Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Ben Sasse on “The Crisis of Political Vision”

 

Though it takes him a while to complete the wind-up — the real substance begins at 7:45, but what precedes it is charming and substantive — Senator Ben Sasse recently spoke on how both parties’ domestic agendas are woefully out of date (the Democrats by a century, the Republicans by mere scores of years). Give it a listen and give us your thoughts.

One particular passage regarded how the labor market has changed and how our politics have failed to keep pace:

Right now, our national conversation is limited to a few sources of [economic] angst, a few causes of… competition on the supply side of the labor market. Immigration and trade are scary and disruptive in certain ways for people. But this weekend, as I’m talking to 18 to 22, 23-year-old kids, you know what came up multiple times? Robots. I haven’t heard that discussed in the presidential campaign, but there is no magic bullet around immigration or trade that’s going to change the nature of what robotics are going to do. And jobs that are routinizable — if that’s a word — and predictable, those jobs are going to become more and more rapidly dis-intermediated and disrupted, and we’re going to need to create a completely different kind of conversation than we’ve ever had before. And right now, our politics aren’t really up to that level of disruptive conversation. We have two political parties that seem to be wanting to have a fight about whether we should “Make America Europe Again,” or “Make America 1950 Again.” Neither of these are very interesting.

It gets even better from there.

There are 21 comments.

  1. Jamie Lockett Inactive

    This was such a good video.

    • #1
    • June 9, 2016, at 6:26 AM PDT
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  2. Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor

    Jamie Lockett:This was such a good video.

    It was short on specifics — he stopped talking just as I was thinking, “Interesting, tell me more … ” But what a relief to see and hear a politician who isn’t visibly losing a long, brave struggle against clinical paranoia.

    • #2
    • June 9, 2016, at 6:57 AM PDT
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  3. Could Be Anyone Member

    More comfortable conservative talk, tsk…tsk…tsk.

    /sarcasm

    • #3
    • June 9, 2016, at 6:58 AM PDT
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  4. The Forgotten Man Inactive

    Great video. I love Senator Sass’s approach wonder why he didn’t run for President. If he reads these comments and he might (such is the power of Richocet) I would suggest he lose the biiigg words. Dis-intermediated, routinizable, come on. When I was before a jury I tried to avoid large words that reminded the jury I was “the Lawyer”. Just a suggestion.

    • #4
    • June 9, 2016, at 6:58 AM PDT
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  5. Freeven Member
    Freeven Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    I’m becoming a big fan of Sasse. I can’t wait for him to run for president so we can all turn our guns on him and destroy him.

    • #5
    • June 9, 2016, at 7:11 AM PDT
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  6. Johnny Dubya Inactive

    I can’t watch the video at the moment, but I can say that I follow Sasse on Twitter and he is immensely likable.

    I agree that he could have cut the word “disintermediated”, but “routinizable” – whether a neologism (another big word, by the way!) or not – should be understandable to almost everyone.

    I have to say, I prefer a conservative who uses some big words to a “conservative” who doesn’t use or even seem to know any.

    • #6
    • June 9, 2016, at 7:22 AM PDT
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  7. Ulysses768 Inactive

    This election is so unique in that there isn’t a Republican running for office. It forces Republican leaders like Ben Sasse into a detached commentator role which I find more compelling. Of course the bad news is that only a small minority of the population apparently agrees with them.

    • #7
    • June 9, 2016, at 7:24 AM PDT
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  8. Bob Thompson Member

    Ulysses768: Of course the bad news is that only a small minority of the population apparently agrees with them.

    One must first actually have a thought or idea before the notion of agreement or disagreement with a second party can have meaning.

    • #8
    • June 9, 2016, at 7:45 AM PDT
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  9. aardo vozz Member

    If the republic survives, I think he would make a good president.

    • #9
    • June 9, 2016, at 7:49 AM PDT
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  10. Richard Fulmer Member

    Many of the people who are talking about the new economy that we’re entering seem to be gravitating to a pessimistic “were all going to be replaced by robots” view. They see a world in which there will be a very few people made very rich by the changes, while the great majority will be unemployed and impoverished. They call for “society” to have a “conversation” about this new dystopian future in order to develop new and better wealth redistribution programs to support the soon-to-be-idle masses.

