Jobs are one of the number one concerns for Americans everywhere. Without a job, we can’t feed our family; we can’t provide shelter for our family. Without a job, there’s no hope of “getting ahead”, improving our family’s situation in life. Without a job and without a national healthcare safety net, we can’t afford to see a doctor or fill the prescriptions that we or our loved ones may need. When we’re in survival mode, we don’t care about whether we pollute the environment or contribute to the climate crisis. We can’t worry about whether our employer forbids collective bargaining or ignores safety concerns. The overriding factor is having a job that allows us to eat and sleep under a roof.
Established industries like gas and oil don’t want change. That’s understandable until you take into account that their business is a threat to our world. Once the world is destroyed, jobs aren’t going to matter. But those businesses are shortsighted and care only about their profits. The main concern of businesses is to make money for their company and shareholders, not to guarantee good permanent jobs for the community or healthy living conditions. The main concern for many politicians is getting elected again and to do that requires money which businesses looking for breaks (in taxes, regulations, etc) are happy to provide. Isn’t there a better way for us to provide for our families without ruining our world?
Communities have lost their dominant industries before and managed to diversify to maintain prosperity. For example, Texas, a leader in the petroleum industries for so long, is now the leading producer of wind power in the United States. What if we could get jobs for Americans that are both stable and better for the planet? The jobs in the clean energy market, such as solar and wind, are growing faster than jobs in the dirty energy markets. From 2015 to 2016, the solar job market grew 25% and the wind power job market grew 32% while the fossil fuel job market grew only 11%. (See the U.S. Energy and Employment Report, January 2017.) Right now, public money ($600 billion in 2013 in the United States) goes into the bank accounts of fossil fuel companies in the form of subsidies. Some of this money is cash while some is in the form of tax breaks which also takes away public money. According to the peer-reviewed journal Nature Energy, “50 percent of new oil production in America would be unprofitable if not for government subsidies.” When the price of gasoline goes down, the subsidies help the companies maintain their profit margin. When the price of gasoline goes up, the subsidies go into their pockets instead of back to the people. Our public money would be better spent supporting companies that don’t do as much damage to the environment. If we’re going to subsidize the energy producing companies, it makes sense to support the ones creating more jobs and doing less damage to our world.
It’s hard to get the message out that there are better ways to employ us without risking our health or destroying the planet because many of us are just in survival mode. We’ll latch onto any hope of a job that will help us live. We need honest politicians that we can trust; who offer real jobs and not just jobs that won’t really materialize. We need politicians who will push for the jobs that are going to last, not jobs that are on their way out but still have a financial grasp on politicians. John Shimkus, who takes coal industry money, keeps supporting the coal industry in Illinois with the hope of bringing back coal jobs even though coal production is on its way out and many jobs are now automated. He is living in the past, holding out the promise of jobs that won’t materialize. Carl Spoerer will work to bring new permanent jobs to Illinois. He will work to make sure those jobs provide a living wage. Carl Spoerer will put the interests of workers who make a company successful ahead of the interests of profiteers.