Your premise is that there is real "productivity" growth. That metric
deserves review and discussion. Wealth is not the same as productivity, because
one might make great income on financial speculation alone without producing any
future value. To provide an example, let's say I get a GI loan for a
$10,000 house in 1960. I sell it for $900,000 in 2010. Is that real productivity
or just government sponsored windfall? The value was only in the transaction, no
physical improvements or social benefits arose. What if the value of that home
drops to $500,000 the following year? This example hints at what is happening
under our ongoing "financialization" economic trend. Technology plays
only a minor element, only reducing transaction costs. O there is more afoot
than "technology". John, I'd like to read more discussion in your
"American capital has joined with Communist China to crush American
labor."Marxist, I'm usually not a fan of things that smell
of conspiracy theories. Care to expound?
There are a lot of things we could say about the troubled state of American
labor. Florez has offered a somewhat academic account of what is happening, but
it misses the backdrop which is this: American capital has joined with
Communist China to crush American labor. That in a nutshell is what's
Mark and Fred: Both of you focus only on the present instead of how we got into
the present. If you want things to change, you can't quibble about things
around the edges! both of you imply a desire to kill the goose that laid the
golden egg, capitalism. You can't, however, have it both ways, which is
exactly what both the Democratic and Republican parties want! Both parties will
throw a red herring in front of a naive and uneducated mass to placate them!
Issues like raising the minimum wage, or universal healthcare, are two of the
latest attempts to marginalize and placate the hopes and dreams of anyone that
wants to achieve? whether it is the war complex, crony capitalism, government
dependency programs; each are only a ruse to enslave the deluded masses! So,
if you want liberty, justice, freedom, and opportunity, you can't pick your
own little issue, while ignoring everything else. Principles help all nations
rise. It is not complicated! The opportunity is there to unleash the mechanism
that made us the richest nation on earth that the world has ever known! Forget
about the "buts" and let it it loose!
Mike Richards,Help me understand how the government is killing the
business? We have record corporate profits and the lowest tax rates on business
in 60 years. Seems to me like corporations are doing really well. In terms of
outsourcing, lets be honest about what that outsourcing really is and then ask
ourselves if we want to compete with the countries where businesses are going
to. Do we want to return to the days of child labor? Do we want to return to
the days of sweatshops with 60-80 hour work weeks with non concern for worker
safety. You are right that we are now in a global economy and to maximize
profit and compete with third world countries for manufacturing jobs that is
what we will have to do. Is it to much to ask owners of major
corporations to have values and principals, to pay a living wage, to not hire
children to be slave labors to produce your goods, and yes to make just a little
less profit for the good of society? Hey and maybe put the salvation of America
somewhere near corporate profits in importance?
wrz, so what you are saying is you think we should be making like 25 cents an
hour, or whatever they pay in some foreign countries. "If we are
to compete with foreigners for jobs, we must also compete with their labor and
benefits rates."Compete with China on their wages. Yeah that
makes sense. Pay people a couple of bucks a day. Yeah that's what we need.
"US corporate taxes are the highest in the world. "First of all, no they aren't. Second of all, let's see where we are:
cut taxes for huge corporations with massive profits, and pay the employees two
dollars a day. Yeah, great sytem you got going so far. - a rising
tide lifts all boats. Of course it's wrong, it was wrong when Reagan was
pushing this idea. The best thing that could happen for our economy
is for people to at last come to the realization that Ronald Reagan and his
ideas were some of the worst things that have ever happened to this country.
Greedy capitalism doesnt work. Generous capitalism does. Just like he says.
"THE NEW ECONOMY" is selfish hoarding of wealth by the top 10%. They
don't raise wages. They don't raise salaries. Raising wages and
salaries, not hoarding profit, and charging a decent amount for goods and
services is GENEROUS capitalism. Something thats in sharp decline. All the while
we have a government devaluing our money. They continue to hide the REAL
unemployment data which we all know is much higher than 8%. We have a plethor of
un-needed jobs that debt (stimulus) is funding. All the jobs that non-stimulus
debt is funding. And the general in-efficiency that is government. Having all
these frivolous government jobs that are funded solely on tax revenue pads the
unemployment numbers too. If you look at the numbers, there are approx 10-20% of
the population that requires some kind of assistance to get by. Is this due to
lack of education? Lack of respect for fellow man (cheating the system)? Lack of
livable wages? Yes, it is. But it's also due to burdensome debt, where our
economy is jeopardized by a large percentage of tax revenue being spent on
bonding (debt) interest.
The answers are simple, but both the Democratic Party, of which John is a part,
and the Republican Party, of which I am not a part, both run as far away from
the answers as possible. This problem requires leadership, something missing in
Washington for almost a century! if you want specifics, don't look
anywhere in parties! The answers are there! When someone comes forward with
them, I don't care where or who, I will follow! Until then, education is
the answer, none of which was found here! Anyone can say there is a problem! I
want to hear answers, some of which were expressed by those commenting?
More money spent on unemployment will not fix this problem. The
economy is not doing well. IF the Obama administration would be honest about the
lack of recovery, then the real problem could be addressed. Denial and lies to
cover for that denial are causing the horrible jobs situation. 'Printing' money to give to the unemployed only makes matters worse.
If the government can trim other budgets to pay for it, that would be a step in
the right direction, but only when couple with some pro-private sector job
policies. I am not talking subsidies. I am talking fewer hoops for businesses to
jump through and lower taxes so they can actually afford to expand their
workforce. I fear that any growth in the US economy lately comes
from the growth in things like pay-day loans.
I find some of these comments most humorous. The constant cry that a) taxes
are the problem or b) socialism is the problem. Here is the problem with those
claims.1) the minimum tax rate in the US for corporations is 0%.
The is right - Zero. With good tax planning, many US corporations pay no
federal income tax. China which has an economic growth rate(7.7%) three times
our own (2.8%), has a minimum tax rate for corporations of 25%. 69% of all US
corporations pay no federal income tax. 300 of the top 500 US corporations pay
less than 18% federal income tax.2) Russia, China, Cuba, Vietnam,
and even Venezuela (at 5.6% growth rate) all have greater growth rates than so
called non-socialist countries. Not defending or even recommending
taking any of these countries paths... but by the numbers the corollaries to
socialism or taxes doesn't match the claims about economic growth. It is
just too easy to find data points that show otherwise. There are
problems... but these are not them.
This is a worthless article. The writer of this article completely ignores
inflation in his equation of the economy. Jobs aren't going to be produced
when money loses its value. You can't create an economy with a printing
press and then expect job producers to buy into it.
I don't think it will be possible to train everyone to be successful in
this "new" economy. We have a paradigm where one person can control
hundreds of machines and now, even machines are running other machines. If we
keep going down this path, there will be hardly any jobs for the rest of us.
They will all be done by robots owned by large corporations and the rest of us
will simply be in the way. That is our future.
Good job, Florez. You hit most of the points.
Good article... except Florez posed mostly questions, with no answers. So,
here's some answers:Prevent our manufacturing jobs from going
overseas and try to start moving them back home. How do you do that? The
biggest cost of the manufacturing industry is labor... 80 to 90 percent. Unions
have driven labor and attendant benefits out of sight. Cut labor and stop with
the minimum wage laws. If we are to compete with foreigners for jobs, we must
also compete with their labor and benefits rates. Will the US do this? Bot
likely.US corporate taxes are the highest in the world.
Corporations don't pay taxes. Only people pay taxes. Any 'tax'
a corporation (or other business entity) pays is added to the cost of production
and the consumer ends up paying it. So, let's cut corporate taxes.Too late, but stop showing foreigners how to do things. Japan/China
people used to come here to tour of our manufacturing facilities. Then
they'd go home and set up their own facilities to compete. Dumb idea for
us to be so nice and divulge our secrets.Stop importing labor...
illegal immigrants.And there' more but I ran outta space.
Yes, this is a good column as others have said, but it is too narrowly focused.
Technology change is only part of the picture. The bigger picture is one of
capital throwing domestic labor overboard in favor of much lower wage foreign
labor, foreign environmental controls (or lack thereof), and foreign labor
safety (or lack thereof). This latter John should appreciate due to his tenure
on the Industrial Commission. If American labor were willing to accept a
Chinese wage and Chinese working conditions we could have many of these jobs
back. But THAT price is just too big. This calls for wholesale changes in our
economic system - they will come if labor continues to be squeezed. Globally,
for labor it is a race to the bottom. And for capital (corporations) it is a
race to the top. Nature hates an imbalance like this.
Mr. Florez,Thank you for writing such an insightful and profoundly
true message in your column. We need to look out more for each other and not
just look out for making profits. Not sure where this country is headed if we
continue to allow the 1% to feast while turning our heads while many in the 99%
suffer. Probably the biggest blot on the character of America is our over priced
healthcare system. There is too much focus on making huge profits in healthcare
for just a few people to enjoy. A family works a whole lifetime for a home and
a little happiness only to see it all jeopardized if a family member becomes
seriously ill and ends up in a hospital without insurance. The family can lose
all their security while the doctors and hospital administrators count their
revenues. If the healthcare providers can lower their costs, then presumably
insurance premiums could go down too.
