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William Stoecker / April 8, 2015

The Disappearing Jobs

It has been said that there are lies, damned lies, and statistics. But then there are those damned lying government statistics. Whether statistics are used to keep us from noticing all the hidden taxes (many embedded in the prices of everything we buy) or the full tragedy of unemployment, virtually nothing fed to us by the government or the controlled media can be trusted. We are told that the US unemployment rate in March 2012 was 5.5%. But that figure does not count all the people who have given up looking for work, nor all of those who have fallen out of the middle class and now can find only part time, minimum wage jobs. And the hordes of multi-generational welfare recipients are not counted as unemployed, nor the bloated ranks of government workers, even though their numbers have swelled in recent years, and most contribute nothing to the economy.

We are told that immigrants are needed to do the jobs Americans won’t do, but that is yet another lie, for people desperate for income will take almost any job they can find. It is true, however, that many Americans refuse to train for many blue collar jobs, fail to acquire the necessary skills, preferring to waste their time and money getting liberal arts degrees that will not help them find work. There is actually a high demand for many skilled blue collar jobs, some of which pay well and offer working conditions far better than many of the unskilled minimum wage jobs the aforementioned liberal arts graduates wind up doing. There is an immediate need, for example, for 30-35,000 truckers. There are shortages of nurses, medical and lab technicians, heavy equipment operators, welders, and machinists. Yet even if people trained for and took those jobs, our unemployment rate would still be catastrophic.

For American companies close their factories here and use virtual slave labor in impoverished Third World nations. Our insane trade policies allow government-subsidized foreign companies to dump their products here, underpricing the products of American companies using American workers. Our corporations here use H1B and “temporary” L1 visas to import foreign techies to take jobs from Americans. Our even more insane immigration policies and Obama’s refusal to control our borders has led to a massive and continuing invasion of illegal aliens, who commit crimes, impact our schools and medical facilities, receive welfare benefits – and take jobs from Americans. Of course, all this competition also depresses wages. In effect, our ruling elites have declared war on ordinary Americans, and are slowly reducing us to serfdom.

If the revolution were fought and won tomorrow and sane and honest government was restored to America, these policies could be reversed, and Americans would have plenty of jobs and higher wages – for a while. But there is another threat to full employment – automation. We have seen industrial robots take many blue collar jobs, and computers take the secretarial and clerical jobs. The technology is advancing rapidly, and soon there will be farm labor robots, janitorial robots, and fully automated stores and restaurants. People will be “freed” from menial and repetitive work – but free to do what? It can be argued that we are not designed for repetitive drudgery, but people need a source of income. And there is more to it than that. Anyone who has had to deal with welfare recipients knows all too well that, absent the discipline of the workplace, people degenerate into parasites. They don’t need to slave away until they die, but in their formative and young adult years they need to work, in school and later at a productive job, to develop character and a work ethic, and to know the value of things. If there was some way that people could be schooled until age 18 or a few years later and then work steadily for at least ten or so years and then receive a pension for the rest of their lives they might be happy, productive, and honest citizens. But how can that be achieved? Corporations would much prefer, for the few jobs that remain, to hire the best people they can get and keep them for decades, profiting from their experience.

To some extent our declining birth rates may alleviate the problem; in a society with a low birth rate and a low death rate there may be few jobs, but there will also be few new workers to fill them. And if technological advances lead to greatly increased prosperity, and taxes are reduced, then (provided that the workers share in this prosperity) even low-paid workers might be able to buy their own homes and invest enough to live off interest, perhaps growing some of their own food, and maybe picking up a little extra income by working as artists or craftsmen. Perhaps some high-tech version of Jefferson’s hope for the future might be achieved: a land of fairly independent small farmers.

But I fear, much as we patriots rightly distrust government intervention in the economy, that some form of government regulation (hopefully at the state level) may be needed. Perhaps corporations could be required to hire young people and pay them a pension after ten or twenty years, or some new form of social security may have to be implemented. We need to think about these possibilities and begin now to plan for a hoped-for future.

But first we have to regain our former Republic and survive the next ten or twenty years.

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