Sen. Mark Warner and California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom Speak on Unemployment
Unemployment and the income disparity in the U.S. is one of the defining issues of our time, say two prominent American politicians.
At the New Deal Ideas Summit in San Francisco, U.S. Senator Mark Warner and California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom both delivered talks centered on the difficulties the U.S. faces, in terms of unemployment and outsourcing.
“Across the nation and here in California, we’re living in two different economies. For instance, take Imperial County and it has 19 percent unemployment versus the 2.7 percent in San Francisco,” Newsom said.
The drastic difference in employment rates is nothing new to California, which is home to extraordinarily well-to-do and high-employment areas like Silicon Valley and San Francisco, while also containing areas of extreme poverty and joblessness, which have only seen this problem deepen due to gentrification and exorbitant rent prices in places like the Bay Area due to the tech industry driving up costs.
Warner went on to criticize the gig economy, believing that ultimately it is not a proper substitute for well-paying and steady jobs.
Warner also called on tech giants to build more of their products within the U.S. One of the major problems facing America is that many of these manufacturing jobs are shipped overseas in order to take advantage of lower wages paid in countries like China and India, thus reducing the cost of production for a company like Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL).
The senator suggested providing more incentives in order to drive tech companies towards having their products made in the U.S.
Newsom was also critical of automation, saying that a solution must be found for the millions of U.S. workers whose jobs are threatened by sophisticated robots and machines. He mentioned “Amazon Go” eating into cashier positions, Otto—the autonomous trucking company—taking away drivers’ jobs, and even cited the increasing interest in robot security guards as a threat to security workers.
“Something big is happening to the plumbing of the world,” Newsom said. It’s having “a profound impact on wages and income inequality, and we ain’t seen nothing yet.” (Source: Ibid.)
“Sen. Warner calls job losses from tech innovation ‘the issue of our time’,” VentureBeat, May 30, 2017.