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Old 01-23-2013, 01:02 PM   #21
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For those of us that are retired; this is a bonanza. Less workers mean more profits thus higher stock returns.

But if the number of middle class[income] workers decline; tax receipts decline; then good-by social security, medicare & many other federal government departments.

The proof is in the pudding. We'll just have to wait & see if middle class[income] jobs return. They haven't yet in great numbers.
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Old 01-23-2013, 01:47 PM   #22
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We never know what's next but we've absorbed displaced workers and improved standard of living many times before, some say it will be mobile, health care, education.
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I'd say it's not just education, financial and governmental institutions. Business has a hand in it as well.
If the US is going to remain near the top of the pack in worker productivity (which we are today--it's easy to forget this), then it's the private sector that will lead the way in growing workers with the needed talents. That's the way it has always been. We've got very little centrally-planned "industrial policy" in the US (despite efforts by some to have the government take an active role in seizing resources and deciding where to put them for best results), and that's why we do it better than (almost) anyone. France has strong centrally-planned education and industrial policy. Japan does, too. How is that working out for them?
Government education should be geared toward preparing people to play their role as good citizens, exposing them to the major areas of human thought, and teaching them how to think critically and how to learn more.


And what are the recent trends in worker productivity: How has the US done compared to those nations with more government involvement with worker training and utilization? In this regard, maybe government does best when it does least.
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Old 01-24-2013, 05:38 AM   #23
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So basically we're building an economy, changing it deliberately, to ensure that a large percentage of the people will be utterly dependent on the government. That's a recipe for disaster isn't it?
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Old 01-24-2013, 07:56 AM   #24
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Seems to me, if we got serious about rebuilding our infrastructure, that would create a lot of middle class jobs for years to come, and then there is always the next big thing.
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Old 01-24-2013, 09:24 AM   #25
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Ran into this article this morning:"Practically Human: Can Smart Machines Do Your Job?"

Practically Human: Can Smart Machines Do Your Job? - ABC News

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Does technology also create jobs? Of course. But at nowhere near the rate that it's killing them off at least for the foreseeable future.
Its a long article but worth reading IMHO.
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Old 01-24-2013, 09:34 AM   #26
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Seems to me, if we got serious about rebuilding our infrastructure, that would create a lot of middle class jobs for years to come, and then there is always the next big thing.
It would create jobs and that's good, but we should not (re)build infrastructure just to create jobs. I may get blasted for this, but while our infrastructure certainly needs attention, will (expanding) infrastructure be as important in the future? With more and more products & services being transacted remotely, the need may not be as important as it was 50 years ago.

And while I support rebuilding our infrastructure intelligently, it seems the best way for a variety of reasons might be through 'infrastructure banks' where funding (and priorities) are shared between private and public funds. Our politicians have a habit of building in their states/districts often without regard for what's really needed most. I would think having private investment would prevent 'bridges to nowhere' and the like...
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Old 01-24-2013, 10:07 AM   #27
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I may get blasted for this, but while our infrastructure certainly needs attention, will (expanding) infrastructure be as important in the future? With more and more products & services being transacted remotely, the need may not be as important as it was 50 years ago.
People will still be driving, tractor-trailers will still be hauling those products, fuel needs delivered to your local gas stations. All of them would rather not have a bridge collapse under their tires or right on top of them. Infrastructure also includes our power delivery systems, most of which are using pretty old technology and getting undersized as our need for more power increases.
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Old 01-24-2013, 10:20 AM   #28
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People will still be driving, tractor-trailers will still be hauling those products, fuel needs delivered to your local gas stations. All of them would rather not have a bridge collapse under their tires or right on top of them. Infrastructure also includes our power delivery systems, most of which are using pretty old technology and getting undersized as our need for more power increases.
Some would argue that personal miles driven per capita is/will decrease. Most infrastructure rebuilding is probably needed (and already identified, there's a huge backlog of known projects). But we can ill afford to be building 'bridges to nowhere' or letting the infrastructure priorities to be left solely to political shenanigans - that was my central point. Thanks...

DOT: Monthly Miles Driven
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Old 01-24-2013, 10:28 AM   #29
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Some would argue that personal miles driven per capita is/will decrease. Most infrastructure rebuilding is probably needed (and already identified, there's a huge backlog of known projects). But we can ill afford to be building 'bridges to nowhere' or letting the infrastructure priorities to be left solely to political shenanigans - that was my central point. Thanks...

DOT: Monthly Miles Driven
Pork is a problem both in the government and on this forum...
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Old 01-24-2013, 10:31 AM   #30
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I don't think there was such a thing as an iPhone app developer ten years ago, now an entire well-paid industry has been built around that.

