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jobs

Jobs Trump Healthcare

Reading Time: 2 minutes

I feel drunk but I’m sober, I’m young and I’m underpaid
I’m tired but I’m working, yeah
I care but I’m restless, I’m here but I’m really gone
I’m wrong and I’m sorry baby

—Alanis Morissette, One Hand In My Pocket

If your biggest problem involves choosing between multiple appealing jobs, everything else will seem less important. Because picking the right job is a really big deal.

For the past decade, you’ve probably worried about finding or keeping any job. Many people work several part-time jobs. A lot of young people have to live with their parents. No one seems sure they’ll get a paycheck next week.

When you don’t feel secure and you don’t feel you have choices, every little problem looks bigger and closer. Healthcare seems like a threat. A new president seems menacing. Uncertainty all around.

What it all comes down to
Is that everything’s gonna be fine, fine, fine
‘Cause I’ve got one hand in my pocket
And the other one is giving a high five

—Alanis Morissette, One Hand In My Pocket

But when you feel in control of your life, your brain gets more creative. Those problems that once looked big and close now seem tiny and far away. Specks, really. You can flick them away with your middle finger. And it feels good, doesn’t it?

Donald Trump and the GOP have a chance to put so many problems in the past. It all starts with tax reform. Tax reform that lets people start new businesses. Tax reform that encourages companies to bring foreign money back home to us. Tax reform and regulatory reform that lets companies spend more money on research and development and raises and new jobs.

When America is building, Americans are winning. You want to win, don’t you? You want to get tired of winning. So tired of winning.

You don’t have to celebrate this great moment in history until it lifts you. But you might find yourself smiling and whistling as those great jobs come back, as the factories reopen, as the big problems of today become little specks of problems in your past.

There’s no need for gloom and doom. Maybe we haven’t figured it all out just yet, but you have one hand in your pocket and the other one’s flicking those problems away.

America is about to hit a winning streak. And you’re on that winning team.

Trump, The Jobs President

Reading Time: 1 minutes

You can actually FEEL America getting GREAT again!

ADP payroll report shows President Trump made a big down payment on his promise to be the greatest jobs president ever. 

The economy added nearly 300,000 new jobs last month. Economists expected a rise of 190,000. It was the biggest jump in jobs in 6 years.

The jobs were the good kind of jobs Trump talks about: manufacturing, mining. Jobs with grit. Not a lot of waitresses and bartenders.

According to CNBC:

Companies added jobs at a blistering pace in February, with a notable shift away from the service-sector positions that have dominated hiring for years, according to a report Wednesday.

. . .

In addition to the construction and manufacturing positions, mining and natural resources also contributed 8,000 to the total. Trump has promised to restore mining jobs as well.

The year is off to a sizzling start for job creation, according to the ADP counts. January added 261,000 positions, a number that was revised upward from the originally reported 246,000.

“Confidence is playing a large role,” Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody’s Analytics, told CNBC. “Businesses are anticipating a lot of good stuff — tax cuts, less regulation. They are hiring more aggressively.”

When people have to choose between one of many great jobs or many great, fulfilling careers, a lot of the trivial issues will disappear. But for today, let’s just say “Thank you, President Trump.”

America’s Business is Jobs, Not College

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Many of us are guilty. I am, too. You, probably.

In high school (and after) we mocked the kids who took shop. The “greasers” who got credit for wrenching on cars or welding or making cabinets. It was the 1980s and shop, along with home economics, became an elective in most schools.

Until the 80s, some practical life skill class was a requirement at most American public and parochial high schools. Only prep schools let students slide. But in the 1980s—perhaps influenced by the satire book “The Official Preppy Handbook,” schools across the socio-economic spectrum dropped shop from the mandatory list. Some dropped it altogether. At that point, kids who signed up for shop were signing up for blue collar work. They were hand-raisers for the mockers.

