“No Country for Old Men”
By George Mantor
Well boys, they’re done with us. They don’t need us anymore. Nothing left for us to do but “Thunderdome” or UFC. Even the planes have started to fly themselves.
They tell us that the number of unemployed people “eligible for benefits” has declined to 7.8%, but 36.5% of Americans don’t work and contribute nothing. That isn’t a moral judgment, just an observation. Some are retired, some are disabled, and some give back to their communities, but they are not adding to GDP.
The only solution to our massive national debt is to dramatically expand GDP. We are forced to borrow to pay the interest on the existing debt and are adding to the principal in the process. We can never slash spending or raise taxes enough to solve that underlying problem; only an increase from tax revenues derived from expanding productivity can solve that problem.
The longer we wait to acknowledge this fundamental truth, the more difficult it becomes to achieve. We must put people back to work even if we have to borrow more to do it.
“Eligible for benefits” is the operative phrase.
Everyone knows that the real unemployment rate is more like 20 percent but, because so many people have maxed out their benefits, they don’t get counted.
There are 26 million unemployed and under employed. Their lack of productivity alone is a significant drain on the economy. What would our GDP look like if those valuable human resources were being utilized? Our leaders say that they will fix the economy and that will create jobs; but, jobs are what we need to fix the economy.
During the course of the entire campaign, no candidate has said what jobs will be created and by which industries.
If either candidate said this, they would be elected in a landslide.
“Hey guys, I’ve decided that we can’t go on like this ,so I say fuck the banks, let them fail and let’s use the money to build bullet trains, alternative energy resources, and fix our crumbling infrastructure so the generations that follow us don’t get screwed by our failure to do what needs to be done today.
Elect me and tomorrow we start to use our fiat money and our human resources to build something real and lasting for our children and their children. Everybody is going back to work and Congress can’t stop us. No more polite meetings, no Armani suits and hand-painted Countess Mara ties, just you, me, and 26 million Americans who are done sitting on the sidelines waiting to get back in the game.
I will personally bring before Congress the Bi-Partisan Rebuild America Jobs bill diverting the $85 billion per month in QE3 to fund it and, before I leave the Hill, I will have either their signatures or their brains on the bill.”
The economy cannot improve by itself. Only when someone gets a paycheck and puts the money in play to buy things and pay taxes will the economy improve. And, until then, employers aren’t going to hire.
Manufacturers, who know people can’t buy, aren’t going to hire more workers and make goods that will sit in warehouses. See the problem?
Either way, it is a leap of faith. We’ve tried monetary policy, giving the banks $85 billion a month to do more dodgy mortgage backed securities, and it clearly has not worked. It has proven to be the wrong way to go.
We borrowed trillions of dollars and have nothing to show for it except a bunch of wealthy bankers and 46 million Americans on SNAP, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as food stamps.
But, if we borrow to build infrastructure, we’ll have both the job creation and a modern America ready to survive an uncertain future.
Those 26 million wasted human resources are still out there and their ranks are growing, doing God only knows what to survive. They just don’t get counted in the fiction that passes for information.
The ministry of propaganda could not be more proud. “Everything is just fine. The economy is improving. Consumers are spending. Real estate has hit bottom. We are winning our too numerous to mention wars. There is no global warming. The food isn’t contaminated. The medicine isn’t poison. Fracking is good for the earth. Land of the free. Home of the brave. Under God, since 1954. And justice for all. Here is your SNAP debit card with the Chase logo. Run along now and buy some Twinkies.”
This period of unemployment is like nothing ever seen before. Because of my mouth, I used to get fired all of the time, and I’d have another job in a week. There are no jobs to go back to and none are being planned for. They don’t just magically appear or vanish; jobs are created when we make something or build something.
We have a workforce participation rate of only 63.5%. For the first time, there are more women in the workforce than men. Fewer American men have jobs than at any time since WWII. And for young men, it’s even worse; especially if you also happen to be black or just returning from serving your country.
Is the economy to blame? Well, yes and no. Yes to the extent that current monetary policy across the globe is freezing manufacturing and development, but in the United States, they just don’t need men.
In recent years, more women went to college than men. In an information driven environment, their skills in the area of collaboration and information leveraging are better; oh, and they will work for 19% less.
We are brawn, sweat, and testosterone, and designed and built for the Stone Age. Robots don’t sweat and don’t cause trouble.
Once we built railroads, bridges, and highways and the best damn cars on the planet. We cut your timber, drove your cattle, and mined your ore. We drilled your oil wells, fought your wars, and put a man on the moon.
My family moved west with the development of the country, and there was always a need for more men further west. The industrial age brought a demand for men to throw levers and turn wrenches and hammer things into place.
Manufacturing has changed but still requires manpower. Those jobs have been shipped elsewhere; even IT jobs by the thousands, and our workers were forced to train their overseas replacements. How is that for sucky?
An analysis completed by the Wall Street Journal found that U.S. multinationals outsourced 2.4 million jobs overseas from 2000-2010
What the September unemployment numbers do show is the ongoing loss of manufacturing sector and construction jobs. The gains in other areas were mostly part-time jobs.
American manufacturing was once the envy of the globe. That was a time when ”Made in Japan” was synonymous with laughably poor quality.
