I watched this disturbing interview on Yahoo News this morning that made Hillary Clinton look horrible and insensitive, because she said, “We’re going to put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business.”
I agree with Hillary Clinton, because coal is a dangerous, polluting industry, and it’s time for that industry to fade into history. Just watch the videos in this post to learn why the United States would be better off without coal.
How many jobs are we talking about?
There are approximately 174,000 blue-collar, full-time, permeant jobs related to coal in the U.S.: mining (83,000), transportation (31,000), and power plant employment (60,000).” – SourceWatch.org
Let’s compare the loss of those 174,000 jobs to another factor that is getting rid of human jobs. I’m not talking about China. I’m talking about automation, because VOA News.com reports “The United States lost 3.2 million jobs to China between 2001 and 2013, according to the Economic Policy Institute. Three-fourths of those jobs were in manufacturing. About 60 percent of the reshored jobs (jobs returning to the U.S. because of rising labor costs in other countries) between 2000 and 2015 came from China.”
Forbes reported that millions of jobs have been lost to automation and millions more will be lost.
CNN Money reports, “Technology could kill 5 million jobs by 2020.”
MIT Technology Review explains How Technology Is Destroying Jobs. “Improved industrial robotics to automated translation services—are largely behind the sluggish employment growth of the last 10 to 15 years. … Job growth suddenly slowed in 2000, while productivity remained robust.”
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According to Statista.com, in September 2016, there were 124.75 million Americans working at full time jobs. Jobs in the dangerous, unhealthy, environmentally polluting coal industry in the U.S. represents about 0.14 percent of the total number of jobs in America.
What about jobs that are replacing those lost in the coal industry?
Did you know that “According to The Solar Foundation, as of November 2014, the solar energy industry provided 173,807 direct jobs. This is a 21.8 percent increase in solar jobs from November 2013. Overall, solar jobs growth accounted for 1.3 percent of all new U.S. jobs in 2014. Factoring in indirect and induced job impacts, which amount to 531,200 additional jobs, total employment in the solar energy sector exceeds 705,000 jobs.” – Environmental and Energy Study Institute
And that’s just in the solar industry. “The Ecotech Institute used the Bureau of Labor Statistics definition of a green job to calculate the number of clean job openings in 2014. The organization found a 13 percent increase in clean job openings from 2013 to 2014, from 3.6 million clean job openings in 2013 to 3.8 million openings in 2014. The institute estimates that there were 1.2 million clean job openings in the first three months of 2015.”
Instead of attacking Hillary Clinton for wanting to get rid of the dangerous, dirty coal industry, and replace that industry with jobs in green renewable energy, why aren’t we protesting jobs lost to robots and automation?
I know its scary to lose a job and start over, but how many industries and jobs vanished in the last century to be replaced with something new?
To give you an idea, here are a few from Mainstreet.com: copy boy, log driver, lamplighter, pinsetter, switchboard operator, telegraph operator, ice cutter, ice delivery, Dictaphone operator, typing pool, newspaper typesetter, elevator operator, mimeograph operator, and street sweeper. I’m sure this list is much longer if we dig deeper.
Did you know that in 1910, farmers made up 15 percent of the workforce and farm labor made up more than 15 percent (for more than a third of the jobs in the U.S.), but today that number is down to about 2 percent for both farmers and farm labor? – bls.gov
It’s time for the coal mining industry to go out of business for good. Welcome to the world of lost jobs, for humans.
Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran, with a BA in journalism and an MFA in writing, who taught in the public schools for thirty years (1975 – 2005).
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