Limbaugh was talking about this today and bemoaning what it meant for America; but I think he's wrong. Why?
Because I know what the real deal is. Speaking as a skilled technology worker, I have had to deal with this issue myself, and Limbaugh doesn't know WTF he's talking about.
The problem isn't a lack of skilled workers; the problem is companies which are too particular about what they want.
Example: take a look in the want ads for any mid-level computer-related position. Anything higher than "grunt" will have a laundry list of things which the company desires that applicants have experience with, and the loftier the title the bigger the list will be. And it'll be more eclectic, too. "The successful applicant will have at least five years' experience with Unix, FORTRAN, Java, SQL, and PERL; at least 3 years' experience working with telecommunications switching equipment; and be Microsoft certified." They will look for that exact person. If you know everything but FORTRAN (for example) don't bother applying.
If you're a technical writer who previously wrote books for hardware, and you try to get a job writing books for software--forget it. It doesn't matter how much hardware writing experience you have; they want someone with experience writing manuals for software. You can show up for the interview toting a briefcase full of the manuals you wrote and it won't matter.
It's impossible to find entry-level jobs doing anything technical. Employers don't want to hire you if you're an average person with an average degree and no experience. They want experienced people only and they want people with exactly the right experience.
That's why there's a "shortage" of skilled workers in the United States. It has nothing to do with what the universities are turning out; it has nothing to do with what people study: it has everything to do with the employers themselves and their expectations.
Besides, no one makes anything in this country any more. You have to be a complete moron* to go to school and get a technical degree, instead of a business management degree: with a BA in business management you can do all kinds of things--many of which will get you into jobs which can potentially earn over $50,000 per year, or even more--but with a technical degree all you're going to do is either fix stuff or program stuff.
In this vein, then, CNN has a list of top-paying jobs in the US.
#1? Anasthesiologist. Yeah, that's great work if you've gone to college for four years, and medical school for four years, and done four years of residency; then it gets you a fantastic paycheck. (At least until the Democrats socialize medicine.)
#2? OB-Gyn. :rolleyes: See above. Same for #3, psychiatrist.
#4: Nurse anasthestist. Wow, the first one on the list which isn't a doctor!
#5: Sales director. We're finally out of the medical profession. #5-#7 all require lots of postgraduate study in the financial field. (MBA etc.)
#8: Software architect. If you're a top programmer, you can virtually write your own ticket.
...so here's the breakdown: 1-4 require tons of medical schooling, past college. 5-7 and 10 require advanced business degrees. Only one is a technical discipline.
See what I'm saying?
* * *
The White House is going after Fox News. This isn't really surprising, is it? Fox News is the only news outlet which has said "boo" to Obama. Of course the White House is going to try to destroy them.
The Curmudgeon Emeritus (see the next link, below) points out that it's a bad idea to pick a fight with someone who buys ink by the barrel, but I'm not so sure: Fox News is one outlet, and the entire rest of the media are on Obama's side.
This post on Eternity Road also discusses the issue.
Obama has enough of the politician's low cunning to dispatch others to do the more tawdry work of promoting his demigod status. For example, he has White House communications director Anita Dunn.He goes on to discuss how things went for Nixon when he tried taking on the Washington Post, but I don't know that the situations are parallel.
Dunn has entered upon the riskiest course a public-relations officer can attempt: she's announced a state of hostilities against a major media outlet. It's unthinkable that Obama is unaware of this, or that he disapproves. Like Jimmy Carter before him, he wants complete control of everything in the White House, at least to the extent of prior approval. Of course, should Dunn's decision rebound disastrously against the Administration, we'll hear endlessly about how it was exclusively her idea, that the president had nothing to do with it, but Anita Dunn is almost certainly acting on Obama's own wishes.
Why Fox News? Because it dares to employ a brace of conservative commentators. Fox is alone in the electronic media in having more conservative pundits than liberals. Worse, those conservative pundits are willing to criticize the Administration comprehensively: for its agenda, for its tactics, and worst of all, for its motives. As Fox's viewership is expanding at a record rate, its masters would logically conclude that they're doing the right thing from a commercial standpoint. Should the Dunn attack be followed by the acceleration of that trend -- your Curmudgeon thinks that it will be -- we may expect to see the criticism ramify and intensify.
In Nixon's case, the other media outlets were just as against him as the Post was. In Obama's case, all the media outlets are on his side. So you're not going to see much defense of Fox coming from CNN NBC CBS ABC NYT, because they don't like Fox either. (For one thing, Fox is out-competing them. It's bucking the trend; Fox's market share is increasing even as the shares of the others are decreasing.)
Michelle Malkin's take on the issue.
* * *
Michelle Malkin also touches on something I heard on the radio which did not surprise me at all: Olympia Snowe, Republican-in-name-only senator from Maine, is going to vote for the Baucus scheme.
Big surprise! Olympia Snowe is pretty much a Democrat in all but name. She claims to be a "fiscal conservative" but there is nothing conservative about socializing medicine.
Limbaugh is of the opinion that the Republicans ought not even to show up when the Baucus scheme is voted on. Let 'em show up on the voting rolls as "not present". I think it's a great idea.
Look, GOP, take it from me: the best thing you can do is to stay as far away from this crap as possible. Let it be entirely a Democrat operation. Let them take all the credit and all the blame for the thing when it craters, as it surely will.
Let's find a way to keep Snowe from voting for the thing. The only thing her vote will do is give the Democrats some cover: "Look, some Republicans voted for this bill, so it's not all our fault; it was a bipartisan effort!" Yeah.
* * *
Today we ran errands, and I had a serving of Wendy's "boneless wings". What they are, in fact, is a handful of your basic chicken nuggets with flavored sauce on them. I tried the "bold buffalo wing" flavor; it is indeed spicy and a decent implementation of the "buffalo wing" flavor. But it's just chicken nuggets in sauce; there is nothing special about it.
As for me, I'm thinking I really do have to get on the stick with the Escort. I believe I shall begin tomorrow, barring the unforeseen.