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janitors, nurses, administrative staff, bus (and supplier) manufacturing workers, mechanics and many others to accommodate six 14-hour school days a week could bring the total of new jobs to 5.5 million, or possibly more. In the broad context of our nation’s recovery, we cannot afford to ignore such an opportunity. Just as tens of millions of jobs have been systematical-


ly eliminated in recent decades, many that existed just six months ago have disappeared. Millions more may, even while some return. In recent years, the average American purchased 70 items of clothing a year. Right now, I and many of my friends cannot give away our clothes fast enough. This past April, clothing sales fell 79 percent—the largest decline since records of such things have been kept. A major trend in the Old Normal was shopping. A major trend in the New Normal will be savings: Compared to recent recessions, the personal savings rate this past January soared from 8 percent to 20 percent—before almost any American had heard of COVID-19. A huge spectrum of jobs that recently existed are simply not coming back. In the past few years alone, we eliminated most stores. And driverless vehicles threaten to eliminate another 3.5 million truck driving jobs. We cannot afford to squander the chance to create 5.5 million new ones, even if they last only a few years. Beyond these job-related costs, every student will need


a reliable computer and the skill to use it. And he or she will need to cover the increasing monopoly-controlled costs associated with its operation (Windows 10, monthly Google fees, Microsoft Office, etc.). Many of these costs can be recovered in the long run. If sustained, learning to design transportation systems, optimize tiers and deploying fewer vehicles can translate into enormous cost savings in the future—in many service areas, cutting operating costs in half. The same is true for the costs of providing healthy food to students and their families: Bet- ter-educated students will contribute more significantly to our future economic growth and competitiveness. The vehicle shortage noted, and the inability of most school districts to make new purchases because of budget cuts and cost increases for many of the elements of this model, present a unique problem all by itself. However, physical school cannot materialize if students cannot get to it. One way or another, our school bus manufacturing industry should morph into multi-shift- per-day wartime production mode and crank out the next decade’s worth of buses in the next several years. If and when things settle down, production can be cut back. The extra workers will have time to find other things to do. And the OEMs and suppliers can live off the additional profits they earned during the manufacturing explosion.


For an array of reasons, there has been much discus-


sion about the accelerated development of a vaccine. We are certainly pouring money into it. But most vaccine experts believe that there are limits to the shortcuts that can be taken. And every shortcut comes with its own set of risks—during its development and, worse, if the widely-distributed results prove to be premature. Among these risks, COVID-19 could morph into some- thing different, possibly even worse. And the quicker and less proven any vaccine is, the greater will be the number of individuals who refuse inoculation. Histor- ically, the quickest-developed vaccine ever developed, for the mumps, took five years. If my hunches about a vaccine are realistic, we will be living with masks and social distancing for several more years. If the wonder drug comes along, the additional 5.5 million jobs we can create will not last as long. But we can learn many lessons to help pay for them while they were needed and performed. Irrespective of the results of the upcoming elec-


tion, the funds to cover these needs will likely become available shortly after Jan. 20, 2021, and one can count on plans for them beginning to materialize shortly after this coming Nov. 3. As a consequence, it would be reasonable and prudent for pharmaceutical manufac- turers, laboratories, healthy food producers, computer manufacturers and school bus manufacturers (and their suppliers) to immediately invest in the production of resources needed for this model to succeed. The next administration is almost certain to reimburse these participants for their investments – particularly since getting students back to physical school has recently become the nation’s highest priority, economically and politically, for both political parties. Irrespective of which team is elected, the safety of our population, the need for students to return to physical school and the need to create jobs will continue to exist, and the opportunity to create 5.5 million jobs in the process cannot reasonably be disregarded. Our stock market has still not collapsed in light of the


lowest growth in GDP since records of it began being kept. We can expect the stock market to be wildly bull- ish in support of such investments. Frankly, it has little choice: If we fail, the stock market will be dragged down along with everything else. Regardless, just as many entities and individuals will be required to contribute enormous sacrifices, other individuals and companies stand to obtain substantial short- and medium-term ben- efits. The long-term benefits to every individual, agency and company from successfully implementing solutions like those in the model outlined here should be clear. Insofar as benefits, the unusual structure of schooling


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