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02/10/2011

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John D

The new David Stockman is insightful and a straight-shooter. Too bad he was such a political hack when he worked as Reagan's Budget Director. We'd all be better off he had told the truth about voodoo economics back then.

BJ

Folks are wondering why their health care premiums are skyrocketing. The partial answer, there has been a permanent decrease in the number of full time young healthy workers who have benefits attached to their job. Now add in a aging population. And reportedly, government jobs are just beginning to be shed, and they generally are paid better, and have higher cost benefits associated with them. The insurance companies aren't going to take a loss.

Another thing to consider is the number of obsolete workers, and those replaced by machines. The automakers had already planned to move plants offshore prior to the crash. Construction, beyond government funded, is coming back when? (Of course in my town, we hundred of thousands of empty retail space but they are still building more.) Teachers are going to be hired back when? Manufacturing is going to return to the level it was in 2000 when? How many of us have automated clerks at their grocery stores, banks, post offices, etc?

For those in these pools of people, are you going to spend $40,000-$60,000 on a new education? If so, how old will you be when you graduate, when your student loans are paid off? At that age, will anyone hire you, based on your employment AND health care costs, or a fellow but much younger graduate? Even back in the 1990s, a company I worked for had trouble keeping health insurance, because we had an aged workforce needing expensive medical treatment. How old will you be when you recoup that investment? For many, their only option is low paying retail and restaurant jobs, but in my town, there is a endless supply of young T&A to fill those jobs, which rules out my sorry old butt. :)

It is a whole new world out there.

Mitch

BJ hit the nail on the head, its not merely some sort of 'business cycle' or due to macro-economic trends. Globalization has been a net loss for the bulk of Americans who lost jobs, with some major financial gains to the few who manage profits/companies who can chase the cheapest international labor markets. Many 'futurists' wrote back in the 70's and 80's about mechanization and the job loss associated with it. One man running a mini-excavator can do the work of 10 guys with shovels, and there are many instances where labor jobs have been sacrificed at the altar of progress. The politico's push for 'new job training' is mostly just propoganda, since most college degrees won't actually land you a job and the hot fields of the time are starting to become glutted with students such as nursing programs.

So with major systemic problems with incentive for a handful of folks to continue to push this wealth producing methodology--the average US worker is becoming mostly obsolete.

The downside of the oil curve may actually increase employment eventually--but the job loss and transition is likely going to be too much for a highly coupled non-redundant system to handle--clearly the political smoking mirrors will dissipate eventually.

Mitch

Unbound

Well if the events cited below are indicative of the "green shoots" of the nascent "green economy" I have my doubts whether the down slope of Hubbert's curve will generate sufficient employment opportunities.

Evergreen Solar moved its operation to China eliminating 800 jobs.
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/15/business/energy-environment/15solar.html

The NIMBYs have morphed into CAVE (Citizens Against Virtually Everything) dwellers, and the CAVEists are butting heads with green job creation, see:

solar power plant opposition
http://solarhbj.com/news/in-colorado-solar-power-plant-proposal-stirs-opposition-in-scenic-valley-01189 and;

Why environmentalists oppose new solar power plants
http://solar.calfinder.com/blog/solar-politics/why-environmentalists-oppose-new-solar-power-plants/ and;

Supes Approve Permits for Borrego Solar Plant - Over strong opposition
http://poway.patch.com/articles/supes-approve-permits-for-solar-plant-next-to-borrego-valley-airport

To date the u.s. lacks any offshore wind farms, Cape Wind was the poster child for opposition to a wind farm (CW was finally granted approval), and there have been others like; Wind Farm in the Great Lakes? Big potential meets big opposition.
http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/2010/0301/Wind-farm-in-the-Great-Lakes-Big-potential-meets-big-opposition.

The opposition isn't relegated strictly to offshore — land based projects have also been opposed — a simple web-search under wind farm opposition will provide enough examples.

When reading these types of stories it reinforces my contention that this country is an open-air-nut-house.

John Andersen

Jobs are not in our future.

Taking care of ourselves and our family and friends is our future.

That means broad-based skills including growing, storing, and preparing food.

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