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‘Completely Unrealistic And Unproductive’: Yang Swipes At Biden For Blue-Collar Coding Remarks



January 2, 2020 - Earlier this week, former Vice President Joe Biden took an apparent swipe at blue-collar workers, declaring that coal miners should “learn how to program.”

“I come from a family and an area where it’s coal mining in Scranton,” Biden told a crowd in Derry, New Hampshire, as The Daily Wire previously reported. “Anybody who can go down 300-3,000 feet in a mine sure as hell can learn to program as well,” continued Biden, later elaborating that anyone “who can throw coal into a furnace can learn how to program, for God’s sake.”

But on Thursday, Andrew Yang came to the defense of blue-collar workers, saying that the country should let people “do the kind of work they actually want to do” instead of telling people “you all need to become coders,” according to CBS. Yang then made an observation that has seemingly eluded Biden: “Maybe Americans don’t all want to learn how to code.”

After the event was over, Yang also told reporters that although he gets “along very well with Joe,” he thinks it is “completely unrealistic and unproductive to even recommend that all Americans learn to code or all former coal miners learn to code.”

“The reality is that only 8% of Americans work in STEM fields today, and it’s not realistic to suggest that the other 92% somehow join that 8%,” Yang continued. “We need to instead be thinking about what kind of opportunities people want to do, not that the market suggests that it has a need for.”

On an episode of The View in July, Yang discussed how politicians often talk about retraining or educating workers employed in industries at risk of becoming obsolete, but emphasized how these efforts are typically unsuccessful. “I looked at the studies around retraining manufacturing workers in the Midwest, and the results were very very bad — 0% to 15% success rates.”

According to The Hill, another reason retraining programs lack effectiveness in the coal mining industry, in particular, is because many people end up with jobs that do not pay as well as had their former jobs.

“Although they are often touted as a solution, retraining programs have a questionable record of success, some displaced coal workers do transition into other fields or industries, but critics say that the jobs that former coal workers usually find tend to pay only $12 to $15 dollars per hour as opposed to the approximate $75,000 a year salary that coal workers had while working in the mines.”

It is unclear how much Democrats’ focusing on the economy in this manner could possibly help them in a general election, as the current unemployment rate sits at 3.6%.

While this is the first time Biden has blatantly suggested that coal miners should “learn how to program,” the former vice president has made similarly dismissive comments about blue-collar jobs in the past.

At a Democratic presidential debate last year, Politico’s Tim Alberta asked Biden whether he would be willing to “displace thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands, of blue-collar workers in the interest of transitioning to a greener economy,” as previously reported by The Daily Wire.

“The answer is yes,” Biden replied. “The answer is yes, because the opportunity for those workers is to switch to high-paying jobs. We should, in fact, be making sure right now that every new building built is energy contained, that it doesn’t leak energy, that in fact we should be providing tax credits for people to be able to make their homes turn to solar power.”