November 3, 2016
Dear Future President:
In America's economy today, jobs are hard to come by with or without proper education. Many families cannot afford to pay for their child's college because family incomes have stagnated. While some students have academic records qualifying them for scholarships, lessening the financial burdens on families, those who do not qualify are faced with limited choices: strapping themselves with thousands of dollars in student loan debt in a job market that is undependable, or opting to fill a low-skilled, low-wage job at a local burger joint, grocery store, and the like. Many of these low-skilled, low-wage jobs are hometown businesses, like diners or restaurants, who rely on local people to fulfill their employee needs. Business owners understand that employing local people not only ensures that their businesses can manage their payrolls because wages are low, they also recognize that local workers often demonstrate a higher work ethic because they are a part of the community - skill level, while not unimportant - is not the primary hiring factor. Future President, will you recognize the need to maintain and promote the growth of local and small businesses, not just the growth of corporate businesses? Will you recognize the needs of both the small business owner and low-skill, low-wage worker and work to address the issues that face each? For the business owner, manageable payroll and/or benefits to maintain a consistent reliable workforce? For the worker, quality of life issues like housing, family time, and healthcare?
As stated by USNEWS.COM, "The number of young adults in America who have full-time employment is at its lowest in four years, even for those workers who have a college degrees, according to a recent Gallup survey." The job market for incoming young adults is decreasing because employers find more efficient ways of production - through automation or alternative markets overseas. Jobs for adults aged 18 to 29 have decreased 2.3% from 2010 to 2013 - 23,000 people from 1,000,000 do not have a jobs anymore. 65% of young adults with a college education have a full time job, while only 39% of young adults without an education get a full time job. Future President, how will you work to reverse this trend? We know we need low-skilled, low-wage workers. How will you incentivize these jobs so that businesses can afford to conduct business in the United States and workers can earn a living wage and maintain a quality of life?
Our jobs have been flowing out to countries like China for a decade or more now. We lost 2.7 million jobs to China in the past 10 years. From 2001 to 2012 we have lost 5.1 million manufacturing jobs and a third of that went to China. American workers' wages suffer as they compete with Chinese workers; this results in the average two-earner house losing $2,500 a year. "They have been managing their economy on the back of ours for more than a decade," says Robert Scott, Director of Trade and Manufacturing Policy Research at EPI. Biggest job losses for all fifty states are highest in California- 475,000 jobs and Texas - 240,000 jobs lost. If we want a majority of our jobs back, we need to compete with China first and foremost. We need a workforce willing to take the jobs that China's workers have been taking from us while maintaining working conditions, that ARE NOT maintained for the Chinese workforce. How will you work to address this need?
Why not simply eliminate low-skilled, low-wage jobs? The auto industry started automating many of its line jobs years ago. And, many Americans argue that while automation results in the loss of low quality jobs, it creates many high quality jobs in the process. Some suggest that the fast food industry should follow the auto industry's lead. Installing "order kiosks" in fast food restaurants is a viable option to replace low-skilled, low-wage workers and create an environment for growth in the high-skilled sector as people will need to write the codes and programs that run the automation. However, where will those workers who are being replaced find employment? Could automation backfire and create a situation where there is a population of unemployable people? How will young people, many of whom rely on these jobs to help save for college, find employment? What about those small businesses who cannot afford to automate? By creating a job market with both fair amounts of high and low quality jobs, we open the market up to more individuals who are looking for jobs and allow small businesses to thrive.
In closing, Future President, our job market needs to be expanded and kept here at home in America and not be distributed to the UK or China. We need to remember that a healthy economy relies not only on corporate America, but also on small businesses. Our economy needs someone with a backbone - someone committed to the American worker and business owner - someone committed making fair trade deals because America should accept nothing less than perfection. If we can recover jobs outsourced to other countries, maintain an economic backbone when negotiating trade deals, and expand the job market, America will be an economic world power once again! Future President, will you be the President who claims this title for our nation again?