Populist movements don't build themselves ...

... It doesn't matter what the "horse race" outcome of the campaign is, if we fight the campaign. Fighting it, we learn how to fight. Learning how to fight political battles, we become citizens again. Becoming citizens again, we reclaim the Republic that lies dormant beneath the bread and circuses of modern American society.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

If the College Educated hit 16% unemployment, would it be different?

Burning the Midnight Oil for Progressive Populism

While Matthew Yglesias tends to be susceptible to patently absurd conventional wisdom economics, he does have his moments, as back in February when he observed:
The people in all the key jobs—not just the members of congress and cabinet secretaries and FOMC members and newspaper editors, but the bulk of the people who staff those people—are virtually all college graduates. And the way America works in 2010 those people are overwhelmingly going to have friends, neighbors, and acquaintances who are also college graduates. And while the labor market outlook for college graduates is bad by the standards of recent history, it’s really not catastrophic. Things look very different for people with high school diplomas.

The figures are stark, and starker when plotted as a graph:

The people I teach are mostly on that purple line trying desperately to climb down onto that green line, out of the 10% (headline) rate to the just-under-8% rate. Which may be part of why I am skeptical when Richard Florida reckons that the 'Knowledge Economy' as currently constituted, which mostly constitutes people making intellectual property claims to slice and dice existing income streams, is sufficient as a future for the American economy.

If the US is going to be importing the actual manufactured products, mostly from the Factory of the World across the Pacific, we have to have something to export that people can work on without genuinely requiring a four year college education.

Now, I don't believe in silver bullet, all-in-one miracle solutions, so none of these are intended to be silver bullets, but all of these involve work below the four year college level, in addition to the college-educated work that it generates:
  • Pass a Federal Law that long term fixed tariff electricity rates may take as their "avoided cost" the average annual wholesale price of power in the median of the past five years. This will allow states to pass feed-in tariffs, establishing jobs in manufacturing, installing, and maintaining wind turbines in all states that take up the offer
  • The same Federal Law allows for stable feed-in rates to buy back power from small scale solar and industrial cogenerated electricity, further expanding the employment that can be generated
  • A 10 cent a gallon tariff on imported crude oil to finance Steel Interstates, High Speed Rail, Electric Transport, Public Transport and Active Transport, with the ability to borrow ahead on the tax revenue, can generate millions of new jobs ~ many college educated, and many not requiring a four year college education

This is a point that is perhaps lost in the noise: when the Oil Industry founded and as it funds the Radical Right Wing echo chamber, including the Cato Institute, the Heritage Foundation, the Reason Foundation, among the notable opponents to Energy Independence and supporters of maintaining America's vulnerability to its greatest national security threat ...

... they are opposed to the creation of jobs for ordinary working families.

While the Republican noise machine generates outrage about a non-existent Mosque which will not look onto Ground Zero to distract attention from its own jobs policy of "prosperity is just around the corner".

People know that someone has ripped off their American Dream. Too many Democrats are beholden to the same interests that did the ripping off to stand up and say loud and clear who did the ripping off ... in this election cycle. But what that means is that we have to organize so that starting around December 2010, we are working to getting people on the ballot for State Legislatures and Congress ~ Democrats if they'll let us, independents if need be ~ who are willing to stand up and say loud and clear who is on the getting side of the Great American Rip-Off Economy.

Remember what happened when gasoline hit $4/gallon. Over the decade ahead, we will be starting to slide down from the Peak of Peak Oil, and will be looking back fondly at $4/gallon oil, unless we start doing something now to tap the jobs that are available from Working to Kick Oil.

Midnight Oil ~ Dreamworld

The Breakfast Creek Hotel is up for sale
The last square mile of terra firma gavelled in the mail
So farewell to the Norfolk Island pines
No amount of make believe can help this heart of mine
End - your dreamworld is just about to end
Fall - your dreamworld is just about to fall
Your dreamworld will fall


Helen Bushnell said...

Would the WTO rules prohibit this?

BruceMcF said...

No, crude oil does not have a cap on its tariff under the WTO ... any member of the WTO can impose any tariff on crude oil that they desire.

Helen Bushnell said...

Thanks for the answer. The WTO restrictions on tariffs can make things difficult for local and national governments. Do you know there is a cap on the tariffs of refined oil?

BruceMcF said...

Yes ... and as far as I recall (and not surprisingly considering the number and political influence of the companies owning US oil refiners), the US has all those tariffs up at their maximum amounts.