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WHY WE MUST HAVE A ROBUST WELFARE SYSTEM – AN OVERVIEW (PART III)

June 30, 2013

WHY WE MUST HAVE A ROBUST WELFARE SYSTEM – AN OVERVIEW (PART III)

Parts one and two of this essay have in scant fashion dealt with the consequences of poor-mouthing welfare programs. The poor-mouth turns out to be the more expensive choice, contrary to its stated intent. Study after study proves (aside from the human tragedies) that we are losing money by not providing adequate food, education (both academic and vocational) and health care for all of our people irrespective of their status. Similar studies elsewhere demonstrate that those countries who attend to such needs are prospering in this globalized economy; a healthy and educated population makes for a happy and productive workforce in an economy ready to compete with any other economy anywhere.

The concluding part of this essay will discuss policy implications of dealing with not just the crisis of unemployment but the upcoming sub-crisis in employee quality as well – and suggest a solution.

How important is it to educate our workforce? Why bother? Aren’t they just going to work on assembly lines as human drones a la Henry Ford and Willow Run? No. We are currently in the midst of a revolution in the production of goods. We are in a digital age of increasingly robotized production. Even China is beginning to robotize its production because of the “high labor costs” there!  Our evolving workforce will have to have a great deal more technical expertise than it (on average) has now if our economy is going to positively compete with other globalized economies and avoid Third World status.

Politicians of both parties on both state and federal levels are not planning or even talking about this economic certainty. With skilled trade jobs that can pay $100,000 a year currently going unfilled and employers pressing their politicians to arrange for visas for aliens to come in and do the work we have not trained Americans to do, there is clearly a huge disconnect between policy and the crying need for trained workers. Americans who could have been trained for these jobs and paying instead of spending tax monies are unemployed and on food stamps, and all because of the petty grievances among policy makers that have led to gridlock. Somebody tell me how policies that lead not only to off-shoring millions of jobs but to importation of skilled labor to do our work here are good for America’s future. We hear all the time that there are certain jobs here that cannot be sent overseas – visas solve that problem by bringing the workers here to do those jobs, thus systemizing America’s unemployment and recession.

Where are the policymakers? Are they so caught up in their spasms of mutual insults in Washington and state capitals that they are oblivious to America’s future? The obvious answer (and the hour is late) is to quickly put together a massive program for vocational and technical education and subsidize millions of the unemployed to participate. Welfare? Keynesianism? Nanny state? Do we have time for philosophy?

Call it what you want, but it turns out to be, of all things, capitalism! How so? Here’s how. When a skilled tradesman makes $100,000 a year, how long does it take him or her to pay back in taxes what we as a society invested in his/her vocational education? Answer – not long – and even better, he or she keeps on paying in to our treasury long after he or she has paid back the costs of their education. It not only did not cost us a penny, we made a huge profit. That, as I understand it, is capitalism.  Additionally, those now-educated upper middle class workers are off the dole (which saves us money on the backside of this equation) and are helping the American economy compete globally. What’s not to like? If this is welfare, let’s have more of it. We need to save money, and save our economy in the process.  GERALD  E

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