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Robert Reich, former U.S. Secretary of Labor, delivered a keynote address on the economy and other public policy issues of interest to the staffing industry Thursday at the Staffing Industry Executive Forum in
With regard to the upcoming Presidential Election, Reich said the major undertaking that the next administration must face is disabusing Americans of the notion that global integration is, somehow, a threat to American jobs. Although international trade and immigration are "easy demagogues," Reich explained that the biggest enemy is actually not an enemy at all, but rather a challenge - raising awareness of a fact that was implicit in the post-WWII Marshall Plan; economic growth in any country, ultimately, benefits all nation states.
Reich also spoke about serious healthcare challenges, such as Medicare, in particular, which demographic change will certainly exacerbate. The most obvious and viable way of sustaining federal programs that will benefit this anticipated spike in retired persons is by increasing legal immigration from the current level of 12%, to at least 15%.
The lesson? The prosperity that comes with economic growth depends upon effective and agile labor markets - something the staffing industry knows a thing or two about.