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How Free Trade Is Killing Middle America
The American Conservative ^ | Jan. 24, 2014 | Patrick J. Buchanan

Posted on 01/24/2014 6:36:50 AM PST by 1rudeboy

“We’ve outsourced our manufacturing and much of our pollution, but some of it is blowing back across the Pacific to haunt us.”

So says University of California scientist Steve Davis. Smog from Chinese factories has already saturated cities like Beijing, where residents go about in surgical masks, and crossed the East China Sea to foul the air of Korea and Japan. Now China’s smog is coming to America’s West.

Among the pollutants wafting their way over the Pacific, says the Guardian, is black carbon, which is “linked to cancer, emphysema and heart and lung diseases,” and travels “huge distances on global winds known as ‘westerlies.’” Davis is one of a team of U.S. and Chinese researchers whose report has been published by the U.S. National Academy of Sciences. As the Chinese factories fouling Asia’s air arose to meet the demands of Western consumers, says Beijing, the West should help pay the cost of cleaning up their polluted and poisoned environment.

Seems that, despite the academic consensus that free trade is win-win for all, free trade is not free.

Great nations that have risen to global power by protecting their manufacturing, like Britain in the early 19th century, have begun their relative decline when they embraced free trade. Between 1870 and 1914, protectionist America and Germany both shoved Britain aside.

Since Y2K, China, which protects its industrial base by keeping its currency artificially cheap, has surged past Italy, Britain, France, Germany, and Japan to become the world’s second largest economy. And they are gaining steadily on us. Free trade appears to be the policy of fading nations.

Perhaps it is time for a profit and loss statement of its costs and benefits. Undeniably, free trade has been a bonanza for the top 1 percent and many among our top 10 percent. As U.S. manufacturers shut down scores of thousands of U.S. factories to finance new plants in Asia, their production costs plummeted. Wages and benefits for Asians were, and are still, but a fraction of those of American workers.

Health, safety, and environmental standards were in some cases almost nonexistent. The eight-story garment factory in Bangladesh that collapsed in April, killing 1,100 workers, mostly women, and injuring another 2,500, would never have passed a U.S. building inspection.

After having shifted production overseas and dramatically lowered costs, U.S. transnationals saw a surge in profits. These were used to push corporate salaries into the stratosphere, increase dividends to shareholders, and keep the Washington lobbyists working the Hill day and night for fast track and free trade. And the lifestyle of our corporate elites changed. Where their fathers walked sooty factory floors in smokestack towns in World War II, these masters of the universe fly Gulfstream Vs to Davos and Dubai to dine with titled Europeans, Saudi princes and Chinese billionaires.

These are America’s winners from free trade. The losers? Middle Americans. The average U.S. family has not seen a rise in real wages in 40 years. This is directly traceable to the loss of more than one-third of all U.S. manufacturing jobs. And that loss, that deindustrialization of America, is directly tied to the $10 trillion in trade deficits since Bush I. Writers who celebrate how U.S. imports have risen in this month or that year almost never mention the trade deficit for this month or that year. Perhaps that is because the United States has not run a trade surplus in four decades, whereas, in the first 70 years of the 20th century, we never ran a trade deficit. Trade surpluses add to GDP; trade deficits subtract from GDP.

And when in a company town the company closes the factory, the town often dies. And all the little satellite businesses—bars, diners, food stores, pharmacies—that rose around the factory, they die, too. The tombstones of countless dead towns across America should read: Killed by Free Trade. Tenured economists on college campuses call this “creative destruction.”

The stagnant wages of two generations of U.S. workers also help to explain the crisis of Social Security and Medicare. For, as workers’ wages fail to rise, or fall, so, too, do their contributions in payroll taxes. If, as Simpson-Bowles contends, our largest entitlement programs are heading for insolvency, free trade played a lead role in that American tragedy. And where is the liberal morality in passing laws to ensure U.S. workers a living wage and clean and safe conditions, and then, through fast track and free trade, signaling their bosses that they can evade these laws by shutting factories here, moving their plants to Asia, paying coolie wages, and subjecting Asian workers to conditions that would earn a U.S. industrialist a tour in Leavenworth?

