Jobs, Jobs, Jobs -- Why Nobody, Including Obama, Will Do A Damn Thing About Them (Plus Six Common-Sense Solutions) →
1) Shorten the work week. Start with a four-day work week. That means we can get 20% more people into the job market. With around 20% people currently out of work, or working part-time, that solves our jobless problem in one stroke. If that’s too big a wrench, cut down daily work hours at firms instead of firing people. That’s what they do in Germany, where they don’t have our job loss (they do everything better in Europe, but don’t get me started).
2) Launch a program of job-sharing. That means you’re allowed to share your job with someone else. They do something similar in Germany, too. So if you have a friend out of work, you can have her come in one or two days a week to share your job. Of course, you’re also putting her on your salary, so you will be earning less, but at least your friend will be earning something.
3) Slap an import tariff on all Chinese imports. Make it 20%. Suddenly, when Chinese imports become more expensive, American CEOs will have a big road-to-Damascus moment: hey, we can make our stuff here in America instead of in China. There are these people in America, they call themselves American workers, and they can actually work for us and make things. They’re like Chinese workers, except they actually live here in our country. Wow.
I know, it’s not free trade, but here’s one thing that free trade means: 60% of what we import from China is made by American subsidiaries there. So let’s agree about something: our livelihoods are more important than free trade, which has freed American corporations to export our jobs. Let’s fellate free trade with a mininuke. It’s not as if China doesn’t put up barriers against our exports to them either, chief among them undervaluing their renminbi.
4) Invest massively in green energy, like China and Denmark have already done (Denmark!? why are those damn Scandinavians always the first to do something sensible?). I mean MASSIVE investments in green energy, as massively and transformatively as the Marshall Plan that put a bombed-into-rubble Germany back on its feet, or the Manhattan Project that gave us the atom bomb, or JFK’s NASA that gave us a man on the moon in ten years. Obama already put $27.2 billion towards green energy in his February 2009 stimulus bill. But this was akin to a gnat piddling in a waterfall. A few hundred billions behind green energy: now that could solve our unemployment problem as quick and easy as you can overthrow some Arab dictators.
In fact, Obama got a second chance to do something big about green energy when the BP oil spill came along, and everyone walked around hating oil companies. But he blew that opportunity, too. Obama is a lot like what Abba Eban said about Yasser Arafat: Obama never misses an opportunity to miss an opportunity.
5) Lower the retirement age. Yes, you read me right. The reason we need to lower the retirement age, say to 60 for a start, and maybe 55 later on, is to make room for new young workers to enter the job market. Those new workers coming in — they’ll be paying into Social Security so our retirees can retire early.
I know people are saying we should raise the retirement age to save Social Security, but that’s BS. Social Security is fully funded for the next 30 years at least. This is what it says in the flyer that Social Security sends out to Social Security recipients:
“Since the mid-1980s, Social Security has been collecting more in payroll contributions each year than it pays out in retirement, survivor, and disability benefits.
“Surplus funds are invested in U.S. Treasury bonds, which represent an implicit promise by the U.S. government to repay Social Security when and if additional money is needed to cover benefits.
“According to Congressional Budget Office, the Social Security Trust Fund holds more than $2.5 trillion in government bonds and is projected to grow to $3.8 trillion in 2020. This money will be sufficient, along with current tax revenue, to pay all scheduled benefits through the year 2043.”
In other words, Social Security will be fit and healthy right through the big bubble of the boomer generation collecting it. Plus, anytime you need to, you can get more money by raising the annual income limit beyond which you don’t pay into Social Security, now pegged at $90,000. Anybody who tells you Social Security is in trouble, is trying to steal your money so they can go play with it. It drives Wall Street absolutely nuts that there are all those trillions they can’t get their hands on. Their hands itch worse than Nietzsche’s foreskin when he was going crazy with syphilis. It drives retired Wall Street billionaire Peter Peterson so nuts, he’s spending a billion dollars of his personal stash to attack Social Security through his foundation and his America Speaks program.
6) Start a public works program a la FDR’s WPA (Works Progress Administration), which produced eight million jobs between 1935 and 1943. It worked great then. But today, it depends on Obama. And he ain’t no FDR. He likes to read books about Reagan, the poodle of the rich. FDR stood up to the rich. Obama can’t: he needs their money to get re-elected. It’s odd how everyone in America cops that our crumbling infrastructure needs fixing, while millions are jobless, but no one can muster the wherewithal to solve these two problems at one stroke. Not even Obama, whose job it is. We’ve got people who need work, we’ve got infrastructure that needs repair. Put the two together and voila! problem solved. Simple, right? But our common sense and our let’s-do-it gumption, and the nous of our President, are flying somewhere weightlessly in space like astronaut’s poop floating wherever the heck they deposit their waste.
Also known as “Why Slavery Allowed for 100% Employment of American Blacks from 1776-1865.”
Take away the ability of people to make free decisions for themselves and you can top-down all sorts of results favorable to bureaucrats and unthinking socialists. Why not outlaw emails? That will certainly create more postal worker jobs. Or shut down shovel factories and shovel imports. If everyone has to dig with a spoon, more people will be forced to dig the same size hole. Or how about we shut down all our power factories and instead employ tens (maybe hundreds) of thousands of people to pedal stationary bicycles to create our energy. Now that is a massive job program that’s also clean and renewable! We’ll call it the Human Hamsters Unleash Green Energy project. I’m telling you, it’ll be “HHUGE.”
And why stop at 20% tariff on Chinese imports? If 20% is so good, 50% must be better! And since so many goods will be that much more expensive, no one (except the rich and politically connected) will be able to afford anything! Brilliant! And why stop at the Chinese? Let’s just put massive tariffs on ALL imports! Who cares what nations we piss off. Bastiat obviously didn’t know what he was talking about when he said “When goods don’t cross borders, armies will.”
And while we’re lowering the retirement age (and paying no mind how to financially support the suddenly more definitionally unproductive individuals who would be net leeches to the economy), let’s think about other groups of people we can discriminate against and keep from entering the workforce. How about Puerto Ricans? Or people with blue eyes? Or left-handed women? Or bi-sexual midgets? I mean, as long as the government is deciding who can or cannot work, what difference does it make if it’s on the basis of race, gender, age or any other arbitrary trait that is inconsequential to their ability to perform a job a willing employer would pay them to do?
This is one of the most economically ignorant things I’ve read since Al Gore invented the internet.
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