Thursday, 12/03/09, Public Square

It’s very cold outside.  Remember those who may need our help in staying warm.

What do you want to blog about today?

fnord

22 Comments

Filed under The Public Square

22 responses to “Thursday, 12/03/09, Public Square

  1. http://robertreich.blogspot.com/

    Reiterating the (what seems to me to be the) obvious.

    • While I agree that it is a no-brainer to invest in education (which almost every administration SAYS they will do, but none do to the extent promised), I am a living example of the FACT that more education does not necessarily translate to a higher paying job. Many people out there looking for work right now have multiple degrees. If nobody will hire you, you don’t make any money. One of the unspoken problems in our current crises is that companies that ARE hiring, are often hiring young people fresh from college or former retirees seeking to reenter the work force at substantially lower wages than they would have to pay a middle-aged employee with experience. So, your degree and experience either work against you or are meaningless.

      I believe that the current crisis might have been engineered to lower the wage. Yes, I know it sounds paranoid, but, in conjunction with the years-long effort to lower the wage by employing illegal aliens and the years-long effort to lower the wage by employing “offshore,” corporations are able to cut costs without having to sell more in order to increase profit margins. Conservatives have been screaming about out-of-control wage increases for workers for a long time now; it’s one of the reasons they hate unions. They believe the money should stay at the top. They don’t believe that the middle and working classes are necessary and we are becoming less necessary to the corporate masters in this global economy.

      They don’t care about us, so throwing money at them (as if the government doesn’t already give them enough tax breaks, credits and grants already) is just another attempt to pay off the corporate masters while appearing to try to fix the problems for the tax paying citizens.

      Any money that the government is going to hand out now has to be directed at the BOTTOM of the economy, not the top. Look at the way the credit crisis was handled. Tax payer money (borrowed from the Chinese) kept them afloat so that they could get the gears moving again and they turned around and squeezed the very tax payers that bailed them out. They’ve received quite enough “assistance” already, thank you very much. If they can’t keep it going, they must not be running things in an efficient manner, and, by their own philosophy of “free market” rules, they don’t deserve to survive in a tough economy. Small business is the only way to regrow this economy; and manufacturing is an important component.

      • Paula,

        You are correct in your comments about education, etc.

        What I meant to refer to was the accessibility to computers, etc., allowing the workers in other countries to become almost as productive as those in the U.S. This, by the way, fuels my belief that traditional manufacturing jobs will not return as the base for the U.S. economy. If a series of computer-controlled machines can be operated by a work-force that essentially only has to know how to turn the machine on and off, there is little reason to hire those more highly-skilled to perform this function. True, there needs to exist a small group with the knowledge needed to program the equipment, but given the seeming aversion of U.S. students to studying math, engineering, etc., and the growth of these types in other countries, then given the environment, is it not rational for businesses to go for lowest cost ceteris paribus?

        I’m not saying this is right, rather I’m commenting on the situation as it exists. The solution, if there is one, lies in job creation and growth in areas which cannot be done remotely. Adjusting the tax laws to remove the existing incentives to continue as we are is one area to examine. There are others.

  2. Should be required reading! Tells the sad story of our missing middle class:

    America Without a Middle Class

    “But core expenses kept going up.”

    • I wish Elizabeth Warren would also compare those numbers to the financial numbers for churches during the same time period.

      Who has all the money in our current economy? Banks, churches and insurance companies.

      Watch out, by the way, about taking a job for a church or non-profit corporation because they are exempt from the Fair Labor Standards Act and therefore do not have to pay overtime. (And they are heavily investing in healthcare companies, senior citizens homes and homes for the disabled, from which occupations many of the new jobs are predicted to come in the next few years.)

      • lilacluvr

        You make a good point about the churches and money. I have to wonder when I see mega church after mega church building more monuments to themselves. Just where are they getting all this money? And especially when credit is supposed to be so tight, right now.

        One look at the Via Christi group will show you how a church can grow itself into quite a big monopoly – and all with the blessings of the people because they are considered a ‘charity’ group. Yeah, right.

