Monday, October 24, 2011

Brian Walborn Multi-modal Essay (Rough Draft)

Brian Walborn
Professor Lutz
English 151
October 21, 2011
    In the United States, both today and in the past, the unemployment rate has been an extremely controversial and problematic topic. Currently, the unemployment rate in the States is trapped at 9.6% and could be growing. What can be done to stop this obvious problem, and how long may it take? Many researchers and economists believe that it could be a while to completely repair it, but there are a multitude of ways that it could be done.

    According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate in the United States hasn't been above 9.6% since 1982, when it was at 9.7%, or during the Great Depression when it ranged from 14-14.6%. Why is unemployment a problem? When people dont have jobs, they can't purchase things. When people can't purchase things, businesses have a hard time making money. When businesses can't make money, they must lay off workers, which starts the entire process over again. This is extremely dangerous for our economy when the unemployment rate is high, and right now, this is exactly what is occurring.

    There are many ways in which this crisis over the unemployment rate could be repaired. One of these ways, as stated in a blog by Liz O'Neill, is to educate Americans more. It sounds so simple, yet it's not. O'Neill states that there are in fact jobs available to fill, but most Americans don't have the general education to take the job and be successful. As the graph shows on the left, it's quite clear that those Americans with a higher form of education have significantly higher employment than those who do not have as high of an education. O'Neill goes on to say that just getting a higher education will not fix the unemployment rate by itself. The fact that there are failing industries in some areas, such as Detroit, means that those types of places will not attract as many higher educated people, thus will have trouble making the unemployment rate budge. In a report by Brookings analysts, places with unsteady industries need to expand their job markets by adding stable and steady industries that would have a better chance of flourishing.

    In an article in the Washington Times, it is stated that the government themselves can do a lot to create new jobs to a great extent. The article talks about the notion of "green jobs." A green job is simply a job that is aimed towards the improvement of the environment, since it is a growing concern in the world today. However, Peter Orszag insists that "limits on carbon dioxide emission in cap-and-trade regulation before Congress would 'reduce demand for energy and energy intensive goods and services and thus create losses...'" The government can also incorporate the idea of deregulating and loosening the constrains on the operation of industries. Deregulation could create jobs because by not having governmental set parameters, industries could hire more people, in turn making more job availability. The article also talks about a bill introduced by Senator David Vitter (R-LA) entitled the "No Cost Stimulus." It is said that this legislation could open up to three million jobs in the United States after it is passed. The "No Cost Stimulus" would create jobs by "opening closed areas of the Outer Continental Shelf for oil and gas exploration, and streamlining the licensing of nuclear power plants" (The Washington Times).

    Another way of creating jobs, which is proposed by The Daily Beast, is to increase infrastructure spending. As seen in the graph to the left, the increasing of infrastructure spending is the most popular way seen to increase jobs in the United States. Infrastructure spending is basically the option of the government to spend more money on things needed in order to operate society. In the excerpt from the Daily Beast, it's said that the Economic Policy Institute calculates that for every dollar spent on infrastructure, there is a $1.59 economic benefit. This seems small, but could make a drastic change in the economy and produce a multitude of jobs. The article also states that now out of all times would be a fantastic time to start spending on infrastructure because materials and obviously labor are exceptionally cheap at this moment in time. Although it is very promising that infrastructure spending will create jobs and boost the economy, it is not promised that it will ne a quick transformation. It's likely that this particular solution to the unemployment problem would take several years to fully blossom, making it one of the lower solutions on the totem pole.

    There is, however, a solution that looks extremely promising and can happen in the short term. This solution is proposed by the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) and states that the government could subsidize the employers who, instead of laying people off, would simply lower their hours, and pay them a certain percentage of the hours they are getting cut. The government of Germany already displayed the success of this particular solution to unemployment. The unemployment rate in Germany was 7.4% just before 2008, when their recession began, and it is now at 6.7%. With that in mind, it's also important to remember that Germany was much worse off than we were at this point. Germany's government, if the employer reduces the hours rather than laying the worker off, give the employee 60% of the lost pay for the hours they lose. To me, this seems like the most efficient way to lower the unemployment rate. 60% of the lost pay does seem a little steep, though. Maybe we could start a little lower like 40% or 50%, and see where it takes us. It's very likely that, much like Germany, our unemployment rate could greatly decline.


  1. 1.) Does the essay make a clear argument? Yes__X_ No____ If so, what is the argument as you interpret it? If not, what is your best guess?

    The argument is that there are ways of fighting unemployment. The composer shows many different ways that people can fix the problem of an increasing unemployment rise .

    2.) Find on sentence that you think best describes the thesis of the blog essay.
    This is extremely dangerous for our economy when the unemployment rate is high, and right now, this is exactly what is occurring.

    3.) Based upon questions one and two, what are the supporting points that your partner offers to support their argument?

    The supporting points are that Americans should help themselves but getting a good education. Another way is to get green jobs because we are so concerned with the environment. Increase infrastructure spending. and also instead of laying people off you can just reduce their hours.

    4.) Does the article provide plenty of level-1 abstractions (examples) to support their argument? If so, please list at your favorites.

    Yes the article dose. My favorite is the one about lowring the hours instead of just firing someone. This will let them know that it is time to start looking for a new job, wile still being able to provide for their family.
    5.) Does the article provide a detailed history of the problem so that the reader clearly understands who was involved, what happened, where it happened, when and why?

    Yes the author gave a detailed history. It stated off with the current unemployment rate, then compared it to past unemployment rates. They compared it to the depression which really shows how bad our economy is.

    6.) Is the significance of all videos and images clearly explained in the essay? If not, make note of some examples.
    Yes they do have pictures; however, I do think that Brian should look for better pictures. The pictures are good ethos, but they need to make the reader want to look at them.

    7.) Are their any claims in the essay that you are skeptical of? If so, why?

    I did not see any skeptical points in the essay.

    8.) Are there points in the essay that you found to be particularly persuasive? If so, why?

    The statement, “When people can't purchase things, businesses have a hard time making money. When businesses can't make money, they must lay off workers, which starts the entire process over again” is particularly persuades to me. It shows how unemployment creates a snowball effect on the economy.

  2. I most definitely agree with what Michael had to say about my argument. It seems like he gave an honest and intelligent response to the questions that were asked for the homework that was due the other day. I am fairly certain that the feedback he gave to me will greatly help my argument, especially now that we have a few more weeks to complete the essay. The reason I believe his feedback was so helpful is because I can take a look at it to see what I need to work on, and what I should keep in the essay as it is. After reading the feedback, I feel like I need to give better photographs that aren't graphs so that the reader's attention is levitated toward the picture. In my own words, my argument is that the unemployment rate in America is a significant problem, and that we need to search deeply for things to fix it.