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Thread: Demand made in USA

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    Demand made in USA

    Gregory Mysko: The Necessary Comeback of American Manufacturing
    Submitted by BuzzFlash on Fri, 10/16/2009 - 9:23am. Guest Contribution
    BUZZFLASH GUEST COMMENTARY
    by Gregory Mysko

    America's most valuable treasure, its people, and their talents are being sacrificed to a ridiculous dogma called "Globalization and the Free Market." Too many Americans are out of work or underemployed. And the only ones who aren't underpaid are the Wall Street executives and media pundits who promote this process that is bankrupting everyone else.

    As the election season of 2010 starts to rev up, one phrase used by Democratic and Republican politicians over and over is "new jobs." None of them say specifically what those jobs are. It is an abstract concept. The mainstream news media has done a superficial job of covering the extent and dynamics of job losses while focusing instead on sad human interest stories of the unemployed and their financial struggles. And the reporting of the reality of where "new jobs" will be created is a collection of platitudes and repetition of business school palaver. But to people who have lost their jobs, there is nothing abstract about any of this.

    According to American Manufacturing Trade Action Coalition (AMTAC) Executive Director Auggie Tantillo, "Running a trade deficit for natural resources that the United States lacks is something that cannot be helped, but running a massive trade deficit in man-made products that America easily could produce itself is a choice -- a poor choice that is bankrupting the country and responsible for the loss of millions of jobs." That sums it up most accurately.

    A trip to any hardware store can reveal this major absurdity of the American economy. If you buy a flashlight, mousetrap, or clothes pin, the label will likely read "Made in China." At one time, those products were made somewhere in the United States giving Americans jobs. Now those factories are shut down and the most rudimentary products we buy come from China or elsewhere. Unemployment is about 10 percent. And economists wonder why this particular recession is so severe? Mousetraps imported from China? Really?

    But to those who complain, McGraw-Hill Companies CEO Harold McGraw has an answer: "Dislocated workers as well as those just entering the work force must have access to education and training to acquire the skills they need to secure high-paying jobs." That is all you need to know. Of course, like other globalization boosters, McGraw neglects to outline exactly what those "high-paying jobs" would be or what college curriculums are needed. It's just more theoretical hype.

    The solution to the employment crisis in the United States is very simple: To bring back jobs and prosperity to the United States, we must bring back American manufacturing. As a nation, Americans need to again start making the basic products we consume.

    That is easy to say, yet hard to bring to reality. There are those, such as regular readers of the Wall Street Journal, who will laugh off this suggestion. However, the rest of us who have been deeply affected by the mistakes of the Bush years need to start looking objectively at the damage done to the country by the loss of manufacturing jobs.

    Since the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980, the leaders of corporate America have been shifting manufacturing out of the United States. How did this happen? There are many reasons combined under one major premise: Keeping factories in America open cuts into the paychecks of the executives running those operations. Forget about maximizing shareholder value. Executives don't care about shareholders. The major motivation to outsource manufacturing is to maximize the bonuses of the top executives and their direct reports. They have been the only true beneficiaries of off-shoring no matter what the free market cheerleaders of globalization say in the media.

    Another major motivation to shut down American factories is to eliminate the need for the bothersome environmental regulations that countries such as China and Mexico don't have. Production waste and chemicals can be cheaply disposed without following U.S. environmental laws.

    And American wages are too high they say, even in non-union locations, to satisfy these economic captains. Moving production to countries with a docile workforce controlled by oppressive governments makes perfect sense. The results are long hours, few days off, child workers. Slave wages too. No union issues would be found there. Pass the savings on to the bonus checks.

    In the meantime, American skill sets are rapidly evaporating. This is very critical for the long-term economic survival of the country. How many people will be left in 15 years who know how to setup and use machinery to make shoes, furniture, or clothing? How many engineers will be left to do research and development for even simple items such as toaster ovens or refrigerators while all that work flies off to China? The machinist trades are being hurt as fewer young people are learning those skills when all the work is in China. The old-timers with that knowledge are retiring and quickly fading away.