      • lilacluvr

        Paula – I am also concerned about the loss of tax revenue when these mega churches are buying up prime real estate.

        But yet these same people are demanding the best in public services like new roads, police protection, fire protection, water/sewer lines, etc.

        But I guess that big gold cross in front of their brand new monument should make me feel better – but somehow it does not.

  3. tosmarttobegop

    Ok since I just left that other blog and need to be reminded that there are at least a few that still qualify as human beings. Ahh everyone sick and needing medicine can go to an E.R. until the poster’s bill comes and its worthless lazy bastards! Oh they are really all illegal aliens so screw them!

    Anyway, I totally fault Tiger Woods! What man could not resist a beautiful and sexy woman?
    OK guy this is sad… Put your hand down!

    What is so different with the couple that crashed the State diner and acted like they were the Beverly
    hillbillies? Some of the most popular shows have such actions and a wide viewer ship.
    We are shocked by it until we start laughing at it.

    I thought I was going insane until I watched the news, then my conclusion change as to who was going insane.

    • “Ok since I just left that other blog and need to be reminded that there are at least a few that still qualify as human beings.”

      Be kind to yourself and avoid such insulting places. Humans really can make their points and share their opinions without insulting fellow bloggers. No one needs to be wrong, there can be several opinions. All humans deserve to be treated with dignity.

  4. tosmarttobegop

    6176, I wonder what will be the future of employment as the basis for the United States economy?
    I jokingly refer to a day when the tele-marker for Rolex windows answers the phone and its a Sears siding tele-marker. they then spend twenty minutes trying to sale each other their product and both refusing to take no as a answer.

    Employment depends on the demand for that occupation, there is just so many that can be this or that.
    Can you imagine a country of nothing but Lawyers? Just about every occupation you could list has a limit on how many there could be.

    • tstb,

      The answer is to create new areas of employment. Much easier said than done.

      I believe strongly that there are too many people for the number of jobs rationally available for them in the current economy, both nationally and wold-wide. Conversely, there are occupations and professions (pharmacy, e.g.) where there are shortages, both in rural and metropolitan areas.

      As technologies advance, occupations which are labor-intensive become capital intensive. There comes inevitably a point where the cost of “cheap labor” is greater than the cost of automation. The point can be delayed by stifling innovation and development in order to employ more bodies, but at some stage, the said point arrives. Thus, basic R&D is needed to develop more, varied occupations to utilize the new areas developed.

      Turning to my profession, there is a diminishing need for clerical staff as it becomes more computerized. There is a diminishing need for sales people for books, and librarians to maintain a library, as the materials become more readily available on-line. With electronic filing of cases in Federal (and coming in State court), there is less of a need for a “runner” to take pleadings, etc., to the courthouse for filing. Email allows information to be exchanged among offices, rather than hand-delivering or mailing by U.S. Mail.

      I can go on and on, but I’ve belabored the point enough.

    • “There is a diminishing need for sales people for books, and librarians to maintain a library, as the materials become more readily available on-line.”

      For a while, until everyone gets on board and catches up with the technology, there will be a need of those to train, guide…

      I also think spoiled Americans for another generation or so will want the “service” that isn’t provided as reliably any longer. They want a person to help them with their purchase, they want to easily understand the person on the phone, they want to know there is a physical location with a local person to speak with about any problems associated with the purchase. Americans with true customer service skills will be more likely to be employed — at least for a while.

      • lilacluvr

        But, unfortunately fnord, sometimes I have had better luck with a machine doing what I need from some faceless corporation than their live customer service.

        I don’t know how many times I’ve had trouble with a foreigner trying to speak English to help me with something as simple as an address change or the wrong product was shipped and I need to send it back, etc.

        These corporations that have online customer services is where I usually go to get things done. Did you know you can have your utilities changed over to your new house and turned off at the old house a few days later – and all done online?

        I’m sure these online customer services centers are manned by live personnel but perhaps these people are local whereby those foreigners are in Pakistan, India or some other third world country are not in the position to really help?

