The Stimulus: How to Create Jobs Without Them All Going to Skilled Professionals and White Male Construction Workers

The stimulus plan will create jobs repairing and upgrading the nation’s roads, bridges, ports, levees, water and sewage system, public-transit systems, electricity grid, and schools. And it will kick-start alternative, non-fossil based sources of energy (wind, solar, geothermal, and so on); new health-care information systems; and universal broadband Internet access.

It’s a two-fer: lots of new jobs, and investments in the nation’s future productivity.

But if there aren’t enough skilled professionals to do the jobs involving new technologies, the stimulus will just increase the wages of the professionals who already have the right skills rather than generate many new jobs in these fields. And if construction jobs go mainly to white males who already dominate the construction trades, many people who need jobs the most — women, minorities, and the poor and long-term unemployed — will be shut out.

What to do? There’s no easy solution to either dilemma. But there’s no reason to think about “green jobs” as simply high-tech. Many low-income and low-skilled workers — women as well as men — could be put directly to work providing homes and businesses with more efficient and renewable heating, lighting, cooling, and refrigeration systems; installing solar panels and efficient photovoltaic systems; rehabilitating and renovating old properties, and improving recycling systems. “Green Jobs Corps” teams could be trained to evaluate and advise homeowners and businesses on these and other means of conserving energy.

People can be trained relatively quickly for these sorts of jobs, as well as many infrastructure jobs generated by the stimulus — installing new pipes for water and sewage systems, repairing and upgrading equipment, basic construction — but contractors have to be nudged both to provide the training and to do the hiring.

robert_reich.jpgI’d suggest that all contracts entered into with stimulus funds require contractors to provide at least 20 percent of jobs to the long-term unemployed and to people with incomes at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty level. And at least 2 percent of project funds should be allocated to such training. In addition, advantage should be taken of buildings trades apprenticeships — which must be fully available to women and minorities.

by Robert Reich

Robert B. Reich is Professor of Public Policy at the Goldman School of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley. He has served in three national administrations, most recently as secretary of labor under President Bill Clinton.

This article first appeared on Robert Reich’s Blog. Republished with permission

Articles by Robert Reich:


  1. Steve Lamb says

    WELLLLLL AS A WHITE MALE CONSTRUCTION WORKER I find this article racist, classist, hateful and ill informed. my ranks over the last two decades have been decimated by de-unionization coupled with an open border. Yoiu cant have strong unions and an open border, yet Mr. Riech is for both, an impossibility.


  2. Hollis says

    Another thing, I was the President of the union where I worked as well as on negotiating committees where I fought for dignity, equality, and a high level of income for all workers. That is the only way that we progress. Selfishly leaving some behind just we can have a bit more only works to defeat everyone. At one point the Construction Trades Unions reigned supreme in terms of wages etc but when they became protective instead of reaching out and building their power base through mass membership they lost their cutting edge. Now, many many construction sites are either non-union or two-gaters because of the lack of forethought on the part of the union leaders and the rank and file in construction.

  3. Hollis says

    I didn’t mention it in my earlier submission but I worked on interstate construction building the bridge across the Potomac River from close to Cabin John, MD into the Washington, DC area. I had no experience working on tyeing steel for concrete decking, etc but the workers on the job began teaching me from the moment I was on the job. Oh, the workers on the job were almost all African American, very skilled, and didn’t resent me for being new to the job. My safety was in their hands working high above the river doing dangerous work and they made sure to protect me. My only previous construction experience was working on putting down concrete pads for housing in small towns in the desert outside Tucson, AZ, a big difference and not one that prepared one to work on building interstate bridging. So, taking new people into construction work need not discriminate against “white” skilled workers or anyone else but offers the opportunity for the skilled workers to train the new people on the job — and if your job is funded by government funds, paid by all taxpayers from all ethnic groups, then it is only right that everyone have a chance at the work. Our Constitution and Laws do not allow discrimination against any class of Americans.

