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A Real Jobs Bill

This month we lost an industry pioneer and a master innovator who created wealth for the masses. Steve Jobs, former CEO and chairman of {complink 379|Apple Inc.}, had the knack for taking technology, with all its ones and zeroes, innate hardware, and limited beauty, and turning it into something brilliant. His legacy should be a wakeup call to get back to making technology more innovative and applicable than ever, perhaps even giving us the ability to right this sinking economic ship.

There have been multiple stories about how investors are walking away from technology development, but Apple keeps demonstrating that when we focus on making products attractive to the market, the bottom line will take care of itself. For example, the general consensus about the iPhone 4S was that it was a tepid product release at best, and many predicted this would be the first indication that Apple was on the way down. A few days later, Apple announced the iPhone 4S had broken all records for pre-orders of a new product. Apparently, consumers did not read the reviews of the pundits. Otherwise, they might have known they were buying a “boring” product. (See: Apple: Beyond Steve Jobs.)

In fact, Apple's advancement in speech recognition for Siri shows how it is accelerating technology through human interaction and acceptance. Herein lies the opportunity to push technology and innovation as far as possible, creating value for the user first and wealth as a byproduct for those who help fund that R&D and its associated investments.

Today's reality features protests on Wall Street, ugly 401K retirement accounts, rising college education costs, and company executives mired down in anxiety about the future. Survival mode kicks in when our only focus is how to remain employed. When that happens, we have to remember the reason we got into the field of engineering and technology development — to make the world a better place. To this end, and for the sake of our economic survival, let's get out there and honor Steve Jobs, and all our industry pioneers, and do inspiring work with impact. That's our long-term goal. But what we can do in the short term?

How about we memorialize this great innovator by asking the White House to amend the American Jobs Act? According to AP's Erica Werner, President Obama's curent plan “would reduce payroll taxes on workers and employers, extend benefits to long-term unemployed people, spend money on public works projects, and help states and local governments keep teachers, police officers, and firefighters on the job.”

The bill is the right thing to do , but let's request two additional aspects to be included:

  1. Help the long-term unemployed get retrained with deferred/forgiven education costs.
  2. Assign $50 billion to technology funding and innovation support in the form of federal grants of $25,000 to $100,000 each to help our country solve today's technology problems such as energy, communications, and manufacturing competitively.

Perhaps politicians can come together and agree on this one thing. Enhancing the bill would give us even more opportunity to help ourselves and honor one of the masters of industry, who created wealth for the masses and inspired us all to think big and dare to be great.

Hey, Washington, we want a great jobs bill. This one is a lay-up. Just do it!

Contact Congress here and President Obama by clicking here.

22 comments on “A Real Jobs Bill

  1. AnalyzeThis
    October 25, 2011

    Unfortunately — in the current political environment — nothing is actually going to get done. The complete inability for the two parties to work together in basically any constructive way is both frustrating and depressing.

    However, I do agree with you in regards to the seemingly strangely forgotten importance of technological development. For all the depressing news regarding the US economy and its future, obviously there are certain areas in which we still excel.

    Even if we aren't doing the actual manufacturing of the technology, we can still harness the engineering and managerial talent to help advance technology that will both create jobs and improve our lives. And hopefully the environment as well. Like you say, this is a long-term goal, but a goal we shouldn't lose sight of: I think companies that are slashing R&D to save money in the short-term will regret these choices a few years from now.

  2. Eldredge
    October 25, 2011

    “would reduce payroll taxes on workers and employers, extend benefits to long-term unemployed people, spend money on public works projects, and help states and local governments keep teachers, police officers, and firefighters on the job.”

    The majority of the funding for a jobs bill should be directed at shoring up technology and manufacturing, rather than the other actions identified. I don't see reducing payroll taxes for a temporary period as much of a motivation for capital investment. Extending benefits helps people, but a job creator it isn't. And a temporary subsidy to state and local governments exhausts funds while just pushing the problem one year further down the road, while encouraging the irresponsible spending habits of state and local govenments. I agree with your two suggestion, but they should be the main focus of the bill in terms of $, not the minor role. And the ivenstments need to be rationally vetted for long term viability.

  3. Nemos
    October 25, 2011

    In general, I agree with the main scope of your thoughts, but I do not agree with the aspect of view that one person makes the different. Specially, in this kind of moment (economical crisis) we need the impact and the action of the people, as many act as the best result we have at the end. Moreover, you use d the term “wealth for the masses” if you focus on the masses you see a lot of different stories and people, so I didn't like either this kind of packaging .

  4. Ms. Daisy
    October 25, 2011

    Thanks for this uplifting post on current state of affairs on jobs. I agree with you on the  additional suggestions that will actuallly re-awaken the innovative spirit in the young and enterpreneural amongst us. The only downside to this issue is that we have a deaf congress and a President who is inundated with numerous problems at once.