Next up could be 3D printing and affordable $500 desktop printers that people can use to print actual objects:

Why 3D printing will transform every industry - CBS News

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Innovation is accelerating, and when the next great transformative change comes odds are that it will involve 3D printing.
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Old 01-24-2013, 10:49 AM   #31
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Infrastructure has very little do to with going to Grandma's house, and only a little to do with commuting to work. Most of it has to do with getting corn from Nebraska to Maine, steel from Pennsylvania to Michigan, and lumber from Oregon to Texas.
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Old 01-24-2013, 11:38 AM   #32
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Infrastructure has very little do to with going to Grandma's house, and only a little to do with commuting to work. Most of it has to do with getting corn from Nebraska to Maine, steel from Pennsylvania to Michigan, and lumber from Oregon to Texas.
Add electricity, coal, oil, natural gas, automobiles, etc. Also include getting things to other regions of the world; i.e. rail, seaports, airports...
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Old 01-24-2013, 01:00 PM   #33
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Okay let's all be honest... How many of us remember much of this from playing SimCity?
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Old 01-24-2013, 02:02 PM   #34
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Okay let's all be honest... How many of us remember much of this from playing SimCity?
In my case it was Monopoly.
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Old 01-24-2013, 03:07 PM   #35
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I don't remember Monopoly having coal and oil, or seaports and airports.
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Old 01-24-2013, 03:08 PM   #36
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Add electricity, coal, oil, natural gas, automobiles, etc. Also include getting things to other regions of the world; i.e. rail, seaports, airports...
Oil and gas pipelines, seaports, shipping, information system highways, airports, heliports, spaceports, plug ins (for electric vehicles), hydroelectric generation stations, nuclear power generating stations, wind power generating stations, waste disposal and recycling plants, people maintenance centres (e.g. hospitals).......

I had the very first edition of SimCity. Lots of fun for a while. I passed it on to the next door neighbour's kids.
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Old 01-24-2013, 03:18 PM   #37
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"Nearly 70 percent are in low-pay industries, 29 percent in industries that pay well."

Anecdotely, I see this happening around me and to people I know. Make sure that if you are in a shaky industry/job type that you end up in the 30%, not the 70%. IMHO, based on what we see in the US, this is how the middle class will fracture.
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Old 01-24-2013, 04:15 PM   #38
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I read this the other day. I've been seeing this for sometime and wondered why the media has not been reporting on it.

The quote below is very interesting and real world.

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Webb Wheel Products makes parts for truck brakes, which involves plenty of repetitive work. Its newest employee is the Doosan V550M, and it's a marvel. It can spin a 130-pound brake drum like a child's top, smooth its metal surface, then drill holes all without missing a beat. And it doesn't take vacations or "complain about anything," says Dwayne Ricketts, president of the Cullman, Ala., company.
Thanks to computerized machines, Webb Wheel hasn't added a factory worker in three years, though it's making 300,000 more drums annually, a 25 percent increase.
It's been interesting to see other folks thoughts on the article.
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Old 01-24-2013, 04:48 PM   #39
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RANT ALERT!: Is it just me?

IMHO the "middle class" died decades ago. All that's left is inertia and a dream; some romantic notion of a steady job, your own home, kids planning for college and two weeks at the seashore.

Fifty years ago you could do that being a milkman (as my milkman did!). Now, you need to be an executive making $200K to pull that lifestyle off.

So what is the middle class nowadays? An income of $75K? Here in the North East, that's almost subsistence. If you've got a few kids, you're just hanging in there with two incomes of $150K total. $250K?....careful, you're the greedy rich.

Meanwhile, expenses that weren't there 15 years ago: cellphones, cable TV, Netflix, computers, school fees, etc etc are draining an extra $500 to $900 a month away from you while the tax man camps out in your driveway with his hand out.

And when you do turn on that TV you see stories about (in this State), 19,000 'lost/unaccounted for' EBT cards each month but nobody is accountable and nothing gets fixed.

Seriously, in 1965, my milkman was able to own his own home, send 4 kids to college (paying full freight) and rent a cottage on the lake each summer...with a SAHM. What happened to that?!

Is there a middle class? Or is it now just a bunch of lame drones who plug away paying their bills along with everyone else's with some vague hope of getting ahead of it all, believing in a long, lost dream?

Sorry for the rant...hope I didn't offend anyone.
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Old 01-24-2013, 04:49 PM   #40
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On the bright side, there should be a lot of very intelligent folks taking your order at McDonalds. . . . .
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