  4. says

    I’m glad that Sharon and Dick Price explained that people are reacting to their own problems and stresses, rather than the article as written, because otherwise I would think the comments were some kind of sick joke.

    The man who wrote this article, Robert Reich, is a rich White man. He doesn’t have anything *against* other White men and he’s not a Communist. Believe me. Google him.

    All the people who had such nasty things to say about this article, please try to read it without thinking you already know what it says or taking what it says personally.

    Reich says the stimulus package is going supposed to create work. If we create work for people who *already* have jobs – in this case, White male construction workers – then we haven’t created new jobs, only made the existing jobs more valuable. That does not stimulate the economy, as we discovered during the last 8 years.

    We need to create jobs for people who are out of work. If a larger percentage of these are women and people of color, then let’s create those jobs for them. That will stimulate the economy and everyone will be happy. That’s all he’s saying. He’s not saying “White men are bad,” or “Let’s take away jobs from White men.” It you are a White man without a job, then here’s a good chance to have a job created for you. If you are a White man with a job, then you are already making money, and again there’s no problem.

    I understand why some people are misreading this article, though. You were primed to take offense by the title, weren’t you? It specifically says we need to make sure White men don’t get all the jobs. It pushed your buttons. By the time you were reading, you had already made up your mind what it was going to say. I know just how you feel. Because that’s the way I feel when someone pushes my buttons, then doesn’t say or do what I expect.

    That’s one reason why people of color aren’t shy of saying someone else’s actions or statements are racist, even if they weren’t meant that way. If, for example, I read an article with a title like “Women and Minorities Don’t Work as Hard as White Men,” I’d think it was going to say that women and people of color are lazy. Maybe if I read the article more closely, I’d realize that it wasn’t saying that at all. Maybe the article is about “working smarter” instead of “working harder,” or something equally as innocent, but I wouldn’t know that, because I’d already decided it was going to be insulting, so I didn’t read it that well.

    Even if you disagree with me, please take a moment to just think about what I’ve said. If you hate hearing bad things about “White men” all the time, remember that’s the same feeling women have when they hear bad things said about them all the time. That’s the way people of color feel when they read remarks that sound negative about them. That’s the way gay and lesbians feel when they see or hear a slur about their sexual orientation. Put yourself in that person’s shoes – just for a minute – and see the similarity.

    I don’t have problems with White men. There are a lot of great White men whom I admire tremendously. And that might be why it makes me angry or self-defensive when one of them says something that I think is going to be negative about me.

    By the way, I’m unemployed right now and looking pretty hard for a job, and when I *do* have a job, I often work 14 hours a day (in the film and TV business), so it hurts my feelings once again when I hear people say I must be lazy or stupid or the product of Affirmative Action if I don’t have a job. The economy sucks. Lots of hard-working people don’t have jobs. Don’t blame us; blame the people who wrecked the economy.

  5. says

    Two great mistakes–or crimes, we may call them–in Obama’s stimulus plans are pointed up by the responses to Reich’s column: (1) You’ve got to create FULL employment–jobs for ALL. Otherwise you will wind up with the outrage that many so rightly protest, which is that some less-qualified people will get jobs while some more qualified people get none. EVERYONE has to get work, including decent jobs for the unqualified along with training opportunities and still better jobs for the qualified. The government must create 10 million, not 3 million, jobs. (2) We need to stop borrowing and deficit spending and get on a solid financial basis by heavily taxing the very rich. The trillion-plus-dollar tax-increase needed must not be extracted from the middle-class, working-class, or poor, but only on the very rich through taxes on both income and WEALTH (assets–net worth).

