Jobs, the economy, the CCC camp system, and the US Civil Service

The creation of jobs has been an Obama administration focus for a long time, recognizing it is key to reviving the American economy.

There is much conflict as to who creates those jobs and who reaps the profit. Dems want the government to create the now-missing jobs, and America as a whole reaps the benefit; GOP wants the jobs to be made only by private businesses for their own profit and only if they make immediate profit for the business owners, and the rest of America is out of luck - a system of overwhelming leverage by the "business owners."

While I think that it is best that the jobs be based on supplying product needs of the nation and the world, and businesses have experience in doing that, I also am quite aware that private business has not been doing the job of maximizing the usage of the human resources of America - and they are currently still having much opportunity to do that yet are not doing it.

So, the reality-test has resulted in lack of doing the job of giving all people adequate and comfortable employment.

I think of the old technique exemplified by the Civilian Conservation Core that was instrumental in bringing the nation out of depression before. Typically young people would go off to "camp" sites and be taught to build things, getting things built thereby as well as giving those youngsters useful employable skills for when the economy revived back to normal functionality. Only the government could do that, the "government for the people and by the people" as we supposedly are.

As for cost, right now, the system that provides the nearest equivalent is the military, which brings in the young people, trains them and gives them experience in applying those skills. So the cost equivalent is the past decade's wars that supplied those skills and experiences to the young people. (I speak here of cost to the American taxpayer; not the concurrent cost to the nations we attacked so destructively without provocation, which is a karmic cost we have yet to fully face, a different subject than is being explored here, but useful in comparison of the two kinds of systems for government training and experiencing for our young people.) Thus comparable trillions of dollars would be justifiable in a new "Civilian Conservation Core" and similar job training & experience functions, paid for by the taxpayer base, like the wars were. In other words, some trillions of dollars spent over a decade. A bunch of money. But far more constructively in both skills and accomplishments, than was the war mode.

I have some life experience relevant to all this. I was a depression child, and thus was an only child, no siblings with which to learn people skills or have as helpers later. My parents were both employees of the U S Civil Service, another aspect of the government's depression-recovery activities, alongside the Civilian Conservation Core (CCC) system; my parents met while employees at an Agricultural Experimental Station, a kind of facility that worked to help develop agricultural systems improvement knowledge, a function that farmers themselves would not finance yet would benefit from enormously. My parents both remained lifetime U S Civil Service employees, doing a wide variety of jobs along the way.

One place we lived was Window Rock, Arizona, when my dad worked for the Bureau of Indian Affairs. The place had been built by Civilian Conservation Core (CCC) youngsters in the depression, learning skills and applying them, producing worthwhile things and being employed while the nation was still in depression conditions. The house we rented there was made from bricks carved out of the red sandstone mountains of the area; I often wondered how they had chiseled out and hand crafted those pieces of rock to make them near-identical bricks from which the house was built. The little desert town area had an integrated co-generation facility, its electrical powerplant's cooling water being pumped through all those red sandstone brick homes there as well as the larger administration buildings, supplying steam heat during the cold parts of the year, a high desert place that got significant snow. I well remember those steam radiators in the rooms of our house. All that system of homes, administration buildings, and powerplant co-generation system, was built by those youngsters of the CCC camp system, paid for by the government's CCC system for recovery of the nation. No doubt those youngsters learned a lot of new trade skills and responsibility while building all that; and those skills and responsibility attitude later helped the nation thrive when the private business system once again needed employees. Although I did not notice later a need to carve bricks by hand out of sandstone mountains, the craftsman skills to do that surely were useful in other private business endeavors; and the bricklaying clearly useful later too in conventional employment.

In a way, I too, received some later-useful training while in such public systems. In the mid-1950's I was a US Civil Service employee on my first electronics job, helping man a radio telemetry ground station involved in the testing of guided missiles, while I was a physics major in the co-op program with White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico, probably headed to be a nuclear physicist. When I later had to drop out of that program due to the severe tinnitus and ADD that hit me in my Freshman year, making studying near impossible, I then got experience in surveying in the desert as a rodman-chainman, learning another new set of skills, in the Civil Service system. Seeking a woman to marry - there were twelve men for every woman at the NM State Collage I attended and so the competition for women was fierce and I lost out - I went east and got a job as a museum technician at the Smithsonian Institution in DC, another Civil Service Job, again learning new skills involving both my native artistic skills and my technical-type skills. And after that I went to work for the FAA as an electronics maintenance technician, and received formal electronics training in electronics engineering, as part of that job; all back in the vacuum-tube era of electronics. When I left the Civil Service system, advancing into employment in the private business system, those basic electronics skills were a head start, although that also was the time when solid state electronics was coming into being, and I was always self-educated in electronics from then on, learning what I had to know to do my job well, for a lot of different companies, and I became a top electronics engineering technician, even formally became a non-degreed electronics design-development electronics engineer at the peak of my career, in computer disk drive development.

So I not only did useful productive work needed by the country while an employee of the U S Civil Service system (which I pointed out was started in the depression days to get the country functioning again) but then those skills and experiences got me a head start for when I joined the private business system as a corporate-system's employee. The U S government's job system enabled both my parents and myself to have a modest job income, do useful work needed by the nation as a whole as part of that, and when the economy was up to it, I went on to be a highly productive employee in the private business system until the economy went into a slump and I got laid off and was too old to get an electronics tech job anymore, and was of retirement age, so eventually I gave up and decided I was retired, just doing volunteer work and an occasional part time paid work in newly learned fields related to natural history.

So those are real-world experiences involving a public employment system operating in parallel with the private business system, how it really worked. All benefited.

Expecting an uncoordinated private business system to "naturally" upgrade the nation's job skills as part of jobs created to include that task, employing a maximum number of people doing things they could learn in a non-excessively-stressed lifestyle, has yet to be done. Or even talked about, as far as I know. They do not consider themselves their brother's keeper, as the saying goes.

Speaking of "brothers keepers", a scenario I see possible in the existing arena, that does not involve a government-sponsored job-creation system like the CCC and US Civil Service system, is that there is one religious group, rapidly expanding, that has always been business-focused, teaching its youngsters about business by requiring all its young males to own and operate some kind of business as part of their growing-up process; and probably would like to take the Presidency and make the whole nation a business system under their control and for their exclusive profit. But it is a young religion, not adequately identified with America as a whole; and thus likely would be run secretly at the core by their religious elite, instead of by the will of the American people, especially at turn key events and issues. Does America want that to happen; will it happen by default, I wonder. (And I worry about any "fundamentalist-type religious patriarchical organization" getting its fingers on the trigger button of America's vast nuclear arsenal and war machine. PC&APCA, too often proves correct. Beliefs that one's religious grouping is God's exclusive chosen ones, always gets humanity into trouble, sooner or later.)

So it seems to me that a combination of a new CCC-type system, with an expanded U S Civil Service system, both wisely guided (well, it was wisely done before, somehow,) is the most workable way to go at this point.

And of course I have, for several years, urged the formation of a "Home internet-linked educational-manufacturing workstation" system be established as part of America's recovery; but the private business system has ignored that; and since it is for the benefit of the American economic system's recovery, it might as well be part of that hypothetical CCC & US Civil Service expansion mode too, so as to include getting the essences of manufacturing back into the American mind. And to enable everybody in the nation - everybody - to get into the part-time job-holding slightly productive mode mindset, a solid place from which to go beyond there.

There are ways to solve the problem, if enough of us remember that we are Americans instead of special-interest group members.

Labels: , , ,


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home