Help Wanted!

By Christopher Harper

As you drive throughout central Pennsylvania, it’s difficult not to notice something other than fall foliage: Help wanted signs abound throughout the region.

On Route 11, which snakes along the countryside near my home, more than 70 signs seeking employees dominate the highway. 

Fred Gaffney, executive director of Columbia Montour Chamber of Commerce, told a local newspaper that he’s at a loss to say why. “This is a workforce crisis unlike anything I’ve seen in my years at the Chamber,” Gaffney said.

Recently, a local job fair featured more than 500 openings from 25 employers. But only 40 people attended, Gaffney said. Businesses in the area have raised their minimum wages to $15 an hour and higher. 

What’s happening near my home is occurring throughout the country. According to the National Federation of Independent Business, 67% of small businesses reported hiring or trying to hire in September, and 42% raised compensation. But a record 51% still have openings they couldn’t fill.

The Wall Street Journal postulated in a recent editorial: “So what’s causing the worker shortage? One possible culprit is government and employer vaccine mandates that set ultimatums for workers. President Biden’s vaccine order first applied to nursing homes, which lost jobs in the month. Many states and school districts have also imposed mandates, and state and local education employment fell 161,000. The White House claims its vaccine mandates will boost job growth, but not if unvaccinated workers quit.”

The lack of workers has clearly become a drag on the economy. Ships are backed up at ports partly because there aren’t workers to unload and transport goods to where they need to go. Labor and material shortages are delaying projects and increasing prices in the home-building sector.

Another factor is that it doesn’t pay to work in some cases when the government provides enough money to keep people off the job. 

For my wife and me, it’s meant postponing work on our new home because there aren’t enough painters and other tradespeople to perform needed maintenance. For example, we can’t get anyone to paint the exterior of our house until next spring.

Meanwhile, the Biden administration seemingly has no strategy to solve the problems.

In an interview with Business Insider, Labor Secretary Marty Walsh has a lame analysis:

–People are afraid to go back to work because of the Delta variant.

–People have moved out of areas where employers are hiring.

–People are rethinking their attitude toward work—what one psychologist has called the “the great resignation.”

“I think a lot of people are re-imagining or rethinking about what’s next for them,” Walsh said. The pandemic has changed people’s views about work, causing them to “ask existential questions about their purpose and happiness,” Business Insider noted. 

Whatever the case, it would appear that the labor conflagration won’t be solved anytime soon, particularly under this administration.

I guess I may have to get out the work clothes and ladder to ponder the existential question of whether to paint or not to paint.

There will be no Biden reset

By John Ruberry

After a summer of failures, including the resurgence of COVID-19, horrid job numbers, the crisis at the southern border, rampant urban crime, and our humiliating exit from Afghanistan, there was hope within the Biden White House, cheered on by the compliant media, that a reset was due with the new season.

But over this weekend, which isn’t over yet as of this writing, things got worse. In a flashback to the Obama years, the Pentagon chose Friday afternoon–a Friday news dump–to reveal not only that the August drone strike in Afghanistan didn’t slay any ISIS-K terrorists, but the bombing killed an aid worker and nine members of his family, including seven children. Also that afternoon France recalled its ambassador to the USA after the Biden administration, behind France’s back, announced a deal with Great Britain to sell nuclear submarines to Australia. But France already had a deal, now cancelled, with the Aussies. If you ever worked as a salesperson and saw a sleazy co-worker swipe a lucrative sale from you, then you know that feeling of betrayal.

Also on Friday, in a story that is largely being ignored by the national media except for Fox News, a Third World-style shanty town, with thousands of illegal immigrant inhabitants, was discovered on the Rio Grande in Del Rio, Texas.

There will be no reset for Joe Biden and his administration. That’s because, as I’ve written at DTG over these last few weeks, it is very likely that the president is suffering from cognitive decline. There are people in their seventies and eighties who still have nimble minds. Biden, who turns 79 later this year, is not one of them. Age-related cognitive decline is not reversible. And with crisis after crisis emerging, it’s becoming clear that no one is in charge at the White House, even though, as John Kass remarked, Biden’s chief of staff, Ron Klain, is openly referred to as “President Klain.”

I get it. Sometimes calamity after calamity happens. Lyndon B. Johnson suffered an entire year, 1968, like that. And LBJ of course decided not to run for a second full-term as president that year.

But some of Biden’s debacles were preventable, such as his abandoning Donald J. Trump’s remain-in-Mexico policy regarding migrants, which led to the crisis at the southern border. No one, outside of military contractors, wanted our military involvement in Afghanistan to indefinitely continue. But Biden promised our withdrawal from Afghanistan wouldn’t look like our departure from South Vietnam. Well, Biden was right on that vow–our exit from Afghanistan was worse than that.

The administration’s response to COVID-19, once seen as a strong point for Biden, is also a problem for him. Last week a poll revealed that for the first time a majority of Americans don’t approve of the way Biden is handling fighting the virus. 

So far Biden has gotten a pass for gasoline prices being 40-percent more than they were one year ago when that mean Tweeter with the orange hair was president. Escaping blame for Americans paying more at the pump can’t last forever. for Biden. As temperatures cool urban crime will decline but it will bounce back, as it always does, in the spring. That will give Biden and the Democrats another headache in 2022. Look for Republicans running for House and Senate seats to use crime fears as a central theme in their television commercials, as they did with great success last year. Despite denials the Democrats are the party of “Defund the Police.” Biden has gotten a pass for inflation for now. But his reckless policy of printing money will likely create even more inflation.