    As manufacturing assembly work has been exported outside the United States, so have high-paying engineering jobs. American graduates from engineering schools in recent years have discovered the hard reality of globalization along with blue-collar workers. Entry level jobs are harder to come by for engineers who found the work has gone overseas. Engineering is being exported with long-term consequences being an eventual loss of domestic talent. Increasingly, in the last year, according to industry reports, more high level research and development work still done in the United States has been outsourced overseas to save costs for corporations. This is not good for long-term economic security. There is no credible defense for this.

    Bringing these lost jobs back to America needs to be a very high priority for Congress and the Obama Administration. So far, Obama Administration efforts have focused on "green jobs." Manufacturing power generating wind equipment made in America was one direction stated. Solar power was another. But those particular "green jobs" will only replace a tiny fraction of the tens of millions of jobs lost. Americans need to be back to work manufacturing the everyday commodities we consume such as coffeemakers.

    Speaking of coffeemakers, I had an opportunity in 1976 to interview the late baseball legend Joe DiMaggio who, at the time, was gaining new national stature as the media spokesman for Mr. Coffee. DiMaggio was proud of his involvement with what was still at the time an American manufacturer. He told me he made an investment with the company to build a new facility in south Florida during their expansion. "I am proud to use my good fortune to bring jobs to people who live in my community and help them to support their families." he said. If he were alive today I don't believe Joe DiMaggio would have anything to do with anyone involved with globalization and exporting jobs out of the country.

    Statements from the business community and their media propagandists are pitched as a patriotic duty for Americans to go to out and spend and spend. But for what? During the Christmas holiday buying season, that call to open the wallet is even more urgent for Americans to keep those Chinese assembly lines producing microwave ovens, I-Pods, high def televisions, and the latest fashions in winter coats. A trip to Wal-Mart, Target, or Costco is nothing more than a personal investment in the Chinese economy.

    Since the recent exodus of jobs, with one figure from the AFL-CIO placed at 15 million, it is inevitable that social dislocation would occur. Wall Street executives do not publicly acknowledge the devastation left on families and communities when they close down factories and their jobs disappear. The rise of homelessness has been reported in tandem with the rise of drug and alcohol abuse and the rising unemployment rate.

    Reports from around the country show homeless families have moved into camping tents. Local governmental social service agencies struggle to help these people as they deal with their own budget cuts. As author David Glenn Cox stated, "Almost 10 million homes have been foreclosed on in the last three years. That means 40 million Americans have been dispossessed. That number does not include renters who have also been evicted." He continues, "The problem is not drugs or alcoholism or even homelessness; the problem is jobs. Strange, isn't it, that when America had a strong manufacturing base and a strong job market that we had few so-called defective people."

    Off-shoring has been touted by the mainstream media and both Democratic and Republican politicians as the blessing of globalization that provides the benefits of cheaper products from Wal-Mart. Does spending for Chinese made computers, toys, kitchen gadgets, and coffeemakers do anything to boost the American economy by putting people to work? No. But it does benefit that elite group of executives quite well, thank you.

    We, as a nation, are wasting our national treasure of talented Americans from various industries and professions who are either unemployed or working in jobs not utilizing their talents and skills. It is time to start putting these people back to productive work making things in America again. How do we do that? Bribe the multinational corporations with tax breaks to reopen the plants they closed down? Give entrepreneurs incentives to open up new manufacturing shops? That is the discussion we need to be hearing now from the candidates for Congress in 2010.

    This "free market globalization" touted by top executives and business media pundits is a dangerous pipe dream started long ago by devotees of an extremist economic ideology masquerading behind conservatism that has evolved into a massive scam that has bankrupted the country and financially hurt too many Americans. It is time now to have some common sense take hold and start re-opening manufacturing facilities in the United States and re-employing Americans. Enough of "Made in China." Let's start demanding to see "Made in USA" again on the products we buy.

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    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Excellent article.

    My opinion: The process is part of a deliberate and systematic effort to destroy the remnants of an individualistic people (the "old Americans") who are the last remaining obstacle to a new global order of peonage for 95 percent of the people and limitless power/riches for the 5 percent who comprise the elites of finance and government.

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