Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Robots Continued

 Jerry would like to discuss The Robots are Coming further
"Before we forget all about this topic, I was hoping someone could shed some real light on this question: Let us assume, for the moment, that the nation recovers from a bad case of Obamanomics and resumes Reagan-era economic growth and Bush-era "full employment."  
That is, all of the currently unemployed go back to work (the real number, ~11%, not the phony DOL number of 5.whatever). Now assume that we shut off the flood of illegal immigrant labor taking some jobs, and maybe even send a few of them "back where they came from."  
One more: Let us assume that 80-90% of welfare recipients are not only "able-bodied" (a reasonable estimate) and able to work, but they are somehow magically qualified for any job that might be open.  
The question is: ARE THERE enough jobs currently open to employ all the people in this country right now?" Jerry


Anonymous said...

ARE THERE enough jobs currently open to employ all the people in this country right now?

My view is that we have managed to design for ourselves an economy that rewards grabbing a larger share of the pie as opposed to rewarding the making of the pie bigger. I refer you to my favorite "Wait and See" video. But if we can stay away from bubble economics, I think we can find ways to make the economy grow as a whole resulting in an increase in the number of jobs.


Sean said...

Actually, most people on welfare today are either already working or are children, elderly or disabled.

John said...

Facts and Data Buddy - Census. :-)
Medicaid Info - 71 Million People
Heritage Fed Spending
Heritage Growth of Welfare

John said...

Please expand on how we can expand the economy and grow jobs.

As long as the American consumers demand low price and high quality, it bodes poorly for countries with high government, regulatory, benefit and labor costs.

Of course automation and robots could grow the American economy if they can deliver the products and services cheaper and with better quality... However that somewhat defeats the goal of creating more value added jobs for low skill / low academic achievement citizens.

John said...

My bigger question is if we deported the ~11 million illegal aliens. Would the poor low skill / low academic achievers of Baltimore, Minneapolis, St Louis, etc be willing to do the open jobs even if they paid twice as much.

Do the poor people have the ambition and drive to do work that is distateful, hard, etc? Be it performing as a janitor, turkey processor, cook, field/ construction labor, etc. Or would they rather loaf with their hand out and complain about their situation?

jerrye92002 said...

What you are doing is taking a whole different direction to the question. You are assuming (more realistically) that the folks on welfare are only capable of more menial jobs, replacing (not realistic) the unskilled and undocumented now doing them. I think we can dismiss that possibility, since nobody seems willing (or indeed able) to deport 11 million people, and nobody seems willing to take a "cut in pay" by going from welfare to productive work. The estimate of the "welfare cliff" is somewhere around $30/hour, highly unusual for "minimum wage" jobs.

My question was whether, assuming some miraculous "job training" program, whether the number of jobs open was equal to the number of currently unemployed regardless of reason. LOTS of ads in the paper, most of which require some skill or training, but are there enough?

John said...

Remembering that full employment is about ~3.5% unemployment due to people always transitioning. So I am pretty sure there would be a good match up of jobs and people if the people had the right skills and were willing to take "those" jobs.

Please share a source... I have found nothing indicating that people could get a gift like that on a regular basis, except single Mom's with kids, the disabled or the elderly.

"The estimate of the "welfare cliff" is somewhere around $30/hour, highly unusual for "minimum wage" jobs."

jerrye92002 said...

All kinds of examples if you do a search on the subject. Best actual numbers I have found are here:

I'm still curious as to how the "matchup" would really work, just in raw numbers. I haven't counted jobs in the Minneapolis paper and compared against welfare numbers. I was hoping somebody had done that.

John said...

AEI Link

John said...

I assume you are talking about this example from slide 8.

Single mom
• Two Children
• Lives in Pennsylvania
• No disabilities
• Children are 1 and 4
years old and placed in a
Star 4 childcare center

The single mom is better off earning
gross income of $29,000 with
$57,327 in net income & benefits
than to earn gross income of
$69,000 with net income & benefits
of $57,045.

John said...

Please note that the presenter picked that scenario very carefully to maximize the benefit. (ie daycare, 2 young children, Pennsylvania, etc) And I don't see anything about how long she can get that max benefit.

I don't think it supports your statement very well.
"The estimate of the "welfare cliff" is somewhere around $30/hour, highly unusual for "minimum wage" jobs."

The Daily Kos sure dislikes Gary.

jerrye92002 said...

I think the argument of a "welfare cliff" is a substantial one, even without what you are calling the extreme (and what I would call a fairly typical) case. Suppose the welfare benefit were only 1/2 that. The woman would still need a job exceeding $15/hour to make ends meet, compared with sitting in front of the TV. Where's her incentive? Remember, in Wisconsin shortly after welfare reform, 20% dropped off the rolls rather than even APPLY for work.

To the question at hand, obviously it is a hypothetical. I am guessing that 20-25% of welfare recipients are just plain unemployable at this point, and it will take great effort to get them ready for real jobs-- mentally, culturally. What I was trying to get a handle on was whether or not the total number of jobs were rapidly shrinking because of robots, or whether we could "get America working again" without them.

John said...

I think with many of the higher paying jobs for low skill low academic capability people being shipped over seas or taken by automation, I am not sure how we can get everyone employed in jobs that make a liveable wage.

As I often explain. It is illogical to pay higher wages and benefits to the American employees/consumers, when those same American employees/ consumers only want to buy the lowest cost highest quality product and service no matter where the work is done or who does it.

People complain that the box stores do not pay well enough, then they go shop there instead of some higher priced Mom and Pop shop.

jerrye92002 said...

On further consideration, I may be able to answer my own question. Since the Obama recession began, millions of people have lost jobs and have actually quit looking. The "labor participation rate" is lower than it's been since 1977. That was during the Carter years and the economy was bad then, too. So in other words, if the economy picks up, it should be employing all of those it normally would. Highly skilled workers are not yet being replaced by robots, and there are lots of high-skill jobs still going begging; just look at the newspaper.

But there's the problem. If you want all of the presumably low-skilled welfare recipients to work, THOSE jobs are rapidly being taken by robots or illegal immigrants. If we could somehow "discourage" those illegal immigrants and "encourage" the welfare recipients, we could get some, but not nearly all, of the welfare people working before the robots take over completely. It may take a long time to get to a robotic hotel maid, but burger-flippers are obsolete already, for example. Assuming reasonable immigration reform (a huge assumption), we still need something like a welfare reform that requires work (like before Obama changed it), or even encourages it, like a FAIR tax or negative income tax. That's also big asks of a Congress and President that haven't had a GOOD new idea in 20 years.