Friday, August 13, 2010

Thinking about work

Work is an interesting topic.  There are some really unpleasant jobs out there that need doing.  I worked as a surgical orderly for two years in college and I am convinced that the world would stop in interesting ways if there were no more surgical orderlies.  It is critical, necessary work.

Then there are the jobs that make you want to exclaim in sheer disbelief, "they are paying people to do THAT?"

Ironically, we let thousands of necessary jobs go undone while the jobs that clearly do NOT need doing or are actually harmful seem to multiply.

So the question is, What percentage of the population must work to accomplish the necessary tasks?  Now mind you, the number of people who must do the hard work has diminished ever since folks discovered that energy running motors was a great substitute for human toil.

I am convinced that folks who still have jobs are working WAY too hard so that a quarter of the population can sit around doing nothing while an army of educated people do work that is less useful than running out into traffic with washer fluid.

If I were a young man looking to write an interesting paper, I would study the question of, "If we were to divide up all the useful work roughly evenly, how long would the workday actually be?  How many weeks a year would people work?  And when would they retire?

My guess is that they would retire young.  We SHOULD be looking to lower the retirement age.
Galbraith: Expand Social Security and Medicare
Jamie Galbraith says the talk about cutting entitlements is all wrong. These programs should be expanded, not trimmed back:
James K. Galbraith Champions The Beast Manifesto, by James K. Galbraith: 
In the Great Crisis, the United States lost about eight million private jobs. ... Very few lost jobs have been replaced... Two million of the lost jobs are in construction, which faces a long slump. Three million were lost in manufacturing, which is down 40 percent since 2000, and those jobs likely won't ever return. Unemployment rates for Black, Asian, and Latino workers have all doubled. The average duration of unemployment has risen to an astonishing 35 weeks, with nearly half of all unemployed out of work for almost a year.
So: Jobs are Priority One. But very little is being done. And what little is done is hotly contested. Even extending unemployment insurance proved difficult—and UI, while necessary, is not a jobs program. ...
[E]conomists ... rightly argue... for stronger action—action that would increase public budget deficits now. ...[M]any argue that we must make cuts today, effective at a later time, to offset the "stimulus." Since the major programs which are authorized today for later effect are Social Security and Medicare, this translates to "cutting entitlements" in order to bring "long-term budget deficits under control." This is a pernicious idea...
So what are the real effects of cutting Social Security and Medicare?
Medicare pays doctors' bills for the old. It pays out at lower rates than does private insurance for working people. Cutting Medicare would mean two things: less health care for the elderly, and therefore more financial stress on their families. And more health care costs overall, as people substitute with private insurance for the public cuts. Both of these are very bad ideas. more
And a warning in case someone has forgotten that the pirates love to raid pension funds.
Banksters are Coming for Your Retirement Next
Eric Blair
First, the banksters hoodwinked an angry public into bailing out their collateralized-debt obligations and derivative Ponzi scheme to the tune of what may turn out to be over $600 Trillion dollars. Derivatives are nothing more than bets on other bets, on other bets, that are all completely worthless. So, we can assume that the taxpayer will be victimized for at least that amount for derivatives alone. That’s about $2 million dollars for every man, woman, and child in America, or $100,000 for every person in the world.
They bet big with your investment money, got fat, then lost thousands of times more than everything real on Earth combined. Then, representatives of the people bailed them out (including bonuses) while they laughed all the way to their respective banks. Since government officials are doing their best to reject transparency, we can also only assume this number is much, much larger.
Sadly, their derivative Ponzi scheme is the least of the public’s current problems regarding the banks. The international banks’ economic hit men have successfully enslaved-by-debt everything from nations, entire industries, state and local governments (who will need their bailout soon), and nearly every person on the planet. Even if an individual doesn't have any bank financing or credit cards, they still pay the private Federal Reserve through inflation. As author of Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, John Perkins, would say: the time has come for the banks to collect their “pound of flesh” from average citizens by way of your pensions. For an enlightening explanation of how economic hit men enslave entire countries please watch the video below: more

Who Are You Going to Believe -- Tim Geithner or Your Own Lying Eyes?
Robert Kuttner
Co-founder and co-editor of The American Prospect
Posted: August 9, 2010 08:35 AM
The jobs situation stinks, even as corporate profits keep rising. Another 131,000 jobs were lost to the economy in July, according to the Labor Department's latest report released Friday. The measured unemployment ratestayed stuck at 9.5 percent.
The only reason it wasn't worse was because more workers gave up looking for nonexistent jobs, leaving a smaller labor force to measure against the meager supply of work. Small comfort.
Meanwhile, another important government report, by the Social Security Trustees, showed only a trivial improvement in the gap between what Social Security owes the next generation of retirees and the tax receipts that it can expect.
There is, of course, a direct connection between rising unemployment, declining wages, and the condition of Social Security. That's because Social Security is funded by payroll taxes.
If wages had continued to rise with the growth of the economy's productivity, instead of profits and bonuses taking an ever larger share, Social Security would be enjoying an endless surplus. more

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