Whatever happens from free trade is what should happen, free traders say. As Dr. Pangloss explained to Candide, whatever happens, happens for the best in this best of all possible worlds.

Sure.


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Editorial; Foreign Affairs; Government
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In 1985, Roger [Milliken] had come to the White House to persuade me to convince the president to sign a bill to slow the flood of textiles into the country. No way, I told Mr. Milliken. I'm the biggest free-trader in the building, except for the fellow down the hall, who was Ronald Reagan. Roger went away disappointed. Reagan vetoed the bill. And I supervised the writing of the veto message.

Within half a decade, however, some of us had seen the light and enlisted in Roger's crusade to preserve the manufacturing core of the country that he rightly saw as inextricably tied to the prosperity and the pre-eminence of the United States.
--Patrick J. Buchanan, Requiem For a Patriot, January 4, 2011.


1 posted on 01/24/2014 6:36:50 AM PST by 1rudeboy
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To: 1rudeboy

If we want to bring manufacturing back to America we can only do it through regulatory and tax reform. (The core tea party tenets)


2 posted on 01/24/2014 6:40:51 AM PST by cripplecreek (REMEMBER THE RIVER RAISIN!)
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To: 1rudeboy

CHINA is on the RISE!

They don’t play by the rules set down...

They lowered their value of the Chinese currency so that their citizens can’t afford US products...

There are no rules of regulations on pollution control for food production or anything else - other than turning a profit...

Their military is increasing in size and war production...

We played with the devil on Bill Clinton’s urging...and we are paying the price...

The US doesn’t even have a show manufacture anymore - let alone a microwave, TV, or anything else that the typical consumer buys...soon the world will have a stamp on it, “Made in China”...


3 posted on 01/24/2014 6:41:40 AM PST by BCW (Salva reipublicae)
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To: 1rudeboy

“The beneficiaries of free trade are many, and they don’t know who they are. It’s victims are few, and they know who they are.” Milton Friedman.


4 posted on 01/24/2014 6:41:53 AM PST by Daveinyork (IER)
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To: 1rudeboy

Bump.


5 posted on 01/24/2014 6:41:56 AM PST by Cringing Negativism Network ( http://www.census.gov/foreign-trade/balance/c5700.html#2013)
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To: 1rudeboy

Well, one aspect of Free Trade is that while “Fruit of the Loom” left Oklahoma and other parts of the south, underwear is still very affordable.


6 posted on 01/24/2014 6:43:52 AM PST by Vendome (Don't take life so seriously-you won't live through it anyway-Enjoy Yourself ala Louis Prima)
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To: 1rudeboy
How Free Trade Is Killing Middle America

The purpose of 'Free Trade' has always been to destroy the American Middle-class.

7 posted on 01/24/2014 6:45:53 AM PST by Count of Monte Fisto (The foundation of modern society is the denial of reality.)
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To: BCW
soon the world will have a stamp on it, “Made in China”...

"Made in the USA" changed to "Made in Japan," which changed to "Made in China," which will change to "Made in India."

In the aggregate, this is a good thing for America and the world. As other nations become wealthier, they become customers for American products.

8 posted on 01/24/2014 6:46:57 AM PST by St_Thomas_Aquinas ( Isaiah 22:22, Matthew 16:19, Revelation 3:7)
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To: 1rudeboy

I do believe the coming Populist wave is going to include a resurgence of the Ross Perot “No More Free Trade!” position.


9 posted on 01/24/2014 6:48:03 AM PST by Buckeye McFrog
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To: 1rudeboy
Seems that, despite the academic consensus that free trade is win-win for all, free trade is not free.

Academic consensus ... hmmm ....

There's that cool statist word consensus. The consenus on free trade is just as valid as the consensus on man made global warmining, er make that man made climate change.

