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      As you’d expect from the title, both more and less than it seems. The impact on oil prices is not that big a deal, despite the screaming. If they were to, say, wind up at $75/barrel for a few months, well the last time we had prices that high was… less than a year ago. […]
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Confidence Men: chapter 2- it gets worse

In this chapter, Suskind takes us back to 2007 as seen through the eyes of Alan Krueger, some Princeton economics dude, who was shopping his skills around to different campaigns even though he was technically an advisor to Hillary. You know, networking.

Anyway, he relates a meeting he witnessed with Obama and his economics team about why jobs suck these days, don’t pay well and are not secure. They went over what could be done about it and noted that the health care industry was booming. But that was only producing jobs like medical technicians, nurses and home healthcare aids. You know, “women’s work”. Obama said that men don’t want to do women’s work. They want to feel like men. Krueger was astonished at first because he’d never use such a term. Then he attributes Obama’s use of the term to his “writer’s sensibility”. {{cough! Bullshit. Cough!}}

Krueger comes up with the bright idea that the campaign should propose infrastructure jobs, like that’s so damn novel. *I* could have come up with that. Oh, wait, that was exactly what I asked Hillary Clinton about at YearlyKos2 in Chicago in august 2007. So, you don’t have to be an Econ genius to think through the problem. But in Hillary’s case, she already had plans to upgrade the broadband across the country and enter into public-private partnerships to expand the rail system in addition to fixing our roads and bridges.

But Obama wanted to concentrate on infrastructure jobs primarily because it would make the mens folk feel better about themselves if they didn’t have to do wimmins work.

I didn’t think I could like him less but I have surprised myself.

But here’s the problem with this approach:

1.) Even women don’t like womens’ work. I mean, really, Can you imagine an 8 year old girl answering the question of what she wants to be when she grows up with, “I want a low paying job doing work most men wouldn’t touch with a ten foot pole!”. We grow up thinking we can be anything. The sky is the limit. I know *my* limits. I would suck as a daycare worker or a home health aid. I’m not saying that there is no one who doesn’t like doing this work or there isn’t dignity but most of us take those jobs out of necessity, not out of desire. And Barack Obama just reinforces how undesirable and undignified that kind of work is- for a man. Thank you, Barry. By the way, has anyone caught the latest episode of America’s Handyman on HGTV? One of the leaders is a woman. I’ll betcha no one was going to talk her into women’s work. It’s too bad more women don’t learn these skills.

2.) Obama and his advisors are already behind the curve. When so many PhDs in chemistry, engineering and astrophysics are out of work, it is the highly skilled that need help as well. This country can’t thrive without a vibrant technology sector and right now, a lot of high skilled jobs are being lost. It’s like a hemorrhage. What’s left is contract work. It’s low pay, unstable and doesn’t come with benefits. If we concentrate only on infrastructure projects for the He-Men, we leave out hundreds of thousands of potentially much better paying jobs in the technological industries where both men and women can find jobs they that give them a sense of identity and purpose.

I’ve already suggested how the government can buy up some empty lab space and put to work thousands of scientists to work on central nervous system and antiinfective drugs, two areas that the big pharmas have abandoned. We could sell the patents back to the government in exchange for decent salaries. That way, you would preserve the scientific infrastructure and put money back into the economy. So, where are the plans for that, Barry? You should have been Much more forceful in appointing Elizabeth Warren if you wanted to help the struggling middle class.

I’ll betcha Hillary would never have made these mistakes.

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