The Issue is “Trade” – The Measure is “Jobs”
“The Donald” knows what he is talking about……..
By: Frank Shannon
The United States is rapidly becoming the first “post-industrial” nation on the globe. Many great economic empires eventually became fat and lazy and squandered the wealth that their forefathers left them. The pace at which America is accomplishing this is amazing.
It was America that was at the forefront of the industrial revolution. It was America that showed the world how to mass produce everything from automobiles to televisions to airplanes. It was the great American manufacturing base that crushed Germany and Japan in World War II.
But now we are witnessing the deindustrialization of America. Tens of thousands of factories have left the United States in the past decade alone. Millions upon millions of manufacturing jobs have been lost in the same time period. The United States has become a nation that consumes much and yet produces little.
The United States economy has become just a shadow of what it once was. Once upon a time America could literally out-produce the rest of the world combined. Today that is no longer true, but Americans consume more than anyone else in the world. If the deindustrialization of America continues at this current pace, what possible kind of a future are we going to be leaving to our children and grandchildren?
Any great nation throughout history has been great at making things. So if the United States continues to allow its manufacturing base to erode at this pace, how in the world can we continue to consider ourselves a great nation? We have created the biggest debt bubble in the history of the world in an effort to maintain a very high standard of living, but the current state of affairs is not even close to sustainable. Every single month America goes into more debt and every single month America gets poorer. So what happens when the debt bubble pops?
The deindustrialization of the United States should be a top concern for every man, woman and child in the country. But sadly, many Americans do not recognize what is happening.
The following are some results from the deindustrialization of America that “Globalization” has wrought….
In 1959, manufacturing represented 28 percent of U.S. Economic output. Today it is below 10%
As of the end of 2009, less than 12 million Americans worked in manufacturing. The last time less than 12 million Americans were employed in manufacturing was in 1941.
The United States has lost more than 57,000 factories and 8 million manufacturing jobs since 2001. Every manufacturing job loss costs our economy another 3 0r 4 support jobs.
Ford Motor Company recently announced the closure of a factory that produces the Ford Ranger in St. Paul, Minnesota. Approximately 750 good paying middle class jobs are going to be lost because making Ford Rangers in Minnesota does not fit in with Ford’s new “global” manufacturing strategy.
Manufacturing employment in the U.S. computer industry is actually lower in 2010 than it was in 1975.
Printed circuit boards are used in tens of thousands of different products. Asia now produces 84 percent of them worldwide.
In 2008, 1.2 billion cell phones were sold worldwide. So how many of them were manufactured inside the United States? Zero.
The United States spends approximately $4 on Chinese goods for every $1 that the Chinese spend on goods from the United States.
The U.S. Census Bureau says that 43.6 million Americans are now living in poverty and according to them that is the highest number of poor Americans in the 51 years that records have been kept.
So how many tens of thousands more factories do we need to lose before we do something about it? How many more millions of Americans are going to become unemployed before we all admit that we have a serious problem on our hands? How many more trillions of dollars are going to leave the country before we realize that we are losing wealth at a pace that is killing our economy? How many once great manufacturing cities are going to become rotting war zones like Detroit before we understand that we are committing national economic suicide?
The deindustrialization of America is a national crisis. It needs to be treated like one.
Current U.S. trade policies have become deeply unpopular with a critical mass of Americans. That much is clear from recent primary results, exit polls, and the presidential campaign success of Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Bernie Sanders. Voters fear that their job and wage prospects have been kneecapped by so-called free trade agreements and related policy decisions like ignoring predatory practices by foreign governments.
Having either or both political parties merge this strong message from the voters into their platforms and behavior would not only unify each party, it might even more closely align our political system with the voters and restore some credibility. After all, in a Constitutional Republic, aren’t our leaders supposed to reflect the will of the people?
Frank Shannon served in the U.S. Army, was an engineering/operations manager for AT&T for 27 years, was the owner of a small manufacturing business for 23 years, served as Colorado Chair of the Coalition for a Prosperous America and moved to Mesquite in 2013.