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The Unemployment Rate is a Problem

The unemployment rate has been firmly stuck at 8.2% and neither Barack Obama nor Mitt Romney is going to be able to fix the unemployment rate anytime soon. Let’s take off our partisan hats just for second. Let’s think about the things that we do on a daily basis. Let’s take, for example, going to the grocery store. Fewer than one out of four times that I go to the grocery store do I actually check out with the clerk. For the most part, I get in those lines in which I can scan the stuff myself, bag it myself and be on my way. The scanning devices have replaced the checkout clerks in many grocery stores. I know the conservatives like to point at the Postal Service as the example of government waste and fraud, but let’s think about the mail just for second. For birthdays, I send birthday cards. Now, to at least half of my friends, I’ll send an E-card. 20 or 30 years ago, I sent 10 to 15 bills in the mail every month. Now, I send fewer than one or two. I pay my bills online. Multiply my experience by tens of thousands of Americans and suddenly the post office, no matter how good their services, needs less personnel.

Americans have been laid off because of advances in technology and manufacturing. Where are all of these Americans going to go? There’s not a bucket full of new jobs where these workers who have been laid off can go apply. This is a serious problem for our economy.

I’m not saying that we should throw up our hands and give up. I’m not saying that we need to accept an unemployment rate of 7-8%. What I’m saying is that we have other forces in our economy besides political ones that are at work keeping our unemployment rate high.

By |2012-07-30T00:47:33-04:00July 28th, 2012|Economy|Comments Off on The Unemployment Rate is a Problem

Book Review: Malcolm Gladwell

I’ve recently had the opportunity to read two of Malcolm Gladwell’s books — Outliers and Blink!  These are two of the best books that I’ve read in a very long time (that don’t deal strictly with politics). Outliers is a book about success.  The author takes the premise that we’ve been fed over the last 30 or 40 years, that successful people work harder and are smarter than the rest of us and says he doesn’t believe that premise is true.  He then, through a series of examples, begins to convince us that people who are highly successful have opportunities that are not available to the rest of us.  Why were the Beatles so successful?  Why do most professional hockey players have birthdays between January and April?  Why was Bill Gates so successful?  Why do affluent kids do better in school than poor children?  The common thread in all of these situations is opportunity.

Not only is this book is very well written, it is also highly entertaining and informative.  I believe that the information in this book can be used by parents to do a better job at raising their own kids.

Below is a nice interview that Malcolm Gladwell did with CNN.  Watch the video:

By |2009-04-27T17:39:24-04:00April 27th, 2009|Books, Education|Comments Off on Book Review: Malcolm Gladwell
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