Tag Archive | "unemployment"

Solving America’s Job Crisis

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As our unemployment rate hovers stubbornly over 8%, we are witnessing an America that again seems to be teetering on the verge of economic collapse.  The talking heads on the network and cable news and opinion programs tell us that our economy is growing slowly, but those of us living in the real world, witnessing rising gasoline and food prices, know better.  Our economy is standing still at best.


Yet, there is work that needs to be done.  Time continues to march forward and weather conditions and just plain wear and tear take their toll on roads, homes, and commercial structures.  Roads need to be repaired or repaved and homes require interior and exterior maintenance as do commercial buildings.  Daily in my neighborhood, I hear the buzz of lawnmowers and string trimmers as landscapers, often not American citizens, work busily.  In my infrequent travels throughout my local community, I witness home improvement work being done on homes – not as much as in better economic times.  And, as with landscapers, many of those performing the work appear to be foreigners.


Before anyone gets the wrong impression, I am not about to bemoan non-citizens taking the jobs of Americans.  In today’s America, virtually all children are lectured on the benefits of higher education.  Yet, in our current economic plight, there are too many college graduates, lacking experience and business savvy, vying for too few positions.  In a bad job market, employers can and do demand trained, experienced employees to fill their precious openings.    And this state of affairs is not likely to change, even should our economy incrementally improve.


The plight of today’s college grads reminds me of a similar situation that existed at the conclusion of World War ll.  Too many inexperienced GI’s returned seeking to fill the jobs needed to retool America’s peacetime factories.  To develop and trained labor force and employee homecoming GI’s, America’s answer came in the form of the GI Bill enabling the returning heroes to gain a college degree or a trade school diploma.


Today, with the outsourcing of production work to other parts of the world, our once bustling factories lie dormant.  The life blood of American Labor has succumbed to corporate profits in a global economy. So, the only jobs remaining for an inexperienced labor force are low paying jobs at or just above minimum wage.


Think about it.  At $10 per hour, an employee would earn just $400 in a typical 40-hour work week, hardly enough to raise a family let along pay a mortgage.  What is going to happen to our society?  Will we become more dependent on government assistance and ultimately become a democratic socialist state like much of Europe?  Or, might the desire for economic security lead our society to move toward authoritarianism?


Where will America stand as we near a One World Government Global Society?  Will we lose our sovereignty – willingly or unwillingly?  These are the unanswered questions that beset all liberty-loving Americans.


Yet, Americans still have a choice.  To reclaim our jobs, build a skilled workforce, and revitalize our economy, we need to reorient our thinking on education.  The mindset of the American student is to go to college to secure his financial future.  Yet, recent college grads are learning the hard lesson that perhaps the lean, mean businesses of today and the foreseeable future have no place for the hundreds of thousands of students graduating with degrees in business and the liberal arts.


Vocational training, long the poor step-sister of American education, may be an answer.  If today’s parents had guided their children to learn a trade, many of those young people currently unemployed might have been working, perhaps in businesses of their own.  Vocational training need not replace college, although for some it could.  Moreover, it has value even for those who never earn a dime from their skills.  Most of these people will someday become homeowners and may be able to apply their trades skills in doing work on their own homes.


Many of our nation’s Founding Fathers were Freemasons, who trace their roots to the building of King Solomon’s Temple in Jerusalem in 967 B.C.  If enough of our young people learned a trade – in lieu of or in addition to a college education – perhaps that might spawn a new American Revolution, one that will help propel a new sense of economic freedom and security.



A Matter of Ethics

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As the unemployment rates soars into double digits, why are employers still complaining about the lack of good help?  And where are all the people out of work who constitute good help?

Despite lengthy and loyal service to employers, the belts that have tightened Corporate America’s waist have left workers with a rude kiss-off to regular paychecks and once-guaranteed pensions.  Watching impotently as greedy bastards received TARP funds from a blithe government, many downsized employees have developed fatalistic attitudes.  The outlook of those eligible for Unemployment benefits must surely be one of entitlement, and not just to make ends meet.   Canned workers want their teeny little piece of the pie as well as a bit of freedom from having to slave for wages while the unrepentant rich get richer.  Although the well of Unemployment is beginning to run dry with so many drinking from it, some beneficiaries must view this scenario as their one opportunity to stick it to those who screwed them out of their jobs.

From an employer’s point of view, it must be difficult to maintain minimal workforces that include staff performing on sub-par levels: those who call out sick on Monday mornings, arrive late for work, and do their jobs half-heartedly.  Why, then, don’t bosses seek better workers?  Could it be that they can’t be bothered running (and paying for) want ads, and taking the time to weed through the myriad hopefuls knocking on their doors?  If so, is it fair for management to complain about the less-than-efficient help?   And why is it less than efficient?