  6. Dr. Jim Hamilton says

    I am a businessman in the southern parts of the country and it deeply saddens me to read the silly mess that’s been written here.
    I began my business in the northeast and ran many ads, and the only people to show up was the whites. But everyday i would meet someone that would say there’s no jobs here! Now we were willing to teach anyone that came though the doors ! Well let’s see what happen !
    1).I want to be paid for training, even though i have no education.
    2).I want $10.00 an hr. No minimum wages( i don’t care about (1) ).
    3).The hours are 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
    (it’s alright if i show up at 8:15 and get a cup coffee before i start ).
    4).Lunch is from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
    ( another 5 minutes won’t hurt and i can eat my sandwich at my desk).
    Well at the end of the week, i shouldn’t deduct the minutes off of the 40 hours that you agreed to work..
    These are the things that take place everyday in the work place by whites and blacks. The other issue is pay me on Friday and i will see you Tuesday at 8:15 a.m.
    Now you are hearing this from a business owner that has paid the price for hiring non skill and skilled laborers that thinks the world owes them everything. This is why in the 80’s most business owners stopped with the paid training. I can hear someone saying not me, i don’t do that… Yes you do ! I did to until i started writing the checks and seeing how much money i was losing every week and having to pay over time to the few honest workers to make up for the rest.
    Everyday it’s the same story ! No jobs ! But when you open the classified sections of the newspaper there are hundreds of jobs, but no real people to work. One last note ! I was a supervisor in a textile plant on the second shift (horrible) in the summer time you worked 6 to 7 days a week and always got layoff in the middle of winter, if you know anything about the north east, there’s nothing to do in the winter with no money, and waiting for an unemployment check.. When i first go there the place had 65% blacks 25% white’s and the rest were spanish.. Within 2 years the place was 99.999% whites and i was the only black. Very very few if any got fired ! They quit !!! And the main excuse was no time for my family in the summer.. So now they had plenty of time and no money to pay bills or to do anything with in the summer.. The white guys came to work everyday, brought their lunch,wore plaid shirts, old boots , drove old trucks/cars and lived in new homes.
    Obama can’t make anybody do the thing i have spoken about ! In order for this country to succeed, everyone has to change the way in how we do business and what we expect from others to do inside our businesses.. Choices !!! You have to decide for yourself if you want be rich or wealthy. WHY !!!! The Rich work for someone else ! The wealthy right their own checks ….

  7. Frank says

    I totally agree with Dick’s comments and am amazed at how so many people misrepresent what Reich said. Fear is a powerful emotion that keeps people from hearing what is being said or considering issues on their merits.

    There is still a long long way to go. Keep up the good work.

    Best regards,


  8. Hollis says

    It is distressing to read some of the racist, classist and sexist drivel from many of the seemingly white persons who have reacted to this article. To the ones who are or claim to be skilled tradespersons I would have to ask were you born skilled? No, of course not. You were trained by someone who was skilled — although from the level of writing it is apparent many of the persons doing the training didn’t require much literacy — because that is what apprenticeship programs do and such programs are endemic to skilled trades. Oh, by the way I am white, male and find it satisfying to have trained people from all imaginable walks of life including white males. It is time that other white folk get over their fear of the future and of other people and get with the program — there is only one race the human race and we are all in this world together. The economic recovery will only work if everyone recovers, there will be no recovery for only a part of society even though the rich, who exploit working people, would like to keep the wealth to themselves.

  9. Virginia says

    The open, ugly racism of some of the commentators on this article is uncalled for!!

    The Truth in this article, obviously “hit a nerve” with some people, well then, this was a good nerve to hit.

    Our entire country is in for a big wake up call, and that call is that Racism is completely unacceptable anymore.

    I really appreciate that Robert Reich is taking the time to care about and address the working needs of ALL Americans!

    Great article.

  10. Ivan J says

    All of this lifestyle commentary unfortunately misses the crucial scenario.

