Downing: Haaland’s hare-brained idea is there are enough jobs, already!



Department of Interior Secretary Deb Haaland said the quiet part out loud this week. As the executive of our public lands agency, she does not believe that Americans need jobs because there are already so many jobs available. It’s better to lock up land, and lock down mining because who wants those jobs, when there are so many others?

Before the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Haaland told Sen. Josh Hawley, “Senator, I know that there’s like 1.9 jobs for every American in the country right now. So, I know there’s a lot of jobs,” which was her explanation for canceling cobalt mining permits for Twin Metals Minnesota, an underground mine proposed for the northeastern part of the state. America won’t need those jobs, she was saying.

Let’s unpack the Haaland job fantasy.

First, the secretary doesn’t get the jobs numbers even close to correct. There are not 1.9 jobs for every American. That would be an absurd level of available jobs, along the order of 629 million open positions.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports there are 9.6 million job openings and roughly 6 million unemployed people in America. 

The job openings rate was 5.8 percent in March, down by 1 percentage point since December, according to the bureau.

Sen. Hawley wasn’t buying what Haaland was selling. During the past 20 years, Hawley responded, over 3 million jobs have been lost to China, and they are coming from blue-collar towns across America. “And you’re telling me we have too many jobs in this country. Are you serious?” 

Facts, stubborn as they are, are not the secretary’s strong suit.

Second, Haaland revealed herself as a relic of the past, incapable of looking toward the future. She cannot see what is coming around the bend toward our country like a freight train, because she is wedded to a romanticized notion about what America should be, with high plains, headdresses, and hunting for deer and antelope.

Haaland is on a mission to reshape the Department of Interior to the days before Manifest Destiny, with all its good, bad, and ugly, shaped the nation. She is trying to return to what will never be. 

With a push from the Biden Administration, Haaland is preparing to adopt new regulations that make conservation the No. 1 priority for the Department of Interior, which owns 246,393,048 acres, with 99.99 percent of that land in the West. There go the jobs.

With Haaland’s narrow view of the world, she cannot see that jobs are on the brink of disappearing across every sector, when, in fact, artificial intelligence is here and has taken the driver’s seat.

This week, for example, IBM’s CEO said it won’t fill nearly 8,000 open jobs because the positions will be shifted over to artificial intelligence in the next five years. Hiring humans for office functions such as human resources and compliance is not a good investment for Big Blue, when those humans will have to be laid off so soon.

That 8,000 represents 2% of the entire IBM workforce, one of the largest employers in the world, who are being replaced by AI. And this phenomenon is just getting started. Those workers will join hundreds of thousands of workers who are being released into the wild in the same general time frame, as AI only gets better at replacing people.

Last week DropBox reported it will lay off 16% of its workforce, switching those jobs over to AI.

Earlier this year, Goldman Sachs reported that AI will soon wipe out as many as 300 million jobs. 

Meanwhile, the Minnesota Duluth Complex is one of the world’s largest undeveloped mineral deposits for cobalt, copper, and nickel, all needed in massive quantities for the electric future the Biden Administration is designing. 

The project is less than 20% of what an open pit mine would be, and mining operations would be between 400 and 4,500 feet below the surface. It’s in an area set aside for mining.

When Haaland signed the order to deny permits needed, she shifted thousands of more jobs to China, where forced labor will do the work.

Her order says the mining embargo is needed to protect “fragile and vital social and natural resources” as well as the “traditional cultural values” and “subsistence-based lifestyles” of Native American tribes. 

These qualities are ill-defined and have shifting goalposts. What is a fragile social resource as it pertains to an underground mine? Which tribes are actually living subsistence lifestyles in northeastern Minnesota?

Here’s what is not poorly defined: Unemployment among American Indians in Minnesota is over 13%, which is 10% higher than the national unemployment rate. 

The Haaland traditional lifestyle initiative is to continue the government inducement of intergenerational poverty, reservation ghettoization, and cradle-to-grave dependence on entitlement checks. 

That’s not subsistence, that’s not a lifestyle, and there is no dignity in keeping Indians down on the reservation, unable to find work, purchase a home, or enjoy the fruits of their labor.

Suzanne Downing is publisher of Must Read Alaska.


