Friday, September 17, 2010

How do we get the jobs back from China?

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

Getting the jobs back from China, and from other overseas locations with whom we have negative trade balances in manufactured goods, won't be easy. 

We will have to do some original thinking and ruffle some feathers.

In addition to resistance from China and other overseas countries, there is the mysterious, unelected, world trade bureaucracy.  But the greatest barrier is the vested interest of U.S. corporations in keeping manufacturing arrangements as they are now.   The ban on mentioning and discussing the simple phrase "Get the jobs back from China" in all probability comes from these corporations.  

There are also many people such as economists, trade "experts", and politicians who say that globalization is here to stay and nothing can be done about it.

But we have to do something about it.  The American economy will not survive unless we get a substantial portion of the lost manufacturing  jobs back to our shores.  The present situation where the stores are filled exclusively with goods from China and other overseas locations is insane and untenable.  Most of the money spent in these stores immediately hemorrhages out of our country.

We have here a situation where we don't have to beg and plead with the government to do something.  Americans have the capability of solving the problem themselves, simply by ceasing to buy goods made in China and other overseas locations.  Even if only 25% of our citizens joined this action, it would be a tremendous shock for the stores and for China and the other overseas suppliers.  The stores would quickly increase purchases from existing American suppliers, and would look for additional American supply sources.  There would be an immediate positive impact on the employment situation.

Ants demonstrate the ability to spontaneously work together to one goal.  But human beings are not ants.  So we need some type of  leadership to achieve an action as described above.

Leadership is not going to come from President Obama.  It would be too radical for President Obama to set himself against the powerful behind-the-scenes forces that moved the jobs to China and other overseas locations in the first place.

I am interested in receiving suggestions as to where the leadership will come from.  Anti-poverty groups would help.  Community organizations would help.  The simple message to all Americans would be that the only way to get employment going again in the United States is to greatly reduce purchasing of imported manufactured goods, and buy American-made goods instead. 

Individuals would write letters to local stores, telling them that stores filled 100% with Chinese goods are no longer acceptable.  Stores would be asked to stock American-made goods, to give work to Americans so Americans can buy.  A store receiving even a few hundred letters along these lines would pay attention!

State and city governments may be more prepared to help, in comparison with the Federal government.  A simple measure would be to accept state and city sales tax on purchases of American-made goods as refundable credits toward state and city income and property taxes.  Store receipts would show the amounts spent on American-made goods and on foreign goods, and the taxes on each amount.  The further benefit would be that the issue of American-made goods versus imported goods would be front and center for everyone on a daily basis.

As employment increased, tax revenues to states and cities would increase, more than compensating for the tax credits. 

The campaign would be self-amplifying.  Small increases in store purchases from American factories would lead to small increases in employment.  Employed people would buy and stores would place additional orders with American factories.  Entrepreneurs would step forward to set up manufacturing of consumer goods.  More employment, more customers in stores, more orders to American factories. 

A mood of hope would gradually develop, replacing the desperate prospect of 5 to 10 years for employment to recover, so calmly predicted and accepted by securely employed, well-paid "experts".

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