The 20th century was The American Century. Let’s face it. This century has been a flop, a dud, and it does not show much promise. Following our second major recession in this short century, the nascent recovery is foundering. After the worst terrorist attack on US soil, we have spent a decade at war and accomplished what? Personal standards of living are falling, yet we remain a materialistic society.
We need American jobs. Here are some stats updated from the latest employment reports, courtesy of Calculated Risk.
So the percentage of job losses and the duration of the job recession exceeds any post war recession.
The percentage of our population that is employed is falling towards post war lows. Job creation is not sufficient for the growth of our population, so this graph will continue to trend down until we see an exponential increase in new employment.
The level of desperately unemployed is off the charts. If we double dip, this number will continue its trajectory. In addition, even among those employed, the quality of employment is down. More people are working part time or below their historical income levels.
There are no easy solutions. However, as this article points out, we have created some of this mess ourselves. We have outsourced and off shored too many jobs. Our corporations have elected to save money by employing cheaper foreign labor or by maximizing product content purchased from overseas. We have seeded the rest of the world with employment and technology that has made it easier for them to build industries that compete with our own. We have believed the myth of our own invincibility. We were smarter, better, more industrious. We could keep the high skill high pay jobs here and enjoy the benefit of low cost employees and resources overseas. So we thought.
I am not a protectionist. I do not believe in trade barriers except where there are grossly disparate trade policies. I do believe it is long past time for American corporations to step up to the plate. Corporations must make voluntary choices to share the prosperity. Our shareholder first philosophy is self destructing. By not taking care of the American worker, our shareholders are now reaping the domino effects of deflationary pressures, weakened consumers, insecure retirees, unemployed teens that can’t build valuable skills for future employment, environmental degradation from safety shortcuts, a future higher tax environment from diminished national income, and a spiral towards global mediocrity.
When will we we wake up?