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I've said this before, and I agree wholeheartedly with this:
This time, the government needs to place a greater emphasis on retraining workers for other careers, these economists say.
The restructuring of the economy has been evident for some time as we've been bleeding (now hemorrhaging) manufacturing jobs for over a decade. As opposed to trying to retain manufacturing jobs, like some have suggested, governments need to accept reality. Those jobs are gone, and will never come back. No American will take a job paying what would be required to compete with other countries. The only way we get those workers in a position to be successful is to focus on job training and education.

Simply shoving kids through college won't help. We have to invest in community and technical schools to train not only kids that don't want to go to college, but more importantly the 45 year old that did nothing but make bolts for a GM supplier and now needs new skills to be competitive.

There will be new industries that fuel growth, so I don't buy the opinions of those that think we're just screwed and we need to accept a dramatically lower standard of living. Granted, we do need to adjust to new realities, someone making $75,000/yr isn't going to be living in a $500,000 home any more. But just like in the early 90s when the recession hit and people wondered what we were going to do with all the manufacturing jobs we were losing, a company came out of the blue that sparked a whole new industry. Netscape was just the tip of the iceberg. Necessity is the mother of all invention, and Americans are inventive and resourceful.

Whether it's green technology or something no one has even considered, there will be new opportunities. Those willing to learn new skills or trades will be the ones best positioned to adjust and prosper. The government needs to focus its attention on making sure those that are willing are also able. I think an investment in education (whether it's expansion of Pell grants, other federal grants for education, or some other tool to make education more available) will pay huge dividends down the road.

It's easy to say there's no hope for the future when everything looks bleak all over the world. Some how, things turned around after the Great Depression - and look at the tremendous amount of wealth created since then and creation of industries that weren't even a dream in the 20s and 30s.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
Nick, I agree 100%. Ultimately, recovery will look radically different than what we've had in the 1980-2005's era.

For instance, GM will discontinue or sell off Pontiac, Saturn, Hummer, Saab, and possibly some other brands; they may decide it's best to go into bankruptcy in order to more radically restructure. That will have far-reaching consequences on all others connected in any way to the automobile business.

Our future lies largely in directions and developments that are nascent or have not even developed yet -- and certainly education and retraining will be enormously important to best getting there.

And it's vitally important that the necessity of and painful readjustment to this change be recognized (that's why I posted these 2 articles).

 

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Things are going to change, that is inevitable. They always have. I have some significant concerns for the US economy. Almost everything has gone global. The US is becoming a service economy, and moving more to the point where that service is service delivered face to face. Your plumber, grocery clerk, Dr. Manufacturing, the production of value added goods, is moving offshore because of cheaper labor. Products that are still designed here, are designed for offshore manufacture. Many of the design tasks always done at the same location as the engineers are being outsourced to India, eastern European countries, and China. Almost all our semiconductors come from Pacific rim countries, used to be at high tech industry locations in the US. I feel sorry for the next generation. Finding high quality jobs with good pay is going to be tough. The skilled trades, the work that has to be done on site like plumbing installation and repair will be good. But the machinist that made a lot of the parts used will have a hard time. The parts will be made in China and shipped here.
 

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Mine will not be a scholarly post, but I thought some of you might find it interesting. I'm part of a teensy weensy portion of the population who is actually faring better now than I have been for the past 2 years.

In 2005 I bought a house I could afford. It is not in the greatest neighborhood, it is not in the worst. But it is a solid brick structure (1937) and the style of house I've wanted since I was a teenager. My monthly house payment is $383.00. That includes all the tax and insurance bells and whistles.

I dropped our 2nd cell phone and all the special features on the main one which reduced that monthly expense from $75.00 to $24.00. WOOT!

When gas prices dropped to 1/2 of what they were a year ago, another bonus for me. I only need to fill up the PaddyWagon every two weeks anyway, but still a bonus. I can put a full tank of gas in her now for under $20.00.

I received a 5% pay increase at the very end of last year. That was on top of the college-wide 3% received in July. HUGE bonus for me. For anyone these days, I suspect. And my dependent health care coverage dropped by nearly $150.00 a month. Paycheck is now pretty sweet. At least I'm not gnawing my nails about how to cover all the bills each month.

Groceries are still outrageous but Tudor is the manager of that and he does a brilliant job of stretching the dollar and presenting wonderful meals.

Oh... Scamp's groomer just increased her fee from $35.00 to $40.00. I suspected it was coming. Well, he'll just have to get long and shaggy again before the next shearing session.

So, maybe there are other low-end wage earners out there who are not feeling the tragedy as badly as some of the higher wage earners?
 

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I wonder how many of the folks really feeling the pinch were not high wage earners, but were people of modest income living beyond their means...
 

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I wonder how many of the folks really feeling the pinch were not high wage earners, but were people of modest income living beyond their means...
Yes, Cam. I've never understood that "living beyond your means" thing.
You can't afford to have it/do it/own it? It's O-U-T of the budget!

Color me simple. :eek:
 

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I wonder how many of the folks really feeling the pinch were not high wage earners, but were people of modest income living beyond their means...
There is a lot of high wage earners did the same thing.
 

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Several years ago, I was one who got caught up in the debt trap. It took several years and alot of tough times, but I got out of debt for good! I use Dave Ramsey's concepts. There are a few points I deviate, but not many.

I, like Paddysmom, was able to buy a house I could afford, almost the same MO, built in 1930 and in a decent, quiet neighborhood. And unless this area goes to hell in a handbasket, I plan on staying here for a long time.

Living beyond my means was NOT fun AT ALL. Now I save for what I want. I suspect there are lots and lots of wage earners at all levels who went way beyond their means.

With the exception of my IRA rollover :eek::(:confused:, I am in pretty good shape financially, I guess. And I am eternally grateful to have employment. I really feel for these folks who have lost their jobs. Call me one who sees the glass half full, but there are still 90% of folks who are working, and if news reports are to be believed, 95% or so of us are making our mortgage payments on time. And savings rate is up, which is not a bad thing, IMHO.
 

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And just for THAT you're gonna get it, mister. Those rollover minutes are still good! Go study some more. Or something. Take Jess through torts.
Speaking of that, sort of, we did take a huge hike through the park today...even got a little wild and walked off the paths. I think he feels like a "real" dog when he gets to romp in the tall grass and duck through the underbrush. Today was the warmest and sunniest day we've had in months and there were tons of people with their dogs out for him to play with. I realize this has absolutely nothing to do with the tread, but I felt like bringing it up. :)
 

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I am not feeling the pinch like so many others, because I always have lived within my means.
 

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I think that living beyond means crosses all classes. Might be easier if you have more to start with, but the end is harder for those that started with more. They do not understand what cutting back means. What will there friends say?
 

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I think that living beyond means crosses all classes. Might be easier if you have more to start with, but the end is harder for those that started with more. They do not understand what cutting back means. What will there friends say?
I just had to laugh about this comment. Just a little because I think it's quite valid in certain socioeconomic groups.

If you have style and any savvy (and daring!) about you at all, you simply tell the Joneses "Oh? You still do that/go there/buy that/drive it? It's so passe, dahling!

And it can all be delivered with one derisive look as you board the local bus for work. With your head held high. And not tripping on that first really high step onto the bus.

:cool:
 

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