With unemployment benefits being curtained as the economy “improves,” many people are being left to live within their means without any means to speak of. While congress and the president did step in and extend unemployment insurance during the worst of the recent recession, no widespread worker retraining , vocational, or higher education programs have been offered up by either side. What is particularly sad in this whole mess is that we know which professions, trades, and jobs are in demand. The United States has worker shortages in manufacturing for example, along with truck drivers, plumbers, and tradesmen and women of all sorts. We also have a shortage of physicians and nurses, as well as other medical support staff. We also know that several career areas are in fact well short of filling all of the available positions. It wouldn’t put each and every American back to work who desires a job, but a concrete effort to match the unemployed with training and jobs is desperately needed. Moreover, this effort is in the public interest. Greater numbers of employed people means greater tax revenues, fewer cuts in public services, and smaller budget deficits over the long term. That should make Republicans and Democrats both happy.
If the two major political parties are looking for a blueprint, look no further than Germany and its dual-system.