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  • Job Creation

    Posted by David Foster on January 13th, 2009 (All posts by )

    Politicians, from Barack Obama on down, are spending a lot of time talking about “job creation.” Businesses, labor groups, and “experts” of various kinds are getting into the fun, each emphasizing that their proposed project W will create X jobs within Y time frame at a cost to the government of only Z.

    I know a way to create at least a million jobs, almost immediately, at no government expense whatsoever.

    Ban the automatic operation of elevators.

    The Elevator Safety and Economic Opportunity Act of 2009 will preempt state regulation of elevators and will require that after March 1, 2009, no elevator shall carry passengers without being under the exclusive control of a qualified and certified elevator operator. How many jobs will this create? Well, in the early 1950s, prior to the widespread use of automatic-elevator technology, there were something like 500,000 people employed as elevator operators. There are a lot more buildings and a lot more elevators now than there were then–surely, we can count on a million jobs for the operators.

    But, you argue, these will mostly be minimum-wage jobs, or nearly so. How about the creation of really good jobs?

    My plan addresses this issue also. First, remember that the ESEOA requires not just human operators, but certified operators. Many good jobs will be created for those providing the required training and those administering the certification process. Second, there is a technology component to the plan. While the first phase provides that the operators will use the existing pushbutton controls on the elevators, this is only a temporary expedient due to the exigencies of the economic crisis. The plan further requires that by December 31, 2010, all elevators must be fitted with purely manual controls. These will allow the operator to directly control the acceleration and deacceleration of the elevator, hence providing job enrichment for the operator and removing any temptation for building owners to revert to the old (and now illegal) automatic method of operation. These retroadvanced control systems will of course have to be designed and manufactured, providing many excellent jobs for mechanical and electrical engineers as well as skilled factory workers. And they will have to be installed, offering employment to thousands of electricians and elevator maintenance personnel all over the country.

    The Elevator Safety and Economic Opportunity Act of 2009. Retrovertical transportation, to get our economy moving up again.

    I’m pretty sure that some Congresspeople could be found who would think the above proposal is a really excellent idea.

     

    18 Responses to “Job Creation”

    1. sol vason Says:

      Before there were elevators people were carried up and down stairs in specially designed carriages which kept the person level whether on level ground or on stairs. Each carriage had at least 2 bearers; although some had as many as twenty.

      Bearers need special training to ensure safety and a smooth ride and should be certified and unionized.

    2. Robert Schwartz Says:

      When I was a small child, a very long time ago — in a previous millennium, My father occasionally took me to his office downtown.

      He parked his car at a garage just up the street. Actually he didn’t park it. He left it, with the keys in it at the vestibule of the garage and the attendants parked it. If it was dirty, they would wash it, if it needed gas, they would fill it up.

      He walked to his building, where the doorman greeted him and opened the door, and got on the elevator, where operator greeted him and took him to his floor.

      My mother stayed at home, and, unless she had driven my father to the office that morning, had no car as we owned only one, and my father often needed it for his work. However, she had little need for a car. A milkman came to our house, checked the refrigerator’s inventory of dairy products and left the needed ones. There was also a bread man, and even a little old man who drove a little old retired school bus around the neighborhood with an assortment of fresh fruits and vegetables.

      The doctors made house calls.

      And you think we live in a service economy.

    3. Shannon Love Says:

      Robert Schwartz,

      And you think we live in a service economy.

      Hah! I never thought of that. I wonder how employment stats back then treated those kinds of jobs?

    4. Shannon Love Says:

      Upon reflection I have an even better idea: outlaw tractors. This will create tens of millions of jobs that will provide people with high quality of life as they will get lots of exercise out in the beauty and wonder of nature!

    5. YJLAW Says:

      I’d rather see some more drilling areas opened up and a new oil industry here. How about retooling our marine taxation system and restoring a domestic merchant marine. These would both serve to restore “blue collar” jobs to our economy, relatively high paying ones. How about legalizing new nuclear plants, give our contractors some work to do as well, not to mention reviving a whole education system to turn out more engineers and physicists.

    6. Carol Says:

      Well, I work in insurance, all numbers all the time, and I can only imagine how many people would have to be employed if we stop letting computers do all the calculating. Let’s get rid of computers and go back to hiring people who punch buttons on calculators all day. Or better still, let’s go back, way back, and hire what an old boss told me used to be called “computators”: people whose job it was to do arithmetic really fast and really well in their heads.

