W hen I was a teenager, the song “Get a Job” was a big hit. Go to the web and check out the song’s highly intelligent lyrics to see that job searches, even years ago, didn’t always pan out.
Today it is much more difficult to get a job, partly due to advances in technology as well as to governmental policies pushed by Democrats and Republicans alike in the service of transnational corporations.
For example, trade agreements made the outsourcing of many good-paying manufacturing jobs from the U.S. to low-wage countries very profitable for U.S. transnational corporations. Making matters worse, the Obama administration is currently negotiating in secret the Trans-Pacific Partnership. This treaty is the latest in the long line of disastrous trade agreements that would likely cost even more jobs here.
Outsourcing is also a threat to many white-collar jobs. For example, many IT workers as well as workers in law, credit card and insurance company offices have already lost their jobs as a result of outsourcing.
Government deregulation of the transportation industry also played a role in eventually reducing competition and cutting decent-paying jobs. In addition, companies that went bankrupt were allowed to renegotiate union contracts and to hire new workers at lower wages and benefits.
Wall Street money brought about more governmental policy changes under the Clinton and Bush II administrations. These changes opened the door for rampant speculation that led to the Great Recession and the loss of about 8.7 million jobs. The job recovery since December 2007 has been anemic and the economy is still down about 4.7 million jobs according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (http://cbpp.org/cms/index.cfm?fa=view&id=3252).
Both President Obama and former Governor Romney profess the need to create new jobs. Given that the Tea Party is against compromising on most issues, it is a pipe-dream to think that either of these two candidates could get a strong jobs bill through a bitterly divided Congress. Having a political system ruled by money means that the public interests suffer and the current situation may be the new normal for unemployment levels.
Complicating the situation even more is the limit on the planet’s resources. This limit means that we have to consider how to create a new economy not relying on the extraction and use of limited resources. This is a major challenge facing us in the coming years.