The Economist weighs in this week on the central question for this election. People forget what a freefall we were in four years ago.
Not since 1933 had an American president taken the oath of office in an economic climate as grim as it was when Barack Obama put his left hand on the Bible in January 2009.
In the midst of this political season, can we have a serious discussion about the self-inflicted harm of our immigration policies? A few data points:
- The Boston Globe reports that we are pushing away immigrant workers for the summer, despite business complaints that there aren’t enough locals to fill the necessary jobs.
- California farmers, like many others, can’t find enough field hands due to the drop in skilled workers.
- Apparently, 80% of Congress supports the StartUp Act 2.0, which will help encourage immigrants with science and engineering expertise to remain in the US, yet it still hasn’t passed!
Can we finally address this issue?
One of our economy’s biggest challenges is to figure out how to solve the skills mismatch problem - training middle class and lower income Americans to be productive in the innovation economy. Two terrific articles in today’s Sunday Globe give a glimpse of hope: (1) the value of certificate programs, which are growing in popularity; (2) the explosion of part-time programs at universities. ”The combination can be grueling, but a master’s degree or higher can act as insurance…or provide an advantage over job-seeking rivals.”