      Of course, I don’t know where we will find these people any more in the days of, “It doesn’t matter if you get the right answer as long as you understand the process.”

    7. Anonymous Says:

      YJLAW..could you kindly expand a bit on our marine taxation system and, more generally, on the policies that would have to change in order to restore/expand our merchant marine?

      Carol…here are some people you probably wouldn’t want to hire for the kind of jobs you’re talking about….

    8. david foster Says:

      Anonymous, above, was me.

    9. Shannon Love Says:

      Carol,

      Or better still, let’s go back, way back, and hire what an old boss told me used to be called “computators”

      Prior to the late 40’s, “Computer” was a job description like “accountant”. The solve by hand equations that other people set up for them. Usually, three people worked on the same problem to catch errors. This why the first computers where called “mechanical” and “electronic” computers. They wanted to make it clear they weren’t people.

    10. Helen Says:

      I wonder how many people on this forum will actually try and get one of those button-punching jobs. And, of course, if we went back to riding horses or in horse-drawn carriages we would also need s**t shovellers like Dickens’s Joe the crossing sweeper. Any offers? Or here’s another one: what about laundry? I am sure people would just love to boil huge copple kettles of water and wash sheets in them by hand. I could go on.

      Robert Schwartz,
      I am curious. Did your mother ever manage to leave the house at all?

    11. david foster Says:

      Just in case it isn’t absolutely clear, the Elevator Safety and Economic Opportunity Act of 2009 is a *parody*, not something I really think should be enacted as public policy.

      But in the current climate, it’s likely that things almost equally preposterous will be seriously considered–and maybe even done.

      I’m afraid there are not too many, in Congress or in the punditocracy, who could coherently explain why the ESEOA would not be good economic policy.

    12. Robert Schwartz Says:

      Helen: Don’t worry about my mother. That was the early 1950s. In 1955, Dad bought a second car. She went on to get a Ph.D. in Russian Literature, taught at Ohio State and lived very large for a long time.

    13. Helen Says:

      Helen: Don’t worry about my mother. That was the early 1950s. In 1955, Dad bought a second car. She went on to get a Ph.D. in Russian Literature, taught at Ohio State and lived very large for a long time.

      I wasn’t worried exactly, just curious. A very odd way of living. Glad it didn’t really last.

    14. Robert Schwartz Says:

      Helen: It wasn’t odd at all. In that era few families had 2 cars. My mother was in her 20s, had three small children — the youngest was less than 2 when the 2nd car was purchased, and the neighborhood consisted of families in a similar circumstance. There were no day care centers, and middle class families such as ours could not afford nannies. I remember the time fondly — but, I was a small child unburdened with the cares of adults.

      I am sure that the black men who were the garage attendants and elevator operators were happy to see the era pass. But I knew nothing of their travails at that time.

      Time passes. It takes both the good and the bad.

    15. onparkstreet Says:

      Robert Schwartz – I was charmed by your comment.

      I remember, or my mother tells me, that milk used to be delivered to her house when she first came to the states, back in the late 60s. “A lot of things have changed since then,” she says. Yes, some good, some bad, mostly good because of the better treatment of minorities, but, I wish we could change the bad things while keeping the good. Like milk delivered to your door so you don’t have to go out when it is so cold!

    16. Stephen R Says:

      I was born in ’72 and I remember having a milkman when I was quite young. He came once a week, and every once in a while he brought us chocolate milk also. (Thus the reason I remember him….)

      In the Chicago area you can still have milk delivered, if you have an Oberweiss Dairy store nearby. However, Oberweiss milk, even at the store, costs more than double the stuff you get at the supermarket. (…and their chocolate milk is about the best tasting you’ll find anywhere. I think they lace it with crack, but that’s just a theory.)

    17. Stephen R Says:

      Oh, and good parody. :) I’ll think of this every time some politician talks about creating government jobs. Government jobs, pretty much by definition, do not add to the economy; they are a drain — as the money for paychecks, by definition, must come from taxation. (The postal service being a notable exception.)

    18. M. Simon Says:

      Boiling laundry is a very bad idea. Everyone knows water vapor is the most potent green house gas by 20 to 1. If we start boiling laundry it will lead to climate catastrophe.