Wednesday, September 03, 2003


I've been through one, two, three, four, five technology "revolutions" in my life, at least. And each time I "lost" a job and had to find another in a new field. And each time I did a little better. So in some ways these words from WaPo's Steven Pearlstein make some sense to me:

ll of these factors reflect an accelerated pace of structural change in the U.S. economy -- one that has now reshaped the business cycle, according to a recent paper by two researchers at the New York Fed. Erica Groshen and Simon Potter found that recessions are no longer characterized by companies temporarily laying off employees when sales fall, only to rehire them back a year later. Rather, recessions are periods in which industries representing 80 percent of the economy are undergoing fundamental changes in how and where work is done -- a complex and time-consuming process that explains the "jobless" quality of early-stage recoveries.

What all this suggests is that there is no manufacturing crisis that suddenly requires some new bureaucracy, a new round of protective tariffs or another big package of tax cuts.

Actually, it is pretty funny that the Pubicans aren't pushing tax cuts as The Solution to joblessness. I guess they figure that dog won't hunt anymore ('til they need to give another round to their contributors in 2005—or, pray God, not.

And it's also pretty funny that the solution to joblessness that the Pubicans are pushing is an a Special Under Assistant Associate Secretary of Commerce (or something). Which will doubtless create at least one job—for a wired hack from the AEI or the Heritage Foundation...

So, like any other Lucky Ducky, I laugh to keep from crying.

But what truly frosts me about this administration isn't that they can't abolish the business cycle, or that they can't make joblessness go away. Those are impossible dreams. What frosts me is their rotten attitude.

If Bush and his gang aren't trying to take away overtime from people who do have jobs, they're trying to slash unemployment benefits for people who don't. We get little lectures from Elaine Chao about training for new jobs—as if there was enough training, as if we were fools who didn't know it existed, and as if we could just uproot our lives, abandon our homes and families, and move to where the training was. Amazingly, their rotten attitude carries over from working people to the troops, as the Bush gang tried to cut combat pay.

What a bunch of chisellers....

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