A nation back to work : the role of public policy in restoring the American dream after the Financial Crisis of 2008
Thesis (M.A.L.S.)--Georgetown University, 2011.; Includes bibliographical references.; Text (Electronic thesis) in PDF format. Working middle class Americans are experiencing financial insecurity and fear due to one of the most damaging financial recessions seen since the Great Depression. Middle class Americans have loss jobs in record numbers, that will never return and now they possess skills that are no longer valuable. The decline of U.S. based manufacturing industries was made more evident by this Great Recession and it is expected that workers who lost their jobs to these industries will be forced to find work in another field. These circumstances have created an increased awareness of impending workforce trends in our midst.; Our economy is quickly shifting to a knowledge-based economy from a skills-based one. Evidence shows that millions of main street Americans, who built and maintained their middle class livelihoods on skills-based industries, will be left behind. We also have an additional skills shortage due to the aging of our workforce, combined with a demographic shift in upcoming generations with less education and earning potential. Consequently, scores of workers with less education, who then earn much less, will result in a reduced national standard of living. All of these domestic societal conditions: structural unemployment, growing skills shortage, reduced standard of living, falling educational achievement, equate to America's declining competitive advantage in a global economy. If America loses its competitive advantage, what is ultimately at stake is its global political leadership and overall economic prosperity.; This thesis discusses the implications of current societal conditions by first reviewing in detail the credit crisis and its effects on the working middle class and on U.S. based manufacturing industries; followed by an analysis of predicted workforce trends directly impacting the current crisis. Public policies used as crisis management tools during the Great Depression and the Great Recession are reviewed to demonstrate their effectiveness and challenges.; This thesis proposes that public policies should not be solely used as crisis management tools, but that we should approach societal issues discussed in this thesis holistically, with the understanding that complex areas of national public policy must work together simultaneously to maintain America's competitive advantage in a global world. Ultimately, it will take bold legislative measures to restore America's greatness (political leadership and competitive advantage) - to restore the American Dream.
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