Cultural contempt for people who do actual work only increased in the three decades since shop became a dirty word. Movies, television, novels, comedians make fun of the people who build their homes, build and repair their cars, program their computers. put out their fires, fix their leaky toilets, and paint their walls. The smirking class scoffs at guys who take a shower at the end of their workdays.

At the same time, American culture has all but made a 4-year college degree mandatory. From Presidents of the United States to high school principals, the people we’re told to respect show little or no respect for the vast majority whose highest education ended in a prom. Yet, from the President on down, we depend far more on those who know how to make things than on those who “stare at their feet and think great thoughts,” as legendary Ohio State football coach Woody Hayes once said.

The Post-Dispatch points out, there’s no incentive for schools produce great workers:

Public schools, meanwhile, are judged by test scores and the percent of students they send to college. Guidance counselors aren’t likely to push young people toward the plant gates.

Today, America has a glut of college-educated pizza deliverers and a shortage of forty-dollar-an-hour machinists and electricians. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch highlights the shortage of skilled labor in St. Louis:

Factories around St. Louis can find plenty of people for grunt jobs — lifting boxes, sorting parts and such. They have a much tough[er] time finding hands-on machinists, computer numerical control, or CNC, machine operators, toolmakers, industrial electricians, multi-skilled maintenance mechanics and other jobs that require math talent and a couple of years of schooling.

A recent national survey of association members found that 90 percent have moderate or serious trouble finding qualified employees.

So, jobs paying $20, $25 and sometimes $40 an hour are going unfilled.

If you think the skilled-labor shortage is an argument for open borders, you’d be very wrong. Skilled workers in Central America, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East lead decent lives in their countries. Unless driven out by war or cartel violence, skilled workers don’t migrate illegally into the US–grunt workers do, the kind of workers America already finds in abundance.

A lot of those grunt workers are recent college graduates. CareerBuilder.com found in a 2014 study that 51 percent of college graduates are working in jobs that don’t require degrees. ZeroHedge.com found one (click here for full story):

Andrea Ledesma, 28, says her parents owned a house and were raising kids by her age. Not so for her.

Ledesma graduated from college four years ago. After moving through a series of jobs, she now earns $18,000 making pizza at Classic Slice in Milwaukee, shares a two-bedroom apartment with her boyfriend and has $33,000 in student debt.

“That’s not at all how life is now, that’s not something that people strive for and it’s not something that is even attainable, and I thought it would be at this point,” Ledesma said.

Her mother Cheryl Romanowski, 55, was making about $10,000 a year at her age working at a bank without a college education. In today’s dollars, that income would be equal to roughly $19,500. Romanowski said she envies the choices that her daughter has in life, but she acknowledged that her daughter has it harder than her. “I think the opportunities have just been fading away,” she said.

Had Andrea opted for machine shop class instead of college, she’d now have 8 years of seniority as a machinist earning somewhere between $60,000 and $80,000 a year. It’s unlikely she will find a job that requires her degree that will make up for the 8 years she lost in college and dead-end jobs.

While it’s true that the aggregate of those with college degrees earns more than the aggregate of those without, that statistic is deceiving. The college-educated number skews high because of ridiculously high salaries of a few. Skilled laborers without degrees are huddled together in a narrower range of salaries. In other words, the gap between a senior machinist and a Fortune 1000 CEO is way bigger than the gap between the machinist and the liberal arts major who sells pizzas.

Further, the college-educated pool includes all levels of education: doctors, lawyers, PhDs, etc. It’s not just those with a 4-year degree and no more. Plus, we don’t need as many Ph.D. historians as we need skilled machinists and electricians. The Department of Labor says only about 1/3 of American jobs require any education beyond high school.

So where do we go from here?

