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Home Publications Blogs Beat the Press Thomas Friedman Argues That There are Still Good Paying Jobs for Workers Without Skills

Thomas Friedman Argues That There are Still Good Paying Jobs for Workers Without Skills

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Sunday, 24 October 2010 08:06

Friedman argues by example of course. He argues for rebuilding the country's infrastructure, which would of course be a great thing. However, he wants the country to pay for it with more taxes on the middle class and cutting Social Security benefits.

A skilled columnist would know that the U.S. Social Security system is already among the least generous of the OECD countries. A skilled columnist would also know that most near retirees will have almost nothing to support themselves in their retirement other than Social Security because the people who Friedman thinks of as experts (economists) are not very good at their jobs (i.e. they allowed the housing bubble to grow to a level where its collapse would inevitably wreck the economy and destroy the savings [mostly home equity] of near retirees).

A skilled columnist would suggest a tax on the people who have profited from and caused the economic decay of the last three decades. Specifically a financial speculation tax, which could raise more than $150 billion a year while discouraging financial speculation and reducing the drain of resources that the financial sector imposes on the economy.

A skilled columnist would also know that the real source of the long-term budget problems projected for the United States is health care. A skilled columnist would focus on the need to get U.S. health care costs in line with the rest of the world as the only way to fix the country's long-term budget problems as well as removing an enormous source of strain on the private economy.

But Friedman shows that the U.S. economy still has good paying jobs for people without skills by writing a column that addresses economic issues with no apparent awareness of most of the relevant facts. If the NYT had more op-ed positions it could go far toward reducing inequality. 

Comments (14)Add Comment
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written by izzatzo, October 24, 2010 9:15
But Friedman shows that the U.S. economy still has good paying jobs for people without skills by writing a column that addresses economic issues with no apparent awareness of most of the relevant facts. If the NYT had more op-ed positions it could far toward reducing inequality.


What happens when the unstoppable force of a skilled economist like Baker crashes into the immovable object of a skilled columnist?

The result is Creative Destruction, the well known force that topples the monopoly power of mainstream media under its own weight of obsolescence, freeing up the vibrant forces of innovation and productivity to emerge and replace myths with facts, fables with history, lies with truth. Competition in action as free speech.

This is how capitalism prevents people with few skills from being overemployed and overpaid as Friedman would endorse.

Friedman, like the unemployed, is well aware that his skills must continuously be upgraded and honed to the finest edge of manufactured propaganda a formal education can provide to justify his income, lest the thousands who seek his position will indeed get it because there's no barriers to entry, and the incremental cost of human capital to learn how to say the same things he says is zero.
...
written by fuller schmidt, October 24, 2010 10:07
Dean, could you give the example of what the speculation tax dollar amount would be on one emini contract? Killer posts Dean and Izzy.
It was Friedman's best colum ever.
written by Quiddity, October 24, 2010 10:31
I liked it when he wrote that the solution to our problems is to "create more products and services that make people’s lives more healthy, more productive, more secure, more comfortable or more entertained — and then sell them to more people around the world". That's the kind of top-notch thinking that we should pay attention to.

As to the plight of those with everyday service jobs (like being a waiter), Friedman offers: "Everyone today ... needs to think of himself as an “artisan” ... providing services with a distinctive touch in which they took personal pride". When a waiter is an artisan, that "something extra" brought to the restaurant table will guarantee a decent income and solid retirement.

I'm really happy that the New York Times gives Friedman a forum to spread his great ideas.
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written by scathew, October 24, 2010 12:36
Generally speaking Friedman makes me want to vomit. He's the worst sort - someone who isn't really liberal parading as one giving bipartisan cover for the various crimes against the little people committed in the world.

He is one of the "serious" left (usually equivalent to the "cruise missile" left).

In any case, I'd like to argue there are a great many people, frankly the people Jesus talked about, who have no hope or capability to make themselves the "artisans" of the world. There are many, who are just as justified to live as the rest of us, who have no particular capability to stand out, no great intelligence, and no real hope of ever becoming "John Galt".

In fact if people like Friedman have their way, we would live in a nation of chiefs with no indians whatsoever.