  5. lilacluvr

    That’s what I have been afraid of for quite awhile – our economy is becoming more service-oriented and that is dangerous – IMHO.

    Without the demand for our services – then we’re doomed to be at the mercy of others. Then add our mountains of debt and our dependence on foreign oil – and guess who is no longer the Superpower of the globe.

    I don’t care how many wars, tanks, bombs or guns the Republicans throw at our enemies – our destruction as a country will come as a result of our own rampant greed and arrogance.

  6. We all need as many laughs as we can find, so…

    Senator Chuck Grassley Hurting GOP’s Chances With Women At Bars

    WASHINGTON—According to Beltway sources, the recent actions of Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) have severely, and perhaps irrevocably, damaged the ability of his fellow Republican congressmen to pick up women at the various bars and nightclubs they frequent in the D.C. area. “Historically, Republicans have faced little opposition from willing and easily impressed single females, but Sen. Grassley’s untoward behavior poses a significant threat to the status quo,” Republican strategist Stanley Schilling said. “Whether because of his inappropriate remarks on the [dance] floor, or his stubborn unwillingness to take no for an answer, Sen. Grassley, frankly, has few real allies in either party at this point.” GOP sources also reported that they were organizing a bipartisan effort to place caps on the number of times Grassley would be allowed to ask women what time they had to be “back in heaven.”

    The Onion guarantees a look at what’s in the news with a slant to the fun. 😉

    • lilacluvr

      I’m sorry, I just cannot get the picture of Sen Grassley out on a dance floor trying to pick up women with a tired old pick-up line out of my mind now. Thanks fnord.

      Ewwwwww……

  7. On the economy and salary question, isn’t the overall [upper and lower quadrants] better off with a strong middle class? – there can be more purchasing and charitable donations, for example.

    I can’t see where it could be a winner for rich people to kill off the middle class. Am I naive about this?

    • lilacluvr

      I’m thinking the rich people in their quest for more profit at all costs has not thought about the day the American middle class is no longer here.

      But I think that day is coming very quickly.

      For years these corporations have outsourced good paying American jobs to third world countries for a fraction of the labor cost. And that was exactly what they wanted to make their bottom lines go higher and higher.

      But, did they ever think about the day when they have outsourced to the point where the middle class Americans no longer are able to buy their foreign-made products that they are making so cheaply?

      And what about the decline in tax revenues when the middle class is gone?

      I don’t think corporations are thinking long-term – they are only interested in the next quarter’s profit report.

      • Corporations have gone to thinking about the end of the next quarter as “long term” after their shareholders began thinking in that manner. After the number of derivative actions won by shareholders on the basis of not maximizing value of stock on a shorter-term basis, there was a broad shift to this kind of thinking.

      • Not long ago a five year plan wasn’t far reaching!

    • tosmarttobegop

      Iggy a story to illustrate the thought process, that little town in OK I was a Police officer in.
      Had the chance to have a Coors plant there because of the spring water in the area.
      It would have employed over three hundred people in a area that was devastated after the Oil boom went bust.

      The city council and many in town opposed it and refused to allow the plant.
      Now in part it is the old story of Religious self righteousness, seven Churches for a town of 1,300.
      A city ordinance against dancing within the city limits.
      You get the picture.

      Another reason was even odder and harder to understand, the city leaders were concerned that the plant and the jobs it would provide. Would attract a lower class of people and those on welfare.
      Many of them were business owners and the most outspoken on the subject was the owner of the local Grocery store! Certainly a business that would have seen a increase in its revenue.

      This is a town that the majority worked for drilling companies, rig hands and truck drivers.
      Roughnecks if you will and the concern was that a lower class of people would come into town?
      But the town was all but dying out, little employment and a core that was dwindling.

      But that core was fast becoming incestuous even cannibalistic in a fashion.
      The elitists would rather have their knick protected and die then have the town and their businesses survive and prosper. The wealthiest families would still be the most important families in town. Even if their wealth ebbed away.