HIGHTOWER: Hype About High-Tech Jobs

The corrections column of a small newspaper noted: "Our paper carried the notice that Oscar Hoffnagle is a defective on the police force. Mr. Hoffnagle is, of course, a detective on the police farce."Well, it doesn't take a detective to realize that the job-creation claims of razzle-dazzle companies racing down the Information Superhighway are more than defective -- they're a farce. Yet, everyone from Bill Gates to Bill Clinton insists that American workers have to get with it, get educated and retrained so you can keep-up with America's growing computer industry.Outfits like Microsoft and Intel are being hailed on Wall Street and in Washington as "The New Titans" of American industry -- our economic hope for the future. Two decades ago, most of these computer whizzes didn't even exist, but today the combined value of their stock is greater than GM, Ford, and several other "old-fashioned" manufacturing giants.The new Information-Age companies created a fresh batch of millionaires and billionaires, but don't expect much for you working stiffs. Not only do the rank & file jobs in this industry offer only mediocre-to-miserly pay, very few jobs of any kind are created by these hot new Titans. Microsoft and Intel, the two superstars of the industry, only employ 48,000 people. Ford employs more than three times that, and GM -- with 350,000 US employees -- hires seven times that.Microsoft and Intel's few jobs are a cruel joke in an economy that hires 114 million people and has more than 12 million more unemployed. Indeed, computer-processing and electronics manufacturing combined offer barely two-and-a-half million jobs, and both the number of those jobs and their pay are on the decline.This is our future?It's not high-tech hype we need from industry and politicians, it's good jobs at good pay.

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