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02/19/2012

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Jack

Chris: In legal or even "just" terms I can't counter your "shoulds" and all.

But! in human terms, here I am like half of Mexico's 120 million population, young, energetic, perhaps wanting to marry and have a family, and with a fairly large extended family all living in poverty and me with no job and little prospect. With the dangers of the drug biz and the US recession even my uncle who used to get by selling serapes to tourists doesn't even go anymore.

What do I do? Obviously head for the US or perhaps more creatively Canada. If anyone asks about right/wrong or morality I just say something like "Hey it's a rigged game not of my making, but I'm willing to work at the crappiest jobs you have that I and my loved ones might survive. You gotta a problem with that?"

But then, I'm of Irish lineage on one side, and likely here because some ancestor or another stole game off The Lord's hunting preserve or poached some fish, with my grandfather not getting killed for being in the IRA and finally arriving on these shores and managing not to die of TB in the first few years, get by the No Irish Need Apply signs, build houses, and raise nine kids during the Depression.

TANSTAAFL

"Run some of our cars on wind generated electricity"? Won't have to look far to find a steady source of wind. See above.

Terry Bennett

Jack,

Okay, I admit I overstated my case. Still, there is an incongruousness to the simultaneous notions that (a) there are not enough unskilled jobs, and (b) there are lots of unskilled jobs being done by illegals. I sense the possibility of an efficiency therein.

Americans have the luxury of choosing idleness over work that doesn't suit them, largely courtesy of my tax dollars. I am skeptical that a 99-week job search is any more effective than perhaps a 12- or 15-week search, especially in the unskilled sector.

And no, I don't like the Wall St. gang either. Re last week's topic, I think the recent mess was not a failure of capitalism at all, but rather a failure of law. A broad fraud was committed by everyone involved, from the bank CEO's to the borrowers - and if nobody is held to account, we are destined to see it repeated.

Jack

Terry: Thanks for the response.

On the jobs issue, well, it's "complicated". In terms of strictly "job loss" by far the biggest "thief" has been the doubling of productivity of the last 25 years. Then, with few exceptions, it's legal and even tax advantaged in some cases to "outsource" work via moving the whole factory, or by glass fiber. Also, when companies are "short" of say computer techs (ie don't want to bid up for them) they lobby government to provide them with more H1B Visa immigrants.

Further, our tariffs for imported products are very low, thus favoring lower wage venues over our own labor. All of the above surely adds to more than the work done by 12 million undoc'd immigrants.

Then....... the overall job market in the US? Well, it's a MESS! First there's housing having fallen from over 2 million starts a year to 300,000. With a hefty overhang of existing homes (many ill-suited to the market) "housing" will be a long time coming back to the 700,000 starts that represent population growth and replacement.

As near as I can figure the building of a new home is about three full time jobs, plus perhaps one more for adding pools, fences, decks, etc.

The impact of the housing crash is on the order of 7 million. Let's assume 2 million are able to "tuck in" somewhere -- remodels? caring for bank owned R/E? and other depression era work. So we've 5 million times say a four multiplier for a negative impact on the jobs of 20 million. Given the nature of our economy it's likely that MOST of those folks are skilled or perhaps only semi-skilled in a narrow specialty -- electricians can't do plumbing and plumbers can't do sheet rocking and even if they could ---- there would be those already skilled in their own craft standing knee deep for any work.

Regroove these guys? For what? Just as their are trillions "on the side" for their being little demand for capital investment so too is the little demand for "regrooved" employees. But assuming you can turn a sheetrocker, carpenter or even plumber into a "needed" assistant in an elderly care facility that pays $10-$15, then what? The guy can't make his payments with that nor participate in the needed, increase in overall demand, w/o which our economy continues to stagnate and spiral downward.

Zoom out for a bigger picture? You suggest there are jobs needing to be done if only those "sitting around" would take them. But! do you see ANY shortages? When you go into a business does it look as though they're short of employees to do the job?

Truth is about 80% of our workforce (plus the various outsourcing) produces ALL that we demand/(Demand as you know is wants and needs facilitated by having a buck to spend -- sans bucks No demand)

Have we arrived at that science fiction predicted era when LESS than the full workforce is required to satisfy demand? Hard to know.... in the past we just created more products folks wanted and sold them to those having the currency to buy them.

Today Ipads are selling well, but there are millions upon millions who can not possibly spend the couple hundred bucks plus what it takes to feed the thing. On larger ticket items there are lots of kids wanting to go to college but who can't quite manage the costs even with the crushing loan burdens.

Folks may want to buy a more efficient car... but can not and continue to plug along with the aging gashog. In an aging population families may want to hire nursing help for an aging parent but simply can not afford to do so. (Then many send them to Medicare approved facilities costing $50 to over $100,000/year)

Sooooo, we either a society in which we may never see full employment again, or one in which far too many are "sheet rockers" when we "need" eldercare but eldercare is too costly for the family to pay, and pays too little for the caregiver to maintain any std of living.

Big problem! As we NO experience dealing with an economy that can not offer all a job, much less a paying job.

Well...... it looks as though the President sees the problem and for the most part offers about the only "solutions".