"Absolute free trade between countries does not exist. While some pay lip service to free trade, all countries (except perhaps the United States) manage their trade to serve their own national interests.
...................
Free trade is successful among our 50 states because: (1) all our 50 states are under one Congress; the U.S. Constitution empowers Congress to regulate interstate commerce (Art. I, Sec. 8), (2) all our 50 states are under one Supreme Court, which is the final arbiter of disputes, (3) all our 50 states are subject to the same federal laws about banking, labor, and the environment, (4) all our 50 states use the U.S. dollar as the legal medium of exchange and none of the 50 states can issue worthless money to pay for imported products, or devalue its currency against the other states, (5) all 50 states are constitutionally forbidden to impair the obligation of contracts (Art. I, Sec. 10) or confiscate property without due process (Amendment V).

Free Trade, Protectionism, NAFTA, and GATT
10 posted on 01/24/2014 6:48:17 AM PST by khelus
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To: St_Thomas_Aquinas

What products?


11 posted on 01/24/2014 6:49:02 AM PST by Last Dakotan
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To: 1rudeboy

http://www.gopusa.com/commentary/2014/01/24/the-us-chamber-of-commerce-versus-america/?subscriber=1


12 posted on 01/24/2014 6:52:26 AM PST by headstamp 2 (What would Scooby do?)
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To: 1rudeboy

These are the same people so, enamoured of ‘free trade’, who try to force Kyoto-like agreements on the US, while demanding NOTHING as rigorous of other countries... themselves THE greatest polluters!


13 posted on 01/24/2014 6:54:43 AM PST by SMARTY ("When you blame others, you give up your power to change." Robert Anthony)
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To: Last Dakotan
Exports of Goods by End-Use Category and Commodity (.pdf file)
14 posted on 01/24/2014 6:58:23 AM PST by 1rudeboy
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To: 1rudeboy

In 2007-08 Willard was urging trade with China and insisting that China be given favorite nation status...


15 posted on 01/24/2014 7:01:45 AM PST by Tennessee Nana
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To: Daveinyork
I tend to agree w/ you.

Now, w/ the elevation of world wide standard of living, I believe that the American worker, coupled w/ American inventiveness, can once again be competitive.

There is a new economy coming, not based so much on mass production, but rather mass information.

16 posted on 01/24/2014 7:06:38 AM PST by Pietro
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To: Tennessee Nana

There’s no such thing as “favorite nation” status. “Most favored nation” status (a term that creates a lot of confusion) means that the nation operates off of the standard tariff sheet. There are some exceptions for specific products, but that is a separate issue.


17 posted on 01/24/2014 7:09:13 AM PST by 1rudeboy
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To: 1rudeboy

Well, it’s not like everybody woke up and suddenly decided to outsource Industry. Outsourced industry is a result of hostile business conditions that have systematically forced American Manufacturing to foreign (more importantly, less regulated and taxed) sources.

Chief among them are onerous EPA regulations, onerous Labor relations, high taxation and high cost of serviceable infrastructure. Mostly political reasons as higher government spending and associated costs just force higher and higher taxation.

Other reasons are now coming into play as our education system continues to dumb down the work force and make it even less competitive to foreign companies. This is egregious as it damages and erodes our future dominance or presence in global research.

We won’t educate our next generation properly and we’re too eager to educate foreign nationals that merely depart with the education and technology and contribute little to the U.S.

All this by design so that the rest of the world can catch up to western technological and living standards ostensibly for the greater global good — however only the U.S seems to be making this sacrifice (not that the sacrifice was a good idea anyway)

Then when you talk about and realize how IP, copyright and patent regulations are further crippling our competitiveness you start painting this picture that shows you how inept and inefficient liberal socialism is.

The left and the right continues to mortgage the future on all fronts of U.S Industry. They trade the more important competitiveness of tomorrow for the illusion of competitiveness of today just to maintain their constituency. Trading the future for today.

Now we should understand the saying: “A fish rots from the head down”.


18 posted on 01/24/2014 7:14:55 AM PST by Usagi_yo
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To: BCW
They lowered their value of the Chinese currency so that their citizens can’t afford US products...

Virtually every industrialized country, including us, have done the same thing: screwing asset holders to provide free capital.

