Brookfield, WI – Americans value hard work and take pride in a job well done. As automation and artificial intelligence move ever forward, and as Americans lose their jobs, what jobs will replace them? Democrat Tom Palzewicz knows this will be an issue for Wisconsin’s Fifth Congressional District.
“That’s the ultimate question,” Palzewicz said. “Milwaukee used to be the tool and die making capital of the country. Now all of those jobs are gone. Allis Chalmers is gone. A.O. Smith is gone, American Motors folded, our Chrysler plants closed. Jobs in the future might be more about thinking than doing. After working in risk management for banks, I transitioned to teaching. Now I teach managers how to manage people.”
“As globalization expands, there will be a tremendous shift. It will not be about what I produce, but what I think about and the creation of ideas. The biggest shift in the future will be in getting value out of doing work. It’s almost an existential crisis, on the same level as climate. If we don’t handle it correctly we will pay a dear price. If we let capitalism decide this one, we’re going to be in huge trouble because the playing field is far too skewed toward capital versus labor.”
People need to earn a living wage, where universal basic income comes into play, as jobs diminish. But there are problems in advancing that idea.
“My conservative friends might be thinking when you’re talking about universal, basic income,’ If you don’t work, you don’t eat, and I don’t owe you a living.’ That’s one of the significant hurdles we’re going to have to get over. But it’s happening. We’ve already begun that process. We’re producing more people with college degrees, but that doesn’t translate into the workforce’s needs. How do you take what you learned and put it into something that resembles work?”
“A liberal arts education is often overlooked in favor of specialized areas of learning. However, it develops a well-rounded, thinking individual. In so many industries there are hiring freezes. I went into banking and risk management. My degree was in accounting, but I had to make the adjustment to meet the needs of the industry. Later on, I created my own business.”
In years past, college graduates had a reasonable expectation of employment, but even before the pandemic, that expectation was on the decline, as the economy changed.
“It’s not like people will have a job. People will do things in exchange for money and add value where they can, but it might be several things,” said Palzewicz. “And it might be dozens of things over somebody’s lifetime that they move in and out of and provide value to. But this whole idea of chasing a job that has benefits and a retirement plan is absolutely gone at this point.”
Palzewicz wants to level the playing field and bring capital and labor closer together, to share in the American dream.