    The two interlinked problems in America are first; that we borrowed so much money from other countries to finance insane irresponsible and irrational consumption while not producing anything nearly so valuable to sell and we just consumed it; and second, that we allowed corporate/financial multinationals to engineer the largest fraud ever perpetrated on Earth (derivative financial instruments and “packaged debt” that fraudulently indebted our entire nation and the planet to the point where the creditors now see that we aren’t good for paying back the debts and that we will likely not be good for it in any near future).

    The people who developed these derivatives essentially printed up funny paper and sold it to rubes and greedy Ponzi scheme enthusiasts knowing it would all blow up later because it was ridiculously untenable when you looked at the real numbers and any good banker knew that. They knew that in the end everyone would nonetheless have to cover for the fraud because the fraud was so huge and global that whenever it collapsed the Chinese could repossess the United States for pennies on the Yuan, but the bankers/frauds knew we would never allow that, but rather go to war to prevent it, thereby essentially planning on ‘killing the creditor” if push came to shove.

    The minute they sold that funny paper to someone else, they got nice hard green dollars that someone had to work and be productive to earn – i.e. they got everyone’s REAL money in exchange for worthless funny paper – fraud, plain and simple. We then allowed…no, not “allowed”…we PAID the perps another $700 billion to completely get away with this insanely huge fraud, not scott free (no offense to Scottish people), but with a gall-darned windfall bonus of $ billions!! This is utter madness and a total public disconnect from reality. TV and newspapers are selling it to the dumbed-down public and everybody seems to be falling for it AGAIN! H.L. Mencken was SOOOOOO RIGHT!

    This is American economic stupidity at its zenith.

    WE NEED TO LET THESE INSTITUTIONS TOTALLY FAIL AND WE NEED TO ALLOW THE NATURAL AND PROPER PRICE DEFLATION THAT WILL RE-BALANCE THE MARKETPLACE!! If we follow the fraudulent pundits’ bad advice and borrow more in an extremely stupid fantasy of “stimulating” and “not allowing deflation”, all of that newly borrowed money will wipe out all the short term gains it produces through even more radicalized inflation. Remember: inflation means everyone thinks your money is worth less than yesterday so they raise their prices. Borrowing trillions will make your money worth even less AND IT STILL HAS TO BE PAID BACK LONG AFTER YOU HAVE LOST YOUR PURCHASING POWER.

    Again, deflation MUST happen to re-balance the markets because our money is radically falsely inflated by debt-financed expansion – there is little real value behind it because everyone who’s smart knows it mostly represents unpayable debt. Really when you think about it clearly, deflation WILL happen no matter what – the only question is do we get it over with fast and healthy by allowing the crashes, or unhealthily drag it out for decades with stag-flation and dead productivity. We cowardly put it on our children by borrowing insanely more when we’re not good for what we already owe. And Americans fancy themselves such tough guys.

    Dummies! If you swallow any bailouts at all, and their attendant hyper-inflation and moral jeopardy, you will simply be further reducing everyone’s confidence that you’re good for paying it back, and in fact you really WILL BE less able to pay it back, which means that IT REALLY HURTS YOU, AND IT DOESN”T HELP YOU AT ALL. The only person who more debt helps is the lender, (up until the borrower defaults, as essentially just happened with the U.S., and even then they engineered a windfall for themselves for their failure – more fraud).

    Ask Thomas Jefferson: it is an ancient tried-and-true banker’s scheme to, through managed inflation and deflation, buy out all your real wealth at pennies on the dollar – it is monetary slavery. It would behoove every American to start learning how the scam works if you want your children to live in anything resembling traditional American liberty. We must allow prices to deflate to their proper natural levels!! Don’t listen to the bankers on TV – THEY ARE NOT ACTING IN YOUR INTEREST. They are acting in their own interest, NOT YOURS, and Reich for all his seeming liberalism is really one of them. Don’t be a chump.

