Thursday, February 17, 2011

Where Have All the Good Jobs Gone?

So the stock market is booming, corporate profits are zooming but jobs are still looming and the outlook for the middle class is glooming. The reasons behind the stagnant unemployment outlook has not gone without thorough analysis by we bloggers who, for some reason, seem to have a lot of free time on our hands:

Don’t bother us, we’re busy...
The current theory is that the rich people should not be inconvenienced by the demands of comity because they're the ones who are providing jobs for the rest of us. Those jobs should be kicking in any time now, because we lowered the taxes on the rich people several years ago. There should be so many jobs by now that they're just loitering in gangs, making nuisances of them selves.

Murr Brewster - Murrconomics
... hedging our bets ...
Where are the jobs? Honestly, boards and business owners are holding back because they feel that the current administration chooses winners and losers in the marketplace. Without fully understanding their future costs, or if they will draw the ire of Obama, they find it safer to sit on their cash.

Comments from the Heathen Republican who provided the link: Why Business Isn't Getting In the Game.
... and besides, there's no jobs because there's no customers...
Big American companies are sitting on almost $2 trillion of cash because there aren't enough customers to buy additional goods and services. The only people with money are the richest 10 percent whose stock portfolios have been roaring back to life, but their spending isn't enough to spur much additional hiring.

Robert Reich: The Obama Budget: And Why the Coming Debate Over Spending Cuts Has Nothing to Do With Reviving the Economy
…and, come to think of it, we don’t need any workers anymore either.
…our most admired corporations -- GE, Apple, Hewlett Packard, Intel -- are creating ever more jobs overseas and relatively fewer at home. This has the double benefit of taking advantage of cheap labor abroad and disciplining workers to accept low wages at home. Along with the high unemployment rates have come declining earnings… In 2001, 32 percent of the income of the firms on Standard & Poor's index of the 500 largest publicly traded U.S. companies came from abroad. By 2008, that figure had grown to 48 percent.

Robert Kuttner - Business Doesn't Need American Workers
So even though corporate profits are soaring, that does not translate into jobs for Americans because corporations don’t need Americans any more to either buy their products or even make them any longer and anyway middle and lower class Americans are really nothing more than poker chips for the wealthy to play with.

My own diverging theory is that the Republicans will do anything to prevent the jobs numbers from going up anytime during the Obama administration least he end up getting credit in the public eye for improving the economy prior to the 2012 elections.

Ok, so sometimes I am a cynic when I should be a skeptic. I’m calling your bluff.
I highly recommend following these blogs:

Murmers – a very well-written humorous blog with topics ranging from the latest poop on the economy to the latest poop on, well, poop.

The Heathen Republican – in a more serious vein; a thoughtful, rational and well-documented perspective of the Republican policy stance.

Robert Reich's Blog - A totally brilliant man, Berkeley professor and Clinton's former Secretary of Labor.

Or if you still perfer the low-brow approach, you certainly can continue to read this blog.


KleinsteMotte said...

Ah yes the middle class is getting a huge facelift and it's not going to be a pretty one. And until we find a better financial system capitalism it's going to fail because we have failed to curb greed. Cheaper and faster production, nay, overproduction is leading us to self destruction because we are letting it happen.
Once food and fuel costs go up as predicted people will be struggling even more. And it will be a global problem. There are too many people and not enough jobs. Oh dear I seem so pessimistic.

Anonymous said...

Oh, and don't forget that our production has increased while the numbers of workers has decreased, meaning that we are all working more while earning less. Are we stupid, or what? And if Wisconsin is able to outlaw unionization, we will helpless to do anything to help ourselves. Welcome to the Middle East.

Mandy's Kidding said...


Just kidding. I just wanted to say something inappropriate.

billy pilgrim said...

i think kleinstemotte hit the nail on the head, there are too many people.

after world war 2 the economies of the world grew very fast due to cheap resources and pent up demand for goods following the rationing of the war and the workers prospered. people look at the time of prosperity and assume that it's the new standard. the population has exploded and the resource base is decreasing at an alarming rate. i fear we're heading back to where we've spent most of our history, in poverty.

have you seen the movie "collapse"?

Robert the Skeptic said...

KleisteMotte Some say, and I am beginning to agree, that the "flush times" of the middle-class when we were young, was an aberration and that a normalcy will see a necessary drop in our living standard. But to me, that is all the more reason to ensure that Basics are in place least we foment the breeding grounds for some ugly upheaval.

BackRow I've been on both sides of the Union issue (bank management and caseworker, Local 503 SEIU). What I noticed in our union was apathy among the younger workers, letting us older people fight for their rights along with ours. It may, in the end, be a losing battle.

Robert the Skeptic said...

Mandy That's fine, though if your mouth hasn't yet worn off from the Novocaine yet, I'm not sure we'll totally understand what you said.

Billy Pretty much how I responded to KleinsteMotte: agreement. Haven't seen "Collapse"... I'm almost afraid to.

DJan said...

