Business, Technology, Culture, & Ideas That Matter

Labor Day 2009

Netting It Out is not about politics, and never will be.

That said, with Labor Day, 2009, upon us, I cannot help but stop to think about our current state of affairs in the employment area.  It is difficult not to be concerned on this  Labor Day:

  • Unemployment is at the highest point in more than 25 years
  • Even so, President Obama has professed to want to create ‘not just any job, but jobs America needs’.
  • Even so, President Obama has said, if I heard him correctly, that we will know we are over this recession when job losses level off.
  • The Administration has never been willing to use the words “create” and “jobs” in the same sentence without including the words “or save“.
  • By some accounts, President Obama will spend more of his time over the Labor Day holiday trying to drum up support for his healthcare overhaul, and reading the McChrystal report, than on any initiative to create new jobs.
  • While “small business” is touted in many places as one possible panacea to our economic mess, it has been reported in fact that companies with 50-499 employees, and 500 employees or more created more than twice the job creation as companies with 10 employees or less from 1992 to 2008.

I sent to President Obama on February 8, 2009, this message:

Please, Mr. President, be bold.  Forty eight years ago President Kennedy made a bold challenge to the nation to put a man on the moon within 10 years. President Kennedy did not know how or whether it could be done, but he galvanized the attention of America. Today’s crisis demands nothing less! You made us believe “Yes, we can”. “Saving or creating 3 million jobs is not bold enough. Challenge the CEA, Congress and us to find a way to create 6 million new jobs.
Respectfully, Robert Eastman

(For those of you who like to be inspired again, you can find President John F. Kennedy’s May 25, 1961, ‘Man on the moon’ speech here.)

Labor Day 2009 makes me wonder what might have been, the alternate trajectory, if an opportunity were seized to make the dramatic, fundamental changes that could galvanize our minds, our spirit, our energy, and our labor – and put more people back to work more quickly.

In the meantime, my wife and I continue to talk about whether this is just another recession, albeit a deeper recession, or perhaps an inflection point for capitalism.  What do you think?

These are some of the things I will be thinking about on this Labor Day.


September 4, 2009 - Posted by | Business, Ideas

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