    Not allowing all these companies who went for the Ponzi scheme to fail, as they should when they knowingly made insanely anti-social fraudulent decisions about how to fleece the wealth of productive people (with the government’s cynical encouragement) through a totally non-productive global financial scam instruments, made America’s moral jeopardy TOTAL and totally undermined all real productive behavior and worse yet, the rule of law and human decency itself. A bailout/stimulus of any kind is truly the worst thing we could do – it very powerfully rewards the totally irresponsible and the criminal and severely punishes good people who are responsible hard-working honest and thrifty…and their children…and their children’s children. And it lets the perps off with a windfall encouraging future crime.

    The insane expansion of our already confidence-killing national debt with all these Treasury bond issues that will make up the “stimulus” (even if it goes to warm fuzzy infrastructure repair and “green” jobs) will do nothing but dig us in deeper! These frauds are trying to prop-up the gigantic fraud they just perpetrated BY CONTRACTING A NEW PACKAGE OF EVEN MORE INSANE DEBT!

    How dumb does one have to be not to see that, if the crux of the problem was that you got in way over your head with unpayable debts, CONTRACTING MORE DEBT AND ARTIFICIALLY PREVENTING DEFLATION CANNOT BUT PROLONG AND WORSEN THE PROBLEM. America isn’t good for what they already borrowed. We are essentially greenmailing the world into expanding the untenable insanity so that the perps (big business) can avoid being called to account for their insane fraudulent and deeply irresponsible economic scam.





  11. Sharon Toji says

    I have a somewhat different view of this, since we are a small company that provides architectural signs for public works projects. One of our greatest expenses is the tremendous amount of paperwork required to “prove” that we are doing all the things required by these contracts, such as using apprentices, etc. The problem is, there are no apprenticeship programs available to train people to put up small room signs. In fact, there isn’t even a line item available for us that describes what we do on the prevailing wage schedules. We are forced to use the “painter” category, which is not appropriate. We are spending as much on useless paperwork as we are on fabricating signs. If you are going to a site for one day or even 3 hours to put up signs by screwing them to walls or taping them to walls — a low skill job, except for the knowledge of ADA rules, how can you use an apprentice, even if one were available? If we have already hired persons who were unemployed, from minority groups, etc., and trained them, as we have, why should we have to replace them? The problem for us is that all these rules are “one size fits all” and one size does not fit all. And, they have cost the taxpayers of California lots of money, without adding any value to the products supplied, or even to the opportunity for minorities to work in construction. Actually, in California, you do see minorities on every construction site, and you see many women in the role of project superintendent, but not many minorities in leadership roles. But requiring me to ask for an apprentice every day, with all the attendant paperwork, which then will be refused, with all that paperwork, is silly.

    That’s a lot of “stream of consciousness” reaction to the article. Actually, I fully subscribe to the idea that we must use the tax money to open up opportunities for both women and minorities, but I fear that, like California’s bond projects, that will translate into layers of oversight and mountains of paper, with no real results. I hope we can manage to retain common sense along with our goals of transparency and honesty.

  12. Alaska says

    “The most discriminated person in the United States and for many many years, is the white heterosexual male”


    Sorry, I can’t help but laugh out loud at this type of commentary.

    Reich raises important points which are not being discussed – who will be employed by green industry? Does it help the overall issue of joblessness if a new economy is created that primarily employs engineers and “hard” scientists – traditionally white, male, high paying, fields that are not experiencing job losses? How can underpaid segments of the population be employed within green industries? If the majority of entry level green jobs are construction, will only men benefit from this stimulus?

    These are the important questions to ask. Likewise, can the implementation of green technology be done in ways that minimize further environmental destruction? Do we further habitat destruction by raising acres of windmill fields, or do we find solutions that do not impact the environment via mismanaged growth and development. Can the biological sciences be integrated into our plans (for example integrating ecological impact studies into any construction plans) opening the door to fields (biology, ecology) populated with more female scientists. How about creating day care for all green workers, and paying this female workforce as much as construction workers. There are so many possibilities.

    This article isn’t about threatening the survival of the white heterosexual male, it is about ensuring that a green economy benefits many segments of the population who can no longer support their families and households.

