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Re: Life in the middle of the road
Old 09-22-2004, 07:51 AM   #21
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Re: Life in the middle of the road

I couldn't *help picking up on a slightly different aspect of the article, namely that the jobs that got lost tended to have 'good benefits', which meant retirement and medical plans. *The jobs that are replacing them might pay the bills after a fashion, but they aren't putting these folks in shape for the long run.
I think that the root problem here is the medical system in this country. Medical inflation rates have been in the double digits for years. Clearly this cannot continue forever, and employers are crying uncle and doing what they have to to shed some of the burden. As long as mredical inflation rates are significantly above general inflation we have a problem. Unfortunately, this problem is exacerbated by the fact that medical insurance is largely tied either to employment or gummint programs (Medicare, etc.). I don't know what the solution is, but clearly we need to do something before the medical system implodes or the majority of Americans have little access to healthcare.

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Re: Life in the middle of the road
Old 09-22-2004, 08:47 AM   #22
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Re: Life in the middle of the road

Take a look at San Diego, for example. * During the dot-com bubble, they ratcheted-up their employee benefits to the max. * *Employees are taking huge cash-outs, getting close to full salary and full medical at retirement, and retire early, often to take another public sector job! * *Now that tax inflows have been reduced, they're in a nasty bind, but I suspect they'll find a way to keep the benefits.
Working in the public sector (WA state), I know this is not the norm. We haven't had a COLA in almost 5 years, don't have any sort of matching 401k, and the 'great pension' that everyone seems to think we have is only 1% * Service Years * Avg Final Salary. Our health benefits have mirrored everyone else's: reduced benefits, increased premiums. To make things better, classified staff are now able to be outsourced through a competitive bidding process in the new classified system...So EDS for example could go to a university or large city and put in a bid to take over the IT operations, putting those classified workers out of work...So what used to be the ONLY benefit of working in the public sector (relative job security) is now gone as well. So while this post may seem like a rant, it isn't, rather I just wanted to provide a reality check to the notion that public sector workers are somehow getting 15% raises each year and are immune from the current economic realities.

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Re: Life in the middle of the road
Old 09-22-2004, 11:29 AM   #23
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Re: Life in the middle of the road

The 'free market' has no heart. These examples aren't new. What's different is that now more and more higher end jobs are being affected. As higher end jobs are lost, people start to wake up to the issue -- but it's definitely not new. There's been a large underclass in the US for generations.

My guess is that the most probable outcome will be that we enter a period of economic recovery, and that job growth and income begin rising again.

If this does not happen, then people will demand more and more services from the government as they lose benefits that were provided by the free-market system. In this case, as ESRBob predicts, more jobs will be available in the public sector.

This is basically what happened with the "New Deal' under FDR. Faced with similiar issues Germany turned to facism which was fueled by the fear of communism. Declining wages, unemployment, nationalism, and fear can be explosive in combination.
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