WASHINGTON-Although taxes top the economic debate in the 1996 election, education and employment issues have far more serious implications for those in the tire industry, according to two business experts who track it. The redistribution of wealth, with family income decreasing at the lower end of the scale, indicates an alarming, growing gap in knowledge and skills between management and labor, according to George Dagnino, investment analyst and former Goodyear economist.
Also, the new welfare reform law, which turns over control of welfare programs to the individual states and cuts welfare spending by $54 billion over the next six years, may become a major problem for employers.
``Employers are worried state governments will strong-arm them,'' said David Meyer, professor of management at the University of Akron. ``They are afraid state officials will say: `There are 5,000 new workers out there. You have to find jobs for them.'''
The exponential growth of new technology, combined with spiraling tuition costs at major colleges, is creating a ``knowledge elite'' in the U.S., according to Mr. Dagnino.
``It takes a lot of money to get into that group,'' he said, and those who do not have that money find themselves left behind. Public schools, hampered by lack of funds, are unable to keep up with the explosion of technology.
While some corporations offer technological training to workers, the current trend is ``more and more advantages for people with a good (economic) background,'' Mr. Dagnino said.
Meanwhile, although the Clinton administration says it is premature to estimate the number of people taken off the welfare rolls by the new reform law, the final number certainly will be in the hundreds of thousands.
This prospect has state governments, unions and employers alike wondering what to do, according to Mr. Meyer. ``Some of these people may be educable, and some may not,'' he said. ``If 70 percent are educable, who will be able to help the 30 percent who aren't?''
Unions are ``tapping into'' this problem, he added, ``since they're among the very few organizations equipped to deal with this.''