One is that of government spending -- yep, even with these deficits to put the construction sector to work on $2 trillion of long delayed infrastructure maintenance and upgrades. What else? Ignore the roads, bridges et al? as if that debt too did not exist? and leave our construction guys to collect 99 weeks and likely more?

Next? swift changes in energy! Put a LOT of guys to work moving our transportation from costly, and largely imported oil to domestically produced N-Gas that is half the cost, cleaner and is Made In America. These changes may need government pump priming but will be MORE than paid for by the far more economic N-Gas.

Wind! is 35% of new electrical generation and we build the units, ship them and install them. Other than a small subsidy it's a paying industry that will be better as we reach scale.

Solar! It's dropping in price like Intel chips and we should be embracing both large scale (utility) and "distributed" ie on side of those huge roofs of the one and half story homes that were built by the millions in the "sunbelt" and hog energy in both winger and summer.

We need grid to distribute wind or large scale solar; more work paid for by those who'll benefit over time.

Being a major transition of national security importance we will not get there waiting for profit seeking companies to lead the way. While they'll play a major role the transitional equations are going to be more like mine above: Better to do it now to employ folks? even if subsidies are required to get things going? Hefty projects like grid? better to do it now with otherwise unemployed folk and soon enjoy the benefits? or "wait?" and do it later at greater expense and having forgone years of the benefits?

Tough stuff and very different from let's say the "greenspan" model but consider the alternative? Unemployment and slow growth also equal huge and unsustainable deficits and likely with surplus labor even lower wages -- thus lower demand and a downward spiral.

And lastly Mexico? and illegal immigration? Borders around the world are falling -- as above not only to physical movement but to being pierced by low tariff trade, glass fiber (where we don't even know how much work, much less how to tax or limit it) and various other outsourcing. Someday N-America will be one economic zone of more freedom of travel with the current immigration being just a beginning.

Or so it seems from the clear air at 60 north! Taans! How's that for wind??

Jack

.... Yes! Wall Street, despite the small number of prosecution was corruption at wholesale scale.

But! I see capitalism as a tool employed and guided by a functioning representative democracy w/o which it will crash like a kite with no tail. Thus.... if capital HAS such a crank on Congress as to write it's own laws and as happened with Glass Steagal rid themselves of constraining regulation, and as we see with super pac dominated campaigns to run a platform that promises to roll back regulation in wholesale trounces then there is crisis. Whether it is one of democracy or capitalism matters little as it won't work.

TANSTAAFL

Category 5, Jack.

Jack

Tans? Enough to blow away a measurable fraction of the aging, bankrupt ideology of the right now being "sold" by the most inept foursome of salesmen in recent history?

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I agree. But the question is the time frame.

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Thank you for such an informative website and post on the EU debt crisis. This is particularly the case when there seems to be constant and volatile opposition in these weaker EU nations to austerity measures.

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Will China Overtake Us? which is good news for both the US and the Chinese people.

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One thing that we need to clarify is our terminology in this debate.

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Pedro Cano

Immigration laws in the 21st C sound to me like slavery laws in the 18th C. We can discuss all the legal, political and economic subtleties of immigration law ad nauseam, just like our ancestors did with slavery laws, but at the end of day the fact of the matter is that it is just plain wrong to prevent people from going in search of employment opportunities wherever they please.

We want open borders to commodities and to capital. What about labour? We want the financial market to be global. We want the commodities market to be global. What about the labour market? We want to be able to invest in other countries and sell our goods anywhere without restrictions. But then we prevent others from investing or selling the only thing they have: their labour?

Just as we are ashamed of our 18th C forefathers who created and supported the slavery laws, our descendants in the 22nd C will be ashamed of us for creating and supporting immigrations laws. Immigration laws are one form of high-tech bigotry. We used to discriminate against each other based on the colour of our skin, now we discriminate against each other based on the colour of our passport. Great progress!

We live in a country where its citizens have the right to buy and carry firearms, even machine guns and other such weapons, but they do not have the right to grow up with their mother if they are infants, nor do they have the right to the company of their husbands, all because immigration laws require deportation. This is the kind of thing our grandchildren will wonder how we could tolerate and live at peace with ourselves while it was taking place. We'd better polish our memoirs really hard for them.


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those folks are skilled or perhaps only semi-skilled in a narrow specialty -- electricians can't do plumbing and plumbers can't do sheet rocking and even if they could

---- there would be those already skilled in their own craft standing knee deep for any work.

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Once again, see any Dictionary and/or Thesaurus....
=> yes :/

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I am going too have to to disagree with the Judge Poser are on this statement: "Successfully disproving claims for millions of fraudulent applicants seems almost as unrealistic as deporting millions of illegal immigrants..."

But these but but that tools have been available for several years. As a small business owner, I use a legal, affordable, and ethical to verify background checks on any individual for pre employment. It is called www.everifyfaq.com. It is a standard requirement for use for any contractors having employees working on Federal contracts anywhere in the United States. At less than $20.00 a month, any individual or small business and taped in to massive databases to perform background checks. The Federal government's just trying to be politically correct in avoi dueding duea touchy su but thatbject.

But while no one person (even judges) can be all of knowing... I hope this information will help those who need to perform background checks, or even double check their personal online information if they are the victims of any previous identifications that may befall them.

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