Yesterday I ruminated about the impact of education on the big division in this country. The other arena in which I’m pondering options for narrowing the gap is economic. A huge portion of those who supported Trump are people who’ve been left behind by the job market.
They often seem to blame immigrants and/or Americans of a different color than theirs for taking their jobs. I, on the other hand, see three main causes: (1) automation replacing jobs; (2) companies seeking lower employee payrolls moving operations to other countries and (3) the tsunami of technology and its shift of jobs into arenas requiring skills most laid-off workers don’t possess.
We don’t have to agree on the cause to agree it’s scary and horrible to lose your job and to have nothing on the horizon to replace it. Democrats have talked about doing something but haven’t produced. Republicans don’t even talk about programs to help (anyone ever?). Deporting a bunch of immigrants isn’t going to change the economic realities.
Companies who are saving money with automation aren’t going to bring back a work force. Nor are the ones who’ve moved factories to places with cheap labor forces going to come back to pay the high wages required here. And nothing is going to stop technology’s relentless growth and change and the degree to which it has become the heart of the marketplace. [Changing the entrenched corporate greed, a topic for another day… or possibly after a revolution???]
So it seems to me it’s time to figure something out for the workers who have been left behind. I’ve seen the opinion we can help their children (presumably by training for tech jobs) but there’s nothing to do for the 40-60 year-olds who have neither jobs nor the skills to move to the technology sector. Surely in a nation as great as this we can do better than that.
It’s not my area of expertise, so I’m not sure what could happen, but surely there are people with ideas who could devise plans, projects, programs, possibilities??? How can we reach out? Bridge this gap?