Commonwealth Journal

Columns

January 11, 2012

How do you restore earning power of the middle class?

(Continued)

Somerset — This is what is so chilling about this. It is tacit recognition of a new normal. With unemployment now dropping to 8.5% there are still millions of American workers out of work. More disturbing is that when they go back to work it will be for a fraction of what they were making previously. The reason for this is that the American worker is now being subjected to competition for wages on a global scale. The American worker is now being forced to compete against workers who are not provided any kind of health care, retirement benefits or safety regulations. What s only softly spoken of is that globally during the past ten years an additional two billion (with a B) workers have entered the workforce. Some not by coming of age but by the jobs just being made available to them. This has had a tremendous downward pressure on wages.

How does this affect the American worker? Well, these giant corporations sell stuff globally. For people to buy their stuff globally then the manufacturing costs have to be low enough to fit that global worker's budget. In an earlier time those markets were domestic. Goods were consumed chiefly by the American consumer and only had to fit his budget. But corporate demand for ever appreciating stock prices dictated that markets had to increase beyond the natural birth rate of our country and the rest followed just as certainly as the sun comes up tomorrow.

What this means is this. Speaking generally, if you have only a high school education you are going to be competing with the international worker for a low wage. You and your family will have little hope of accessing higher education, health care or home ownership. The only rung on the ladder lower than you will be those who dropped out or fell victim to any of the disasters that can occur to someone.

If you have a college education you have a better chance depending on your field of study. Engineers and mathematicians will be in demand as will a small cadre of financial workers but that is going global also. We will require more teachers but budget constraints will likely limit an attractive wage for that endeavor. Social workers and medical technicians will be in demand to service the increasing numbers of aged and infirm but they will be subject to budget constraints also. When you graduate you will likely assume a debt of $40,000 to $60,000 on which payments will be due on immediately. You will spend years paying off that debt before you actually become a revenue generator for our country and your family.

If you attend graduate school your chances will improve dramatically but so will your debt.

So, all of the yelping about job creation is just about prolonging the decline in the earning potential of the middle class. What is needed is a national plan to not only create high paying jobs but to ensure that our country retains the ability to be a leader in developing technologies. We can't do that while cutting federal funding for research and development. The free marketers and libertarians say that government has no place in the markets but it is as plain as the nose on your face that this argument is short-sighted and deadly. If we leave these things for markets to generate then chances are they will generate elsewhere where costs are cheaper. There are other countries that have a plan and whose populations are being educated to meet their goals. We will not remain the leading innovators in the world just by relying on chance.

There is a lot to be said about this. This affects you here in Pulaski County as well as those in Cleveland, Ohio. Ask yourself, “how do we restore the earning potential of the middle class?”

More later, stay tuned.

My take on the present and future of jobs. Get serious.

Text Only
Columns
  • mug shot.jpg Stanziano left behind a grand legacy

    It should be no surprise that Mark Stanziano was an Oakland Raiders fan. Back in the day, Raiders owner Al Davis always looked for the good in a football player— regardless of their sometimes less-than-sparkling reputation.

    July 4, 2014 1 Photo

  • The great Hobby Lobby debate
    It’s a common joke among those of us in the libertarian set that liberals are pro-choice when it comes to reproductive rights — and anti-choice when it comes to everything else.
    Rarely is that borne out so much than in the Hobby Lobby contraceptives case.

    July 4, 2014

  • 002 CHRIS NEW MUG.jpg Without the past, there is no present

    June 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • mug shot.jpg Political correctness is running amok

    Once again, political correctness is running amok. This time, it’s the bureaucrats in Washington trying to force Daniel Snyder to change the name of his National Football League team.

    June 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • mug shot.jpg 20 years since the fall of a national hero

    If you were a child of the 70s, you probably were a fan of O.J. Simpson. The angular running back with smooth-as-silk moves and power to boot was the first African-American athlete who really transcended racial barriers.

    June 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • mug shot.jpg A little guidance on the safety of our teens
    If you’re the parent of a teen, there’s good news. Your child is less likely to drink and smoke these days, and less likely to fight at school. Unfortunately, they’re also likely to text behind the wheel when they reach driving age, and they’re much more immersed in video games, the Internet and their handy smartphone.
    These results were gleaned from a test of 13,000 U.S. high school students last spring. This survey has been conducted since 1991.

    June 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • Coal can’t be king in Kentucky forever

    “We’re going to be screwed no matter what,” a mechanic in Wooton, Ky., told me last year. We were talking about the coal industry and how it might be regulated in the future.

    June 13, 2014

  • 002 CHRIS NEW MUG.jpg Grads leave high school well-prepared for life Tonight, the current crop of seniors from my high school alma mater receive their diplomas. ‘Tis the season for graduations, and Somerset High School will be saying goodbye to the class of 2014. Next weekend, Pulaski County High School and Southwestern High School will do likewise.

    May 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • mug shot.jpg Grimes needs to take a firm stand on Obama Alison Lundergan Grimes is in a really tough spot. First of all, she’s squaring off against a GOP juggernaut in longtime U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell this fall. And, secondly, she finds herself linked to the most unpopular president ever in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Instead of taking a firm stand on her feelings on President Oba

    May 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • 002 CHRIS NEW MUG.jpg Sometimes it’s hard to let go of an old friend

    May 21, 2014 1 Photo

News Live
AP Video
Judge Ponders Overturning Colo. Gay Marriage Ban Airlines Halt Travel to Israel Amid Violence NYPD Chief Calls for 'use of Force' Retraining VA Nominee McDonald Goes Before Congress Bush: Don't Worry, Sugarland Isn't Breaking Up US Official: Most Migrant Children to Be Removed Police Probing Brooklyn Bridge Flag Switch CDC Head Concerned About a Post-antibiotic Era Raw: First Lady Says `Drink Up' More Water Courts Conflicted Over Healthcare Law Holder Urges Bipartisanship on Immigration Raw: Truck, Train Crash Leads to Fireball US Airlines Cancel Israel Flights Obama Signs Workforce Training Law Crash Victims' Remains Reach Ukraine-held City Diplomatic Push Intensifies to End War in Gaza Cat Fans Lap Up Feline Film Festival Michigan Plant's Goal: Flower and Die Veteran Creates Job During High Unemployment
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Stocks