I think Friedman and his ilk should be stripped of their jobs and forced to work at Wal*Mart for 5 years, complete with having to live off of their salaries and worry about putting food on the table. That would give them the insight they clearly lack.
Reading his work, we find that he is a perfect example of a good paying job that is being done with an untrained or educated mind.
written by Scott ffolliott, October 24, 2010 2:22
"Thomas Friedman Argues That There are Still Good Paying Jobs for Workers Without Skills"

Reading his work, we find that he is a perfect example of a good paying job that is being done with an untrained or educated mind.
Antonin Scalia might not agree, but being “forced to work at Wal*Mart for 5 years
written by Scott ffolliott, October 24, 2010 2:27
Antonin Scalia might not agree, but being “forced to work at Wal*Mart for 5 years, complete with having to live off of their salaries and worry about putting food on the table,” is cruel and unusual punishment
New York Times editorial board is living in THE bubble.
written by S Brennan, October 24, 2010 2:57
10 seconds of looking shows what experienced highly skilled folks are getting. It really shows that the New York Times editorial board is living in THE bubble.

http://jobview.monster.com/Mechanical-Designer-Job-Tucson-AZ-91644510.aspx


Company:Aerotek CE
Location:Tucson, AZ 85738
Salary:$14.00 - $22.00 /hour
Position Type:Full Time, Temporary/Contract/Project
Job Category:Engineering
Job Description

Major functions the person will be required to perform:
1. Perform detailed mechanical designs from concept through production release for part, subassembly and final assembly drawing packages.
2. Perform drafting and documentation functions for primary assigned programs as well as in a support role for other programs.
3. Compile BOMs, order components, and assist with building and testing prototypes.
4. Other tasks as appropriate.
5. Perform basic tolerance analysis.
6. Work closely with mechanical and electrical engineers and scientists to ensure design requirements are met.
7. Incorporate red-line changes.

Minimum knowledge, skills, abilities required by individual selected.
1. Associates degree in related discipline or equivalent experience.
2. Minimum of 3 years of mechanical design experience in a similar company or environment.
3. Proficient in the use of Pro-E mechanical design software (Wildfire 3.0).
5. Proficient with Microsoft Office Suite.
6. Prefer some experience with optics and laser packaging.
7. Working knowledge of ANSI Y14.5 & GD&T Standards
8. Must be a US Citizen.
9. Must be able to obtain U.S. security clearance.

For immediate consideration, contact me at (520)745-4722

Required Skills:
PRO E WILDFIRE, ANSI Y14.5, GDT METHODOLOGY, OPTICS, LASER OPTICS, LASER PACKAGING, TOLERANCE ANALYSIS, RED LINE CHANGES

Join Aerotek, one of the leading providers of engineering and engineering support professionals in North America.
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written by PeonInChief, October 24, 2010 4:51
Since Friedman seems to have missed the fact that we've been trying the "sell the services to the world" model for the past 30 years and it hasn't worked so good, I think he should give up his job to someone who can point out this fact, and then note that the elite seems intent on trying it again--having taken our wages and our home equity--with our Social Security money.
Skills mismatch
written by bobbyp, October 24, 2010 6:11
Wow! $22/hr! That's what...$44,000 per year? A princely sum, indeed!

But I've decided to become a university president...I'd do it for $150K/yr., the manse, and seats on the 50...considerably less than these positions go for now. Come'on over budget U...I'm waiting by the phone.
Fair, At Least
written by James, October 25, 2010 1:33
At least the engineering job requires only an AA, which is way below compared to Friedman's education but aptly fit his story of "good paying" jobs for unskilled people.

R u Friedman using other's name posting here?
What's going on here, anyway?
written by John H. McCloskey, October 25, 2010 4:14
The idea of anybody ever making a "skilled columnist" out of Little Tommy Wobble with the Big Moustache is enough to keep one happy for a week.

Perhaps the very absurdity of that project helps point up the general problem with Comrade Dr. Baker’s big shtyk: why should a macromammonologist be handing out unsolicited letter grades in Journ. Sci. at all?

Would it be balanced and fair play for all the Walter Lippmann wannabes to retaliate in kind?

Happy days.


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written by al, October 25, 2010 10:50
A very succinct and straightforward piece. You cut to the heart of the matter quickly. Nice! This is the kind of article that keeps me coming back to Dean Baker again and again.
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written by azimir, October 25, 2010 12:27
Thomas Friedman is, in his own words, an over-rated bozo. Sure he was describing other columnists.
Lot of his analysis, even when it's good, is quite obvious to any thinking person.
The Friedman is flat
written by Watt DeFark, October 25, 2010 1:47
Thomas Friedman is a big fat idiot.

I could elaborate, but I'm not being paid by the word as he apparently is.

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About Beat the Press

Dean Baker is co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, D.C. He is the author of several books, his latest being The End of Loser Liberalism: Making Markets Progressive. Read more about Dean.

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