I think America’s attitude about real work is about to change. Donald Trump won on the strength of people who work for a living. To a large extent, so did Eric Greitens here in Missouri. So the people in power owe a big debt to the people who shower after work. Meanwhile, a growing number college-educated young people—the key demographic for advertisers and entertainment producers—can’t afford the products advertised on TV and Facebook. (Products made by people who took shop.) Smart marketers and television writers will soon realize that the actual key demographic in America is young skilled workers, not just young people in general.

As the leftist hysteria over 2016’s election quiets down (and it will), expect to see growing respect and appreciation for the people who work in blue-collar jobs. As college tuition continues to rise faster than inflation and faster than healthcare costs, expect taxpayers to demand that Congress slam the brakes on higher education spending. Some of that money will go to pay the debt, but some tax money can be returned to the states to expand shop classes.

Making America great again requires that America make things again—things that last longer than a pizza or an Old Fashioned cocktail. The jobs that Trump has promised need people who can lift a load and do the math. As one employer told the Post-Dispatch:

He’s picked new high school graduates, hoping to train them, but often found they lack basic skills. “It’s basically all math and hard labor. I have had kids that make the effort, but they don’t have the brain power.”

Calvin Coolidge said, “the business of America is business.” That was almost 100 years ago. Today, the business of America is jobs.

Let’s get to work.

Why Smart Phones Are More Popular Than the Tea Party

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Does it bother you that people would give up essential freedoms before they’d give up their iPhone?

While 26 percent of Americans report that they can’t live without their smartphone, only 20 percent of Americans say they can’t live without sex, according to this infographic compiled by FinancesOnline.com, a personal finance website.

Seriously.

It should bother you. [olympus_highlight color=’yellow]Without essential freedoms, smart phones can be taken away or banned[/olympus_highlight]. And without those freedoms, the iPhone would never have existed. Technology innovations are a symptom of many things, and freedom is a the top of the list.

Why would people who cherish their handheld devices be so casual about the enabling condition for those devices?

We are the problem. Not what we believe, but the things we say and write.

Conservatives tend to sell their beliefs the way some engineers sell their products. We rattle off features. We repeat quotes that might have been effective in the 18th century. We talk about the Constitution as if anyone but us even knows why that’s important. They don’t.

If Steve Jobs had introduced the iPhone by describing the processing rate of its CPU or the materials comprising its battery, the iPhone would have sold about 1 million units. Half a billion dollars in sales is nothing to sneeze at, but an entire industry would never have happened.

No one bought the iPhone because of what the battery’s made of. No one bought the iPod because of the meticulous etchings of its motherboard.

People bought the iPhone because it made them feel special. They bought a connection with iconoclastic designers who worried about things like 1,000 songs in your pocket.[olympus_highlight color=’yellow]They bought the iPhone because doing so connected them physically to  company that makes insanely great products that people love. They didn’t buy what Apple made; they bought why Apple made it.[/olympus_highlight]

Consider the difference in these two pitches:

  1. We believe in Constitutionally limited government.
  2. We believe that every American has inherent, God-given value and deserves the dignity of meaningful work and the freedom to pursue his own happiness.

Both pitches are really saying the same thing. The first is what. The second is why. Further, the second pitch is a “why” that almost no one could object to. I’ll go further—it’s a “why” almost every American will champion.

tea-party-approval

No one outside our little circle has a mental model of what “Constitutionally limited government” looks like. (Only 19 percent of Americans support the tea party.)  And it’s not their job to develop one. [olympus_highlight color=’yellow]Everyone has a mental model of the dignity of meaningful work and the freedom to pursue happiness[/olympus_highlight].

No one outside our little circle understands precisely what we mean by  “Constitutionally limited government.” Most people would agree with the idea of constitutionally limited government, but the persuadable population assumes we already have one. And 50 percent of American voters are persuadable.

Most Americans do understand that [olympus_highlight color=’yellow]a welfare check is no substitute for a pay check[/olympus_highlight]. Most Americans can feel the pain of unemployment, even if they’ve never directly experienced it. Most American have felt the frustration of constraints imposed by an overactive government.

