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America Needs to Get Work Right

Posted on Sunday, September 3, 2023
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by David P. Deavel
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AMAC Exclusive – By David P. Deavel

president biden with construction workers in work gear

Is Bidenomics working? Government officials and regime media outlets are eager to tell us that Everything is Fine! But as we head into Labor Day, the signs that these sanguine declarations are wishes at best and lies at worst keep cropping up. Things are getting more expensive and the labor market is getting worse. And that is a problem. Because we fulfill our human nature by work, these developments are especially destructive. Now is a good time to think about what good work is and what we all can do to get work right in America.

First, though, the bad news that our Pravda-like media are trying to cover up. Zero Hedge reports on the continuous downward revisions that have been made to Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports through the Biden years. The newest revisions are stunning: numbers of job openings reported in July have been revised to 8.827 million—the first time we had fewer than 9 million since March 2021. This would have been a drop of almost 800 thousand since May, but for the fact that the May numbers were themselves revised down from 9.582 million to 9.165 million. In other words, it hasn’t been as big of a crash in job numbers as we might have thought…because the numbers had already started tanking.

The Zero Hedge report shows that it’s not just job openings that have been revised down. It’s also: housing data, monthly payroll, industrial production, manufacturing production, cap utilization (the measure of how much of their productive capacity is being used), number of workers quitting jobs (larger numbers mean workers are confident they can get another job), and the number of hires themselves—this last being the lowest since January 2021.   

These are not good signs. And they point to the biggest picture point about what we can do to get work right in America: that is to evict the Democrats from the White House. Whether the Republican candidate is Donald Trump or Ron DeSantis or someone else, all those who care about our country must get behind the Republican candidate and evict the Democrats from the White House. 

The reason this is so important is that having your party in power in the White House doesn’t just mean the possibility of vetoing bad bills or making executive orders. It means the possibility of appointing your people to important positions in our overgrown administrative state—positions that involve real regulatory power. I’m confident that both Trump and DeSantis know that fairly radical solutions are going to be needed to reduce administrative power and make what remains of it work for the American people. This will directly affect American business.

So voting is important. But there is a lot more that needs to be done by those who are job creators, those who are managers, and those who are parents and educators. Too many people hear and respond to the left’s siren song because too often people in business do not think about the design and management of jobs as an essential and difficult task.

First, for those who create jobs, there is the need to think about what good work involves. It certainly involves making a good product or a good service. But there is more to it than that. Jobs should pay well. They should also be designed to use the gifts that workers have. Pope Pius IX wrote in 1931 about how shameful it is “when dead matter comes forth from the factory ennobled, while men there are corrupted and degraded.” Scott Adams’s legendary Dilbert cartoon has for several decades tapped into the fact that it’s not just factories; too many American white-collar workers have jobs that feel meaningless and deadening. 

Good job creation designs jobs so that workers can be responsible, use their minds, and develop their own skills. It establishes clear authority structures and allows employees to have a say in how the work is accomplished and establishes that management is there not only to “keep an eye” on those lower than them, but to protect and provide for those under them to do their jobs. It is also to work to develop those employees so that they will be able to make their own contributions to the way the company operates. Quite often, even in very low-skill jobs, those who are on the line or making the deliveries develop insights about what will make the job safer, more efficient, and indeed better. And this has been backed up by countless management studies, which all show that the people on the ground, not the suits in the office, are the ones who know how to improve the products and the services. Having this participation makes workers better off and happier. It makes companies succeed.

If job designers and managers have a task, so too do parents and teachers. Clearly helping American kids develop a work ethic and getting them job experiences is a major part of this. But there is more.

 One of the great difficulties we have today is that much of the education system—and not a few parents—has given off the impression that there are some kinds of work that are “lower” than others. If you are not in the laptop class, the message is, then you are not really doing something dignified. Developing an understanding of the dignity of all work—including manual work—is essential to our country.