Nepotism and favoritism run rampant in every business.  Lazy and inexperienced workers are always hired because they are related to or buddy-buddies with someone at the top of the hiring food chain.   Since we all came into this world with nothing, it would behoove us to promote the concept that there is no shame in starting at the bottom rung of the ladder.  Every job plays an important part of our society.

Consider the sanitation worker.  It would be hard to imagine what our lives would be like if everyone thought they were “too good” to perform this type of work. Without sanitation workers, we would revert to Victorian London, where the streets ran with all manner of filth, and not only in the poorer parts of town.  If no one carted the garbage, imagine the pervasive stench of rotting rubbish, not to mention the vermin.  There would probably be a lot fewer people on the planet because of illness from the ensuring disease.


Perspective is a matter of choice.  We can choose to see ourselves as drones stuck doing repetitious tasks day after day, or as providers of valuable services.  We can see ourselves as haulers of other people’s trash or protectors of our fellow citizens; as flippers of burgers or those entrusted to feed the hungry masses.  The level of the work that we perform does not diminish our value as human beings.  It is up to us to execute our duties with integrity; it’s up to us to promote our own self-esteem.

Good work habits in adulthood begin with good study habits in our formative years.  The coddled children who seem to be the norm today would do well to learn that anything worth having, including a job in this declining economy, is worth working for.  Perhaps the spoiled brats should be made to wear the proud orange and navy colors of Alabama’s Auburn University, particularly the T-shirts that boast the school’s motto.  In part, that motto reads:

I believe that this is a practical world, and I can count only on what I earn.

Therefore, I believe in work, hard work.


I believe in education, which gives me the knowledge to work wisely,

And trains my mind and my hands to work skillfully.


I believe in honesty and truthfulness, without which

I cannot win the respect and confidence of my fellow man.

Amen to that!

Solving Unemployment

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In September of 2008, the United States of America experienced a financial meltdown, resulting in massive, escalating unemployment.  Government stepped in to fill the gap, using $710 billion in taxpayer’s money in an attempt to resolve the situation.  The money was allocated to keep the “big boys” on Wall Street and in the insurance industry afloat, and ostensibly, to save jobs.  Lo and behold, the financial market has recovered to some degree, but the unemployment rate remains high.  Why?

Like most businesses, the financial and insurance industries are interested primarily in profits, and not what benefits the country-at-large.  The difference, however, between finance and insurance, and other industries, is that the first two are heavily regulated by the government, and for good reason.  The mandates exist largely to protect taxpayers from fraud and theft.  Knowing that their you-know-whats’ were hauled out of the fire by the taxpayer bailout, for the express purpose of maintaining and creating jobs, why have those industries not responded in this way?  President Franklin D. Roosevelt stated, “The economy of the country depends on the spending power of its people.”  How right he was!  FDR tried to jumpstart the economy during the Great Depression by creating jobs though government-run programs such as WPA and CCC.  Because these jobs did not originate from the private sector, he did not achieve this goal.

Our capitalistic system demands that employment must be profitable.  How, then, do we fulfill this demand in this terrifying economy?   The first step is to achieve a meeting of the minds between government and the private sector as to which will be the source of employment.  When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor and plunged us into World War II, meetings such as this took place, and were successfully concluded, to organize the nation into a smoothly running machine capable of winning the war.  Once faced with a common enemy, it did not take long for both parties to offer viable solutions, including changes in the products, machinery, and workforce complexion of manufacturing.

As a nation, we must take a page out of that book to resolve today’s economic and employment problems.  Both parties, government and industry, must realize that there has to be give and take, not a rape of the American public by taking advantage of a crisis situation.  Now bolstered with $710 billion, the private sector must begin to recall employees it had downsized in response to the 2008 stock market crash.

In turn, the government must make business more profitable by facilitating this period of transition and growth through a reduction in taxes and by supplying work to industry.  Simultaneously, entrepreneurs and small businesses should be allowed to invest in the job market by easing the restrictions that pose problems to the operation and, by association, profitability of their businesses.  The final goal should be to employ more than 95% of the nation’s workforce, thus reducing the current 10 percent rate of unemployment. With more workers contributing to social programs via automatic payroll deductions, those programs would become solvent and self-sustaining.

