Thursday, January 15, 2009

Second verse, same as the first

[I'm pretty sure I got this link from Citizen Carrie, but I couldn't find it in the shamefully few seconds I spent looking for it. {Added note: Found it, not sure what happened the first time around.}]

It's a post by James Carlini from Christmas, but it has lost none of its bite since the holidays. It expresses as well as anything I've read the sad reality of the inconsistency in saving auto company jobs (or pretending to), while we've done nothing to stem the outflow of information technology and telecommunications jobs:

It’s funny and sad how the government did nothing to protect cutting-edge jobs in IT and telecom but now elects to protect mediocre, Industrial Age automobile jobs that aren’t even producing world-class products.

The concern of losing an industrial base of 1 million jobs was a recent top concern of Congress. Some automobile bailout proponents claimed it would be cataclysmic to let all these people lose their jobs and the economic impact in the U.S. couldn’t be fathomed by anyone. How do you fathom it?

There’s no longer anything to conceptualize about this type of catastrophe. It has already happened. We are already past the point of seeing what losing 1 million good-paying jobs does to the American economy. Ask the highly skilled people who were in the IT and telecom industries who have had to take jobs paying a half to a third of what they were making.

The recent job erosion in these industries has cost individual families their lifestyles as well as their houses as the economy continues to sputter. The tsunami wave of lost IT and telecom jobs has already hit the economy and has affected other parts of it. There was no preventative action to try to avoid it.

We don't understand this, we don't really have any desire to understand this, not as long as we can soak up the pablum being fed to us by our business and political "leaders." What we're told is that wonderful new middle-class jobs will emerge to replace these routine jobs; in the next breath, we're told that those jobs will be in construction and home remodeling, and we know that cost constraints will keep the salaries for those as low as possible. Carlini continues:

What Are the Skills of the Future?

This is a hard question that Congress, the media and everyone else better start asking before we slip more into a second-rate economy. We lose cutting-edge jobs and future prominence in emerging technologies while we protect those in Industrial Age jobs. Is that a good strategy? We had world-class software skills that were second to none in this country.

Many in government positions failed to recognize this was a large “special interest group” that they should have been aware of and fiercely guarding their growth instead of listening to the corporate lobbyists telling them to open up the floodgates for cheap labor.

Most companies either outsourced their IT departments or replaced workers with cheaper visa workers. Though this may have made short-term sense to get executive bonuses for “cutting costs,” now we’re seeing the long-term effect of less spending, less new car buying and defaulted mortgages and credit cards from those displaced from the IT and telecom industries.

Congress should have rushed to protect these jobs as they are the real jobs of the future and national security. Software skills, engineering skills and complex project management skills will take a country further in this global economy. These were jobs that required complex skills, degrees, advanced degrees and constant training rather than union membership.

As for the economic experts on TV and in other media, they can’t seem to connect the dots in our failing economy. It’s pretty simple. Car sales are at 20-year lows, mortgage foreclosures have skyrocketed and credit card debts are soaring through the roof because many people have lost good jobs and salaries from the beginning of this decade and are now at the end of their monetary rope.

I have, believe it or not, nothing more to add.

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