Reality Show Becomes Nightmare

As a reborn Democrat I often get cognitive dissonance trying to reconcile the news with the GOP party line.  A good example of this is an article in USA the Today news section

What?  Me Worry?

What? Me Worry?

entitled, As construction heats up, so does worker shortage.  According to the CEO of the National Association of Home Builders, the shortage of workers is an “epidemic”.  One large-company builder for the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic region says he could increase his revenue 50% if he had adequate laborers.    The article adds that “competition for workers is so intense that “rivals routinely poach his workers ” . . . by offering small increases in pay.”

I find this just amazing, especially considering the recession that has now faded into the background.  Remember the financial cliff  the Tea Party had their shorts in a knot over?  Whatever happened to that?  They had everyone so convinced of this that they were nearly able to shut down the whole government over it.

Here in Joplin, home-building proceeds apace, especially since the 2011 tornado, but even in non-affected areas like our small development.  With some 50 homes, it sees about 3 new houses built per year and I can’t help but notice that much of the work, particularly framing, concrete and masonry, the grunt stuff, is done by Hispanic workers.  I suspect many are illegals.  From bricklaying to driveways, they do quality work – the average house price here is probably $300,000.  I wonder what would happen to the prices if Donald Trump is able to deport, or self-deport all these guys?  Hmm.  Probably something like happened in Alabama several years ago when its legislature passed draconian anti-immigrant laws and Hispanics fled the state.  It was devastating to the economy and especially to farming, not to mention the human costs.

Donald Trump and those like him, Cruz and Walker included for sure, ignores reality when he talks wildly about deporting 11 millions of people.  His expertise is playing Monopoly with other peoples’ money and sometimes going bankrupt in the process.  Now he wants to do it with the whole country.  Is this a reality show, or just the beginning of a national nightmare?  

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About Jim Wheeler

U. S. Naval Academy, BS, Engineering, 1959; Naval line officer and submariner, 1959 -1981, Commander, USN; The George Washington U., MSA, Management Eng.; Aerospace Engineer, 1981-1999; Resident Gadfly, 1999 - present. Political affiliation: Independent, tending progressive as the GOP recedes from its Eisenhower roots.
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7 Responses to Reality Show Becomes Nightmare

  1. It is a nightmare for multiple reasons. First, we are allowing ourselves (YES, selves) to be dragged down by the constant drumbeat of negativity. The candidates are competing to see who can be most negative and ugly, and every media report with whatever bias reports it, we see it, and down we go. It is like a toilet bowl, spiraling us downward with the muck.

    Second, and not exactly the reverse of that, we are not making any effort to lift people up or empower them. No one is talking about how to make things better — healthier, smarter, more productive, kinder. Candidates aren’t and for the most part, individuals in private life are not, at least in their public comments. Heck, even this comment of mine is all negative! How much better would things be — all things — if we made efforts to make progress? How much better if we could join together to improve our communities?

    As to construction jobs and the inability to find qualified workers, I thought this map from Vox was interesting. Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee and Georgia all show that their number one job for immigrants is in construction. Imagine how bad the shortage would be if the illegal aliens were to be deported, self- or otherwise. http://www.vox.com/2015/8/22/9188443/common-immigrant-jobs

    (A lot of people prefer the term “undocumented immigrants” to “illegal aliens. I think either is preferable to “illegals.”)

    First time commenter. I don’t usually have this much to say, but I just woke up from a nap so I guess it was stored up…

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    • Jim Wheeler says:

      Hi, Melanie. I like your link showing the kind of jobs held by the undocumented. I see that it is healthcare of some type in seven states already. Surely that will become increasingly the case as the boomers retire. Wouldn’t it be ironic if Trump were to become bedridden and have Hispanic nurses and aides taking care of him? (He’d be wise to have someone else checking his meds before he takes them.)

      Thanks for visiting!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Jim in IA says:

    I was impressed by the insight and accuracy of this article by Robert Reich about income uncertainty in this country. http://robertreich.org/post/127426324745
    He makes the case that fewer of us have jobs that we can count on for income and secure planning for our future. There is minimal investment in the worker as a productive individual to be trained and kept for their value to the enterprise. The business gets a worker who feels the same in return toward the company. Why invest my best work and long-term hopes when management doesn’t really care about me?

    “On demand and on call – in the “share” economy, the “gig” economy, or, more prosaically, the “irregular” economy – the result is the same: no predictable earnings or hours.

    It’s the biggest change in the American workforce in over a century, and it’s happening at lightning speed. It’s estimated that in five years over 40 percent of the American labor force will have uncertain work; in a decade, most of us.

    Increasingly, businesses need only a relatively small pool of “talent” anchored in the enterprise – innovators and strategists responsible for the firm’s unique competitive strength.

    Everyone else is becoming fungible, sought only for their reliability and low cost.”

    It seems to me everyone would benefit by greater sharing of profits with those who do the labor. Give people a better living wage, a sense of value, a sense of a job being there in the future, a feeling that one can plan and not feel expendable and replaceable. The companies would get a more dedicated labor force. The trend of the past 20-30 years shows worker income as flat. That is not sustainable.

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    • Jim Wheeler says:

      Robert Reich is one of my favorite writers too, Jim. He has a real talent, especially for an economics guy, for explaining the complicated in clear and simple language, and you and he make a good point about the trend toward disposable workers. I also agree that it is not, as you say, “sustainable”. Problem is, the trend is irreversible. Competitive human nature will always seek better productivity.

      I understand that Germany has dealt with the problem much better than we have. Somehow their culture is amenable to shifting a segment of teens into craftsmen (craftspeople?) in high school. Here in the USA all the helicopter parents want their kids to study to be CEO’s or movie stars.

      Europe is also starting to build walls because of refugees from the Middle East wars. Like Melanie, I hate being negative, but the outlook doesn’t look good.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Jim makes a great point, but what he missed is how the US and its corporations have achieved this in the many segments, such as IT, Engineering and other higher tech jobs. Flooded the market with H1B Visa holders and outsourcing. This pushed entire segments into the ‘gig’ marketplace where income safety is a fantasy, savings a dream and the market frightening at times.

    While the GOP is focused on the undocumented low end of the market, which is an easy target for them. This is the other never spoken about side of the equation.

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  4. aFrankAngle says:

    I don’t buy into the nightmare because I’m a believer the bubble will burst … thus I don’t know when or how. Therefore, it’s a reality show because he knows how that’s done, and has effectively transformed it into a campaign.

    Like

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