    In his talk, Sasse seems to be introducing people who are jumping into the new economy with their sleeves rolled up. If so, it’s all to the good. Change is difficult, but it brings huge opportunities. People are doing amazing things with the new robotics, creating new products and services that we couldn’t imagine just a few years ago. As the machines become less and less expensive (e.g., 3D printers), more and more people will be able to afford them and put them to work to make their lives and ours better.

    • #10
    • June 9, 2016, at 8:00 AM PDT
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  11. Old Bathos Moderator

    Sasse points out that that the existing political lexicon is pretty useless. Duh. If government has no clue, shouldn’t it just get out of the way until it does? Is there a name for that idea?

    • #11
    • June 9, 2016, at 8:20 AM PDT
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  12. MarciN Member

    Sooner rather than later, the robots will be replacing jobs that people needed quite expensive education to do, and that will be a problem in the future.

    It could result in Americans’ moving to developing countries, taking their brains and wealth with them, and that’s not good for the long-term health of our country.

    Ben Sasse is a great guy. He looks up and down the road, not at his feet.

    • #12
    • June 9, 2016, at 8:30 AM PDT
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  13. RyanFalcone Member

    Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. I’m a huge fan of his as I am of Cruz and Rubio but lets get one thing straight. None of these guys are President material. Cruz was my boy after South Carolina but only because of the competition. He says great things and checks off all the boxes but what he isn’t is an executive. THAT is what we need. Cruz and Rubio are conservatives but they are also part of the reason we are in this mess. I’m done with big talkers at the big podium. If these guys want to be president they need to show me what they can do as a Governor or as some type of an executive at some level. Can we please learn from this disaster and get better for it. No more congressmen/women grasping for the brass ring.

    • #13
    • June 9, 2016, at 10:26 AM PDT
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  14. MarciN Member
    • #14
    • June 9, 2016, at 10:30 AM PDT
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  15. Profile Photo Member

    RyanFalcone:Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. I’m a huge fan of his as I am of Cruz and Rubio but lets get one thing straight. None of these guys are President material. Cruz was my boy after South Carolina but only because of the competition. He says great things and checks off all the boxes but what he isn’t is an executive. THAT is what we need. Cruz and Rubio are conservatives but they are also part of the reason we are in this mess. I’m done with big talkers at the big podium. If these guys want to be president they need to show me what they can do as a Governor or as some type of an executive at some level. Can we please learn from this disaster and get better for it. No more congressmen/women grasping for the brass ring.

    Trump has been a proven CEO of his properties and his brand. Is that what you’re looking for, or is he too “distasteful?”

    • #15
    • June 9, 2016, at 10:39 AM PDT
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  16. Johnny Dubya Inactive

    A really disturbing labor market trend is that many college graduates seem to be receiving degrees in disciplines that pertain to monitoring and intervention in ways that are unwanted, unwarranted, and counterproductive but that make the practitioner feel good. In other words, “Busybody Studies”.

    I saw this morning that a daughter of a Facebook friend graduated from Harvard with a masters degree in something called “International Education Policy”. Education policy is a profoundly local matter! But not to the mandarin-trainers at Harvard. It’s fine to want to help educational efforts in less-developed countries, but “IEP” is something more. Here’s a website excerpt (emphasis mine):

    Students in the [IEP] Program are passionate about promoting global social justice through their unparalleled and effective leadership of innovative and sustainable education reform worldwide.

    …[Y]ou will learn to develop education policy recommendations, design innovative programs, and support their implementation and evaluation in ways that…promote peace and understanding, and empower every learner to realize his or her full human potential.

    IEP alumni are working as education specialists for international development agencies like Unicef, Unesco, Save the Children, USAID, and the World Bank

    Financial institutions now have corporate and social responsibility departments. One of my friends recently received an email from such a busybody group excoriating one of his clients for human rights abuses. The client is a domestic U.S. natural gas producer! I sarcastically asked my friend if they had lined up Texans on a beach and beheaded them.

    • #16
    • June 9, 2016, at 11:16 AM PDT
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  17. Johnny Dubya Inactive

    Brad2971:

    RyanFalcone:…None of these guys are President material. Cruz was my boy after South Carolina but only because of the competition. He says great things and checks off all the boxes but what he isn’t is an executive. THAT is what we need… I’m done with big talkers at the big podium. If these guys want to be president they need to show me what they can do as a Governor or as some type of an executive at some level…

    Trump has been a proven CEO of his properties and his brand. Is that what you’re looking for, or is he too “distasteful?”

