Sardonic Sistah Says

Observations… Ruminations… Ponderances… & Rants from Another Perspective

Too Many People, Too Few Jobs

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Oddly enough I was just thinking along these lines for the last few weeks but I haven’t written about it because I couldn’t find the right words.  Nancy Pelosi found them for me, though.  Pelosi wants to include birth control as part of the $825 billion stimulus package (there’s so many jokes I could make right here but I’m going to take the high road).

Pelosi said, “Well, the family planning services reduce cost. They reduce cost. The states are in terrible fiscal budget crises now and part of what we do for children’s health, education and some of those elements are to help the states meet their financial needs. One of those – one of the initiatives you mentioned, the contraception, will reduce costs to the states and to the federal government.”

And I can see arguments against it (ex: “we aren’t China, we won’t input a one child rule” or “it’s an individuals rights to have as many kids as they want/afford” or “what will happen to future labor force?”).

But then my argument against it is the rise of technology, cheap goods and cheaper labor.  People complain about the Wal-Mart effect on everything, but who is willing to spend more on a toaster if they don’t have to just to keep people working?  The American economy has always been moved by a cheap labor force.  Before it was slaves against poor whites and when the slaves were freed confederates brought in Chinese coolies to help subset the cost.  In the early 1900s it was the Irish and Italians who were the cheap labor and now 100 years later it’s Mexicans.  All the while technology (machinery) has been improved to take the place of human labor. 

The cotton gin is one of the reasons slavery became obsolete.  Yeah, Lincoln helped to free the slaves but once the cotton gin became more affordable it would have been more cost productive than to own X amount of slaves.

The internet is helping to lay waste to a lot of different industries (music, books, movies, television, newspapers).  Overseas cheap labor is diminishing competitiveness for American products.  So people, poor to middle class, really need to think about what the job market will be in 20 years if they have a child today.  Not to say that they shouldn’t have children but in the long term outlook what is sustainable for the American economy?  Will there be jobs for kids born today and graduating with from high school?  Will college be affordable?  Will the middle class dream be obtainable?  On Richard Reich’s blog he talks about how the middle class has been doing with less for the last 30 years.

The real reason is middle-class families have exhausted the coping mechanisms they’ve used for over three decades to get by on median wages that are barely higher than they were in 1970, adjusted for inflation. Male wages today are actually lower than they were then; the income of a young man in his 30s is now 12 percent below that of a man his age three decades ago…

When families couldn’t paddle any harder, we started paddling longer. The typical American now works two weeks more each year than 30 years ago. Compared to any other advanced nation we’re veritable workaholics, putting in 350 more hours a year than the average European, more even than the notoriously industrious Japanese.

I understand that people don’t like what Pelosi is saying but someone needed to say it.   And now that it’s out there is it viable?  Or should we wait for China to start importing our goods made with our own cheap American labor? 

“Made in America” sounds so familiar?  Wasn’t there a label like that a while ago?

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Written by rentec

27 January, 2009 at 3:53 pm

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