Conservatism is a smart phone for your life. We should sell it that way.

Conservatism is [olympus_highlight color=’yellow]jobs and justice, freedom and fulfillment and happiness on a popsicle stick[/olympus_highlight].

We’re not selling an abstract economic theory or an 18th century book. We’re offering you the chance to own your own life.

  • Do you want a job?
  • Do you want a paycheck that’s not missing a zero or two because of taxes?
  • Do you want the freedom to quit your job and start your own gig with a reasonable expectation of success?
  • Do you want your kids to be financially better off than you?
  • Do you want your kids to enjoy at least as much freedom to guide their own lives as you’ve had?

That’s what we offer. We reject the idea that poor people are burdens to managed. Instead, we believe that [olympus_highlight color=’yellow]all people are assets to the community who deserve the dignity of meaningful work and the freedom to own their own lives[/olympus_highlight]. We believe that productive people who experience the blessings of work are more likely to become active members of the community, looking out for themselves, their families, and their neighbors.

I believe in Constitutionally limited government. But I also realize 81 percent of Americans have no idea what that means or why it’s important.

I believe that[olympus_highlight color=’yellow]every person deserves the dignity of meaningful work and the freedom to responsibly enjoy the benefits of that work[/olympus_highlight]. And that enough people understand what meaningful work and freedom are. If we talk to the persuadables about why we believe, we will dominate elections and policy. If talk only about our features, we will remain an angry and frustrated remnant.

Why does this burden fall on us? Because we understand the why, the what, and the how of freedom. History has chosen us for this challenge. We should be grateful.

What do you think? How would Steve Jobs pitch the American Dream?

America Has a Job To Do

Reading Time: 3 minutes

We believe that meaningful work dignifies and enriches human lives.

[olympus_highlight color=”yellow”]Every person who wants to work should find a choice of occupations to pursue. And every occupation improves the life of the person doing the work, the people the work is done for, and the family and community in which the worker lives.[/olympus_highlight]

The more workers engaged in meaningful work, the better our country becomes.

The opposite of work is not idleness but dependency, and dependency degrades human lives.

Those undeniable truths are why we shudder when we read the latest jobs report. Here is a sample of human degradation in America today:

  • There are fewer Americans working today than any time since 1977
  • Since 2007, 1.4 million manufacturing jobs have disappeared and 1.4 million part-time, low-level service jobs have been created
  • 8,000 young people between 18 and 24 lost jobs in July, once again, while people over 55 accounted for more than 100 percent of new hires
  • 93.8 million Americans are not in the labor force, and the aging of the population has nothing to do with that number

In a sense, we should consider these numbers a blessing. They tell us we all have work to do.

The we must do in America is straightforward: we must eliminate the barriers to work. We must stop treating a job like a punishment. We must remove the risks to our country’s generous safety nets by helping those who can work find meaningful work.

The reasons people can’t find meaningful work are large, but no challenge is too big for the American people. Conservatives must accept that trite answers and the usual blame won’t solve the problem. We’ve been repeating those answers and blaming those people for years, and the problems have only grown.

The first solution–one of many–is to make low-paying jobs livable. We believe that if you work and play by the rules, our society should make sure you can support yourself and your family. When we hear ideas to double the minimum wage, we know from irrefutable research that, while some will benefit, many will lose their jobs. And those who lose their jobs will suffer from humiliation. They will lose dignity and self-esteem. Their families will suffer.

That’s why we believe a better answer is to reform the Earned Income Tax Credit. Increasing the EITC will reward work instead of punishing it. When I read about the EITC in The Conservative Heart, I remembered a time in my life when the EITC was a blessing.

When I was an E5 in the Navy with two babies under two years old, we were struggling. We could barely afford gasoline for our Dodge Omni. My wife could not work because the babies were tiny. And E5 pay in 1987 was pretty low.