  1. In that case, until every able-bodied person of age is employed in these 1.9 ‘jobs’, no one should collect public assistance in America. Let them live by subsistence.

  2. The woman is certifiably nuts. Haaland seems to have ZERO idea the scope of economy necessary to support a country the size of the US. And she doesn’t give a crap about any “native American people”.

  3. Politicians like Haaland always talk about all these “jobs.” What are these jobs? Are they part time? seasonal? Low wage? Yes, they’re all of these. How about living wage careers? Careers that produce something. These are what’s being lost to China, and much of SE Asia.

  4. Since Senator Lisa Murkowski was one of the deciding votes for Haaland’s confirmation we might ask Lisa what our job prospects are for Alaska as they at the Department of the Interior attempt to turn us into a giant national park!

  5. And BOTH Alaska Senators confirmed her….because they were kissing her ass so she would be open to mining and oil productions in Alaska! So how is that working for us Senators??

  6. Excellent Article Suzanne: Haaland nor Biden are driving this bus, I am sure it is third term Obama.
    Just read where 3M in Mn is laying off 6000 workers ,in addition to 2500 layoffs in January. It will save the company 900 million . Does anyone care about the American worker. Go figure.

  7. Don Young recommended Haaland at her senate confirmation hearing and Mary Peltola welcomed Haaland at her swearing in. These people have willfully put Alaska on the altar.

  8. I sure miss the days of James Watt under Ronald Reagan. “We have women, minorities, and a cripple at DOI.” Reagan had to let him go for that comment, even though Watt was displaying diversity and equity. Now we have a woman of Native American descent who hates oil and mining companies because they don’t comport with demented Joe Biden’s climate action fantasy. Haaland also hates White men who have the education and expertise to run these necessary corporations. And to think that Lisa Murkowski voted to confirm this idiot Haaland. Alaska is in real tough shape with this senator.

  9. Well let’s just become a park and then we can all go stay in Lisa’s yard. Haaland is in charge of the interior not jobs. This administration is a joke as we all know. Our everyday freedoms are being taken everyday. I don’t want to keep loosing our freedoms. I want to choose for me not the government telling me what to do.

  10. The unemployment rate on the Navajo Reservation in Haaland’s home state is 42%. They enjoy the subsistence lifestyle of government commodity cheese. And she is hellbent on eliminating the energy sector jobs they had.

  11. Our two Senators must be so very proud of themselves for voting to confirm her, over the vociferous objections and warnings of us, their constituents.
    Still think that either of those two care about you, and your family?
    Nope, they are both part of that giant self serving swamp known as the “Uniparty”, feeding greedily at the feed trough filled with YOUR tax dollars, while working day and night to screw you over.
    Voting to confirm this Communist was a giant middle finger right in your face, and they do not care that you know it……

  12. The abundance of jobs Haaland is talking about is polishing the urinals and toilets at the Indian owned gaming casinos that are making bank in New Mexico! Now wouldnt you rather be polishing sh***ers in a brite shiny new casino making Indians rich or working in a hazardous dirty old mine with canaries keeping you alive? No time to wait for you to decide so we closed the mine now go get in line for your polishing tools we had a busy night.

  13. Our economy keeps adding jobs, over 290,000 last month, making it difficult to curb inflation. As usual MRAK rhetoric does not match actual facts

    • And significantly revising down the previous month. Printing money while producing nothing does not lead to prosperity.

  14. Neither one of them are considering all the variables here. A lot of people can’t even get to work because their modes of travel have been taken away by some corporate agency calling itself “government”. With more worthless Federal Reserve Notes being printed and inflation, it doesn’t pay to work at a lot of these low paying jobs. For many people it doesn’t pay to work at all if they have to decide between paying the rent or buying food. The problem is these so-called government agencies, acting under color of law, are taking everything we have ever worked for, our transportation, our homes, our children and deliberately impoverishing so many. For over 150 years they have been stealing our private credit and spending it worse than a bunch of drunken sailors. The people who labor create all the private credit in this country. We are the priority creditors, and we are their employers, not their slaves. Everything is upside down and backwards.

  15. Lisa Murkowski is a blight and a scourge on Alaska. What a piece of excrement from the Murkowski brain trust. (Is that an oxymoron)?

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