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Thread: Factory Jobs: 3 Million Lost Since 2000

  1. #1
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    Factory Jobs: 3 Million Lost Since 2000

    [QUOTE]WASHINGTON (AP) - Three weeks ago, Dawn Zimmer became a statistic. Laid off from her job assembling trucks at Freightliner's plant in Portland, Ore., she and 800 of her colleagues joined a long line of U.S. manufacturing workers who have lost jobs in recent years. A total of 3.2 million—one in six factory jobs—have disappeared since the start of 2000.
    Many people believe those jobs will never come back.

    "They are building a multimillion-dollar plant in Mexico and they are going to build the Freightliners down there. They came in and videotaped us at work so they could train the Mexican workers," said Zimmer, 55, who had worked at Freightliner since 1994.

    That's the issue for American workers. Many of their jobs are moving overseas, to Mexico and China and elsewhere.

    Just ask Tom Riegel.

    He worked for 27 years making Pennsylvania House furniture at a factory in Lewisburg, Pa., until the plant shut down in December 2004. The production was moved to a plant in China, which kept making the furniture under the Pennsylvania House label for shipment back to the United States.

    Rigel, 48, who has had health problems, hasn't worked since he lost his job running a molding machine. He says his prospects aren't good given the number of other furniture plants in the area that have suffered layoffs.

    "It started with just a few pieces of furniture made in China. Then it snowballed," he said. "Manufacturing was built on the back of the American worker and then boom—one day your job is gone."

    Even though manufacturing jobs have been declining, the country is enjoying the lowest average unemployment rates of the past four decades. The reason: the growth in the service industries—everything from hotel chambermaids to skilled heart surgeons.

    Eighty-four percent of Americans in the labor force are employed in service jobs, up from 81 percent in 2000. The sector has added 8.78 million jobs since the beginning of 2000.

    Although these workers have been largely sheltered from the global forces that have hit manufacturing, that could change as satellites and fiber optic cable drive down the cost of long-distance communication. Today it is call centers in India and the Philippines but tomorrow many more U.S. jobs could move off shore.

    Some economists say the United States is experiencing a normal economic evolution from farms to factories and now to service jobs.

    "Every advanced economy has seen its employment in agriculture and manufacturing decline relative to services and America is no exception," said Daniel Griswold, an economist at the Cato Institute, a Washington think tank.

    But others note that the loss in manufacturing jobs has been accelerating in recent years as the trade deficit has grown and America imports more and more products that used to be made here.

    "It is pretty crystal clear to our members that when their plant closes down, they know where their jobs are going," said Thea Lee, policy director at the AFL-CIO.

    Princeton economist Alan Blinder, who was vice chairman of the Federal Reserve during the Clinton administration, says the number of jobs at risk of being shipped out of the country could reach 40 million over the next 10 to 20 years. That would be one out of every three service sector jobs that could be at risk.

    Those lost manufacturing jobs are fueling an intense debate over globalization—the increasing connection of the United States and other economies.

    That debate will play out in Congress over the coming months as the Bush administration tries to muster the votes needed to pursue its free-trade policies.

    Opponents will seek increased protections for American workers against unfair trade practices and push such proposals as wage insurance and better job training for the victims of globalization.

    Democrats, who took control of both the House and Senate in last year's elections, believe up to one-third of those lost manufacturing jobs are the direct result of America's soaring trade deficits, which have hit new records for five straight years.

    Last year's deficit was $765.3 billion—that is, the U.S. imported $765.3 billion more in goods and services than it exported. The imbalance with China hit an all-time high for a single country at $232.5 billion.

    In 1943 and 1944, with factories working overtime to build the ships, tanks and planes needed to fight World War II, manufacturing accounted for four out of 10 jobs in the U.S. That was the peak; manufacturing has been declining ever since. Manufacturing now accounts for one job in 10 in the nonfarm work force.

    Over the past 16 years, manufacturing has declined as a percentage of the work force in 48 of the 50 states. Nevada's percentage stayed the same and only North Dakota saw an increase.

    The declines have been particularly painful in the industrial Midwest and rural South, which have been battered by competition from China.