  13. Lourdes says

    Ok here it is. Get over it, all those who apparently have race issues. This world no matter where you live is and was to be lived by all people, all having the opportunity to get any job they really want to have(which if that is what they want they will train for it). We have many men or women who already know how to do these jobs, that means you don’t have to be a brain surgeon to learn these skills. And I trully believe that there are many including minorities who do have the skills already, but where never hired as there were no openings. It’s That Simple. Learn to see that we are all humans and then maybe you will stop seeing seperation.

  14. Leslie R. says

    The article sure ‘stirred it up’ …ofcourse that was the only purpose of such a stupid column. No comment other than that….!

  15. Richard Choi Bertsch says

    There is an old saying in Asia “slapping a child’s face just when he wanted to cry”… this article gives all these boys to rant just when they were looking for an excuse. Reich is a brilliant man, but he, in his true academic way, did not dumb down the article for those crying, dumb arse “white males” to understand. These boys sounds just like those talk show hosts who will crop front, back, and whatever else that does not serve them, and focus on what can be twisted to their liking. Give me a break…instead of panting in a historic loss (those crying did not vote for Obama and the change anyways…), wake up, stay steady, and be glad whatever Obama does, you crying boys have the strategic advantage in receiving help first in line before it reaches others who historically and in modern reality need help now. Hence Reich’s concern. He did not say such a thing as not helping “white man”…he wants to make sure that we reach beyond that (this is the key point you dumb arses). Stop crying foul when in reality, you crying babies are the long time (however inadvertent)beneficiary of keeping a hosts of class of people down for the past 250 years. Yes! Obama will look after you, too….you dumb arses.

    Now let’s talk very sincerely…having a white father who comes out of North Dakota and US Navy (Lieutenant Ret.), I truly appreciate the fact that he is one of many hard working Americans who built this country. It certainly does not mean that now that in the last 40 years we have finally recognized minorities to be full partners in continuing the legacy of this great country, he in some ways maybe less privileged today than when we kept certain classes of people inaccessible to jobs that he easily qualified. Now the field is open, we still find that those who were kept down (good portions of these people anyways) are unprepared for the new reality. Anyone who starts the Marathon one hour after others have left will feel the same prognosis. One can shout all day that they had 40 years to prepare/excel still does not owe up to the reality of everyday hardships. So what’s wrong with going out of way to include all those; does not mean exclude the current beneficiaries. Let’s get real!!! If, after all these years, we still leave behind those who want to succeed and be part of productive America, we will fade away just as Rome faded away. Rome faded away because those privileged did not tend to the need of everyday people. Let’s brace ourselves and bite the bullet a bit. No amount of ranting will solve any problems, especially the one coming from those who had it made ( I certainly am not saying you did not work hard; my dad worked his butt off everyday) in a system that left many people out of the system. Who’s taking your bread away?

    PS; Reich could have said it better, though his intentions are clearly there…

  16. Thom O'Shaughnessy says

    Dear LA Progressive:

    Like all snapshot comments, even in an extended commentary; one needs to take a step back and sleep on it before expressing an opinion. I am an Irish-American, I have a sign “Irish Need Not Apply”; but others have been discriminated against for longer, and more consistently.

    You don’t expand the dialogue and stimulate consciousness raising without reading between the lines and seeing what can be promoted in a “Progressivee Way”!

    That Professor Reich stated a trusism without showing any tact is true. Should we rail against it or improve and deracist the proposal. By deracist I mean remove any misunderstanding or implied racism and build on the validity of expanded trade unionism, infrastructure improvement, and outreach to underrepresented minorities.

