Today I’ve decided to throw all of our presidential candidates under the bus. Yes, you read that ALL of them. Warning-this is a heavy post but my blog is just about the only place I can share my thoughts/observations without being shouted down. Here we go let’s have an uncomfortable economic conversation today-but in a respectful way.
Recently I have spent a lot of time listening to people talk about politics, the economy, and “bringing jobs back.” There are few of us who haven’t had at least one awkward conversation about the current Presidential election.
In fact, I’m very excited about how people are in engaging in politics (good or bad) because I was concerned about the serious lack of apathy that has been a part of American life in general for quite a long time. I even have the fanciful notion that we are in a moment of great societal change similar to: the 60’s and that’s not a bad thing. There is one very important and real economic conversation that is not being had that is at the root of all the: crazy talk, anger, and fear.
The New Economy and Real Fear
It is my belief that we are in the middle of an accelerating economic change that began in the 80’s. The economic changes that started with the idea trickle down economics (Reagan) and were cemented with NAFTA (Clinton) has hit its stride and there is no turning back.
For the past 30+ years our business leaders and politicians on both sides of the aisle sent our jobs overseas. Some argued that it was better to produce overseas because of few regulations, the wages were lower, and American consumers would get to buy cheap goods.
The thing that no one took into account was that this system wasn’t sustainable and that with each job that we sent out we were cementing our deal with the Devil. No one realized that technology would kill our ability to regain jobs lost in this deal.
Economic Conversation and Mr. Trump’s Angry People
While I believe that Mr. Trump is in it for himself as he benefited from the system for the past 35 years-the anger these people are feeling is important to talk about. I actually believe that there are a lot of scared people who realize that things have changed and they can’t put their finger on it. They just know that they are finding it hard to find work and things feel “different.” I’m choosing to ignore the racist rhetoric for this post. I’m only focusing on the economy.
The Economy has Changed
- 1800’s agricultural economy-Industrial Revolution
- Late 1800’s to earl 1900’s-Second Industrial Revolution
- WWI and WWII (made jobs)
- 1960’s-70’s I’m adding this decade because Black people and White women began to enter all parts of the work force.
- Mid-1980’s till Now-TECHNOLOGY
This is an unofficial list of the different economic changes through out our history. If you’re a historian please share your perspective on the history of our changing economy.
Technology is Taking Our Jobs
Not, China anymore, or any other foreign country. Again, business people in the U.S. made pragmatic decisions to send jobs overseas and of course China welcomed that work. But, Chinese manufacturing is also slowing down and factories are returning to the United States but with much fewer jobs. Why hirer 200 people when one machine and 10 people will do?
The only candidate who even came close to talking about a good approach to this issue this was Ted Cruz (who I don’t support-but I have to give him credit).
The Jobs Aren’t Coming Back
And, it sucks to say this. And Mr. Trump, Mrs. Clinton, Mr. Sanders, Mr. Rubio, and Mr. Cruz (to a degree) aren’t being honest about this. If they say that they are bringing back jobs ask yourselves-how? How can they slow down an economic change that has been happening for the past 30+ years? How will they incentivize businesses to pay: wages, insurance, etc. There is no incentive for big businesses to run back to America.
Colorado’s 4.2% Unemployment Rate
Colorado and Utah have very low unemployment rates. I have a theory about why these states are doing so well-and it has nothing to do with pot. Check Google for the statistics on the unemployment rate for your state.
One of the things that I’ve noticed living here is that people LOVE buying local. It is not unusual for me to buy: Justin’s Peanut Butter Cups, Little Owl Coffee (roasted down the street from my house), grab a cup of Silk Soy milk, eat some Noosa yogurt, or when I needed t-shirts printed recently I purchased them locally, and worked with a local company to print them. I literally rode my bike to printer and picked them up. Are you sensing a theme? And, I’m not the only person to do this. And, yes, it pains me to admit this but even our pot is grown locally. I’ve worked downwind of those grow houses. Yikes.
Hyper Local Business
Is the key to growing jobs in an economy that Technology has taken over. What is a problem in your neighborhood that you can solve? What is a service that you can provide? Something that someone overseas can’t do for your neighborhood?
- Do you have a coffee shop? No, open a coffee cart. Check food related regulations/food safety/etc.
- Do you have a grocery store in your neighborhood? No, but you have a car? And the delivery services won’t deliver to your neighborhood? Create a grocery driving service and drive people to the store. Or, take their list and purchase the groceries for them.
- Do you know everything about your town? Create a tour company and share your town with visitors (be mindful of safety). Or, create a website (long-term return)
- Do you read English-but your neighbors don’t?
While these politicians fight with one another, behave embarrassingly, and don’t listen to one another you will be waiting for those jobs to return. Going out on your own will be frightening but waiting for jobs to return on a politician’s time table is even scarier.
For those of you who say that you don’t want to be an entrepreneur-I hear you. Consider this “mind-the-gap” entrepreneurship until those promised for jobs arrive.
Hold Your Local Politicians Accountable
What are your Governors, Mayors, and city councils doing? Are they encouraging entrepreneurship, getting businesses to come to your town, are they thinking outside of the box? Presidents are important-but your local politicians and business leaders are even more important. Are they working hard to diversify your local economy?
By the way-Colorado has been notorious for having a boom-bust economy.
- Gold Rush-that went bust.
- Oil Boom-that went bust (and is suffering currently)
- Tourism-that can suffer due to lack of snow.
- The late 90’s Tech Bust-That sucked.
- We said “No” to the Olympics-That was a good decision but then we got a bad reputation for awhile.
The point is Colorado had to learn the hard way to diversify its economy. We now:
- Manufacture-local products: Lara Bars, Izze Drinks, Crocs, Coors, etc.
- Tourism (all year around)-Skiing, etc.
- Agriculture-Beef, Palisade Peaches, Honeydew Melons, etc.
- Education-Numerous universities
- Green Energy
- Pot (sigh)
The point is we learned the hard way that having one or two big industries in your state doesn’t work. If that is happening where you live go to your city council meeting with proposals every time they have a meeting. Don’t let them lose focus-they are accountable to YOU.
I’m just tired of people imagining that the President will rescue you. They are just a man (or woman) in charge of a lot of epic sh$t. Don’t wait for them to change your life. They have only so much power that is based on the cooperation of others and we’ve seen how that’s gone since the 90’s. Don’t hold your breath.
I promise to be a lot lighter in future posts. But, I’ve had some heavy stuff on my mind and needed to get it off my chest. I’m sick of people being fed platitudes. The economy has changed it’s time to be honest about it so that we can make strategic plans so that we’re not screwed waiting for the President to help us. Just saying.