    "China has just exploded on the global scene since 2002. Every economy on the planet has lost jobs to China," says Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's Economy.com, an economic forecasting company.

    A Moody's analysis found 16 percent of the nation's 379 metropolitan areas are in recession, reflecting primarily the troubles in manufacturing. There have been heavy job losses in a variety of industries from textiles and apparel to paper and furniture.

    Critics contend China uses a variety of unfair trade practices from widespread copyright piracy of American products to keeping its currency undervalued by as much as 40 percent to make Chinese goods cheaper in comparison with U.S. products.

    On April 9, the Bush administration, responding to growing political pressure, announced the latest in a string of tough actions against China. It filed trade cases with the World Trade Organization accusing China of erecting unfair barriers to the sale of U.S.-made movies, music and books and rampant copyright piracy.

    But Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and other Bush administration officials argue that despite the yawning U.S.-China trade gap, President Bush's free trade policies are paying off in new markets that have helped U.S. exports boom.

    While manufacturing jobs have declined, manufacturing output has been rising. The difference is increased productivity, which means it takes fewer workers to make more goods.

    "We are evolving to a point that we are manufacturing things that are not easy to manufacture. That require skills. We believe that is our future. And those are the manufacturing jobs that pay the most," Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez said in an interview.

    High-tech industries, where the U.S. is still seen as having the edge, include pharmaceuticals, medical devices and airplanes.

    But even high-tech industries are facing pressure from imports. The U.S. Business and Industry Council, which represents small- and medium-sized manufacturing companies, found that between 1997 and 110 of the 114 U.S. industries it studied had lost ground to imports in the U.S. market. That was the case even in such sectors as computers and telecommunications hardware.

    Just the threat of moving high-paying white collar jobs such as computer programmers and graphic designers offshore will likely add to pressures on Congress to erect barriers to global competition, which many economists believe would do more damage than good.

    "It is easy to see this turning into some kind of protectionist force which would be harmful," Blinder said in an interview. "We need to turn the debate in a constructive direction—how do you prepare the work force of the future and compensate the losers?"[/QUOTE]

    [url]http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=D8OKGR480&show_article=1[/url]



    Think tht the trade deficit is not an issue? Ask these folks.

  2. #2
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    OK, so if we agree that the US losing Factory and other Industrial Jobs IS (while gaining Jobs in non-"production" areas) is a problem.....

    ...what do you propose as the solution?

    Personally, I am unhappy that the US seems intent upon a Free Trade future with the World, as it often seems that Free Tarde means our end is free while their ends are still highly regulared and often closed. It means our Industrial base goes away, but theirs remains in place or grows, never a good thing in a world where many may, at some point, want to kill us. Free Trade has done much to hurt America as I see it.

    But what is the answer? Our Political leaders (on both sides) seem to have no real desire to instal or maintain any kind of protectionist policies to keep our Industrial Base intact, or to promote it, or to help compete vs. outside competitors.

    Until such time as at least one party realizes the weakness this issue, and the related issues of illegal immigration and immigration reform, causes for our Nation, the longer it will go on, and the weaker we will become.

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    I think that some regulation is necessary. We need to ensure that the deficit is reduced. We need to protect our nation from predator countries that take American jobs and offer us nothing in return.

    The only ones benefitting are the corporations. Look at the results this month of corporate earnings as they are announced. Making major bread while jobs are shipped off to locations never to return.

    Look at the housing market. Due in part to this kind of legislation we now have to pay for that debacle (looks like they want to pass a bill soon to me).

    Somehow this NAFTA (Free Trade) which is not free for a lot of Americans has to be reigned in. Corporations at all time highs and middle class Americans reduced to losing jobs and much, much more.

    The USA is better than that.

  4. #4
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    Someone needs to read: The World is Flat. You cannot stop globalization and any efforts to do so will just hurt everyone more in the long run.

    A changing business world is painful. I feel bad for the milk man and the horse and buggy drivers. But you know what? We're better off with more efficient industries.

  5. #5
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    [QUOTE=BrooklynBound]Someone needs to read: The World is Flat. You cannot stop globalization and any efforts to do so will just hurt everyone more in the long run.

