Sunday, September 4, 2011

Invasive Treatment Needed NOW!

About that job shortage.

Clearly what we have are many huge structural problems that will require world-class problem-solvers, risk-takers, and strong, intelligent, bi-partisan leaders to solve.

The public lacks confidence that such leadership is forthcoming on the political horizon from  anywhere, anytime soon.

Here are just a few of the structural problems that come readily to my mind, although I rarely hear them being discussed anywhere:

1. Technological advances and changes in the past fifty years have automated the production of goods and services, thereby eliminating millions of jobs worldwide.

2. Since WWII, women have graduated from high schools and colleges in great numbers and entered this already destabilized workforce throughout the entire industrialized world. As the divorce rate has steadily climbed with the newly found financial and sexual independence of this major group of  workers, further pressure has been placed on the economy, families, schools, healthcare, law enforcement, and society as a whole. Much can be done to rectify this situation.

3. The globalization of manufacturing, and multi-national corporations  has increased the ability of non-social, non-governmental entities to relocate overseas, outsource jobs, and gather tremendous political and economic leverage over the sovereign nations in which they were created, and in the nations where they are permitted to operate. This has effects at statewide levels and localities, as well as internationally. These same entities cannot effectively compete, however, with those nations that partner with their own corporate entities in order to stimulate their internal growth and prosperity. There is no level playing-field for American businesses around the world. The persistent trade deficit is but one example of this. Our falling world rankings in health, education, and welfare are other examples.

4. The bargaining power of both private and public labor unions that were created to protect the rights of workers, and had formerly worked in partnership with government and business to train new workers through apprenticeship programs, schools, etc., has been severely weakened by laws and regulations that have prevented labor unions from doing that for which they were created: strengthening our workforce.

5. The democratic system of government cannot work without an informed, interested, and educated electorate. The participation of the American people in elections has been pitiable; the education of the American people has been pitiable. Despite this, education budgets are attacked by the majority of Americans. Much needs to be done to teach the values and the responsibilities of citizens living in a democracy.

6. The partisanship which is rampant in Congress is not a recent phenomenon, it has been a festering sore since the Republicans unanimously voted to impeach President W.J. Clinton. This sore has now reached cancerous proportions. Nothing can be accomplished without the willingness of all parties to cooperate.

Finally, other structural problems exist—large ones—which have been discussed to death by both politicians and pundits, but not dealt with by anyone. Some of these are our dependence on foreign oil and the lack of a comprehensive energy policy; environmental issues concerning global warming caused by industrial pollution of the atmosphere; our housing and foreclosure crises; our too big to fail financial institutions; our crumbling infrastructure; the runaway cost of a broken healthcare delivery system and healthcare insurance system which is paid for by the people who use the least; the ability of credit card issuers to charge what were once called usurious interest rates to good customers in order to cover their losses from the defaulting on loans they authorized to their bad customers.

The time to get serious about dealing with our problems has come upon us with a vengeance. I remain cautiously pessimistic that life as we know it will go on.

No comments: