The news these days is so stupid and without real interest, that I have to write about something else, or my blog will die an ignoble death. I want to start with some straight talk about jobs. As usual, this involves obvious truths that no one licensed to speak in the mainstream press dares utter in public.
And let's start with the main truth: The jobs are never coming back. I remember a couple of decades ago, as the "information revolution" was getting going, how all the supposed experts assured us that technology would generate more jobs than it eliminated. This universally acknowledged "truth" was, I always thought, one of the stupidest notions I have ever heard. Whatever new jobs were created, why would a business go to the massive expense of investing in new technology unless it cut their end costs; and replacing manufacturing jobs with more expensive high tech jobs cannot possibly do that. So, even if we succeed in bringing back a portion of the jobs that we have allowed big business to send overseas, we are never going to be in a situation where there are enough jobs to go around; at least not what are currently defined as real jobs; i.e. work that makes money for someone else.
So what is the answer?
There are a couple of absolutely necessary short term solutions. First of all, the work week must be cut, and without just screwing tighter the pressure on workers to ramp up "productivity" so their bosses don't have to pay for any of it. It is my proposal that the United States begin transitioning to a four day work week. And that is not the four ten hour days that some have suggested, but four eight hour days. I suggest we do this by first declaring a three day weekend every month. Then, in five years, we should transition to a three day weekend every other week; finally in five more years going to a four day work week every week. In return for this, I propose an across the board cut of 10% in wages. People who cannot tolerate this decrease will have an extra day every week to find a way to make up the difference, or perhaps to start some business of their own.
Next, it is essential to shorten the work life of American workers. Current vicious proposals to increase the retirement age to 70, or more, are not only cruel to the victims of these proposals, but they are destructive to young people who cannot find work due to older people being forced to stay in the workforce. So, I propose cutting the retirement age to 60. As a corollary to this, Social Security payments must be increased to insure that retired people do not sink into little more than penury. This must, of course, be paid for by the essential confiscation of a large part of the wealth of the hyper-rich, but really, who cares about them?
What I am proposing here is, of course, spreading the remaining work around to as many people as possible. Given the future that any fool can see coming, there is (I think) no other short term answer to the now permanent work shortage in first world countries.
In the end, of course, we must destroy the notion that you are only really working if you are making money for a rich guy. That, of course, is a whole other story, and will inevitably come down to the adoption of some sort of minimum national income, if we are not to have hundreds of millions of what the Communists used to call the "lumpen proletariat" wandering around in the country, without a single reason to care about the welfare of anyone but themselves. But even such short term measures to address the problem, inevitably along the lines I suggested above, will provide welcome relief to masses of Americans who are now effectively locked out of participation in the economic life they deserve.