Dispatches from the Class War

June 9, 2010

The Retraining Scam

Filed under: Uncategorized — freshbreadandspellingbees @ 8:35 pm

The solution to the ailing economy is often promoted as retraining, with the talking heads saying that the real problem is not a lack of jobs but an uneducated workforce that just needs more education and training.

Only, as the USA Today reports, whoops…maybe there still aren’t any jobs there after retraining. Is anyone surprised? Apparently yes, since this was deemed a worthy topic for a news article.

Many of the people quoted are in Michigan, which might suggest that the problem is limited to the Great Lakes State and those sad Michiganders just need to move…except that the problem isn’t limited to just Michigan. It’s almost everywhere by now, even in places that were supposedly the hot spots for jobs.

There aren’t any hot fields anymore, either. It used to be that nursing was the way to go, but as mentioned in this article, there’s even the same problem in the nursing field of too many workers for too few jobs. Who would have gone into nursing believing that they might not be able to find a job? And the sad thing is that in the article, those looking to make $30,000 a year as an upgrade couldn’t find those jobs…what if you’re making $30K a year now and trying to make more?

The crucial part not mentioned here in the article is the issue of student loans. The end of the article said that you can’t ever go wrong learning new skills, which may be true but you can’t pay student loans when you’re unemployed or only working part-time. But the huge numbers of people going back to school distracts them for a while and may ease up the unemployment rate. After all if we keep people in school, they’re both busy and hopeful that something better is around the corner…but now all too many are discovering after they’ve invested all that time and money that there isn’t anything better out there.

May 13, 2010

The “unemployable” man

Filed under: Uncategorized — freshbreadandspellingbees @ 4:35 am

This is shocking if you read between the lines. Obama’s own economic adviser Lawrence Summers says that 1 in 5 men age 25-54 are unemployable.

What’s worse is that if you pay attention to what Summers says, you realize that he’s not forecasting the economy to improve for five more years and even when it does, one in six men 25-54 will still be unemployable.

That’s a 17 percent unemployment rate expected for men in the prime of their working years – and that’s when things get better.

The stated issue is that these men are unemployable because they lack the necessary skills and education for better jobs, but this is not the whole story because the unemployment rate for college-educated workers is rising as well.

We could get rid of the majority of workers here on H-1B visas, enact protectionist trade policies and crack down hard on illegal immigration, but that would create different problems. Namely, if we restrict imports too much, prices will rise and other countries are likely to retaliate. As the global economy contracts, countries are engaging in more protectionist measures. If we try to fix our employment problems, whatever we do can have worldwide consequences and even backfire on us.

But the truth is that these men are not unemployable, and their jobs are not gone. The jobs they once did still exist but were moved out of the country. Why isn’t there a penalty for the companies who export the jobs? If anything they often get tax breaks.

We have to do something soon because the political unrest is already building. A nation in which 20 percent of its prime working-age men are unable to participate in the workforce is ripe for revolution.

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May 11, 2010

Hello world!

Filed under: Uncategorized — freshbreadandspellingbees @ 5:33 am

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