It's hell on wheels in this current economy, and all indications are that we will see things worsen yet more before we see any beginning of a turnaround. One economist was even reported as saying he sees up to 3 million additional job losses in 2009, despite all good intentions of the nearly $900 billion stimulus plan that goes before the Senate next week.
But perhaps there we will be hidden benefits to come out of this downward spiraling economy. For one, I think we'll see a bit of a contraction in the explosion of recent years of illegal immigrants entering the country seeking a better life, especially from Mexico. As jobs here become more scarce, less and less people will be excited about coming across the border.
In my view, this is a good thing. Look, where I live currently, there are areas of town I go to where I firmly believe English is a second language. How many times have my wife and I walked through the stores and shops and asked the question, "Does anyone speak English anymore?" And these are not economically prospering areas. These are depressed areas. High crime areas.
Don't get me wrong. Immigration isn't all bad. But from where I'm standing, I'm seeing the community pulled down as opposed to being lifted up. This is mainly as a result of the types of jobs available to most immigrants, and the low wages that are commonly associated with them.
...and the fact that many of these immigrants do not speak the English language creates a barrier to realizing their true potential.
But it's not all about illegal immigration. As a whole, I think this economic crisis is also a golden opportunity for Americans to get things back into some order, and to rethink how we live and work. We have a strong need to pull ourselves back down to reality here. It's a painful thing to say, but the fact is that I think we've simply had it a little too good in the recent past and as a result, we've become terribly complacent and a lot naive about how safe we are. How many of you have 16 year old's entering the workforce today who won't step foot in a restaurant to wash dishes or bus tables? How many think that working for McDonald's is beneath them? This is a mindset. This is a trend. And it's not a good one.
How much of this "I don't have to get my hands dirty" mentality, has contributed to us throwing away millions upon millions of solid, good paying, strong benefited industrial jobs we thought we didn't need?
Did you know that the average salary of a factory worker in the state of Wisconsin, as reported last year in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, was $54,000? When you add in the benefits most of these workers tend to receive, that amount goes up extensively. Few service jobs pay those wages, and few college graduates entering the workforce start out there either. So, those so-called "dirty" jobs aren't really so bad after all, and their death has caused a severe erosion of America's middle class.
The good that will come out of this is that rethinking. That reassessment of what's important. And I think we'll look a little closer for those stars and stripes on a box of goods we buy as well. We'll seek out the "Made in the U.S.A." labeling because we'll have a renewed sense of just how important any American job is.
It's not a matter of protectionism. In my view, it's a matter of common sense. Globalization is not good for us if it does not contribute to us getting to do more right here at home. Globalization is counter-productive if it only contributes to providing us with something cheap to buy, but does not provide us with a source for a solid, good paying American job as well. Credit is not a good thing if it contributes to a false sense of prosperity. Credit is not a good thing if it holds down wages by filling the void between what you earn and what you can "afford" to buy. Illegal immigration is not a good thing if it makes us think we're too good to do certain types of jobs.
In summary it's bad, but it isn't all bad. We have quite the long road ahead of us yet to go. But it does, I think, lead to a better place. And it's one I think we're going to like when we get there.
More Opinion by The Springboard
THE UPRISING OF THE AMERICAN PARTY "Clearly the voters are engaged right now, at least for sure on the republican side, and what they have concluded is that the republican party has not done their job. Thus, Donald Trump gets their vote."