In fact, though the bad news in the BLS statistics is that there has been a contraction in the number of job openings, what is also true is that the construction and manufacturing sectors combined have almost a million job openings. A Fox News report on the state of these industries highlights the real needs for new people to replace the older generation. It quotes Aidan Madigan-Curtis, a partner at the venture capital firm Eclipse Ventures: “The problem that we’re facing today is that a lot of the workforce that’s been engaged in those roles is retiring and we’re not replenishing the workforce with new recruits into these jobs because the Millennial and Gen Z generations—they kind of grew up with a different idea in mind of what was a well-paying and what was a very meaningful job.”   

Madigan Curtis says there is currently a shortage of 750 thousand welders and machinists, a shortage that will grow to 2 million within a few years. So too with electricians who can aid in the U. S.’s quest to develop our own semiconductor capacity.

Parents and teachers need to prepare American kids to see the opportunities that are in front of them, opportunities that may well involve coding or writing but may also involve a welder’s torch or a nail gun. They need to teach kids that work is good for them, work dignifies them, and that work will build up their families and their communities.

Perhaps as we crank up the grill and crack open the cold ones this Labor Day, we can have some real conversations about work. If we’re with our colleagues, we might talk about how to make our own workplaces reflect the dignity of the people in them—and not reflect a Dilbert strip. If we’re with young people, we might talk about the work we have done that has used our gifts and made a difference. We might even suggest some ideas for work that they may not have thought of—ones that might make them a good wage and help our country.

For America to work right, we’re going to need to get work right. That will require all of us, from the White House to our house.

David P. Deavel teaches at the University of St. Thomas in Houston, Texas, and is a Senior Contributor at The Imaginative Conservative. Follow him on X (formerly Twitter) @davidpdeavel.

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PaulE
PaulE
9 months ago

What is generally missing from a lot of articles like this one is any real and honest discussion of one’s personal aptitude to do certain jobs in the first place. All too often both politicians and academics talk about jobs and careers in the abstract. That anyone can do any sort of job or career completely divorced from one’s individual personal aptitude. People are NOT interchangeable widgets, that can simply be plugged into whatever type of job or career someone wants to promote.

A while back, Biden gave a ludicrous speech where he said all the coal miners that were being put out of work in West Virginia coal mines by his green energy policies could simply become computer programmers almost overnight. As if swinging a pickaxe or operating mechanized mining and loading vehicle was somehow equivalent to the sort of math, science and other skills needed in the high-tech space. It’s not of course, but it is illustrative of the general mindset that a lot of politicians and academics seem to share. That everyone has the same mental and physical aptitudes to do virtually any job. I use this example not to bash Biden (he doesn’t need my help to demonstrate he’s an idiot), but rather to simply highlight everyone has their own aptitude to do certain things and that tends to drive or limit the types of jobs and careers one can realistically obtain.

There are no good or bad jobs or careers per se. Everyone gravitates to jobs or careers that best reflects their aptitudes, skillsets and interests. Plumbers, electricians and carpenters are just as important and heart surgeons, computer programmers and physicists in their own way. They all create real value in our society, and they are all crucial in the grand scheme of things. That that is somehow considered a bad thing to say, because it doesn’t conform to the narrative that a lot of politicians and academics like to promote, just demonstrates how out of touch many in our political class and academia truly are.

Rob citizenship
Rob citizenship
9 months ago

Very good, important article Mr. Deavel, the statement you made — ” Good job creation designs jobs so that workers can be responsible ,use their minds , and develop their own skills.” Great thought , great idea . I have been self employed most of my life since the 1970:s — involved in various ways with the design and making of tools, including some specialty tools used for navigation instruments , weather instruments and microscope systems. Wrote the following — Work Ethic for Toolmakers a few years ago , thought it would be appropriate to add here as a comment. ” A Work Ethic for Toolmakers — Making tools that are necessary to accomplish mechanical tasks ; to advance and increase knowledge by building things that are needed and thereby improving the economy ; in the support of public safety and the defense of freedom through the encouragement of craftsmanship and good citizenship ; contributing to the betterment of life through development of mental and physical skills by designing , making and using tools for good purposes .” You wrote something profound with this article David, Well Done !

Brent Wilson
Brent Wilson
9 months ago

Can we just be honest…?Biden sucks Trump did a great job as POTUS but liberal retards can’t get past themselves!!!

