, Ohio, or, for that
matter, Las Cruces, NM means nothing at all to me. I have a car. I take
planes, and, to treat myself, a trip on a train in a sleeper

I don't even know where the Greyhound "stations" are.

Yet, as today's paper points out:

"People who depend on Greyhound---low income residents, professionals
who commute t jobs in Youngstown and Cleveland, those who have doctor's
appointments out of town, senior citizens who do not want to drive long
distances to visit family, folks looking for a way to funerals outside
Ohio, people who don't have a driver's license or a car, the Amish, and
some college students --- must find another transportation option."

I think for many of the people above----cost is a big factor. They live
on very little.

So, why is Greyhound closing quite a few of their stations and even not
stopping at "flag stops" in small towns and villages --where tickets
are not sold--- if a rider was waiting at a designated spot?

Of course, it is a matter of profitability. These stations and stops
are no longer profitable. Greyhound cannot afford to keep them open.
Greyhound needs profits: to pay their employees, and, maybe, some
health benefits, and ----to be an attractive stock for shareholders.
Shareholders ---most of them--- are only interested in maximizing
growth in their investment funds---not Greyhound's problems --- and
certainly not the difficulties of low income citizens, the elderly, and
so on.

Why do we have a growing number of low income working age citizens? Why
has the average salary declined during the last twenty years --- not
in terms of dollars earned --- but in real terms: the amount of goods
and services that can be purchased with dollars earned?

In the US here has been a migration of wealth upwards to an
increasingly smaller percentage of the population. One study estimated
that 5% of our citizens control 90% of the total wealth of the nation.
The middle class is no longer a very good place to be, but it's better
than slipping into poverty.

As US companies close down U.S. factories and build newer more
efficient ones overseas where environmental regulations are often
non-existent, benefits unheard of, safety regulations little or none,
and wages, perhaps, $5.00 a day---American workers--displaced--out of
work must scramble to find a lower paying job--frequently in the
service area. Here their paycheck is on the average $10.00 an hour less
than their factory job and probably with no benefits.

Market forces rule. Leaders both political and corporate tell us that
God gave Moses the "Free Market" engraved on another piece of stone
when Moses ascended Mt. Sinai---a second time. Not to allow
globalization, corporate merging and domination, greater profits would
cause a universal disaster. True only a small percentage of this
globalization bonanza will go to the workers, but there will, or may
be, a slight, gradual reduction in the cost of items--some of them. Has
not WalMart been a blessing!! As the median income of Americans drops
--- as their jobs fly overseas---WM is growing and offering stuff to
buy at better prices than before.

Communism, I think, envisioned a world where there would not be great
distances between one person's income and another.

Jesus seemed to take a dim view of those who pursued wealth. He never
said "Greed is Good" as Michael Douglas'
character does in the movie, "Wall Street".

However, a leveling of income IS happening and it's world wide. And it
has a name---"Globalization".

The median income of Americans, I can almost guarantee it, will
continual to drop and drop and drop.

It may take a while for workers in India, Mexico, and China to gain
better salaries. Maybe, there will come a time when they make more than
the average American,