Monday, June 27, 2011

The Luddite

With what may be the stupidest statement on the economy and jobs creation that was ever made, the First Dope is now pinning unemployment on automation.

This is from an interview on NBC:

“There are some structural issues with our economy where a lot of businesses have learned to become much more efficient with a lot fewer workers,” the president said this week. “You see it when you go to a bank and you use an ATM. You don’t go to a bank teller. Or you go to the airport and you’re using a kiosk instead of checking at the gate. So all these things have created changes in the economy.”

The number of tellers, in fact, rose to an all-time high of 607,960 in 2007 from 493,000 at the start of the decade, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The recession and a wave of bank failures eliminated 52,000 teller jobs over the past three years. So there are still more now that there were.

The Dope is correct that there has been a structural change. There are now fewer people who know how to shoe a horse and there has been a mass reduction in number of phone operators who did things like putting Sheriff Taylor’s call through to Aunt Bea. But wonder how many people employed at companies – like say Honeywell – would have jobs without automation.

But now he has a jobs plan: Hope to move backwards and Change to a pre-industrial society. Won’t be as popular as his last slogan but then neither is he.

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