Our # 1 story asks the question, Does Obama actually want to win a second term. #2 discusses the new views of Paul Ryan’s plan for Medicare (it’s gaining respectability even on the left). #3 brings up the reality that while we have 14 million unemployed people, we are short people for good paying manufacturing jobs. Finally #4 shows how China is dealing with people with college degrees where there aren’t good job prospects.
1. Does Obama want to Win?
Over the last decade, we became a country that relied too much on what we bought and consumed."- President Obama, Nov. 19, 2011
"Too many of us now tend to worship self-indulgence and consumption. Human identity is no longer defined by what one does, but by what one owns."- President Carter, July 15, 1979
There are only two ways to look at the Obama re-election campaign right now: Either the upstart candidate who stunned the world when he defeated the Clinton machine to capture the Democratic nomination three years ago HAS LOST EVERY BIT OF THAT MASSIVE MOJO, OR THE BRUISED AND BATTERED PRESIDENT, AFTER THREE YEARS IN OFFICE, JUST DOESN'T WANT ANOTHER SPIN IN THE OVAL OFFICE.
How else to explain the nonstop missteps, the stammering and stuttering campaign, not to mention the brazen attacks on American voters, who, he has said, have "fallen behind," lost their "ambition and imagination," gotten "lazy" and "a bit soft" - this is a guy seeking the support of America?!
For the past 36 months, Americans have hoped for the best. But it hasn't turned out that way. In fact, SOME ARGUE THAT MR. OBAMA ACTUALLY MADE THE ECONOMY WORSE - THE NONPARTISAN CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET OFFICE SAID LAST WEEK THAT HIS 2009 STIMULUS PACKAGE MAY HAVE SUSTAINED AS FEW AS 700,000 JOBS AT ITS PEAK AND THAT OVER THE LONG RUN IT WILL BE A NET DRAG ON THE ECONOMY….
Obama has be a disaster to the country, but he may end up being the Democratic Party’s own personal catastrophe.
Back in May, Democratic Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi traveled to Milwaukee and proceeded to rip the Medicare reform plan of House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan, a Wisconsin Republican:
Democrats brought the fight over Medicare reform to U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan’s backyard Thursday, holding an event in the home state of the man attempting to turn the federal program into a subsidized private insurance plan. Democratic U.S Rep. Tammy Baldwin, D-Madison, and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., held a press conference at the community senior center in Waunakee, where they vowed to fight for continued funding of the social safety net that helps millions of seniors get medical care. … “THIS PLAN WOULD ABOLISH MEDICARE AS WE KNOW IT,” SAID PELOSI. “WE CANNOT LET THAT HAPPEN.”
So it was with some surprise when I read this in the New York Times:
Though it reached no agreement, the special Congressional committee on deficit reduction built a case for major structural changes in Medicare that would limit the government’s open-ended financial commitment to the program, lawmakers and health policy experts say. MEMBERS OF BOTH PARTIES TOLD THE PANEL THAT MEDICARE SHOULD OFFER A FIXED AMOUNT OF MONEY TO EACH BENEFICIARY TO BUY COVERAGE FROM COMPETING PRIVATE PLANS, WHOSE COSTS AND BENEFITS WOULD BE TIGHTLY REGULATED BY THE GOVERNMENT. The idea faces opposition from many Democrats, who say it would shift costs to beneficiaries and eliminate the guarantee of affordable health insurance for older Americans. BUT SOME DEMOCRATS SAY THAT — IF CAREFULLY DESIGNED, WITH ENOUGH PROTECTIONS FOR BENEFICIARIES — IT MIGHT WORK. THE IDEA IS SOMETIMES KNOWN AS PREMIUM SUPPORT, BECAUSE MEDICARE WOULD SUBSIDIZE PREMIUMS CHARGED BY PRIVATE INSURERS THAT CARE FOR BENEFICIARIES UNDER CONTRACT WITH THE GOVERNMENT.