    As a traditional Liberal and in some circles an avowed revoluntionary and radical I have to say that an open and expanded retraining of skilled jobs no matter the trade must bring in apprentices that are a racial, sexual, and ethnic composite of our communities. At the same time the jumpstart
    that allows existing construction and improvement projects to restart immediately may well rehire the last fired/layed off and that may reflect the current state of any industry. But as work grows and more skilled and trained workers are needed; you don’t bring in skilled visa applicants from elsewhere you instead train members of our community.

    You want to spend funds more wisely; train the hard core unemployed in a trade and all of our lives are improved. It works in Northern Ireland, and it works here.

    To conclude, the best response to Prefessor Reich’s poorly worded commentary is to take the essential nugget of truth and build on it. Senator Hubert Humphrey, and Congressman Gus Hawkins at one time had a significant bill called the “Humphrey-Hawkins Full Employment Bill”.
    It was never passed; now is the time to ressurect that type of National committment to jobs for everyone, for peace, for our survival, and for all of us to work together.

    Thom O’Shaughnessy,
    SoCal Garssroots Vice Chair
    Irish American Caucus Chair, CDP
    Region 3 Vice Chair, LACDP

  17. Susan says

    “The Stimulus: How to Create Jobs Without Them All Going to Skilled Professionals and White Male Construction Workers”

    Federal agencies that will execute the actual contracts will receive scrutiny if they fail to consider small businesses, women-owned businesses, etc. – Where all contracts must be entered by federal agencies. – Where all data is made public.

    Also, the Act that helped to create :

  18. Madeline says

    The angry reactions posted seem to me to be the result of fear; fear that one’s own livelihood will be compromised or be stolen; fear that one’s place in the world will be threatened. In fact, I read nothing in Dr. Reich’s piece that suggests any of those things. But it is easy to read the worst into proposals which one is already fearful of. In such massive projects as those being proposed, there is ample work for everyone, including people newly trained. And for those who have experience, the opportunity for good-paying jobs AND for supervisorial positions is enhanced. So rather than fear these proposed projects, experienced tradespeople should rejoice at a rejuvenation of demand for skilled workers. And of course no one wants or would suggest that unskilled or ill-prepared workers be hired for jobs requiring strong skills. I would ask those writing in to attack Dr. Reich’s proposals to think of this: Training previously unemployed folks to take on skilled positions will require instructors. Those currently capable workers can and will provide the instruction necessary. So their job opportunities suddenly multiply…as instructors, as workers, and as supervisors. How can it hurt our economy and our country to have MORE trained, skilled and competent workers? The answer is, it can’t. As the least among us is raised up by education, we are all raised up. Let’s promote and celebrate sustained R & D, building and repair efforts as the road to a better economy and better lives for all who work.

  19. Anne says

    This is certainly nothing new. The most discriminated person in the United States and for many many years, is the white heterosexual male. esp. if he is married. Women, and esp. minorities have a very unfair advantage. I shudder to think of what is goint to happen in the next four years.

  20. Yours Truly says

    Hey Robert Reich, you dolt, it is ILLEGAL to specify “WHITE MALES NEED NOT APPLY”! You of all people should know that. It is DISGRACEFUL that you would even propose such a thing, and for Rangel to jump on the bandwagon shows that RACISM is alive and well among you guys.


    But you don’t have the “galls” to tell the truth, so you take a cheap shot at WHITEY, as is happening all too often lately. It had better STOP, because Americans are sick & tired of RACE BAITING at all levels.

    CHANGE means changing your narrow mind to embrace what is TRUE and FAIR, not what is POLITICALLY EXPEDIENT…

  21. Dick Price says

    Some of the respondents to this article aren’t actually reading what Robert Reich wrote, but are venting their own frustrations at the problems our failed economy are causing all of us. But venting that anger at Dr. Reich is inappropriate.

    What he is saying is that the jobs programs under discussions may create more work that existing tradesmen can handle and, if that’s so, we’ll need to train more people who can handle the many complex construction assignments that will be needed.