A renewed workforce equates to money in the pockets of consumers.  With disposable incomes, consumers will stimulate the economy on all levels: they will be able to patronize a broad range of providers of products and services.  The economy would blossom. Both government and business would profit, and Americans would not be losing their homes, going hungry, and forced to learn Chinese and Arabic in the hopes of landing jobs in foreign lands.

If all of this could be accomplished, the next step would be to transform government to run in a business-like manner.  Citizens should be viewed as clients; every business creates and maintains a client base, or the business does not exist.   This strategy would make government more fiscally accountable while providing needed services to its citizens.  By abolishing earmarks and lobbying, we’d dramatically reduce corruption of our elected officials and make government more responsive to the needs of its clients, us.

Next, let’s merge Social Security and a Federal pension plan into one viable program for every citizen.  Laws must mandate that elected officials have the same programs as regular citizens, not special concessions.  Money collected for social programs (Social Security, etc.) should not be placed into a general fund, but allocated for the purposes for which they were intended (i.e., solvency of senior citizens upon their retirement).  The U.S. Treasury Department should place the funds into separate, low-risk, interest bearing accounts to be managed by financial professionals.  These professionals must demonstrate ethics and business practices that will be held to the highest scrutiny, via meticulous, unannounced external audits.  All finances must be reconciled; no secret slush funds for those seeking to rip off “the little guy.”

This plan may not be the cure-all for our country’s woes, but it is a start in the right direction!  When you consider the cold reality, what is the shortest road to national success?  Is it healthcare?  Housing?  The financial market? Or jobs?  Which one of these choices relates to President Roosevelt’s declaration that the economy of the country depends on the spending power of the people?  The answer to that question, obviously, is “jobs.” Without consumer confidence and resultant spending, our nation would be reduced to “banana republic” third world status.  Yes, I said “third world” and not “emerging nation.”  Let’s call it what it is, shall we?  Know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.

The recipe for success will lie in the hands of the three parts of our Federal system.  Every citizen, therefore, should be extremely well informed and painstakingly selective when voting for our representatives in 2010 and the future.  And if this article has offended you in any manner, you may very well be a part of the problem and not the solution. 

The Unemployment Pandemic

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The graphical representation below demonstrates far better than words the staggering growth of unemployment throughout the United States during the period from January 2007 to the present time.  With double-digit unemployment spreading like a contagion to virtually every state and locality in the United States, our nation’s recovery from the worst recession since the Great Depression seems dubious.

Perhaps, we can all land those “lucrative” work-at-home jobs.  Or, better yet, maybe we should all seek bailout funds from Uncle Sam.  If bailout funds had gone directly to the people rather than the Wall Street elite, then average Americans would have been able to pay their bills and keep their homes while consumer spending, investment, and entrepreneurship would have blossomed.

“While Nero fiddled, Rome burned” is an expression coined to symbolize governmental extravagance in the face of suffering and hardship by its citizenry.  While politicians in Washington posture before the media – feigning concern for the citizens who foot the bill for their salaries, lavish expense accounts, and junkets around the globe, real Americans encounter joblessness or the fear of imminent joblessness and financial ruin on a daily basis.

At the dawn of each day, government officials at all levels should be compelled to watch the video below.  Then, perhaps, they might discover the source of the collective discontent of many and commit themselves to developing “working” solutions. 

Concealed from You: The Other Secret

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There is a concept that holds that the universe contains everything we need, essential to our survival and happiness, and that the universe, in turn, is contained within each one of us.  Although a best seller entitled The Secret hinted that this concept is largely unknown, it is actually an ages-old hypothesis with its roots firmly planted in spirituality.  For a theory to have survived so long, it must contain truth.  As you seek employment, then, look within you as well as without.


If you are despondent over the loss of your job, you may wish to try on a new perspective the way you might try on a new coat.  Observe the glorious, turning colors of fall signifying the death of the season.  As the leaves wither and blow away, as the chill of winter comes on, know that it will be followed by spring, and that springs always follows winter.  See your time of unemployment not as a terrible long-term fate but as a temporary period in your life as well as an opportunity for growth and change.


Just as animals return to their burrows for the winter to store energy for the time that the sun will once again replenish the earth, return also to your resume and career search strategies with a new focus.  Are your accomplishments salient as well as relevant to potential employers?  Is there something that might be deleted, such as older jobs that are no longer pertinent or portray you as “too mature?”  And, are you using all of the technological and human networking tools at your disposal, to best advantage?  Are you accessing the “hidden job market?”


Finally, take a good look at yourself.  You are a valuable, creative individual; your work history proves that.  You are marketable and employable.  Know this and go forth with renewed confidence and strength.  And may God bless you in this journey. 

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