Opportunity barriers in America: A testimony teaser

April 3rd, 2017 at 11:10 am

Over at WaPo. Later this week, I’ll post an extensive set of policy ideas to reduce these barriers, but in the meantime, here’s Ben S and I at The American Prospect with some ambitious big-think on a simple progressive agenda: Jobs and Medicare for All. Or JAMFA, if you like, though that sounds a bit too much like some new sort of aerobics.

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4 comments in reply to "Opportunity barriers in America: A testimony teaser"

  1. William Miller says:

    The WPO article – Barriers to Opportunity in today’s America – has a huge gap that will lead to total failure. The gap is not recognizing the new business methodology for innovation and strategy revealed in Fareed Zakaria’s Sunday show (4/2/2017) in which he interviewed Jeff Immelt, CEO of GE, about how to get manufacturing jobs back to America. Immelt’s solution (after 24 minutes of the video ) was for America to adopt the German model because they employ 24% in manufacturing vs. 9% in America. The German system produces strong exports in the global economy. Of course, GE is practicing the fourth generation (4G) of innovation management to transform their business into a digital industrial manufacturing and service business to target the $32 trillion industrial Internet.

    Macroeconomic policy that ignores the microeconomics of business innovation management is doomed to failure.


    • Smith says:

      Germany can’t move factories, unlike GE which has $100 billion in overseas profits they don’t know what to do with, except avoid paying U.S. taxes.
      Germany has worker councils that a strong voice in running companies.
      They have medium sized manufacturing unlike the U.S. with giant conglomerates where management is far removed from any notion of what a factory produces or who are their workers.
      You can’t be fired except for cause. There were new worker rules that softened labor protections in the aftermath of reunification slowdown.
      Export surplus is a big problem, as Krugman notes, Germany favors austerity because they export their unemployment.
      German wages in manufacturing are high.

      Germany is not the land of opportunity. In middle school it’s determined if you will go to college or learn a trade. They do have a good vocational training and apprenticeship system, but the U.S. shouldn’t copy their methods of early tracking. College though is free.

      If you will read about all the labor protections of German workers, the opposite of GE corporate culture, then I’ll watch your youtube.

  2. Smith says:

    Here is a preemptive strike against the anticipated blog on opportunity.
    First, people should care less about opportunity and more about reality. Opportunity is for Republicans who say everyone has a chance to make it in America.
    First of all, education is not the answer. Even Paul Krugman has recognized this on his blog. Why is it not?
    Because we already have an overskilled workforce where college graduates take jobs away from those without degrees. Too many graduates chasing too few jobs partly explains wage stagnation even for those with four year degrees. It explains why those without college experience twice the level of unemployment, they’ve been bumped.

    I favor increased opportunity, especially educational opportunity, but your focus is misdirected and self defeating in curing our current economic ills.

    We need more jobs. Period. More high skills jobs for the over educated workforce, more low skills jobs to tighten the job market for those with less education.

    We need higher wages. You can’t get higher wages without tolerating inflation higher than 2% and preventing business from passing on the cost of higher wages entirely to the consumer. The government should spend more and not subsidize big business with corporate welfare through while hurting competition and wasting tax dollars (no to expanded EITC, no to wage subsidies, no to free training programs).

    Saying education is the problem and the answer is similar to Greg Mankiw’s argument that our problem is a supply problem of labor force skills.

    More jobs and higher wages, a demand solution, not opportunity and supply. Get it?

    • Smith says:

      I should amend my statement to say I favor free training for workers, but what I meant to say that providing labor for free to business under the guise of training is bad and anti-labor, and that’s where one should say no.