    A changing business world is painful. I feel bad for the milk man and the horse and buggy drivers. But you know what? We're better off with more efficient industries.[/QUOTE]

    No offense my friend, but that comes accross as potentilly short-sighted.

    Scenario #1: Globalization continues unabated, American Industrial Might is weakened so much as to be all but nonexistant. Even our Weapons systems are now built and designed overseas.

    The Global Climate changes, and America finds itself threatened by say...China, in the form of a Conventional War/Invasion over say.....Taiwan and Chineese Communist Expansionism/Aggression.

    How do we protect ourselves? Do we threaten nukes, and hope for the best? Do we destroy the planet in order to defend ourselves because we can no longer defend ourselves conventionally?

    I suppose I just don't want to see our country dependant on outside sources or our nuclear stockpile for defense. If World History teaches us anything, it's that War WILL come again, and it WILL eventually come to American Soil.

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    [QUOTE]We need to protect our nation from predator countries that take American jobs and offer us nothing in return.
    [/QUOTE]

    I disagree--countries don't "take" our jobs, they "get" them b/c their wages are lower.

    They "offer us" cheaper goods to buy which is what we all look for, right? How many of us will pay more for the same item than we have to? If Lowe's sells a product cheaper than Home Depot, do I buy at HD? No!

    [QUOTE]While manufacturing jobs have declined, manufacturing output has been rising. The difference is increased productivity, which means it takes fewer workers to make more goods.
    [/QUOTE]

    And what forces companies to more automation? Our demands for higher wages and more benefits! You don't need health insurance or pension plan for a machine! How much would most of what we buy cost if it all had to done with human labor?

    I watched the other night how cheeze curls were made, bagged and shipped. Most of the process is automation! What would a bag of them cost if filling and sealing the bags were done by hand?

    It's a catch-22 situation--we want higher wages and lower prices--sorry but you can't have your cake and eat it too!

    Protectionism may keep jobs here, but the cost of those products will be higher. We already hear criticism for the high cost of various goods.

  7. #7
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    [QUOTE=asuusa]I disagree--countries don't "take" our jobs, they "get" them b/c their wages are lower.


    [COLOR=Blue][B]The problem with that is we don't get anything in return except a deficit. That is not a sustainable model[/B][/COLOR]

    [B]They "offer us" cheaper goods to buy which is what we all look for, right?[/B] How many of us will pay more for the same item than we have to? If Lowe's sells a product cheaper than Home Depot, do I buy at HD? No!

    [COLOR=Blue][B]My exact point regarding the deficit[/B][/COLOR]

    And what forces companies to more automation? Our demands for higher wages and more benefits! You don't need health insurance or pension plan for a machine! How much would most of what we buy cost if it all had to done with human labor?

    I watched the other night how cheeze curls were made, bagged and shipped. Most of the process is automation! What would a bag of them cost if filling and sealing the bags were done by hand?

    It's a catch-22 situation--we want higher wages and lower prices--sorry but you can't have your cake and eat it too!

    Protectionism may keep jobs here, but the cost of those products will be higher. We already hear criticism for the high cost of various goods.[/QUOTE]

    [COLOR=Blue][B]Lack of protectionism is causing a hell of a deficit. What's your answer? 'Stay the course?'[/B][/COLOR]

  8. #8
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    [QUOTE=Warfish]No offense my friend, but that comes accross as potentilly short-sighted.

    Scenario #1: Globalization continues unabated, American Industrial Might is weakened so much as to be all but nonexistant. Even our Weapons systems are now built and designed overseas.

    The Global Climate changes, and America finds itself threatened by say...China, in the form of a Conventional War/Invasion over say.....Taiwan and Chineese Communist Expansionism/Aggression.

    How do we protect ourselves? Do we threaten nukes, and hope for the best? Do we destroy the planet in order to defend ourselves because we can no longer defend ourselves conventionally?

    I suppose I just don't want to see our country dependant on outside sources or our nuclear stockpile for defense. If World History teaches us anything, it's that War WILL come again, and it WILL eventually come to American Soil.[/QUOTE]

    National defense should always be a top priority. Besides defense manufacturing, the rest of US manufacturing is a dying industry. You can attempt to slow it down, but you're delaying the inevitable. We simply cannot remain competitive in this arena.

