HIGHTOWER: Making High-Tech Low-Wage
"Hey," said the customer to the coffee shop waitress, "it says here that Bill Clinton claims he's created 23 million new jobs since he's been in office." "I know," said the waitress, "I've got three of them."Not to worry, say the Powers That Be to the job seekers of the future, all you've got to do is to wire your future into the information age, get high-tech skills, cross that bridge to the 21st Century, and there'll be jobs aplenty begging for you to take them. Al Gore, George W. Bush, Bill Bradley -- among other presidential candidates -- flatly assert that to get a job in the "new economy" of the next decade will require you to have advanced technological skills.Problem is, it ain't so, Joe. In fact, the hordes of people they're herding into engineering and computer classes will have no where to go when they come out. Education analyst Richard Rothstein, writing in The New York Times, reports that in the next decade, "employers will hire more than three times as many cashiers as engineers. They will need more than twice as many food-counter workers, waiters, and waitresses than all the systems analysts, computer engineers, mathematicians, and database administrators combined."Already, America has millions of people who are overeducated for the jobs they have -- chances are, for example, that waitress who has three of Bill Clinton's new jobs also has a college degree. The Labor Department projects an increase of less than one percent in jobs requiring a college degree, yet the high-tech industry and their politicians are pushing more and more people into college. As Rothstein writes, "we already enroll enough college students to fill foreseeable vacancies in professional fields" -- so what they are doing is deliberately flooding the market with too many people chasing too few jobs, which will bust the pay level for everyone.This is Jim Hightower saying ... It's a cynical ploy by the Powers That Be to turn the middle-class's high-tech future into low-wage work.