Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Hole Dug By Republican "Policy"

The three decades of Republican ideology of "deregulate, deregulate, deregulate" and "get the government out of your life" and "the only good government is no government" has delivered the disaster that fanaticism always does. Here's a bit from a posting by Robert Reich that puts some numbers on the employment situation:
Many of my students at Berkeley who will be graduating in June are worried about the job market. I understand their worries. But they and other new college grads have less cause for concern than most American workers. Let me explain.

Since the start of the Great Recession in December 2007, the U.S. economy has shed 8.4 million jobs and failed to create another 2.7 million required by an ever-larger pool of potential workers. That leaves us more than 11 million jobs behind. (The number is worse if you include everyone working part-time who’d rather it be full-time, those working full-time at fewer hours, and people who are overqualified for the jobs they’re in.)

This means even if we enjoy a vigorous recovery that produces, say, 300,000 net new jobs a month, we could be looking at five to eight years before catching up to where we were before the recession began.


More than 40% of today’s unemployed have been without work for over six months, a higher proportion than at any time in 60 years.

The only way many of today’s jobless are likely to retain their jobs or get new ones is by settling for much lower wages and benefits. The official unemployment numbers hide the extent to which American workers are already on this downward path. But if you look at income data you’ll see the drop.


In January, Ford Motor Co. announced that it would add 1,200 jobs at its Chicago assembly plant but didn’t trumpet that the new workers will be paid half of what current workers were paid when they began.


This shift also helps explain why the unemployment rate for Americans with college degrees is now only 5%, while it is 10.5% for those with only a high-school degree, and 15.6% for Americans with less than a high-school diploma. The jobs of well-educated Americans, although hardly immune to foreign outsourcing and technological displacement, have been less vulnerable to these trends than the jobs of Americans with fewer years of education.

The likelihood, therefore, is that as the economy struggles to recover and today’s jobless begin to find work, the median wage will continue to fall—as it did between 2001 and 2007, during the last so-called recovery.
That's pretty dismal. But that's what the Republicans "delivered" when they implemented their policies (or more correctly "deregulated" and turned their back on responsible government). And this is what the media is touting as the winners for the 2010 mid-term elections: a return of idiocy and incompetence.


kanna said...

Here in the U.S. we have a thing about being anything other than unthinking and incompetent. We sure don't want to appear to be one of those terrible Eastern,or Western for that matter, elite academics.
What can I say. Many of us are reverse snobs.

RYviewpoint said...

Kanna: I think you are sliding too easily into a stereotype. Robert Reich is selling education because he teaches at university. The anti-intellectual streak in the US is not completely dysfunctional. A lot of credentialed people are idiots. I worked with a bunch of them, so I can speak from experience.

I find that the US falls between the traditional UK disregard for education and the European continental infatuation with credentials. There will always be a substantial portion of the population which won't get any real benefit out of a classical university education (that's why most universities and especially the community colleges are becoming glorified vocational training institutes). There is nothing wrong with that.

What is missing in recent American history is the traditional respect for the "self made man", the person who continues their education outside the confines of an academic institution. At the turn of the 20th century most unions had social clubs at which popular lectures were given and lending libraries helped ordinary people get an education.

One of the foundations of the Industrial Revolution was the spread of "lunar societies" that let people outside the formal university system meet, learn new ideas, and share their excitement about science and technology.

You might be interested in reading a book by Jenny Uglow called The Lunar Men: Five Friends Whose Curiosity Changed the World. Here is a review of the book. She won prizes for this book.