Now you tell us, NYTimes. Shorter version: RYAN’S IDEA OF TURNING MEDICARE INTO A PREMIUM SUPPORT SYSTEM IS ACTUALLY A PRETTY MAINSTREAM IDEA. Former Clinton budget chief Alice Rivlin included it in her fiscal reform plan for the Bipartisan Policy Center…
3. Jobs that go begging
Ferrie Bailey's job should be easy: HIRING WORKERS AMID THE WORST STRETCH OF UNEMPLOYMENT SINCE THE DEPRESSION.
A recruiter for Union Pacific Corp., she has openings to fill, the kind that sometimes seem to have all but vanished: secure, well-paying jobs with good benefits that don't require a college degree.
BUT THEY REQUIRE SPECIALIZED SKILLS-EXPERTISE IN SHORT SUPPLY EVEN WITH THE UNEMPLOYMENT RATE AT 9%. Which is why on a recent morning the recruiter found herself in a hiring hall here anxiously awaiting the arrival of just two people she had invited to interviews, winnowed from an initial group of nearly five dozen applicants. With minutes to go, the folding chairs sat empty. "I don't think they're going to show," Ms. Bailey said, pacing in the basement room.
HER CHALLENGE IS A FAMILIAR ONE TO RECRUITERS, ESPECIALLY IN INDUSTRIES THAT REQUIRE WORKERS WITH TRADE SKILLS SUCH AS WELDING. UNION PACIFIC STRUGGLES TO FIND ENOUGH ELECTRICIANS WHO HAVE WORKED WITH DIESEL ENGINES. MANUFACTURERS IN MANY PLACES CAN'T FIND ENOUGH MACHINISTS. OIL COMPANIES MUST FIGHT FOR A LIMITED SUPPLY OF DRILLING-RIG WORKERS.
"There's a tremendous shortage of skilled workers," said Craig Giffi, a vice chairman of the consulting firm Deloitte. A recent survey it did found that 83% OF MANUFACTURERS REPORTED A MODERATE OR SEVERE SHORTAGE OF SKILLED PRODUCTION WORKERS TO HIRE….
The real problem in America is there aren’t good paying jobs for people without skills, those kinds of jobs have been exported or mechanized.
4.China to Cancel College Majors That Don’t Pay
Much like the U.S., China is aiming to address a problematic demographic that has recently emerged: A GENERATION OF JOBLESS GRADUATES. China’s solution to that problem, however, has some in the country scratching their heads.
CHINA’S MINISTRY OF EDUCATION ANNOUNCED THIS WEEK PLANS TO PHASE OUT MAJORS PRODUCING UNEMPLOYABLE GRADUATES, according to state-run media Xinhua. The government will soon start evaluating college majors by their employment rates, downsizing or cutting those studies in which less than 60% of graduates fail for two consecutive years to find work.
The move is meant to solve a problem that has surfaced as the number of China’s university educated have jumped to 8,930 people per every 100,000 in 2010, up nearly 150% from 2000, according to China’s 2010 Census. The surge of college grads, while an accomplishment for the country, HAS CONTRIBUTED TO AN OVERFLOW OF WORKERS WHOSE SKILLSETS DON’T MATCH WITH THE NEEDS OF THE EXPORT-LED, MANUFACTURING-BASED ECONOMY.
Yet the government’s decision to curb majors is facing resistance. MANY UNIVERSITY PROFESSORS IN CHINA ARE UNHAPPY WITH THE MINISTRY OF EDUCATION’S MOVE, AS IT WILL LIKELY SHRINK THE TALENT POOL NEEDED FOR VARIOUS SUBJECTS, SUCH AS BIOLOGY, THAT ARE CRITICAL TO THE COUNTRY’S AIM OF BECOMING A LEADER IN SCIENCE and technology but do not currently have a strong market demand, a report in the state-run China Daily report said…..
It appears China has come up with a solution that might help our first story. Perhaps we should bring back vocational education.