    People want to be paid a living wage, right? Well, at those wages, we can't compete with workers who can do similar jobs for much, much less. It's just an obsolete industry. We need more education and training for our workforce to adapt to globalization rather than fight it. Because you can't fight it.

    It's never a good idea to protect the few at the expense of many.

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    [QUOTE=Jetdawgg][COLOR=Blue][B]Lack of protectionism is causing a hell of a deficit. What's your answer? 'Stay the course?'[/B][/COLOR][/QUOTE]

    That's better than a depression that we had in 1930!

    I you want higher prices for what you buy, go for it!

    [QUOTE][i]"Protectionism is a misnomer. The only people protected by tariffs, quotas and trade restrictions are those engaged in uneconomic and wasteful activity. Free trade is the only philosophy compatible with international peace and prosperity."[/i]
    Walter Block
    Senior Economist, Fraser Institute (Canada)

    (snip)

    In 1930, facing only a mild recession, US President Hoover ignored warning pleas in a petition by 1028 prominent economists and signed the notorious Smoot-Hawley Act, which raised some tariffs to 100% levels. Within a year, over 25 other governments had retaliated by passing similar laws. The result? World trade came to a grinding halt, and the entire world was plunged into the "Great Depression" for the rest of the decade. The depression in turn led to World War II.
    [/QUOTE]

    [QUOTE]A century and a half ago French economist and statesman Frederic Bastiat presented the practical case for free trade: "It is always beneficial," he said, "for a nation to specialize in what it can produce best and then trade with others to acquire goods at costs lower than it would take to produce them at home." In the 20th century, journalist Frank Chodorov made a similar observation: "Society thrives on trade simply because trade makes specialization possible, and specialization increases output, and increased output reduces the cost in toil for the satisfactions men live by. That being so, the market place is a most humane institution."[/QUOTE]

    [url=http://www.isil.org/resources/lit/free-trade-protectionism.html] source [/url]
    Last edited by asuusa; 04-21-2007 at 08:19 PM.

  10. #10
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    [QUOTE=BrooklynBound]It's never a good idea to protect the few at the expense of many.[/QUOTE]

    It's never a good idea to help other Nations before you help yourself. Especially if you are the Big Dog of consumer Nations.

    But indeed.....you may be right when it comes down to it, sadly. This end result may indeed be unavoidable. Bad news though if you ask me, it may be unavoidable, but that doesn't mean it is a good thing for America or Americans down the road.

  11. #11
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    As an American consumer should we care about the treatment and pay of the workers making these cheap products?

    [QUOTE=Warfish]It's never a good idea to help other Nations before you help yourself. Especially if you are the Big Dog of consumer Nations.

    But indeed.....you may be right when it comes down to it, sadly. This end result may indeed be unavoidable. Bad news though if you ask me, it may be unavoidable, but that doesn't mean it is a good thing for America or Americans down the road.[/QUOTE]

  12. #12
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    [QUOTE=Warfish]It's never a good idea to help other Nations before you help yourself. Especially if you are the Big Dog of consumer Nations.

    But indeed.....you may be right when it comes down to it, sadly. This end result may indeed be unavoidable. Bad news though if you ask me, it may be unavoidable, but that doesn't mean it is a good thing for America or Americans down the road.[/QUOTE]


    Well, we are helped by it. Those in the industry are hurt. There's no doubt about that. A changing world is painful to those who cannot adapt. However, the entire nation benefits from cheaper prices. It really is a matter of the few vs. the many.

    There's really no justification for protectionism. If there was, we never would have a manufacturing business to begin with - we'd still be an agricultural economy. How many farmers, blacksmiths, etc. lost their jobs to manufacturing plants?

  13. #13
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    How many jobs can the U.S. create that someone can actually make a living on? Times have changed, but it went from growing something to building something. What is next? I honestly don't know, if you look at a city like Philadelphia the biggest industry is gov't workers.

