Friday, September 7, 2012

Jobs - Jobs - Jobs

   Every Media pundit will say the "real issue the people want to hear about is jobs, jobs, jobs". I think that is only partly true. It's more accurate to say we want to hear how the policy positions relate to creating jobs.
    We've all seen the latest jobs report and it was only a "bad" jobs report if we compare it the Clinton era. When compared with the Bush era, it was a pretty standard report with one BIG item missing. That big item being Public Sector hiring. The other big item that goes unaddressed, in my opinion, is the "trigger" for growth. In the 80's, America was faced with a "gas crisis", it wasn't recognized as much as an energy crisis since the major impact was only realized at the gas pump in long lines, rationing and soaring prices. America responded by retooling and producing new autos with higher gas mileage and high-tech parts, WE invested in Public Transportation and adjusting speed limits to promote fuel efficiency, Corporations responded by offering fluctuating shifts and introducing "work-at-home" positions. This response created a whole lot of jobs and opportunities.
   In the 90's, America made a drastic shift toward e-commerce. The goal of limited travel and the cost savings associated with it inspired the creation of an infrastructure we take for granted, the "virtual marketplace". While most of us tend to focus on the "bubble" and the massive "wealth destruction" that marked the completion of a functioning e-commerce infrastructure, in the final analysis there were over 20 million NET JOBS created and the internet continues to drive our economy and contribute heavily to economic expansion. But once again, it was the demand for lower energy costs that provided an essential "trigger".
   In the "Lost Decade", the energy "crisis" was once again at the heart of our economic expansion. Although terribly slow with anemic job creation, the invasion of Iraq fueled our economy with a flood of money. Instead of paying for the War that was supposed to pay for itself with control of the Strait of Hormuz and the largest untapped oil reserves in the World, America chose the Bush Doctrine of an "Ownership Society". Anyone and everyone could now buy a home on the "promise" to make timely payments. No job? No problem! We have plenty of money to throw around! We even sent a pallet of Millions somewhere and we don't care if we EVER find it! Okay, enough all know what happened. The Republicans looked for the easiest short-term solution and the Easy Mortgage plan fit the bill. For two years, it went swimmingly. So well, that auto manufacturers abandoned fuel efficiency with the promise of Iraqi oil wells and huge Equity Loans to substitute for a raise or a job for the consumer. It was the best of times...and the demand for more energy was the "trigger".
   So here we are. Our "trigger" lays dormant. Sure, there's been progress in auto manufacturing, but not until after they restructured and there is still the challenge of "tight" credit requirements on new auto loans. But the biggest obstacle of all is not socialism or welfare or the Banks, it's the politics. We have a bigger demand than ever for new and different sources of energy. For some, it's a matter of environmental awareness. For others, it's a matter of practicality. For even others, it's just a matter of wanting to see innovation. But to nearly every "conservative", it's a matter of principle that any energy source other than a fossil fuel is simply "not American". In defiance of all their "market competition" blather, they staunchly defend the oil monopoly and even the Government subsidies of the Multinational Oil Corporations. If we want to "unleash" the Private Sector, we need to first "unleash" our "trigger" and demand a competitive market for energy sources and the systems for delivery. In the 2012 elections, your vote for energy alternatives is essential to an American Economy that is truly Built To Last...and if it slows climate change? That's definitely a nice bonus.

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