Thursday, September 16, 2010

Media discussions of the job situation

Please read this post in conjunction with my basic position paper "What is this blog all about?".

We often see editorials, columns, and general articles dealing with the economic situation.  The material presented is often lengthy, with intricate reasoning.  The amazing thing about these offerings is that they never mention the systematic transfer of millions of jobs out of the country over the last 50 years. 

The "job creation" record of President Bush or President Obama, or other presidents, is often referred to, without any mention of the concurrent continuing movement of jobs to China and other overseas locations.  How can anyone talk about "job creation" when the jobs are continuing to hemorrhage?  The transfer of manufacturing jobs to overseas locations is not something that happened 30 years ago.  The transfer of jobs, or selection of China or other overseas location as the source for additional products, is continuing to this day. 

Take a look at the historical record of the balance of trade in manufactured goods with China:

(Numerical values are in billions of dollars.  Source:  Congressional Research Service, "China - U.S. Trade Issues", Report no. RL33536.  July 29, 2010.  Table 1, page 2.) 

1980    2.7
1985    0
1990    -10.4
1995    -33.8
2000    -83.8
2005    -201.6
2006    -232.5
2007    -256.3
2008    -266.3
2009    -226.8
2010 Projection  -249.2

The negative balance in manufactured goods marched steadily upward.  There was a downward turn in 2009, due to the financial crash, but the trend is projected upward again.

An example of the type of article that discusses the economy but never mentions the transfer of millions of manufacturing jobs overseas is an item coming from The New Republic, dated September 10, 2010.  The article is entitled "There is only one way out of the recession".  The article does not mention unemployment, let alone mention the fact that tens of millions of jobs have been sent overseas.  The article says that companies aren't hiring because American households are working down their debt, rather than going to stores to buy.  There is no mention of the millions of American households that have no income, and therefore are out of luck on both counts.  They can't reduce debt AND they can't go to stores.

There is no mention of the fact that stores carry mostly goods imported from China and other low-wage regions, so most of the money spent in stores hemorrhages right out of our country. So even if people were buying in stores, it would not help the economy.

What is the "only way out" suggested in this article?  Wealthy people would buy bonds in a "national infrastructure bank" and would receive interest.  The money would be used to rebuild infrastructure and create new infrastructure, and in this way "boost economic activity and employment in the short term..."

So The New Republic's proposal boils down to a further stimulus program.  While the employment would be great for those who do the work, this type of activity alone does not provide for long-term viability of the economy. 

The very basic assertion and position statement put forward by this blog is that manufacturing employment is needed for a viable economy.  The manufacturing employment must produce real goods that individuals or organizations will actually buy and use.  This type of economic activity, in addition to the benefit of numbers of people having employment, provides a continuing value-added effect that is vital to the economy.  This effect cannot be provided in any other way.

No comments:

Post a Comment