    I hardly think that Reich would want the new people to be poorly trained or not capable of handling the assignments, but he is calling for some chronically underemployed segments of our society to be included in these training programs. That will be good for all of us — we’ll have more taxpayers, fewer people needing government assistance, more Americans enjoying America’s riches.

    To call such a plan racist is just folly.

    — Dick

  22. Jason says

    Well I have been trained all my life in the trades and is all I have to fall back on; Gas turbine tech in the USN for 6 years, and electrician for 13 years, now laid off indefinetly. If Obama’s job plan really comes to fruition, I’m screwed. This is like an episode of “Trading Places”, so this must mean I should start smnoking crack, collecting food stamps, well fare, and get as many women pregnant and demand part of their welfare to survive. I should claim to be a minority, get a morgage I can’t possibly afford, then be targeted for a high paying job I don’t deserve so the government can bail me out.

  23. NOWAY Jose says

    Why isn’t my comment posted? Everyone upset by Reich’s outright RACISM should protest loudly at the national and local (Univ of Cal at Berkeley) level; that jerk should be FIRED!

    (Looks like Rangel ate it up, doesn’t it?!)

  24. Michael says

    What is this? This is specifically excluding white males, because they dominate the trade! Every category they named is centered around racism, they are going to train unskilled, poor, minorities to do all these jobs? What are they going to do, hold the jobs until they get done training, and in the meantime turn down white males that may need a job? These are not low-skilled jobs, you have to have a State Certificate and about 9 months of training to work in refrigeration, and cooling. The old properties they speak of; where are they, are these the properties of low-income, unskilled minority people. Are they getting a double dose of “let me give you something free” are they being paid to clean up and fix their own properties and neighborhoods. I don’t believe in my lifetime that I have ever heard of anything like this. I mean you can go to a job interview, and not get the job because you are a skilled white man?

  25. John says

    I finally understand how racism affects a person. This country has fought for the end of racism and the ignorance people have to be racist. Now, those who have been wanting the most to be treated equal are the ones looking the next free handout. Unfotunatly, your free handout comes from my tired ass working. Bottom line……….If you really want this country better, get off your ass, get a job, and get off federal programs. If you cant find a job, then move. If all you got is excuses then shut up.

  26. Joe Nolan says

    Tell it to the woman who died in a roof collapse due to poor workmanship on Boston’s Big Dig. Lots of un or under-qualified people working in those “easily trainable” jobs.

  27. Mark M. Bakersfield,Ca says

    I am getting so tired of being the “Bad Guy” because I chose to go to work stay married and support my family every day. I am sick of seeing the commercials on TV of the dumb white guy or us being portrayed as robbing someones house or the new one I saw last night of the black kid playing baskeball and the white kid trying to sell him drugs… Today I have looked everywhere for that video of Reich but cannot find it….Hmmmm I think Bamba pulled it

  28. John M, Danville CA says

    This is a total outrage, yet the white males in the media don’t seem to care. I have yet to see TV news report or major news paper with information about Mr Reich’s plan for the “bailout”. Maybe they are in denial, or consider themselves “unskilled”, so their jobs are safe. I guess since 95% of people in the media voted for Obama, they are shoving this under the rug so the average Joe doesn’t catch wind of it until he is in the soup line.

  29. Ivan says

    That’s the change they can believe in! No jobs for white men! I don;t even think Obama is that bad, just stupid. But old hard core Trotskysts will destroy this great country of ours. They want to see something more human and diverse. Like Haiti.

  30. Arlon Hill says

    I never thought I would live to hear such a thing out of someones mouth. Who do you think built this country sir, who has the knowledge. That is so funny, jobs going to the long time unemployed, why do you think they are umemployed, I’ll tell you, they are lazy s.o.b.’s period. Can you imagine going over the bridges built by affirmative action people, we will have to sign off on the work because our school system has taught minorities that they cannot fail no matter how dumb they are. That will tie in with our first affirmative action president we just gave the election to. We are going to hell in a hand basket quick.

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