Thursday, January 22, 2009
Robert Reich on Construction
The Stimulus: How to Create Jobs Without Them All Going to Skilled Professionals and White Male Construction Workers
The stimulus plan will create jobs repairing and upgrading the nation's roads, bridges, ports, levees, water and sewage system, public-transit systems, electricity grid, and schools. And it will kick-start alternative, non-fossil based sources of energy (wind, solar, geothermal, and so on); new health-care information systems; and universal broadband Internet access.
It's a two-fer: lots of new jobs, and investments in the nation's future productivity.
But if there aren't enough skilled professionals to do the jobs involving new technologies, the stimulus will just increase the wages of the professionals who already have the right skills rather than generate many new jobs in these fields. And if construction jobs go mainly to white males who already dominate the construction trades, many people who need jobs the most -- women, minorities, and the poor and long-term unemployed -- will be shut out…It continues (08JAN entry)
I have had a hard time keeping a job and am a recent construction industry graduate. Robert Reich teaches at Berkley, and if he would maybe look around, most of the construction labor in California is not white. Well there are the Russian crews, who we should really watch out for.
I have a story from my days building housing for American Indians. If I remember right, the Tribe charged rent of something like $20 per month per house. A pretty good deal. Anyway, I hung out at bars after work and became drinking buddies with a Tribal Chairman, who was huge. Those guys had limited ethics rules and I did lots of their work from there on out.
At another emporium of spirits that I frequented, I met another buddy. This one managed a government contracting outfit and had just landed a $10 million contract at a military base. There is, as I understand it, a 5% premium if you hire a certain percentage of targeted minorities, which would have worked out to $500,000. $500,000 buys a lot of beer. The job involved trucking.
So the light bulb goes off, and voila, we’ll show my Tribal Chairman friend how to set up a corporation. The contractor would arrange a truck lease and drivers. Everything was arranged and ready to go.
What a perfect plan. One of my friends would be a new independent entrepreneur, another would help our government achieve its dogma while making higher profits. And, the way I figured it, they would both buy me beer from there on out.
The Tribal Chairman was very excited about the plan. And never followed up despite the repeated, unanswered phonecalls. But Robert would probably like me anyway. I once hired a blonde, white, lesbian, female with big boobs.
Reich has been a member of the faculties of Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government and of Brandeis University. He received his B.A. from Dartmouth College, his M.A. from Oxford University, where he was a Rhodes Scholar, and his J.D. from Yale Law School.
Posted by Bill at 2:45 PM