10ccIt appears you are arguing for a trickle down corporate
approach. If Walmart pays it's employees more then the company would
realize greater sales & profitability. Are there any studies or
evidence that this is true? If so, then "trickle down" is a viable
political & corporate strategy?
Just what does Mr. Florez really propose? Does he want government to raise
taxes to feed those out of work or does he want taxes lowered to keep jobs in
America? Does he want government to create more government jobs, which will be
paid for by taxing the private sector since government cannot pay out in wages
what it has not collected in taxes? If the private sector has more of its money
seized by the government, just how will that promote job creation in the private
sector? Without job growth in the private sector, just who will pay the taxes
that pays government to create all of those "public sector jobs"? Does
he want more rules and regulations to price us out of the world market?The problem is government. It has almost killed business. We are part of a
world economy. Other nations make it attractive to move production
"off-shore", which will leave us with McDonald/Wal-Mart type jobs. FDR started the mess. LBJ continued it. Obama is nailing the coffin
shut - with us trapped inside.
Mr Florez is right the job market is changing. Productivity has greatly
increased due to mechanization and automation eliminating tens of millions of
jobs in the last three decades. Many American workers have improved their skills
and taken advantage of these changing workforce needs. Millions of more jobs
have been off-shored to cheap labor countries, which has caused wages in many
job sectors to become stagnant or decline.Employers who are unable
to completely mechanize, automate, or off-shore depend on a continuing flood of
foreign, legal and illegal cheap labor to maintain suppressed wages. Occupations
such as agriculture, hospitality(hotel maids,restaurants, etc), are unable to
off-shore for cheap manual and menial labor. Labor just like all goods or
services depends on supply and demand for setting prices (wages). Flooding any
sector of the labor market with a surplus of labor will depress wages. The U.S.
presently has a large labor surplus, high unemployment.Americans and
employers are being conditioned to think that manual or menial labor jobs are
fit for only immigrants. This has depressed wages for many hardworking
Americans, especially Blacks and Hispanics, increasing welfare and other
subsidies supported by the taxpayers.
Great column by Florez, again.There is no economic law indicating
that productivity must always result in greater wages, and this is part of the
conundrum of this particular business cycle "recovery". In past
business cycles - and past technological waves - employment and wages have
always "caught up" with the seismic changes, but especially as the
economy becomes globalized and capital can flow across borders with no
resistance, all the historic economic assumptions are in question.As
companies make more money - from increased productivity due to downsizing and
implementing technology - they can easily re-invest those profits in foreign
markets, and not keep the money in the US economy, where increased wages and
employment would stimulate greater demand for their products.In a
way, this is like a bubble, an irrational focus on chasing illusory additional
profit, elsewhere... when the answer lies here, in America, but globalization
has distorted that intr-nation feedback that would help companies re-invest in
the US, and see our domestic market grow commensurately with productivity
gains.Walmart's sales are flat, but if they paid their workers
more, and other retailers followed, their sales would improve enough to cover
This is a well written, good article. Thank you John Florez.I agree
that schools must rewrite their curriculum so that students can compete in this
digital, global economy.I agree that in many cases, those on
employment insurance for long periods of time don't want to be there. They
would much rather be working.Florez should have included a critique
of this administration for not helping to create those jobs that are so
desperately needed. Proposals could include reducing the barriers
to energy development. Look what is happening in the Dakotas with their economy
because of the energy industry. The Canadian oil line could help with jobs.Florez could have also included a critique on this administrations
recommendation for increasing the minimum wage, which will further the move in
business to machines doing what workers used to do.Florez could have
criticized the administration for Obamacare, which has put the breaks on
employment as business is hiring more part-time workers in order to avoid the
healthcare tax for full-time employees.Good article, just missing
some pieces to the employment picture.
One of the keys to continued employment is to either be able to do or know
something that other do no.When the majority of the world used to
live in 3rd world status, that was an easy task. But that skills gap is going
away at an accelerating rate, and the competition for these jobs is growing
exponentially. The good news for business is that this is also bringing
increased demand for products and services. Asia and the middle east are now
the hub of aviation sales. Boeing and Airbus are enjoying the fruits of this
market explosion.But 30 years ago, most if not all the major
components of a jet liner came from one or two countries. Today those jobs are
spread over dozens. There is a new normal emerging, and the 55 year old
described above is in a really tough place. The 55 year old needs to reinvent
himself, and will need help doing so.