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Copyright 2019

The Vanishing Jobs Myth

September 11, 2018

 

You might not agree with this but there's plenty of jobs now and there will be well into the future. This idea that jobs are vanishing is a myth!

How can I say that? If you read the news there's a robot take over and because of technology and automation we're losing jobs. And, I know if you're unemployed right now you're saying it's tough out there. It is tough out there. It always is. It's a different tough now and it will be a different tough tomorrow but that doesn't mean there won't be any jobs.

Jobs aren't disappearing to robots. Where are the robots? There's no robots marching around taking care of anything. Maybe, MAYBE in the future. But it's not here now and I think it's at least a long way out.

There's plenty of jobs. The simple fact is there are plenty of jobs right now and I can prove it. More people are working now than ever before in the history of this country. There's a record number of people working right now.

 

And I know the second argument. The people that push nothing but negative thinking will say, yeah there's jobs but they don't pay well. People say you can't get a good paying job. That's not true either and I can prove it. The treasury this year took in a record amount of taxes on personal income.

 

So to say there are no jobs or there aren't enough good paying jobs is a lie. It's a myth. It's a myth that's promoted by people that like to promote negativity and we all know bad news sells. It's an easy sell to convince people how bad things are without any real facts to back it up.

Fear motivates people. It always has. Fear is a great motivator and the single biggest concern people have is jobs and the economy so any play to the fear of losing a job is going to be a good headline but good headlines don't mean facts.

 

Personally I think some of the greatest opportunities are available right now. There's a ton of opportunities if you take the time to look for them and apply a little creativity. Opportunities for individuals to acquire massive wealth. Opportunities that never existed before.

Look at what some of these young kids have done in tech. There all young self made people. Millionaires, billionaires, some of them with no college. People that have made it because they came up with creative ideas to solve problems. 

 

Look at what's happened since Trump has been in office, barely a year. We were told for 8 years, the jobs aren't coming back we'll never have strong economic growth again and a lot of very intelligent people believed that nonsense to the point they've mocked Trump for saying otherwise. But, guess what, he proved them wrong. Trump's been in office barely a year and there's more jobs now, more people working right now than ever before in history.

 

There's more millionaires and billionaires now than ever in history. More people are working now than ever before in history.  How much more proof do you need?

 

People talk about automation as the reason there were no jobs. It's the robot take over. It's automation in manufacturing. What changed since Trump took office? There's not less automation now. We don't have robots serving people. Trump didn't ban automation or do away with robots that didn't exist in the first place in fact there's more now than ever and there's still more jobs than ever!

 

People talk about the robot take over. Maybe someday we'll have that. But, where are they now? They don't even have speech recognition down yet. Without perfecting speech recognition the massive robot takeover some people talk about can never be a possibility. Yes, there are incredible advancements going on in robots and technology but nothing remotely close to a robot take over. There was talk less than a year ago that self-driving cars would be here by the end of this year. Here we are approaching fall and it's not even being talked about right now. Why is that? Well the early tests on tracks and controlled environments went very well. But the real world tests have run into problems. Little problems like causing traffic jams and running people over. Some people would call that a failure, others would call it progress. The bottom line is it's not here.

 

Then there's AI - artificial intelligence which is massive lie. It should be called artificial unintelligence. The only thing AI has brought us is creepy sex dolls and fake news. Scientific tests have shown that AI fails to comprehend the basic common sense of a 7 year old. They fail to even address the issue of moral implications and imagination. 2 things we struggle to teach our kids let alone program robots to do.

 

There was an interesting article in the Daily Beast and they talked about self flying planes. Back in the day most planes had a pilot, co-pilot and a third man an engineer. Before that there was also a 4th man, a navigator. Of course there's no need for a navigator any more because we don't use compasses and maps to navigate. Times have chained. But removing the 3rd man was fought by the pilots associations. Now something else has happened. The bill that was passed earlier this year to fund the FAA included a provisions removing the requirement for a co-pilot. The airlines argue that the planes practically fly themselves. Something we know is true. But guess who fought this move? Of course the pilots union. But what about no pilots?