    He is indeed distasteful. Furthermore, though he is a CEO and rich guy, that is what is seen. What is unseen is this: How would Trump have performed without the head start his father gave him, and would his inheritance have grown even greater if he had simply invested in the securities markets? My calculations and those of others indicate that the answer to the second part of my question is almost certainly “Yes”. If so, Trump’s businesses are nothing but a vanity project that have detracted from what we call in finance his “terminal wealth”.

    • #17
    • June 9, 2016, at 11:29 AM PDT
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  18. TKC1101 Inactive

    Johnny Dubya: He is indeed distasteful. Furthermore, though he is a CEO and rich guy, that is what is seen. What is unseen is this: How would Trump have performed without the head start his father gave him, and would his inheritance have grown even greater if he had simply invested in the securities markets? My calculations and those of others indicate that the answer to the second part of my question is almost certainly “Yes”. If so, Trump’s businesses are nothing but a vanity project that have detracted from what we call in finance his “terminal wealth”.

    The only class worse than lawyers to be President are Doctors, who are only slightly better than self made entrepreneurs.

    Very few entrepreneurs know how to manage a large, complex organization . They are geniuses at getting them up and running , but usually awful at keeping them going.

    The most qualified guy to be president ever was Eisenhower, who did not invent the US Army, but managed one helluva operation with some of the most difficult partners ever.

    If you want a guy to break the china and start over , get an entrepreneur.

    • #18
    • June 9, 2016, at 1:41 PM PDT
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  19. Muleskinner, Weasel Wrangler Member

    Ricochet Editor's Desk: One particular passage regarded how the labor market has changed

    Loved that point. I’m in an area where the unemployment rate is low and the workforce participation rate is high, so I’ve been working on trying to understand the labor market and skills gap issues. We surveyed households for education, training, and occupations worked, then surveyed businesses trying to find out what occupations were difficult to hire, and why.

    Even in occupations where we identified a skills gap, employers most often cited “poor work history” as a reason that it was difficult to hire. I thought that maybe not passing drug tests, or bad references and poor performance from previous jobs might explain “poor work history.” We ran a focus group and asked about this, and the most common answers were “changed jobs too often,” or “complained about their boss on Facebook.”

    Is this a real problem, or is it just a generational and technological thing as Senator Sasse mentioned changing jobs and industries multiple times?

    • #19
    • June 9, 2016, at 3:58 PM PDT
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  20. I Walton Member

    He’s dead right, but not knowing who he was introducing and what they said, I don’t know where this excellent introduction was heading. Clearly the centralized regulatory state is obsolete even though it never could do what it was created to do in any of the four types of economies. He says young people know we’re in a new economy, but they still look to Washington to fix the challenges the new economy brings us.

    • #20
    • June 10, 2016, at 10:08 AM PDT
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  21. Johnny Dubya Inactive

    TKC1101:

    Johnny Dubya: …are nothing but a vanity project that have detracted from what we call in finance his “terminal wealth”.

    ….

    Very few entrepreneurs know how to manage a large, complex organization . They are geniuses at getting them up and running , but usually awful at keeping them going.

    The most qualified guy to be president ever was Eisenhower, who did not invent the US Army, but managed one helluva operation with some of the most difficult partners ever.

    If you want a guy to break the china and start over , get an entrepreneur.

    The right entrepreneur with the right political philosophy might be a good president.

    Trump is neither an entrepreneur in the typical sense nor someone with a coherent political philosophy. His positions remind me of things you hear from “barstool philosophers”. It’s one thing for your drinking buddy to say, “We should have taken the oil,” but its another thing for a presidential candidate to say it. It makes no sense, and Trump has never explained how we might “take” oil reserves that exist in the interstitial pore spaces within reservoir rock thousands of feet below the surface of a foreign country.

    This kind of incoherence is often dismissed with assurances that Trump must be smart because he is successful. My earlier comment contained my assertion that his “success” is not all that it’s cracked up to be. If the Trumperor has no clothes in that regard, all one is left with is the barstool philosopher.

    • #21
    • June 10, 2016, at 10:34 AM PDT
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