19 posted on 01/24/2014 7:19:52 AM PST by Carry_Okie (Grovelnator Shwarzenkaiser: fasionable fascism one charade at a time.)
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To: Count of Monte Fisto

The reason they push free trade on us is to keep inflation from going through the roof.

If everything were made in America again, no one using today’s dollars could afford to buy anything made in America.

Just look at the goods and services still produced in America—the cost of all have skyrocketed: healthcare, real estate, insurance, education, transportation, etc.


20 posted on 01/24/2014 7:24:12 AM PST by Age of Reason
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To: Usagi_yo
Outsourced industry is a result of hostile business conditions that have systematically forced American Manufacturing to foreign (more importantly, less regulated and taxed) sources.

Correct.

Chief among them are onerous EPA regulations, onerous Labor relations, high taxation and high cost of serviceable infrastructure. Mostly political reasons as higher government spending and associated costs just force higher and higher taxation.

Guess who funded the lawsuits to "force" those regulations? It was tax-exempt "charitable" foundations belonging to the investors seeking to profit from moving production overseas, cloaking themselves in "reducing global poverty" while making an artificially inflated profit.

Other reasons are now coming into play as our education system continues to dumb down the work force

Guess who has funded the destruction of the next generation? It was Rockefeller who funded Kinsey and Carnegie and Ford who funded "educational reform."

21 posted on 01/24/2014 7:27:13 AM PST by Carry_Okie (Grovelnator Shwarzenkaiser: fasionable fascism one charade at a time.)
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To: Pietro
There is a new economy coming, not based so much on mass production, but rather mass information.

Please explain . . . if you can.

22 posted on 01/24/2014 7:28:10 AM PST by Age of Reason
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To: Age of Reason

I not saying that ending Free Trade would be a panacea but with jobs and money coming in we would have the means to solve those other problems. With jobs and money we could afford those higher prices. Without jobs and wealth creation we are dead in the water.


23 posted on 01/24/2014 7:28:23 AM PST by Count of Monte Fisto (The foundation of modern society is the denial of reality.)
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To: cripplecreek
If we want to bring manufacturing back to America we can only do it through regulatory and tax reform.

Exactly, perfectly correct.

24 posted on 01/24/2014 7:28:30 AM PST by Hardastarboard (The question of our age is whether a majority of Americans can and will vote us all into slavery.)
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To: Age of Reason

>> There is a new economy coming, not based so much on mass production, but rather mass information.
>
> Please explain . . . if you can.

With the advent of cheap 3D printing there’s a huge increase of ‘producers’.
Because of Supply & Demand, this means that much production will become cheap — the thing that will go up in demand are people who understand and can use information, already a valuable commodity, which will create a demand for readily accessible information.


25 posted on 01/24/2014 7:32:34 AM PST by OneWingedShark (Q: Why am I here? A: To do Justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with my God.)
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To: 1rudeboy

Iow, *IT’S OUR FAULT*.

Laughable if not so darn sad on so many levels (as comments show).


26 posted on 01/24/2014 7:33:18 AM PST by cyn (Benghazi.)
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To: cyn
It is our fault. We elect these bozos, and they go to DC and tell us we can't use wood-burning stoves (and spend $1.40 for every $1.00 we give them).

I read somewhere that Sweden now has stronger protection of private property than the U.S.

27 posted on 01/24/2014 7:36:35 AM PST by 1rudeboy
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To: Pietro
There is a new economy coming, not based so much on mass production, but rather mass information.

I've been hearing that same garbage for over twenty years. It Hope-y and Change-y nonsense.

28 posted on 01/24/2014 7:39:09 AM PST by Count of Monte Fisto (The foundation of modern society is the denial of reality.)
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To: Vendome
Well, one aspect of Free Trade is that while “Fruit of the Loom” left Oklahoma and other parts of the south, underwear is still very affordable.

So are you one of those economic idiots that think if we made underwear in the USA they would cost $10.00 a pair? What poppy cock; how much labor do think goes into a pair of skivies?

