The answers to my FAQs
Since August is drawing to a close, and I don't have a topic for this week at the top of my head, I thought I'd take this post to answer some questions I've been frequently. I figure if some readers are asking, a few others might be curious. So, here goes.
1). When do you think this recession will be over?
A: Not for at least another two years, and probably longer. Of course, Washington tells us that we're no longer in a recession. Perhaps they're technically right, but, tell that to the millions who can't find jobs. With the disastrous housing and job market, and Washington's austerity kick, we're going to see a great deal more pain before any gain.
2). Do you see any solution to the jobs problem?
A: Not really. Even a large government stimulus would only have a temporary, short-term effect, but probably wouldn't rev up the stalling economy. There are just too many things wrong for a quick fix. Look for high unemployment for the next few years, regardless of the results of the over-hyped election of 2012. No knights on white horses to save us!
3). What's going on with the job market other than the economy?
A: We're going through a "reset" where many jobs are going away forever. Robotics and other automation, higher efficiency, offshoring and many other factors mean that there will be too many people and too few jobs out there at all levels. It will hit two demographics especially hard: The working class and those over 45, especially at upper levels of employment.
4). You wrote an article a couple of years back calling for an end to extended unemployment insurance. Now you seem to be singing a different tune. Why?
A. I was wrong and would write a very different article today. We need to keep giving those who are long-term unemployed the pittance we throw them, even if we need to raise taxes on the wealthy and corporations to do it. It is not only compassionate, but not to do so will throw the economy into further problems as unemployment dollars are immediately spent and, if not renewed, would be taken out of play.
5). What can be done to help reduce unemployment?
A: Support for small businesses would help, as the bulk of jobs are there, and they'll stay in America. We could also discourage offshoring rather than rewarding it. Those executives who order layoffs should not be paid bonuses that reward getting rid of people (which is the current norm). In the long-term, however, the current high rate of unemployment won't change much due to technology, a changing world and one other thing no one wants to talk about: Too many people. There just aren't enough jobs for people to do with our overpopulation in the world. That is a problem that will only get worse. Expect high unemployment the rest of the 21st Century.
6). What do you suggest the unemployed do?
A: Some folks can start a business, do odd jobs, get part-time work, and keep looking. Everyone is going to have to subsist as best as possible. I don't like it, but I think it is the new reality given our political and global climate.
7). Why do you have to bring your political opinions into career articles?
A: Politics and the decisions made by politicians dramatically affect the job market and everyone's career.
8). Are you liberal or conservative?
A: I'm neither. Useless misleading media labels! I believe that we should have the maximum of individual liberty consistent with the general welfare and taking care of one another. We are, after all, supposedly a civilized nation, not barbarians...though lately, you wouldn't know it.
9). When someone writes you at your email address, who answers your emails?
A: I do, personally. I highly value you, my readers. I also try to answer every comment in the "comments" section of each article, if it is civil and not ranting nor raving. I ignore trolls in either case.
That's all the space I have for this post. But I'd like to ask you a favor. I need some column ideas from you, my readers. If you have an idea for a good column, would you please write me at firstname.lastname@example.org . Thanks!