 

Here's 2 stories that make my point about complete automation:

In January 2009 Captain “Sully” Sullenberger saved the lives of 150 passengers by making an emergency landing on the Hudson River. Sullenberger saved his airplane by choosing the Hudson as his nearest landing point, a split-second calculation that his computers could never have made. This is the moral dilemma I mentioned. How is a computer programmed to take a calculated risk of landing a plan in a river? 

 

In November, 2010 what would have been one of the world’s worst air disasters was averted when Captain Richard de Crespigny of the Australian airline Qantas managed to get a giant Airbus A380 that had been badly crippled by an exploding engine back to earth in Singapore, saving 469 people. This wasn't even a big story here. Crespigny’s computers, faced with 120 major systems failures, automatically shut down 99 percent of the airplane’s electrical systems.

 

The pilots in both instances were flying Airbus airplanes with “fly-by-wire” controls and what was then state-of-the-art cockpit automation. But it wasn't enough.

 

Yes, technology is changing and it's changing fast. It seems like yesterday we had typewriters and rotary phones. Now our phones are typewriters, GPS, cameras, video cameras and full computers in one! And, we don't even have home phones any more.

 

There's been technology that has appeared and gone extinct in just a few years. GPS, CD's, DVD's pagers, car phones are just a few. Phone books, radios, record players, 8 track tapes all gone. We had boom boxes that were portable stereo's then walk mans then the ipod then the ipod nano and there all GONE.

 

We had banks then ATM's now we just do it on our phones. We used to go to stores now we shop online. We used to have books and encyclopedias and the card catalog now we have the internet and search engines that do all that. We used to mail checks out to pay our bills now we pay online. We used to get paychecks now it's direct deposit.

 

This has all happened in the last 20 years or so and I'm just scratching the surface. Technology has always been changing and it's always created more opportunity.

 

If you look back at farming. First people went out with rakes and hoes and did everything by hand. It was hard, back breaking work. Then came the ox drawn plow. This was huge. One man could do so much more. Then came tractors then came mega tractors and combines. The bottom line is that one man who used to be able to farm maybe 3 acres now farming 1,000 acres is a part time job. 

 

This is from Corn and soybean digest. This isn't something I would normally read and not something you find on the front page. But it makes an important point. They say Thirty years ago, 1,000 acres was enough to support Dad, me and three hired men. “But with new technology, equipment and products like Roundup Ready soybeans, I can farm 1,100 acres, run an independent seed dealership and still have time to be active in commodity groups.

 

Just in the last 30 years faming has cut 80% of the labor needed. If you look back 100 years I'll bet the labor used for farming today is less than 1/10th. And if you went by that standard, considering 100 years ago probably 80% of the population was in some way involved in farming - if you looked at that from that angle nobody would be working today. But that's not what happened. Freeing up those people created other opportunities.

 

Yes, there are jobs that aren't around anymore. There's used to be a guy who made horse whips and buggies too. There were people that made and fixed typewriters. Not that long ago there were ice delivery men. That went away with the invention of the refrigerator. The list goes on and on.

 

Travel agents are going away because of online booking. Mortgage brokers going away because of online mortgage applications. Book keeping is a dieing profession thanks to software and online banking where you can just download your receipts into the computer. Lawyers aren't used as much thanks to software and the internet. Broadcasters declining because of digital and syndication. Casinos are using machines. IT guys, the guys working in tech are getting replaced thanks to remote connection technology. Not as many postal workers are needed anymore. Photo processors are just about extinct thanks to everybody having a digital camera. Door to door sales people - that's just creepy now. Not as many detectives are needed because of security cameras and centralized data.

 

But somehow, despite all that there's still more people working than ever before. Why? Maybe because there's just as many opportunities being created. In solar and wind technology. Health care and environmental protection. Those are all good paying jobs.