     

  5. Ms. Daisy
    October 25, 2011

    “we have to remember the reason we got into the field of engineering and technology development — to make the world a better place”. Yes this is true.

    But the focus is on jobs now (short term goal!), because it is the reality of millions of Americans who are in survival mode. Many cannot say with certainty how they will eat the next meal, or where to lay their heads. That truely is unfortunate in the USA.

    The immediate need of many is to fulfil these basic needs, hence job focused. Creativity comes after you have met basic physiological and safety needs. The peace of mind that this affords is what brings the creativity juices flowing. Longterm goal therefore is to keep hope alive and keep the dream of that new producct design.

  6. _hm
    October 25, 2011

    Innovation and advance education is the key to new job market.

     

  7. Jay_Bond
    October 26, 2011

    @DennisQ

    You've nailed it. As much as we need something done, the two parties are at such odds right now, I don't think any worthwhile bill will get passed. We are getting ready to start a new year and it would be great to have a new bill passed to help make 2012 a forward moving year. A year we could make some real movement towards putting the recession in our past. Unfortunately all 2012 is going to bring us is more mudslinging and political ads as the parties try and fight over the presidency.

     

  8. Susan Fourtané
    October 26, 2011

    Interesting political oriented post. I have nothing to say about politics, otherwise I would be reading a political forum.  

    -Susan 

  9. Ariella
    October 26, 2011

    @Ms. Daisy: well said!

    I want to also comment on the limits of voice recognition. My daughter told me that  the Rosetta Stone program on the school's computer “doesn't like” her voice. Something about it does not register clearly with the software. It doesn't make it altogether useless, but it does limit some of its utility.

  10. Himanshugupta
    October 26, 2011

    Getting the bill passed can only be the begining. It will make more than that to push the boundaries of technology and innovation. At this time, the price of higher education is so high that we have to think more than twice to go back to the school. And during this economic time, the job market uncertainty also deter going back to school.

  11. Parser
    October 26, 2011

    In this political climate any spending, even justified, will hit a stoned wall specifically government grants. The voices are against any evolvement of the government in free enterprise. I personally need a minimum of $50k of grant money and for 2 years I cannot find it. Private enterprise will not look at highly risky investment and even the noble cause of fighting breast cancer will not convince anyone. 

  12. FLYINGSCOT
    October 26, 2011

    @Ariella…..try that voice recog software with a Scottish accent….no chance.

  13. FLYINGSCOT
    October 26, 2011

    @Ariella…..try that voice recog software with a Scottish accent….no chance.

  14. FLYINGSCOT
    October 26, 2011

    @Ariella…..try that voice recog software with a Scottish accent….no chance.

  15. Ms. Daisy
    October 26, 2011

    @_hm, you are right about both, but how do we get the discouraged and indebted young people to the place where they can use their creativity and the will to take risks to innovate again becomes the issue. Many of the young engineers and tech savvy people want to have the advance degrees but unable to afford the cost. Even the educational loans are getting out of reach.

  16. NTP
    October 26, 2011

    Interesting perspective on the passing of Jobs and the impact on the semiconductor industry..http://www.element14.com/community/docs/DOC-38381/l/can-we-survive-the-loss-of-steve-jobs

  17. _hm
    October 26, 2011

    There are always five to ten difficult years in life. When one is aiming for advance degree or some other similar goal, one must take it as integral part of cchallenge. Most people gets help and finds a way a to success.

  18. Taimoor Zubar
    October 27, 2011

    I think there's a need to promote entrepreneurship in the technical sector in the US. Innovation itself is not much of a use unless it grows into a company that creates jobs and new opportunities. The government should be looking to provide incubation opportunities to new start-ups who are working to bring up new technology in the market.

  19. Houngbo_Hospice
    October 27, 2011

    “Help the long-term unemployed get retrained with deferred/forgiven education costs.”

    I wonder if this will suffice to get a job. I agree that unemployed could get retrained, but nothing garantee them a job after they spend in a new training program thousands of money that they will have to pay back (even if the payment is deferred).

  20. Kunmi
    October 30, 2011

    Steve was an ICON. How I wish we have more Steve(s) in the tech world today, it would have been awesome

  21. Ms. Daisy
    October 31, 2011

    I only wish the congress of the US is listening to this plea and the dedication of the people in the industry!

  22. electronics862
    October 31, 2011

    Salute to the great work of Steve Jobs who lead the technology in the right direction where people felt it marvelous. I really agree with your words Bernard, if we include stated two things in the bill it will be really helpful for the better progress of economy and techonology. 

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