Sunday, February 14, 2016

Another plant closes

"This story is an example of the soft underbelly of American industry today."

Interesting story in the news yesterday. Okay, not so much interesting as it is disturbing. Another American plant is closing. Closing to go out of business? No. Closing to move to Mexico. Moving to Mexico to "stay competitive". And when it closes, another 1,400 jobs will go bye-bye. If this sounds like a familiar script, it should.

The company is Carrier, and the location is Indianapolis. But it could be just about any company in any location in these United States. The news story focused on how the company executives held an "all hands" meeting to give the grim news to the workers. And they were booed and jeered. Some employees walked out, others shouted profanities. But don't worry about the folks losing their jobs - they will be given severance packages, and some retraining so they can qualify for the ocean of $10-$15/hour jobs there are right now.

This story is an example of the soft underbelly of American industry today. It is an example of what lousy trade agreements have done to us. Our manufacturing jobs have all but disappeared as compared to fifty years ago. Much of the today's manufacturing is done offshore by folks who work in terrible working conditions and make pennies on the dollar. The result is fewer good paying jobs at home and a nagging trade deficit of $40+B every month.

So what is missing here? For years now, we have sat back and accepted this seismic shift in our economy. We have accepted that companies have more of an obligation to Wall Street than to Main Street. And as a free market trader, I agree that companies have this legal right. But is it a moral right? That is open for discussion. What is missing is simple. What good paying jobs are we replacing these departing jobs with? Good question.

Some wise pundit said recently we should quit calling high tech, high tech. Why? There is nothing new under the sun in technology. We just keep refining existing technology. I have said for a while now we need a new "shebang" that will revolutionize an industry and create hundreds of thousands (maybe millions) of new jobs. Good paying jobs. Raise a family and pay a mortgage type of jobs.

This would be an excellent question for the debates. I know how the Democrats or Socialists would answer it - more government largess. But I want to know how the Republicans would answer it. And not just colorful language and generalities - but specifics.

One of the Republican candidates constantly tells us he will "make America great again". Well sir, here is your chance. Tell us how you are going to do it. And we can please start with jobs.


No comments:

Post a Comment