What else?

I’ve mentioned this quote before but it needs to be repeated.

Barack Obama reportedly once said of his vice president, “Don’t underestimate Joe’s ability to f**k things up.” And that was before Biden’s cognitive decline set in.

I don’t like quoting myself, but I really think my Tweet of mine from last month hit the nail on Biden’s head.

“If I just awakened from a 10-year long coma and I saw what a mess America finds itself in now I would come to one quick conclusion. Somehow Joe Biden became president.”

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

Why we need robotics in the classroom

Autonomous mower from Left Hand Robotics, image from their website

By now, most kids are in school. Well, at least attending school in some fashion. My kids, like many, are in an online program, cobbled together by our local school by administrators that likely ask questions like “The files are IN the computer?” Like most people, we’ll find a way to manage and try to get our kids ready for their adult lives, despite the flawed setup.

When we eventually go back to school, we need to ask harder questions about how well our schools are preparing kids for future careers. One area we’re missing is how we’ll work with autonomous vehicles in the future. We see much talk about autonomous cars, but there are plenty of other areas where autonomous vehicles are quietly proliferating. Too many people focus on jobs that would be taken away. Yes, jobs are going to leave, but new ones will appear. The new jobs require humans that are used to, and can work with, autonomous vehicles as they perform their tasks.

For example, there is a lot of investment in autonomous trucks. Long haul trucks move goods across the country, and the lack of sufficient capacity became obvious when Amazon and other delivery services struggled under the weight of COVID restrictions and increased demand for home delivery. Autonomous vehicles can operate longer and safer, but they aren’t ideal for all circumstances, such as icy roads. The human driver of the future needs to understand how the vehicle works, how to maintain it, and when to take over to keep the truck safe.

Construction vehicles are another area. Currently construction is viewed as a low education job. Its not (think about the engineering that goes into road construction), and in the future it’ll require even more education. Autonomous construction vehicles are now operating in remote sites, running 40 ton excavators and doing the dirty work while humans supervise the project. Before long, construction workers will need expertise in setting up sensors, monitoring equipment, directing an army of robots to build bridges, roads, solar arrays and the other things that make our world a pleasant place to live.

Robots that are out of sight are also getting attention. Underground digging by the BADGER robots in Europe could completely change how our cities are built and enable us to bring in new services (water, sewer, internet, etc.) without requiring expensive and obtrusive digging. Dredging harbors, necessary to ensure enough water depth for container vessels, could become completely autonomous thanks to a new underwater vehicle. These robots can do the dirty work and operate around obstacles using autonomous logic, but they can’t determine what to do. That’s still for humans to perform.

The more we get our kids used to directing and working with robots, the better they will be positioned to work in the future. Technologists are quick to announce the demise of any particular field, but the future is always a hybrid first as new technology adjusts to the reality of the world. Our future with robots is no different, and our kids will work in that future better if we make our schools prepare them for it.

This post represents the views of the author and not those of the Department of Defense, Department of the Navy, or any other government agency.

I’m Old Enough to Remember When Democrats Were Happy to Have New Manufacturing in the US

Of course that was back in the day when I was a Democrat in the 1990’s

Democrats today:

Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Senator Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Senator Jack Reed (D-R.I.) have sent a letter to officials from the Trump administration, demanding answers about TSMC’s recent announcement to build a fab in Ariz. As reported, TSMC has announced its intention to build and operate an advanced semiconductor fab in the U.S. The fab, to be built in Arizona, will move into production in 2024.

The senators believe that it’s important to have a strong U.S. semiconductor industry, but they want to know if TSMC was offered incentives. They also contend that TSMC’s proposed and one-time fab is “inadequate” in terms of rebuilding the technology base in the U.S.

This is via Don Suber’s Highlights of the News which you should read daily who completely nails it:

When I said AOC was the soul of the soulless Democrat Party that was not hyperbole. Her success in blocking Amazon in New York City was just one of many attempts by Democrats to sabotage capitalism in America.

Think not?

Look at who runs most of the cities and states that refuse to re-open.

That’s very true, American’s working helps Trump thus it’s EVIL in the eyes of Dems but the real crime here is that it’s a Taiwan company and as Instapundit has noted you can really tell who is on China’s payroll or at least on the same team:

Related:

Obama’s Man in China Now Beijing’s Man in Washington: Former ambassador Baucus appears regularly on Chinese propaganda outlets.

Cue my shocked face

Update: Instalanche: Thanks Ed, Hi folks take a peek around and check out our merry band of writers. Let me note that the quote from that piece is Don Surber’s whose site should be part of your daily reading and let me take the time to plug my livestream no frills podcast Monday’s at 12:35 AM EST and Fridays at 9:30 EST , you can watch the latest where I talk about

  1. Obamagate and what the CYA by Susan Rice means
  2. the Democrat Aristocracy of Losers namely Stacy Abrams
  3. Morning Mika’s failure to see the dangers of the Streisand Effect due to the media bubble (and inability to defend husband Joe Scarborough using the obvious argument because it’s an outside the bubble
  4. The special election in Staunton VA and what that means nationally here.

hope you enjoy it