Rev. dr. Janis c. Brooks for 18th Pennsylvania congressional district
Globalization and changing technology have increased the competition we face from many nations and, as a result, US jobs have become vulnerable, and the economic security of some US workers has been severely undercut while, at the same time, we have become more competitive in newer fields that rely on high technology. One manifestation of this development is that the incomes and job prospects of our highly educated workers has increased by very impressive rates, while those of our less-educated citizens have suffered.
In many traditional fields, especially in manufacturing industries in which the US used to be very competitive, job opportunities have been subjected to increased competition from nations such as South Korea, Brazil, Singapore, Malaysia, India and China. As a result, job growth for less skilled US workers has been very sluggish, and their wages have not increased over the past two decades.
Unless we introduce aggressive and effective job-training and educational policies to grow the skills of our workers, this trend of the rich getting richer, while the lot of the poor stagnates, will get worse. We need to promote a more effective education in our vocational schools, expand apprenticeship programs of the kind that are very effective and well-known in Germany, and increase support for our universities, especially our land-grant and other state-supported universities to make higher education affordable to middle- and lower-income families. To finance this aggressive job-promotion policy, we should be willing to increase taxes on the well-to-do who have benefited so magnificently from the global developments of the recent decades.
We should also be willing to promote other policies that provide increased opportunities for lower- and middle-income families, for example, increased infrastructure development that would assure that small businesses that create middle-class jobs have access to clean, efficient energy, and efficient and low-cost transportation facilities (such as non congested highways, ports, airports, and mass-transit systems) that would assure them access to supplies, markets, and labor.