29 posted on 01/24/2014 7:53:06 AM PST by central_va (I won't be reconstructed and I do not give a damn.)
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To: Count of Monte Fisto

You missed my point.

I wasn’t defending some need to continue free trade.

Rather, I was proposing a reason the disaster of free trade was foisted on us and continues to be foisted on us.


30 posted on 01/24/2014 7:53:21 AM PST by Age of Reason
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To: Count of Monte Fisto
The purpose of 'Free Trade' has always been to destroy the American Middle-class.

Just read what Karl Marx said about free trade.

31 posted on 01/24/2014 7:53:56 AM PST by central_va (I won't be reconstructed and I do not give a damn.)
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To: Hardastarboard

I also think its time to start cutting taxes at the bottom. Things like payroll and income taxes. The insane way we tax manufacturing has got to go as well.

I think it would be a winner with the people across the board. After all, how can idiots protesting for a higher minimum wage oppose taking less out of their paychecks?


32 posted on 01/24/2014 7:54:43 AM PST by cripplecreek (REMEMBER THE RIVER RAISIN!)
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To: central_va

Marx said that free trade would destroy the middle class. Good to see Marxists on this thread.


33 posted on 01/24/2014 7:56:29 AM PST by 1rudeboy
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To: OneWingedShark

So what do you do with the bottom 50% who can’t adapt?

You either provide jobs or welfare to them. It’s much better to find work for them to do.


34 posted on 01/24/2014 7:57:41 AM PST by crusher2013
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To: Usagi_yo
onerous Labor relations,

I'd like to check you knowledge in this area:

What is the percentage of manufacturing workers in the USA are in a union?

  1. 10%
  2. 50%
  3. 70%
  4. almost all

35 posted on 01/24/2014 7:58:11 AM PST by central_va (I won't be reconstructed and I do not give a damn.)
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To: Count of Monte Fisto

Maybe this is a better way to say it:

They push free trade on us so they can print money with abandon and not cause inflation.


36 posted on 01/24/2014 7:58:29 AM PST by Age of Reason
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To: 1rudeboy

” The tombstones of countless dead towns across America should read: Killed by Free Trade.”

Killed by unions and automation.


37 posted on 01/24/2014 7:58:51 AM PST by Beagle8U (Unions are Affirmative Action for Slackers! .)
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To: Age of Reason
If everything were made in America again, no one using today’s dollars could afford to buy anything made in America.

That is ABSOLUTLRY NOT TRUE. Labor is just one component in manufacturing, one of the smallest too.

38 posted on 01/24/2014 7:59:29 AM PST by central_va (I won't be reconstructed and I do not give a damn.)
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To: 1rudeboy
Marx said that free trade would destroy the middle class. Good to see Marxists on this thread.

I studied Soviet Naval tactics extensively when I was in the US Navy so does that make me a Communist? Know your enemy is my motto.

39 posted on 01/24/2014 8:02:14 AM PST by central_va (I won't be reconstructed and I do not give a damn.)
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To: 1rudeboy
What amazes me about these threads is that eventually everyone admits what is hurting manufacturing jobs in the USA is government intervention in the markets (EPA, Taxes, OSHA, etc.) But then the Unionistas cry that the only way to fix the problem is:

wait for it...

wait for it...

wait for it...

MORE government intervention in the markets!

40 posted on 01/24/2014 8:03:36 AM PST by Mad Dawgg (If you're going to deny my 1st Amendment rights then I must proceed to the 2nd one...)
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To: Hardastarboard
"If we want to bring manufacturing back to America we can only do it through regulatory and tax reform. Exactly, perfectly correct. "

You forgot coolie wages and pollution.

41 posted on 01/24/2014 8:03:41 AM PST by ex-snook (God is Love)
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To: Mad Dawgg

Do you know the percentage of MANUFACTURING workers are in a union? DO I need to tell you? (Your fighting the last war, try to speed up)


42 posted on 01/24/2014 8:04:55 AM PST by central_va (I won't be reconstructed and I do not give a damn.)
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To: central_va
"Do you know the percentage of MANUFACTURING workers are in a union? DO I need to tell you? (Your fighting the last war, try to speed up)"

See this is your problem. You claim that the low number of manufacturing jobs that are union backs up your theory. When it actually disproves it.