 

Here's what the Bureau of Labor Statistics says:

 

Employment is projected to increase by 11.5 million over the 2016-26 decade, an increase from 156.1 million to 167.6 million, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. This growth—0.7 percent annually—is faster than the 0.5 percent rate of growth during the 2006–16 decade, a period heavily affected by the 2007–09 recession. Health care industries and their associated occupations are expected to account for a large share of new jobs projected through 2026, as the aging population continues to drive demand for health care services. The labor force will continue to grow slowly and to become older and more diverse. The aging population is projected to result in a decline in the overall labor force participation rate over the 2016 to 2026 decade.

 

The strongest industries, all expected to grow are:

 

Health care, mining, education, Construction, Business Services, Leisure, Transportation, Finance, Government, Utilities and manufacturing. All good paying jobs.

 

So maybe instead of making excuses people ought to get to work. If you believe the robots are going to take over maybe you should get into building robots.

 

My purpose isn't to insult anyone. I know things have changed and they'll keep changing. I'm glad I'm not in the job market it's all different now. Gone are they days you could just go knock on doors. It's a different game at least for most jobs. But that doesn't mean there aren't any jobs.

 

Let me ask you this, whatever you think about automation because I don't have a crystal ball maybe we'll all have a robot and a self driving car in the next couple of years. But are there any problems? Are there any problems that need to  be solved? There's plenty of problems and where ever there's a problem there's an opportunity.

 

For some reason there's people that like to think in a self destructive fashion. And for some reason there's always people willing to help them in their cause.

 

There was an interesting article on fee.org, the Foundation for Economic Education.

 

The title is: 7 Things I'd Do if I Wanted to Keep Poor People Poor

The subtitle: Spoiler: we're already doing all of these things.

 

I'm going to read it to you it's not very long. If you want to read it yourself you can go to fee.org.

 

Here's what that say:

 

"If I wanted to keep poor people poor, there are several government policies I would favor. Let's count them down.

 

1: An Expanding Welfare State

For starters, I would advocate for a robust and ever-expanding welfare state—programs like Medicaid, food stamps, unemployment insurance, etc.

 

I would recognize that an effective recipe for keeping poor people poor is to create incentives that push them into decisions that prevent them from climbing out of poverty.

 

Rather than help individuals, the perverse economic incentives created by the “social safety net” trap aid recipients on welfare.

 

Case in point: A 2012 study by Pennsylvania’s Secretary of Public Welfare analyzed the decisions confronting individuals and families enrolled in various government welfare programs. Specifically, the study concluded that in the case of a single mother with two children ages 1 and 4 earning $29,000 a year through work would be eligible for government benefits (such as Medicaid, housing vouchers, and subsidized daycare) equivalent to roughly an additional $28,000.

 

Such a scenario puts this woman in a bind. If she finds a better job paying more, or picks up more hours, she risks losing substantial amounts of benefits. She would make her family financially worse off even though her paycheck would be bigger. Just to come out even, once taxes are factored in, she would need to find work paying about $69,000 a year to compensate for the lost welfare benefits. Not many low-skilled workers can make such a leap.

 

It is a vicious, self-reinforcing cycle that keeps people poor and dependent on the state.

 

This scenario is commonly referred to as the welfare cliff. Confronted with this situation, many individuals understandably opt to continue receiving the government benefits. Rather than help individuals, the perverse economic incentives created by the “social safety net” trap aid recipients on welfare. And the longer they remain out of the workforce, or at lower levels of employment, the less employable they become. It is a vicious, self-reinforcing cycle that keeps people poor and dependent on the state.

 

Moreover, there is the impact the welfare state has on the family unit. Welfare programs break up families by replacing a father’s paycheck with a government check and benefits. Nationally, since LBJ’s Great Society ratcheted up government welfare programs in the mid-1960s, the rate of unmarried births has tripled.

 

In my home state of North Carolina, families are roughly five times as likely to be in poverty when there is no father in the home.

 

2: Progressive Taxation Policy

High marginal taxes on profitable companies and small businesses alike discourage capital investment.

 

If I wanted to keep poor people poor, I also would finance the welfare state poverty trap through punitive taxes on the job and wealth creators of society.

