Joe Biden apparently missed the entire 'learn to code' controversy, telling a New Hampshire audience on Monday that unemployed miners and coal workers can find "jobs of the future" if they simply "learn to program," according to Gizmodo.
But Biden returns to the same point: "Anybody who can throw coal into a furnace can learn how to program, for God's sake!"— Dave Weigel (@daveweigel) December 30, 2019
Democrat Joe Biden: “Anybody who can go down...in a mine sure as hell can learn to program as well…Anybody who can throw coal into furnace can learn how to program for God’s sake”— Ryan Saavedra (@RealSaavedra) December 31, 2019
Biden said @ the Dem debate he'd cut hundreds of thousands of blue collar jobs for "green economy" pic.twitter.com/JIWO2pjr32
For those who missed it, after the Obama administration decimated the coal industry, desk-jockey MSM journalists cavalierly suggested that blue-collar workers simply "learn to code" after losing their livelihoods.
Three years later, Twitter banned the phrase after conservatives used it to chide laid-off liberal journalists.
Hey laid off journalists who are upset that people are telling you to "learn how to code":— Alex VanNess 🧢 (@thealexvanness) January 27, 2019
Go mine some coal and then go fuck yourselves. pic.twitter.com/lYWDIIcCKm
That said, as Gizmodo notes, "What, exactly, these blue collar workers in the mining and coal-shoveling sectors should learn to code is unclear. A December jobs report by Challenger, Gray, & Christmas found that the mining and tech sectors are both shedding thousands of jobs nationwide. (So too is everything coal-related.) It’s fair to say the long-term prospects for IT workers are better, with the Bureau of Labor Statistics projecting that computer and information technology jobs will grow “12 percent from 2018 to 2028, much faster than the average for all occupations.” Meanwhile, dirty energy jobs are dying left and right despite Donald Trump’s best efforts to slash regulations."
Meanwhile, coding may not be where it's at in what has become an ultra-competitive market for software developers.
It's not that coding is super hard, but not everyone wants to/needs to/should learn to code. It's a skill set that has to be constantly updated to become a career and generally doesn't lead you to the glamorous futuristic lifestyle that people who say "learn to code" envision.— Cari (@eatinginmycar) December 30, 2019
As Weigel noted, being told what you really need to do is pivot to making smartphone apps or coding a payroll system can instead come across as callous indifference to the what is currently happening to workers right now. (Especially so, given the future is not synonymous with STEM jobs and the gaping disconnect between how the tech sector generates wealth and how it doesn’t really share it.) That’s exactly why “learn to code” became the far right’s taunt of choice when mocking laid-off journalists. Maybe, uhh, nip this particular line in the bud and instead focus on the infrastructure, clean energy, and labor organizing stuff.
As far as tone-deaf politicians go, Biden and whatever crack team of advisers are feeding him terrible bullet points to regurgitate take the cake.