Unionistas want to tax and regulate the market to try and force companies to create jobs in the USA when that is exactly why they are disappearing.

Try and learn its not working AND MORE OF THE SAME WILL MAKE IT EVEN MORESO!

43 posted on 01/24/2014 8:10:05 AM PST by Mad Dawgg (If you're going to deny my 1st Amendment rights then I must proceed to the 2nd one...)
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To: Mad Dawgg

The government fixes everything it breaks. And while there is such thing as a free lunch, there’s no such thing as the Law of Unintended Consequences. I know because Marx told me.


44 posted on 01/24/2014 8:13:17 AM PST by 1rudeboy
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To: Mad Dawgg
Unionistas want to tax and regulate the market to try and force companies to create jobs in the USA when that is exactly why they are disappearing.

Bull crap the number of Right - Work - States is growing. Union presence in manufacturing is dead and nothing will bring that back. Get real. So what is the percentage? DO YOU KNOW THE ANSWER?

45 posted on 01/24/2014 8:15:42 AM PST by central_va (I won't be reconstructed and I do not give a damn.)
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To: OneWingedShark
the thing that will go up in demand are people who understand and can use information

What a crock.

That will be good for THOSE people. Where I live, there are a lot of white young men whose dads used to grow stuff or make stuff. The ones who CAN'T "understand and use information" are about 75%, and if they have no work, they do meth and heroin and commit petty crimes.

If we keep growing THAT population, it won't matter how cheap sh*t is at WalMart.

And if your answer is "education", save it. The average working guy is what he is. For the smart ones (25%), there's more education than they know what to do with. For the rest, there's nothing past 10th grade that's worth doing.

46 posted on 01/24/2014 8:15:43 AM PST by Jim Noble (When strong, avoid them. Attack their weaknesses. Emerge to their surprise.)
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To: Usagi_yo
Well, it’s not like everybody woke up and suddenly decided to outsource Industry. Outsourced industry is a result of hostile business conditions that have systematically forced American Manufacturing to foreign (more importantly, less regulated and taxed) sources. Chief among them are onerous EPA regulations, onerous Labor relations, high taxation and high cost of serviceable infrastructure. Mostly political reasons as higher government spending and associated costs just force higher and higher taxation.

Other reasons are now coming into play as our education system continues to dumb down the work force and make it even less competitive to foreign companies. This is egregious as it damages and erodes our future dominance or presence in global research.

Well stated.

47 posted on 01/24/2014 8:16:00 AM PST by Alex Murphy ("the defacto Leader of the FR Calvinist Protestant Brigades")
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To: central_va
"So what is the percentage? DO YOU KNOW THE ANSWER?"

When it gets to zero then I will know my work is done! (But now I am focusing on right to work in every state and destroying the public employee unions!)

48 posted on 01/24/2014 8:18:01 AM PST by Mad Dawgg (If you're going to deny my 1st Amendment rights then I must proceed to the 2nd one...)
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To: central_va
Unionistas want to tax and regulate the market to try and force companies to create jobs in the USA

So what? That's their function.

And if the result is my American brothers and sisters having work instead of cooking meth and doing break-ins, you know what?

I'm fine with it.

49 posted on 01/24/2014 8:18:32 AM PST by Jim Noble (When strong, avoid them. Attack their weaknesses. Emerge to their surprise.)
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To: central_va; Age of Reason

“That is ABSOLUTLRY NOT TRUE. Labor is just one component in manufacturing, one of the smallest too.”

Exchange the word “labor” for ‘all expenses related to employing a worker’ and it is correct.

The term labor covers all the cost of employing a human worker.

Machines require no workmans comp insurance, no osha to protect their health, no wages or benefits, no SS or FICA matching funds, the list is endless for the cost of employing workers.


50 posted on 01/24/2014 8:18:59 AM PST by Beagle8U (Unions are Affirmative Action for Slackers! .)
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