 

The key ingredient to economic growth, and thus a higher standard of living for society’s poor, is through productivity gains made possible by capital investment. High marginal taxes on profitable companies and small businesses alike discourage capital investment. As businesses decide to either not expand or take their businesses to more investment-friendly countries, job opportunities dry up.

 

3: Increase the Minimum Wage

If I wanted to keep poor people poor, I would advocate for higher government-enforced minimum wages. The law of supply and demand tells us that the higher the price of a good or service, the less of it will be demanded (other things held equal, of course). The demand for low-skilled labor is no exception. Minimum wage laws are an effective tool to cut off the bottom rung of the career ladder.

Higher minimum wages will price more and more low-skilled people out of the labor market.

 

Meanwhile, the higher wages will attract more job seekers willing to supply their labor at the higher price. Employers will be able to be more selective in their hiring, and as such the lower-skilled job seekers will be crowded out of these opportunities by higher-skilled, less-needy candidates. Minimum wage laws are an effective tool to cut off the bottom rung of the career ladder for those most in need of establishing work experience.

 

4: Support Restrictive “Green Energy” Policies

If I wanted to keep poor people poor, I would support government “green energy” initiatives that make energy more expensive. State and federal initiatives that mandate more expensive “renewable” energy mean that—in the words of President Obama—utility bills “necessarily skyrocket.” Poor people trying to scrape by just to stay even can scarcely afford higher electricity bills.

 

5: Increase the Business Regulatory Burden

If I wanted to keep poor people poor, I would see to it that government imposes many costly regulations on businesses. Such tight restrictions discourage businesses from starting or expanding, Such tight restrictions discourage businesses from starting or expanding.

meaning fewer job openings for those most in need of opportunity. And mountains of red tape force business to expend scarce resources on compliance costs rather than investing in their businesses and creating jobs. Higher-skilled compliance officer jobs will consume payroll that could have potentially gone toward opportunities for lower-skilled job seekers.

 

6: Inflate the Money Supply

If I wanted to keep poor people poor, I would support “quantitative easing” policies. Under such programs, the Federal Reserve creates money out of thin air. The inflated money supply then erodes the value of the dollars sitting in your wallet or bank account. The poor are hit hardest by this inflation because their limited skill set makes it far more difficult for their incomes to keep up with the rising cost of living.

 

7: Impose High Tariffs

The price increases passed along to consumers disproportionately harm low-income households.

 

If I wanted to keep poor people poor, I would impose heavy tariffs on foreign goods in order to limit imports. Sure, the domestic industries protected from competition by these tariffs would prosper, but at what cost? For example, tariffs on foreign steel may help the 170,000 American workers employed by the steel industry, but higher steel prices will harm those industries using steel as inputs—and the 6.5 million workers they employ. Ultimately, more jobs are likely to be destroyed than saved.

 

Furthermore, the price increases passed along to consumers disproportionately harm low-income households. The combination of fewer job opportunities and a higher cost of living certainly makes it harder for the poor to climb out of poverty.

 

Finally, if I wanted to keep poor people poor, I would most definitely not support a competitive, free market economy. As Milton Friedman once famously schooled Phil Donahue:

 

So that the record of history is absolutely crystal clear that there is no alternative way, so far discovered, of improving the lot of the ordinary people that can hold a candle to the productive activities that are unleashed by a free enterprise system."

 

If you look at all this you'd think the deck is stacked against you and everyone else. I guess in some ways it is, that's the struggle and that's where hard work comes into play and not allowing the vicious enemy called negativity to take over.

 

If you want to find opportunity it's easy. Just look for an unmet need or a problem to solve. Last I checked, there were plenty of both.

 

 

 

 

News & Politics Podcast: Common Sense, brought to you by Christopher Scott.

 

Common sense talk, news, politics, current events and personal development. In the age of continual constitutional crisis, fake news and partisan politics this show offers a refreshing common sense perspective. Regarded by many as one of the best podcasts by American talk show host, Christopher Scott.

 

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