  14. #14
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    [QUOTE=cr726]As an American consumer should we care about the treatment and pay of the workers making these cheap products?[/QUOTE]

    Chinese labor rates are going up the standard of living is going up, the RMB is going up and they are becoming consumers at a very fast rate. You really think protecting our markets is going to help labor in the third world?

    The reality is we are allready moving production out of China because it's to expensive and labor is becoming scarce. China is going to fuel demand for American products for the next few decades and they have plenty of dollars to buy Planes from Boeing, wine from CA, Computer Chips, Farm equitment and every thing else we produce here.

    Protectionism will lead to hyper inflation which will kill the middle class in this country.

  15. #15
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    [QUOTE=BrooklynBound]Well, we are helped by it. Those in the industry are hurt. There's no doubt about that. A changing world is painful to those who cannot adapt. However, the entire nation benefits from cheaper prices. It really is a matter of the few vs. the many.

    There's really no justification for protectionism. If there was, we never would have a manufacturing business to begin with - we'd still be an agricultural economy. How many farmers, blacksmiths, etc. lost their jobs to manufacturing plants?[/QUOTE]

    So, other than those left behind/forced to change (i.e. you Blacksmiths and Milkmen), you see no problems/issues with Globalization and the complete loss of American Industrial Power?

  16. #16
    flushingjet
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    as markets and demand for industrial output grew and expanded
    American workers were employed to a greater extent in manufacturing
    shifting from agriculture over decades through the early 1950s

    but things changed

    all levels of govt grew by hiking taxes on corporations
    and individuals,
    which, in addition to introducing all kinds of regulations
    good bad and ugly
    had the net effect of disincenting
    companies from doing business
    particularly in the northeastern US

    prominent companies and industries
    employing thousands vacated entire towns states and regions
    as early as the mid 1950s (Philly, Buffalo)

    organized labor continuously demanded wages and benefits
    disproportionate to their skill level while
    resisting modernity / change (efficiency / productivity quotas)
    as industrial markets became mature and saturated
    companies consolidated / exited many fields in a struggle to survive (appliances, electronics, auto, railroads)

    markets just cant support $30/hr lug nut tighteners
    or featherbedding
    or high/inflationary wages for workers turning
    out commodity products produced more cheaply elsewhere

    some jobs/industries just plain vanished due to technological
    or cultural changes / lack of demand
    some cities /areas could roll with the changes,
    others couldnt.

    for example, Danbury CT
    suffered decline due to men without hats,
    yet the area rebounded. others like Bridgeport (GE), Newark,
    and Camden NJ (RCA) to name a few were severely affected due to loss
    or downsizing of key / major manufacturing employers in response to
    the unfavorable business conditions mentioned above

    cities large and small have had to reinvent themselves
    (education, government offices, financial services, IT, biotech)
    in attempts to stay vital - for every Wilmington DE and
    Worcester MA theres a Paterson or Trenton NJ

    before, the un/lower skilled / less educated could climb socially through hard work at manufacturing jobs
    by a general failure of urban planners to maintain/manage their tax base properly long term
    when those jobs vanished the gap between skilled and unskilled
    by definition grew...
    so many flew

  17. #17
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    [QUOTE=flushingjet]as markets and demand for industrial output grew and expanded
    American workers were employed to a greater extent in manufacturing
    shifting from agriculture over decades through the early 1950s

    but things changed

    all levels of govt grew by hiking taxes on corporations
    and individuals,
    which, in addition to introducing all kinds of regulations
    good bad and ugly
    had the net effect of disincenting
    companies from doing business
    particularly in the northeastern US

    prominent companies and industries
    employing thousands vacated entire towns states and regions
    as early as the mid 1950s (Philly, Buffalo)

    organized labor continuously demanded wages and benefits
    disproportionate to their skill level while
    resisting modernity / change (efficiency / productivity quotas)
    as industrial markets became mature and saturated
    companies consolidated / exited many fields in a struggle to survive (appliances, electronics, auto, railroads)

    markets just cant support $30/hr lug nut tighteners
    or featherbedding
    or high/inflationary wages for workers turning
    out commodity products produced more cheaply elsewhere

    some jobs/industries just plain vanished due to technological
    or cultural changes / lack of demand
    some cities /areas could roll with the changes,
    others couldnt.