I am sitting here in Peter Stewart's home, with my sister and her family. I wish I knew what he would say to this post, because I know he believed as you do, and he would have found a cogent response. I feel at a loss for words.

GutsyWriter said...

Apparently 9 out of 10 things were made in America up until 1979, when foreign markets started to "copy" and produce things for less than in the U.S. So now I think, we're going to see things going back to the olden days. I hear that generation X is more into family and mom staying home with the kids. Are we going to see the 50's again?

TechnoBabe said...

You're not a cynic. You are a realist.

Paul said...

The way the economy is at present makes even a bad job look good! One wonders when Americans will start going to India and China to get "good" jobs .

Nance said...

Let's be both cynical AND skeptical on this issue! Let's be hugely frustrated and PISSED while we're at it.

Like you, I've read until my eyes are damaged, but there is this that lingers for me:

There was a time when entrepreneurs and manufacturers made bets on America with their capital. Now they make bets against us. They ARE in a position to take the first risks; we, the workers and consumers, are NOT. Call me economically simple-minded, but there are no patriots among the corporate interests that pack the GOP CPAC coffers...I don't care how many flags they or their lackeys wave.

And we are now in a position to get DEVASTATED by inflation, to top it all.

Corporate America, we won't be protesting at the White House. We'll be protesting at your house.

Robert the Skeptic said...

DJan I know. Peter would have shared his thoughts on this. I miss having him as a reader and online friend.

Gutsy Mom is now staying home with the kids because she can't find a job in an economy where two earners in a household are now required. No, we aren't going to see the 50's, 60's, 70's or 80's ever again.

TechnoBabe Actually, I agree.

Paul It's already happening: Unable to find work here, American college graduates are taking jobs in India and China.

Robert the Skeptic said...

Nance I have had similar thoughts, it seems that Freedom is narrowly defined by the Conservatives as simply "the freedom to make money", their patriotism exists primarily to support that end. Many confuse Capitalism as a form of government; it is not, it is an economic model. The Communist Chinese are embracing Capitalism. US Citizens are becoming more and more irrelevant to US corporations. Too bad as it's a short-sighted vision for our future as a nation.

T. Paine said...

Part of the problem is that our education system has become so poor. Our American culture only pays lip-service to education, but the end result is that American students keep falling further and further behind the rest of the world in mathematics and the hard sciences. We no longer value education, even in economics or civics evidently.

As an engineer for twenty years in the wireless phone industry, I have seen ever more of our engineers come here on work visas from India and Pakistan and elsewhere. Unlike our current crops of American students, they are highly educated and capable... and they will typically work for less than what an American will to boot.

In other words, many of the few good jobs that remain in America are even being filled with those more capable from elsewhere in the world.

Robert the Skeptic said...

T.Paine Agree ardently. I know college professors who say students come to the university unable to use proper grammar and often completely unfamiliar with core scientific tenants such as Evolution. We can't compete in a global economy if our population believes that things just happen because god makes them happen.

There are Indian and Pakistani workers who live in my neighborhood working for the few remaining small tech companies close to my home. Those two countries are building universities in their countries at a rapid pace.

Still Education is one of the highest elements of state and local municipal budgets and the well for those costs is quickly running dry.

secret agent woman said...

This is a frequent topic of conversation/concern among my patients.

Madame DeFarge said...

You're not lowbrow. Not even monobrow. At least you have brows, which is more than many of us can manage.

Octopus said...

Want to know where the jobs went? Here is another perspective, The Book of Jobs - Revised Global Edition.

Marylinn Kelly said...

I try to keep myself from cynicism and it is a challenge. At the time of Egypt's revolution, there were some predicting that we might be next. My only question is, who would be leading the revolt? I suspect it wouldn't be the under-employed, the under-educated, the marginalized and forgotten, but rather those who feel we, the people, already have too strong a voice and would like to quiet what remains of it. Cynicism goes with the times. We thought we could make things better for the next generation.

Robert the Skeptic said...

SecretAgent I imagine you see many for depression, then.

Madame Recently, stressful events find me plucking them.

Octopus Puts a whole new perspective on what is happening in Wisconsin. Government jobs may be the ONLY jobs left in this country.

Marylinn Seriously, I don't hold out much hope.

Antares Cryptos said...

Robert, hope goes last and change can be a good thing.

adrielleroyale said...

Interesting takes...I think it really boils down to one thing in the end...just greed. I understand everyone's got to make a profit, and I am not at all against that, but not at the expense of every one but number one. It drives me crazy to see companies demanding more from their workers while paying less and taking away more and more benefits. And don't even get me started about how the company I work for is being run...#@$!*@#^* Nothing but walking around eggshells. What a bunch of crap. So much for bettering yourself or your company when if they don't like it they just fire you (or threaten to) and hire someone else for cheaper. ANYwhoo...The beauty of our country is still that if you get your thinkin cap on and pull yourself up by your bootstraps (which is always possible) you can end up working for numero uno instead of some other jack... and probably be a whole lot happier. Yes, I'm still a dreamer :)