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Editorial January 31, 2013  RSS feed

EDITORIAL

Plenty of buzzwords and topics are being circulated within Washington, D.C. these days—gun control, budget deficits, immigration reform, debt ceiling, sequestration, etc. But it seems the powers that be have forgotten one four-letter word: JOBS.

Since when did JOBS become one of those dirty, four-letter words a politician can’t say on television?

Reports claim that the number of unemployed persons in the U.S. continues to shrink, but even with the “Great Recession” long declared to be over, nearly eight percent of this country’s workforce can’t find work.

One wonders what this country’s economy would look like if more had been done by our government years ago to keep the factories open and prevent industries from fleeing this country to lands where labor is cheaper.

Rather than focus on real job creation, government seems to prefer making it easier for folks to get financial assistance just to live—which is really no way to live.

There is a small movement to recapture the “Made in the USA” blue-collar work ethic. Companies that are here take pride in their work, but the momentum keeps getting stalled by one thing or another.

Hurricane Sandy also exposed a deep flaw not only in our economic structure, but also our education system. The destruction of homes and businesses put a spotlight on how this country is in short supply of tradespeople.

The most necessary persons needed when the storm ended were plumbers, electricians, cement workers, sheetrock and tape people, painters, mechanics and telephone technicians. Unfortunately, there aren’t enough of them to go around fast enough to restore some semblance of normalcy to so many storm victims.

There was a time when trade schools were a major part of the public school system. People who worked with their hands were able to build the products that engineers could envison. They may not have been well versed in calculus, algebra or quantum theory, but they sure knew how to make things work.

Unfortunately, somewhere along the way, the public school system became ultra-academic, shifting to preparing youths for office jobs rather than building offices. The host of youngsters capable of trade work found themselves as round pegs in square holes.

Even in a perfect world in which there is trade education and youngsters excel in that environment, the politicians who run the country have messed up the job market anyway. They would have the training, but no place to ply it.

To borrow from a proverb, unemployed folks in this country don’t need to be given fish; they need to be taught how to fish so they can eat for a lifetime, not just for a day. Until government puts the focus back on job creation and trade education, we’re not going to solve the many social and economic challenges which we can no longer afford to ignore.

America thrives on JOBS. This is not the time for the powers that be to censor that four-letter word. It’s time to shout that word out and act to create them.