Saturday, June 11, 2016

My Dialogue on Facebook About Hillary's Concern for the Unemployed

The following has been edited for formatting purposes and to fix minor grammatical and spelling errors.  I have removed the identity of the person who set me off.  We have been friends for years and if anything are closer after this little exchange.  I will call her "Sandra Smartperson".

Sandra Smartperson.  She would never ever want to care about the unemployed? Really? Michael, you are full of baloney.

Michael Wahrman Dear Sandra, no, I dont think so. Do you just want to insult me, or do you want to know why I think what I do?

Michael Wahrman OK, lets party. 1st the unemployment metric that we are constantly told about is, if you care to spend 5 minutes researching it, guaranteed to not only under report the number of unemployed, but to ignore those who are most in trouble. All it reports is those who are known to have lost their jobs in the last 18 months, anyone who is not employed again in those 18 months is dropped off the metric. Furthermore even those who find a job in that 18 months, there is no way of telling whether they got a job again at their previous salary. Someone who was working at 80 K per year, could now be working for 30K and it would all be reported as great. The first thing anyone who was serious about helping the unemployed would do is to work to create a more honest index or series of indices so we could at least discuss the problem. That is point one.

Michael Wahrman Second, the H1B visa program is well known for being abused by corporations in Silicon Valley (in particular, I presume other industries use it as well in this way) to train people from India and China so that those services can be outsourced to India and China. Pick up pretty much any issue of Computerworld, or read about the (in) famous ongoing Disney IT situation. Hillary not only supports the H1B visa program, she wants to expand it.

Michael Wahrman Third, HRC is on record for not supporting the minimum wage initiative and she gets very little support from the Unions at all. Why is this, Sandra? If Globalization is so good for the economy then it would be just hunky fine to have laws that said that a corporation that off shored labor would be held criminally responsible if that labor was forced labor or abused. I mean the top executives would go to jail. But even though we know that in fact many of these famous off shore companies use indentured labor, nothing is done. Or when high tech companies use raw materials that come from violence torn regions of Africa and the revenues thus generated are used to support the wars that murder tens of thousands of civilians, our government just laughs and pats those corporations on the back for making more profits through globalization. I mean, god forbid our corporations would have to use Americans and pay them benefits! What about the profits to the shareholders?

Michael Wahrman Globalization as we have implemented it in this country is guaranteed to enrich the corporation at the expense of the worker. And it has. And yet no effort has been made by either government or industry (to the best of my knowledge) to either measure the number of Americans put out of work by Globalization nor to make any provision for retraining them for another field. This is not just manufacturing, although I do not understand why manufacturing is held in such low esteem, but is many fields including the glamourous and rewarding fields of visual effects. To the best of my knowledge, HRC has not indicated anything in her platform that would gather these numbers or provide real funding for retraining these disenfranchised workers.

Michael Wahrman Furthermore, if Globalization is so good for the economy, then why should the corporations who have increased profits not be responsible for paying for this retraining? Oh and by the way, it wont be cheap. We are talking about at least 2 years probably 3 to get a Masters degree in a new area, and then find a job, and these are not teenagers but adults with families who need to be supported. If HRC cared about these people, she would have something in her platform somewhere to address it, but to the best of my knowledge she does not. I admit, I have found it hard to figure out what it is HRC does propose, but that may be my fault or how I use the Internet. I might be wrong about this, I hope so.

Michael Wahrman No one knows how many chronically unemployed and impoverished Americans there are today. Although I think the number of 100 M that I have heard is hopefully over the top. The point is, no one knows, and I see nothing in the HRC platform that makes me think that she has anything more in mind than more of the same. You know, 10 percent more of this, 15 percent off of that. By the way, if Obama were running today I might (probably) say the same thing about him.

Michael Wahrman Furthermore, this has been going on for a long time now, this studied neglect while the 1 percent (or 10 percent you tell me), does so well. So do I think that HRC gives a rats ass about the unemployed? No, not really. But all you have to do to prove me wrong (and make me happy, I want to be proven wrong) is to point to a program that she is advocating that is not just more of the same, because more of the same is unlikely to make much of a difference.

Michael Wahrman Now its true, could such a program get through Congress? I guess it depends on what it its, but I am inclined to believe that it would be over Congress's dead body. Nor do I think HRC is in any way to blame for this situation (well maybe a little, but no big deal). But on the other hand, she *is* running for president, pretty much the only serious candidate (I love Bernie but I do not think he is actually running for president exactly, I think he is trying to give a voice to the impoverished and disenfranchised and I love him for it, but its another topic), so it makes sense to me to look at her proposed platform and see what she says. And that gets to the big mystery ....

Michael Wahrman The big mystery is how it is possible for this to be going on so long without Washington realizing that there is a problem here. It is not fair nor am I laying all this at Hillary's door, by which I mean she has only had a small part to play in creating this problem. But I am absolutely blaming our Government, that is the federal government: Congress, the Presidency, the Supreme and other Courts, etc. How it is that Washington was able to believe that this could just go on without blowback (I love that word) is what amazes me. Maybe I am wrong. Maybe people are doing just great. If that is so, where does all the anger come from? Why are so many people saying, hey, its all very well to give the better part of a trillion dollars to help your friends on Wall Street (and give speeches to them but not tell us what you said) but maybe you might have some of this vast wealth left over for us. You remember us, right? Remember? You want us to vote for you every four years or so, right? So when I say that Hillary does not care less, that is only because that is what I seem to see when I look at her positions. Now maybe she has in mind some very interesting and dramatic solutions (and has some idea about how to get them through Congress) but if so I am unaware of them. Maybe you are more aware of them than I am and can help me understand. Is it fair to put all this at Hillary's feet and say fix it? Well, no, not really. Doesn't seem fair to me. But we do give the President a lot of power and it is a good place to start.

Michael Wahrman Finally, Sandra, I may very well be full of shit, but probably not baloney. Aside from a degree in Economics and my time at the RAND Corporation (for what that is worth, probably not much, but it is true so why not) I have been a vegetarian since 1978 and so I am unlikely to be full of baloney. I hope you are doing very well, and that you are recovering from surgery, and that I am all wrong about either Hillary's plans or the state of the nation, because if there is one thing I am quite sure of, I am not in a position to do much of anything at all except to complain. Feel better ! Nice to hear from you!

Michael Wahrman By the way, I write a blog and here is a post I wrote about how the homeless are helped down here in N San Diego county.... I wish that everyone who has read this far would read it, because I believe I have done a good job at expressing my outrage and disgust.  See Law Enforcement Provides Moral Instruction To The Poor

Michael Wahrman Ok, I lied one more thing. If the three founders of Google can share 7 widebody jets and rent Moffet field as a place to store them, then I can see a program in a leading candidate's platform about how we are going to help that homeless person I wrote about above, and help her right now. I am tired of waiting. I have waited long enough. I can stare in disbelief at what the Bureau of Labor Statistics says how they measure unemployment only so often. I can be disgusted at how the former chief of police of Los Angeles will spend 4 months in jail after abusing the civil rights of tens of thousands of prisoners in Los Angeles over two decades and see no outrage anywhere only so long. So does Hillary care about the unemployed? Really? Hey, I am hungry, anybody have some baloney?

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