David Millikan
David Millikan
9 months ago

Thanks to Bidenomics and INFLATION INCREASE (reduction) ACT, we are about to go from 4,100 Regional Banks to about 2,000 in the next 3 years.
Add that to Dictator Beijing biden’s LOSER Policy Agenda in DESTROYING AMERICA’S BANKING SYSTEM.
Why do you think he is trying to FORCE Digital Banking on US??
FOR TOTAL CONTROL OVER OUR MONEY WITH THE IRS MONITORING EVERY TRANSACTION AND THEY DECIDE IF YOU CAN EVEN HAVE OR USE YOUR OWN MONEY THANKS TO Dictator Beijing biden’s Executive Order signed earlier this year.
In turn, FEWER JOBS and LOANS
with HIGHER INTEREST.
WAKE UP AMERICA.

Jackie
Jackie
9 months ago

Bidenomics has fixed nothing!! Inflation, high gas and food prices, eating out needs bank vault full of money anymore!! Biden, himself, has done nothing but make everything worse!! Inflation, border security, the student loan fiasco, trying to rule by executive order, putting forth mandates on things he nor his administration knows nothing technically about, inept behavior with disasters, inability to be serious about anything, loving and caring for everyone else in the world more than your own people, bullying anyone on the right, Ukraine and Afghanistan, speech after speech that he has fumbled, embarrassing situation upon embarrassing situation – Joe makes a mess of everything!!

Tom
Tom
9 months ago

Evicting the Democrats, means no Democrats for three generations….

DDS
DDS
9 months ago

America needs to get back to logic, honesty, and tossing out ‘big-money backed power houses’ with their foot into government. We are likely the last generation to understand and remember accountability for government actions which imperil the real patriots all the while financing the socialistic leaning fat cats who are ruining this once great country. They have all but placed incompetence and dishonesty in nearly every manner of governing. Send each and every liar packing. Sit them down in their rightful seats which have been turned into lie detectors and watch the hypocrites pop up and out of their seats. A fun movie for each and every HONEST AMERICAN to enjoy while the life they used to have goes up in smoke. A drop in the budget’s bucket compared to Bidenomics.

Howard
Howard
9 months ago

Also Right-To-Work should become federal law. This will give the workers more power and dignity in the workplace and take away the undue power and control the union bosses have over the workers and their pocketbooks. But of course, this won’t happen until Biden and the Democrats are thrown out of office, as they are the biggest beneficiaries of the ill-gotten money from the unions.

Fred Noel
Fred Noel
9 months ago

Joey is trying to tell us that all the people returning to low paying service industries and retail, that were forced do to the shut downs, are well paying manufacturing jobs.

Robby
Robby
9 months ago

No sh*t

Rosa Anderson
Rosa Anderson
9 months ago

Biden might be telling them that he or the government don’t work for the people the workers is what he calls us

anna hubert
anna hubert
9 months ago

There has been a shortage of skilled tradesman for a very long time at the same time we are swamped with a college graduates holding worthless “diplomas” who barely function on the high school level and are trying to weasel out of loans they’ve accumulated Where is the responsibility of the student,the college and those who oversee the educetion if it can be called that

Tom
Tom
9 months ago

Idiot

Woodreaux
Woodreaux
9 months ago

Where are all the good gender studies and social worker jobs that were promised?

InsanitySquared
InsanitySquared
9 months ago

More manufacturing is coming to America. That policy started with Trump but it accelerated under Biden. There is a broad bipartisan agreement on a number of things. The US Economy is still growing while the Chinese and the Europeans are stagnating.
So, overall, Biden deserves a B on the Economy. We do have an illegal immigration problem but the newcomers will eventually have to be integrated into the American Economy thus giving it an additional boost. Everywhere I see its the Hispanic Men that are working in the most difficult, dirty, and dangerous jobs. So, that’s another win.
I voted for Trump in 2020 but will be voting to re-elect Joe Biden in 2024.I am open to voting for rational republicans like our GA Governor Brian Kemp. I hope Republicans promote good, common-sense politicians who will work to move the country forward. Peace.

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