Let’s Talk About Jobs

unemployment

If someone would have predicted that millions of jobs would disappear from the United States and some of the jobs end up in places like China or India and the products produced from those jobs appeared in US ports and Americans would be purchasing those products with reduced income, we would have called them crazy. But that is exactly what happened. Jobs crossing the ocean to Asia and the goods produced from those jobs crossing the ocean to America. Statistics from the last decade showed the United States had zero net job creation when in the past six decades there was always an increase in job creation. The country took its foot off the gas pedal and turned on the cruise control. There were many factors for the road we detoured on; weak dollar, wars, lure of cheap labor overseas, cost of oil and the list goes on but the people are expecting our leaders to make up for a lost decade right away and that’s not possible.

Starting with the President’s State of the Union address, every governor, every mayor, every city manager, every executive is going to give their annual address and they are going recite one word over and over: JOBS. A number of politicians starting with Obama was elected under the mandate of providing new jobs. The truth: providing new jobs will be as impossible as growing a severed limb. To provide new jobs requires the creation of new industries. Most of the current industries have so much invested off-shore there is no incentive to invest heavy in American workers who would want a fair wage and benefits. (uh-oh, health care) The United States needs new industries to jump-start the job market disabled by corporations seeking cheap if not slave labor to produce their products and supply their service needs. Perhaps the President could provide tax cuts to Fortune 500 corporations as an incentive to keep jobs in America. No, that move was done already and yet the corporations still moved jobs offshore. What can America do to reverse the trend?

During the campaign and afterwards, the President promoted  a  “green jobs” industry. Green jobs in theory are environmental friendly and they’re considered “jobs of the future.” Perhaps in time, green jobs will be the future but now we need “jobs of today” and eco-friendly earth lovers who want to save the earth will find out that the bottom line is more important than sparing our atmosphere black smoke. What is going to happen when green capitalists attempts to sell green jobs to states that have industries that go against the concept of green jobs? States like West Virginia and Pennsylvania are heavy into coal mining. Try telling a coal miner that you have this green job for him or her and its safe for the environment and it doesn’t pay as well as mining but at least the earth spared. What about states like Texas and Alaska that live by the Palin cliché; “drill, baby, drill?” You think some oilman is going to shut down the wells, cap them and install windmills? Green jobs will thrive only if companies are willing to sacrifice its bottom line for future results, however, in the meantime don’t expect green jobs to save the day.

So if green jobs won’t save us, what will? I wish I could say that under the age of Obama corporations will move jobs back to the US, millions of unemployed Americans are once again able to compete for good paying jobs in this country, the economy goes up and the United States is the leader in economic growth. But that is not going to happen so the only recourse left is for a reboot. A reboot would need Americans to lower their way of living or accept wages less than we were making or close to our friends overseas. {{ouch}} Before anyone question this radical approach remember during the congressional hearings with the Big Three back in 2008, some senators were suggesting that the UAW and the automakers make concessions in which the pay rate would be at levels which workers at foreign automakers were paying their employees. Americans do not want to be told to accept slave wages (living in America ain’t cheap) especially since the corporations are making billions from the products that the workers are producing, but desperate times bring desperate measures and people are getting very desperate and will do anything to keep up.

So, here we are at the start of a new decade and JOBS is the main theme but no one has a realistic idea how to produce millions of jobs to replace the millions of jobs that were lost during the last decade. We will see political leaders traveling the globe to convince a foreign corporation to come to their state and build a plant or perhaps a research center or a call center and it still won’t put a dent in the unemployment numbers. To be fair, it was American arrogance that brought all of us to this point. The country kept things the same for decades and at the same time the rest of the world was starting to catch up to us. The United States will need new industries to be bold and take chances. Perhaps the move by the Obama administration to outsource space travel will create an industry which could provide new jobs. All it takes is just one.

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~ by R8RBOB on February 4, 2010.

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