Tag Archives: Education

Why Our Presidential Candidates Will Never Create The Jobs They Are Promising For America

breadline

 

“Donald Trump vows to create 25 million jobs over the next decade.” (NY Times 9/16/16).

“… under Hillary’s plans the economy would create 10.4 million jobs in her first term alone …” (Mark Zandi, former economic advisor to John McCain).

Of course, we all know that politicians are generally out of touch with reality and they regularly say things that have little substance in the real world… promotional “sound bites” if you will.

We know too, that the greatest reason for moving U.S. jobs to foreign shores is economic—goods can be produced more cheaply in foreign countries.

But, outsourcing jobs for economic reasons is the subject of a debate we don’t want to enter into here, because it is a debate that will never end.

At the same time, the issue of “jobs” in the U.S. is high on everyone’s mind and both candidates are making job creation one of the most important issues of their campaigns.

Unfortunately, the candidate’s promises for new jobs by bringing us back to the 1970’s and 1980’s are way off base.

We will never return to that era of job availability for the average person, and here are just a hint of a few reasons why:  Continue reading Why Our Presidential Candidates Will Never Create The Jobs They Are Promising For America

Scandals, Innovation, and AIG

It is interesting, and also sad, to watch the public fury unfold against the big bailouts, especially the AIG scandals…while an even bigger scandal goes unchecked in our own neighborhoods every day.

What is this scandal?

Author, blogger, & Political Commentator, Keli Goff recently published an article in the Huffington Post describing the costly scandal of the high school dropout. In her article she points out that:

  • A 2008 study found that high school dropouts cost the American public more than $100 million per year.
  • A 2009 study found that one high school dropout in Ohio will cost the state’s taxpayers $200,000 from the time they drop out until they reach age 65.
  • Every 29 seconds another American student becomes a dropout. (How many kids dropped out while you were reading your email today?)

  • Four out of every 10 young adults (age 16-24) lacking a high school diploma received some type of government assistance in 2001.
  • A dropout is more than eight times as likely to be in jail or prison, as a person with at least a high school diploma.

So, we spend hundreds of millions of dollars each year supporting high school dropouts without batting an eye–but we turn out with protests, signs, and marching, when AIG does something stupid.

Even worse than the high cost of our high school dropouts, is how this situation is contributing to the downfall of the United States as the world leader in Innovation. We are losing our best young minds because our educational system is broken and needs to be totally restructured. Trying to prepare students just to score high on their SAT tests no longer works.

Our educational system needs to teach and encourage young minds how to dream, how to visualize, how to question, how to search…and they need to know it is ok to try something and fail. Unless we start to teach “outside the lines” we will continue to lose brilliant young minds that could make a difference in America’s future.

Of course, we cannot put this entire burden on teachers–we need mentors, sponsors, participating businesses, civic leaders, and the like. When school lets out is not when education stops–life is what happens after classes, and it is up to all of us to make sure every young person in our community learns how to use that time to make the best life.

America is no longer the Innovation leader of the world, and I am afraid if we don’t change the way we educate our young people, we will never regain that role.

Any agreement or disagreement–or, is everyone still too worked up over the bailouts and executive parties?

U.S. Falling Behind in Innovation–Part II

In Part I of this series (shown below this post), I presented the general findings of the
nonprofit, nonpartisan, public think tank, Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF), regarding Innovation in the U.S. vs. 40 other leading nations/regions of the world. The ITIF report is based on scientific findings–not opinions–and shows that not only has the U.S. dropped to the number 6 innovator in the world, but also its rate of change (improvement) is dead last.

In the same report, the ITIF also presents those things the U.S., or any nation/region, can do to improve competitiveness and innovation. I have capsulized their suggestions as follows:

  • Provide incentives for companies to innovate. Incentives should be in the form of robust R&D tax incentives; accelerated depreciation on new equipment; workforce development tax credits; corporate tax structures that make the U.S. more competitive world-wide; and other incentives that encourage businesses to spend more on innovation.
  • Encourage high-skilled immigration. The broader the scope of thinking–the better the likelihood of new ideas and innovation. The U.S. is currently sending high-skilled immigrants home, and that is counter productive in the long-term.
  • Promote a digital economy. The U.S. is successful in offering new digital devices and services, primarily to the younger generations, but they haven’t been able to make a mobile phone service that doesn’t consistently drop calls. There are thousands of square miles in the U.S. that have no mobile phone service, and thousands more that have only sporadic service. Also, there are more areas in the U.S. without broadband service, than there are with it. Europe and Scandinavia do not seem to have these problems. [A few years ago, I used a mobile phone near the Arctic Circle in Northern Sweden. Today, mobile phones are totally unreliable in my suburban house in the U.S.]
  • Support institutions that are critical to innovation. Not just universities that perform research, but also the kinds of institutions and training-centers that foster commercialization of their research. In addition, there should be more support for local economic development, entrepreneurship development, and workforce training.
  • Remove regulations and government policies that retard innovation. Small businesses produce 13 times more patents than large patenting firms, yet spend four and a half times as much per employee in compliance of environmental regulations, and 67 percent more per employee on tax compliance than big businesses do. In the U.S., not only does small business receive very little government support, but it also appears that the government is working against small business through overly stringent regulations of small business.

Well, there you are. That’s what the ITIF believes needs to happen to stop America’s slide into oblivion as a leading innovator in the new knowledge-based innovation economy of the world.

I believe all the above items are well and good–and should be done–but they seem to only address the symptoms. The above are things our government can heavily influence, but I believe the reason for America’s demise as the innovation leader goes much deeper.

Commentators to Part I suggested that the root problem is perhaps a cultural and socioeconomic problem. I believe they are right, and I will soon post, as Part III of this series, my views and concerns on the reasons for diminishing innovation in the U.S., along with what I think needs to be done to improve the situation.

I would also like to hear from everyone out there who has a suggestion on how they think we can bring innovation back to the forefront of the U.S.