Tuesday, 04 September 2018

Ivanka Trump’s Role as “Jobs Czar” Challenged by Robotics, AI, and Private Industry

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Ivanka Trump (shown), President Donald Trump’s first daughter, caught the government-interventionist flu bug while traveling with her father on the campaign trail. A senior White House official described her transformation from a supporter of private initiatives to federal interventionist:

She would meet with moms who wanted to support their family but didn’t either have a skill set, or wanted to go back into the workforce [but] weren’t sure how to find a job.

She met dads who wanted to earn wages where they could support their families but didn’t have the right skills.

She spent two years on the campaign trail and heard firsthand how people felt like they were the forgotten man or woman and how nobody was looking out for them.

That really resonated with her.

And so, unencumbered with any understanding of or commitment to constitutional limitations on such things as federally funded job training programs, she pushed her father, and members of Congress, to take taxpayer money and spend it on those “forgotten” men and women she felt sorry for.

It’s called the Carl D. Perkins Vocational and Technical Education Act, first passed back in 1984 and then repeatedly authorized in 1998, 2006, and then again this year, at Ivanka’s urging. With nearly unanimous approval, Congress extracts $1.3 billion from taxpayers every year and gives it to every state, urging them to invest the “free” money in job training programs to help those “forgotten” men and women for whom “nobody was looking out for.”

Constitutionalists complain that not only is this unconstitutional but wasteful. They believe that the best place for people to find help is at the end of their arm. Put another way, individuals sincerely looking for work will find it, even if they have to reinvent themselves to do so. With unemployment dropping to levels not seen in decades, the demand for workers continues to increase. And much to Ivanka’s disappointment, many of those jobs will be taken by robots and machines operating using artificial intelligence, none of which will benefit from federal job training.

Instead, private industry is finding that by replacing humans with machines, more jobs are being created rather than fewer. As the Washington Examiner noted, “More [private] firms are offering apprenticeships, and [private] schools around the country are putting more [private] money into computer and high-tech classes.”

The autonomous (self-driving) vehicle revolution is taking place before our eyes. Long-haul truckers, while currently in great demand, are facing extinction in the long run as major manufacturers and software developers are increasingly cooperating in efforts to replace them with machines. Some experts consider the phrase “artificial intelligence” as archaic, that “superior intelligence” is a better descriptor of that revolution. Clive Irving, writing in The Daily Beast, explains why: “We [humans] are not very good at keeping up high levels of concentration and maximum alertness in all situations. That is why we created machines that are far better at it than we are.”

Robots are increasingly showing up in hotels across the globe. They clean hotel rooms, give advice on restaurants and shows to guests, provide security, and deliver room service. In commercial properties they provide security, customer assistance, and alert property managers to failed systems or breakdowns.

Happily, not every job is in jeopardy. A 2017 study by the McKinsey Global Institute revealed that more than half of American jobs and four-fifths of global jobs are unlikely to be affected by the robotic/AI/SI revolution. The careers safest from that revolution, according to Michael Grothaus, writing in Fast Company, “are any in which an understanding of the human condition is essential (artists, therapists, and social workers), the ability to adapt to nuanced and unforeseen changes (hairdressers and maintenance foreman), and the ability to relate to and empathize with people (teachers and healthcare workers).”

There will always be a demand for individuals who are human beings after all. And we can predict that Ivanka will increasingly find herself out of a job.

 Photo of Ivanka Trump: Michael Vadon

An Ivy League graduate and former investment advisor, Bob is a regular contributor to The New American magazine and blogs frequently at LightFromTheRight.com, primarily on economics and politics. He can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


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