Ironically, the first betrayal came with the transistor. American radios and televisions relied upon vacuum tubes to control the electricity. They are very large, and consume a lot of power, making portability a relative thing. Tubes also produce a lot of heat in a tight space and they actually have to warm up for a minute before they work.
December 16th, 1947, is the most important date in the history of electronics and quite possibly the world.
Working at Bell Laboratories, Walter Brattain, William Shockley, and John Bardeen invented the transistor and learned one of the most important lessons in business. If you do indeed succeed in building that “better mousetrap”, the first feet beating a path to your door will be those of the lawyers representing the manufacturers of the current, yet inferior, mousetrap.
In this case, that would turn out to be the tube industry. Tubes burned out all of the time and needed to be replaced by a “skilled technician”. In business, it is well understood that obsolescence is the path to corporate prosperity.
The big radio companies like RCA had too big an investment in tubes. But, this was not the case for the company that would eventually become Sony, who had no stake in the status quo and a need to rebuild Japanese manufacturing post war.
There is no telling where America would have been today had we, and not the Japanese, been on the forefront of the electronics manufacturing boom. Today, we don’t even try to compete in manufacturing, and outsource almost everything to lower wage countries where 13 year old “interns” work for survival and live in “dorms”.
Ninety percent of the world’s goods spend at least part of their journey on a ship. “Ship it!” can be taken literally. No offense to you if you happen to own one of the world’s few shipping lines, probably registered in Panama, but that is just fucking crazy.
You would think that with the cost of fuel, shipping stuff from Asia would be cost prohibitive, but it’s never been cheaper.
And, in terms of carbon foot print per ton, shipping produces the lowest amount of CO2 emissions.
Still, that doesn’t make shipping goods half-way around the world particularly ecofriendly, and we know now what it means for American jobs.
One of the reasons manufacturing is exported is because environmental laws are more relaxed or non-existent. By the time we get our shitty goods home, they already have a carbon footprint far greater than it needs to be.
I’ve heard all of the economists drone on about how we can’t turn back from globalization; the world has become too interdependent. But, they’re getting a paycheck for doing something no one really needs.
I’m not an economist; I’m just a simple man from another place in time. It looks to me like this idea of globalization is a loser. And, being tied to an unraveling world doesn’t seem like a well thought out strategy. We going down with them do not save them.
It’s not that I’m an isolationist or that I believe in American Exceptionalism; I believe in self-preservation. Exporting our prosperity and importing poverty doesn’t strengthen our position in the global scramble for too few resources, it weakens it.
I voted for Ross Perot, and I’ll always remember what he said during his campaign. Referring to the North American Free Trade Agreement, (NAFTA), “That giant sucking sound you hear is American jobs going south.”
It was so obvious that even an Okie could see it.
We need to make our own stuff again like we used to do. That’s where the jobs are. And if we can make more than we need, everything we export improves our financial health overall.
I don’t care how good your educational system is, more than half of all Americans have an IQ below one hundred.
You can explain the third law of thermodynamics to them until you are blue in the face, but they still will not be able to fully comprehend black holes because their intellectual elevators stop at Honey Boo Boo.
We cannot all be scientists, biotech engineers, and mathematicians, but we still have to earn a living.
Based on generally accepted standards, these are the average IQ’s associated with various occupational groups:
- Professional and technical: 112
- Managers and administrators: 104
- Clerical workers, sales workers, skilled workers, craftsmen, and foremen: 101
——Average IQ in America: 98——Half of the population falls below this line
- Semi-skilled workers (operatives, service workers, including private household): 92
- Unskilled workers: 87
Half of the population doesn’t have the intellectual capacity needed to do clerical work, plumbing or program a remote, let alone write code. We are a nation of dumbasses as evidenced by our elected leaders. We either create jobs the average American can do, support them, or ignore them until the tipping point is met.
I think it makes more sense to pay more for items that are made in America because that creates jobs in manufacturing and taxes at every level. And, I am definitely willing to pay more for better quality. I’m sick and tired of fairly new things being rendered inoperable by some component the width of an angel’s hair.
Having manufacturing in America would enhance our security as well as our ability to innovate. We have lost our innovative edge because other people now make our stuff. There are not enough of us involved in the actual building of the product.
Innovation has hit a period of stagnation; we have hit a developmental road block. First there was building America and that took lots of men.
Then came the “Gee Whiz” era of technological development. But, it’s been a long time since the last “Next Big Thing” came along.
The last few years we have spent simply improving on technological advances from the decade prior. It’s all fun, new and better, but it isn’t the “next big thing” and there might not be one for a while.
We are talking about Windows 8 and iPhone 5. Version five or version six are not game changing innovations. Like virtual replacement tubes, they are just a piece in the cycle of the built-in obsolescence of things.
Absent some amazing discovery or an infrastructure rebuilding program, it may not be the human race that eventually disappears from the planet, just the men.
Even nature seems to recognize that there is a substantial oversupply of American men, resulting in the phenomenon known as the Darwin Award. Female recipients are outnumbered by men 10 to 1.
We drink, we fight, we ride motorcycles, we go to war, we drive too fast, we clean loaded guns and we get whacked more often and die younger than women. Just nature’s way of thinning the herd.
Unless they find something for us to do, I expect that will only get worse.