President Obama’s State of the Union speech this week talked about how government could help bring jobs back for the middle class. Senator Rubio responded that if government got out of the way, middle class jobs would come back of their own.
What neither politician wants to recognize is that many of those well-paying jobs disappeared with the advent of the computer. As I note elsewhere, over 1 million secretarial jobs have disappeared in the last decade. So neither government nor the private sector alone is going to turn back the tide. Instead, we are all going to have to think, and think hard, about how to structure the economy when people want cheap goods without service (aka Walmart) and business is able to make those goods most cheaply with machines and not people.