When I sat down to do my taxes, which I’d put off until the end because I was afraid I’d owe the IRS money, I got a huge surprise. A blessing.

We were eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit. Instead of a return of $30, we got a return of over $400. That money meant we could buy a cheap washer and dryer so we didn’t have to drive four miles to the laundromat. We had a bit of a cushion for the first time. It felt like we’d won the lottery.

A single person without dependents—one who’s playing by the rules—can get a maximum of $500 in the system today. That’s less than 50 dollars a month. We can do better.

If we increase the EITC for single people without dependents to $2,000 a year, there will be no need to raise the minimum wage. Therefore, employers will be able keep all their low-level worker and maybe even hire more.

Yes, this is a form transfer payment. But at least it transfers money to working people who want to get ahead.

Conservatives like to say that minimum wage workers only make the minimum wage for a short time. Then they get a raise or a new job.

That’s true. But it’s also true of the EITC. Eventually, those low-wage workers will finally rise above eligibility for the EITC. They won’t need it.

I’m sure reasonable people can find other problems with EITC. But they must offer an alternative that promotes the dignity of work. Some will say the EITC is welfare. Maybe. It sure didn’t feel like welfare to me when I was working 14 hour days in the shipyard. I felt like I’d earned it. Nothing you tell me will convince me my 1988 tax return was welfare.

America can find meaningful work for every person capable of working. The generations alive today have a moral duty to work toward that end. Let’s make the EITC the first step.

H/T Arthur C. Brooks and his wonderful new book The Conservative Heart

Bakers Union Costs 300 St. Louisans Their Jobs **UPDATE**

Reading Time: 2 minutes

**UPDATE** Union Declares Victory As Hostess Goes Out of Business.  No more Ho Hos. **

Unions destroy themselves like pathetic drunks, dragging down everyone around them.

Out Of Work

In a fine example of anti-strategic thinking and un-game theory, the Bakers Union put 637 of its members out of work yesterday.

Hostess—makers of Twinkies—is bankrupt. Part of the bankruptcy involved rewriting union contracts to allow the company to stay in business.

Instead of taking one for the team and helping their company crawl out of its fiscal hole, the Bakers went on strike. Here’s one of the geniuses in his own words:

We’re fighting for our pensions, we’re fighting for health care, we’re fighting for our wages, we’re fighting for our way of life, (Source: Philly.com)

So sayeth Barry Fields, president and business manager of Local 6.

So your “way of life” is unemployment? 

The strike forced Hostess to shut down bakeries in St. Louis, Seattle, and Cincinnati, adding 365 St. Louis bakers to the burgeoning unemployment rosters.

I’ll bet Barry the union business manger isn’t losing his job, is he? He gets to go into work tomorrow and collect his paycheck like every other day—a paycheck funded by the very men and women the union bosses just dumped in the street.

Teamsters accepted Hostess’s renegotiated contract. The Teamsters apparently want their jobs. I guess the Bakers would rather live off the fat of their neighbors.

The corrupt union bosses now are screaming foul, of course. They say it’s not their fault that 637 of their rank and file are unemployed.

Horseshit!

Look at union membership in the the United States in the past 30 years.  It’s fallen in half!  From 23% in 1980 to 12.4% today. The union is disappearing, union wages are falling.  Workers are leaving unions for the same reason that families leave drunks.

You know, these union bosses just re-elected Barack Obama. Maybe they figured Uncle Barry (the President, not the union business manager) will support their cast-offs now. Give them some of that cradle-to-grave government love Obama voters want.

The Hostess layoffs are just one of 14 US layoffs announced today—one week after Obama’s election to a second term. Here’s the whole list, complements of DailJobCuts.com:

That’s 3,901 people (at least) tossed out today alone.

Last week, Energizer of St. Louis announced 1,500 people are losing their jobs. It never ends.

Congratulation, unions. You’ve made America the place where unemployment is better than a good union job.

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