    for example, Danbury CT
    suffered decline due to men without hats,
    yet the area rebounded. others like Bridgeport (GE), Newark,
    and Camden NJ (RCA) to name a few were severely affected due to loss
    or downsizing of key / major manufacturing employers in response to
    the unfavorable business conditions mentioned above

    cities large and small have had to reinvent themselves
    (education, government offices, financial services, IT, biotech)
    in attempts to stay vital - for every Wilmington DE and
    Worcester MA theres a Paterson or Trenton NJ

    before, the un/lower skilled / less educated could climb socially through hard work at manufacturing jobs
    by a general failure of urban planners to maintain/manage their tax base properly long term
    when those jobs vanished the gap between skilled and unskilled
    by definition grew...
    so many flew[/QUOTE]

    Very nice, Flush.

  18. #18
    flushingjet
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    [QUOTE=PlumberKhan]Very nice, Flush.[/QUOTE]

    thanks, but that was just the cliffs notes version

    i dont think i painted the whole picture, just the outlines
    like in that colour by numbers thingamajig

    im very tuned in to whats happened-my familys business was at the
    epicenter of , and thrived in,
    our greatest, most productive
    industrial manufacturing era till the end came

    willfully, and naturally but not without regret

    when examining the state of affairs in us manufacturing
    there are questions to be asked

    my dad lamented its decline because he felt manufacturing
    jobs however menial and unskilled and repititious
    were better than being on the dole

    having lived through the depression was/is that mindset still
    valid in the modern era?
    who is owed what exactly-the employer? the local community?
    the employee?

    when a city, a neighborhood, a company "fail"
    what is the yardstick we measure failure by

    take a trip by rail sometime down to philly,
    or upstate to buffalo

    you see hulking remnants,
    and faded, now often obscure names of past industrial might

    philco. admiral. westinghouse. rca.
    union carbide and carbon. rambler.
    pennsylvania railroad.

    to name just a few

    to the youth/young of today, are those names /past days even relevant?

    why should the yoots care about long-gone wool renderers,
    toy companies, ball bearings, and abbatoirs?

    is the demise always tragic? sad?

    was it really so great if you made a decent wage and
    yet were exposed to work hazards?

    sometimes the actions of one party cause the problems
    sometimes its many
    sometimes its the invisible hand of the buyer

    it isnt always just the fault of: mean old exploitative corporations,
    or government pickpockets, or a slothful, ungrateful labor pool

    sometimes its a marketplace thats moved on to the next
    innovation

    or post-modern thinking that allowed landmark
    buildings or neighborhoods to be demolished
    in the name of progress and renewal

  19. #19
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    [QUOTE=Winstonbiggs]Chinese labor rates are going up the standard of living is going up, the RMB is going up and they are becoming consumers at a very fast rate. You really think protecting our markets is going to help labor in the third world?

    The reality is we are allready moving production out of China because it's to expensive and labor is becoming scarce. China is going to fuel demand for American products for the next few decades and they have plenty of dollars to buy Planes from Boeing, wine from CA, Computer Chips, Farm equitment and every thing else we produce here.

    Protectionism will lead to hyper inflation which will [B]kill the middle class in this country[/B].[/QUOTE]

    Staying this course is killing the middle class. Ask those in Mich, Ind, Oh....

  20. #20
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    [QUOTE=Jetdawgg]Staying this course is killing the middle class. Ask those in Mich, Ind, Oh....[/QUOTE]
    No, the inevitable force of globalization is killing workers with skills that aren't highly demanded

    The job market is not static, it's dynamic - we can't expect the old rules to always apply to future business landscapes. We do not do enough to train our youth to adapt to globalization but that doesn't mean protectionism is in our best interests. Unfortunately, those in dying industries need to adapt.

    Those losing jobs in the Midwest are doing so because their costs are too high. We always hear about paying our workers a "living wage" well guess what, that cost gets passed onto the consumer. And they don't want to pay for it when they can buy a cheaper alternative.

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