I really hate to agree with Senator Gregg and his crowd on economics policy, but...
But… maybe he has a point. I don’t think the dole can support us for very much longer. Well, not without higher taxes on somebody.
The politicians of the free market crowd don't really want to talk about the basic problem with American unemployment, because American voters don’t want to hear about it. They just can’t tolerate the most basic free market fact... that you can't have a world wide "free" market economic system and expect that the jobs supporting that economy won't migrate to those nations with the cheapest wages (if they can do the work). Maybe our politicians don't understand this basic fact, but I think many do... they just don't want to talk about it with the voter.
I mean a "real" free market system of course, which we do not currently have. In our current world wide marketplace some nations are allowed to have tariffs on imports and other nations are not. Some nations are allowed to manipulate their currencies and others are not. And some nations are allowed to join price fixing cartels and others are not. I guess it's a "sort of, kind of" free market, but these distortions of “free” market just exacerbate the unemployment problem for we Americans.
And “our” government… America’s government, nominally… just goes along with the selling out of American interests. Why? Well, some nations are allowed, even encouraged, to buy our politicians... even whole branches of government. On a shared basis, you understand, sort of like a time share condo. Maybe that’s why!
And I also mean real jobs... hands on jobs… where workers take something, do something useful to it, and produce something else that is worth more in the market place. And the workers get at least a portion of that value added to build a life on.
Value added can consist of ideas and inventions, designs and applications of new technologies, and services, and all of the other wonderfulness of third wave economics. It probably shouldn't include fraudulent securities, but that's another matter.
But I don't believe we Americans can have an economy based solely on ideas and services. For one thing many of our workers are not equipped to participate in that economy. What shall we do for them? The dole maybe? And for another, many workers in other nations are so equipped. Americans are not the only smart, creative… and now educated… people in the world!
I don’t really believe most American workers are married to a free market system… or even understand the implications pro or con. We just want our toys cheap and now! But in the broader sense, we Americans, at less than 5 per cent of the world’s population, can't continue to consume in excess of 30 per cent of the world's production of resources, goods and services. Not forever; not even for much longer. Eventually the workers of other nations will come to understand that they deserve a bigger piece of the pie. After all, they're the ones actually making most of the pie now. Actually, I think they have already come to understand that… thanks to the world wide web!
Well, we’ve had our century of economic dominance. It's probably over. We are no longer the 800 pound gorilla in the economic room… probably only a 400 pounder now… and likely to lose a lot more weight soon! Not because of intrinsic weaknesses of our system, but because of carelessness and stupidity on our part. We stood by and watched as our industrial base was sold out from under us. We believed what we read about the peerless CEOs saving our corporations… by terminating their research arms, firing all of middle management, and selling off any left over profit making elements piecemeal. It’s called the “going out of business“ curve, but it makes the stock market happy… and that leads to big executive pay packages.
And we allowed our leaders, including our labor union leaders, to convince us that we could continue to have more and more goods for less and less effort. We bought in to that lie because we wanted to.
Worst of all, we allowed our government to be purchased pretty much outright.
The Judd Gregg crowd of congressmen and senators (republican and democrat) believe that the free market will solve our unemployment problem if we’ll just let it work. They don’t know how… they just know it will. What other hope have they? And we make fun of dear Sarah Palin for believing so many myths.
Of course the free market could solve this problem… with a lot of pain for the American worker. We just have to accept that working 10 or 12 hour days for $10 or $15 a day is a solution. That’s the competition! That’s the free market.
Many (most?) of the currently unemployed will not ever attain the wages and benefits they held before the Bush/Cheney economic collapse… if they get any job at all. We are going to have to accept lower wages and benefits if we want jobs in the new world economy.
We need to create some 20 or 40 million new jobs over the next year or so to solve this problem. It depends on what you mean by "solve"? That's really just not credible. So maybe the republicans are right with their modest proposal… we should just shut off unemployment benefits now and let the free market do its job. Otherwise, living on the dole is going to be life as we know it for a lot of Americans for a long time to come.
Of course, we are still the world's only military superpower. We could try “conquer and pillage” as an economic system. It kept the Romans in bread and circuses for centuries!
We have pissed away our inheritance from our forefathers. Get used to it!
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