The Job Crisis and the GOP
President Bush and his advisers are puzzled
Economic liftoff took place right on schedule in July when the tax cuts took
effect. In the last six months of 2003, the economy blazed along on a growth
path of 6 percent. But where are the jobs?
Last week's jobs report, with hundreds of thousands giving up the search for
work, and manufacturing jobs disappearing for the 43rd straight month,
jolted the White House. What is going on?
They're calling it a jobless recovery. Wrong. Millions of jobs are being
created. They're just not being created here in the United States.
The reasons can be traced to these four acronyms: NAFTA, GATT, WTO, PNTR.
These are the trade treaties and global institutions that have permitted the
historic substitution of foreign labor for American labor, to the enrichment
of the transnational companies that look upon the Congress as a wholly owned
Numbers do not lie. In 2003, America exported $1 trillion in goods and
services. Almost 10 percent of GDP. Excellent. By the Clinton-Bush I rule –
$1 billion in exports creates 20,000 jobs – that $1 trillion worth of
exports created 20 million jobs. Exports are good for America.
The problem? We imported $1.5 trillion in goods and services. That created
or supported 30 million jobs abroad. But even this understates the case. For
foreign workers can be hired at a fraction of the cost of a U.S. worker. Our
$1.5 trillion in imports is probably supporting 150,000,000 jobs abroad.
The U.S. trade deficit is the greatest foreign aid and wealth transfer
program in history, and our workers are paying for it by the loss to their
families of the American Dream.
Consider China. With some $150 billion in imports from China last year, we
supported 3 million jobs there. But as China's wages are a tenth of U.S.
wages, or less, we are probably talking about 30 million or 40 million jobs
in China that are tied to exports to the United States.
For the Bush Republicans, the chickens are coming home to roost.
As Robert Novak reports, North Carolina welcomed Sen. John Edwards home
after his unsuccessful campaign as a hero. Why? At the end, Edwards was a
fiery adversary of the Bush-Clinton trade deals, a denunciator of NAFTA, a
champion of workers. Indeed, just as almost all the Democrats ended up the
campaign sounding like Howard Dean on Iraq, on trade they had all begun to
sound like Dennis Kucinich.
North Carolina may now be in play in November, says Novak. If so, and Bush
loses the Tarheel State, he loses the presidency.
At a weekend conference on immigration and jobs hosted by The American
Cause, which this writer chairs, one speaker blurted out that while he voted
for Bush in 2000, he would never do so again. The room erupted in applause,
though virtually all there were conservatives, and all had once been
The crisis of the Bush dynasty is that, like the Bourbons of France, they
have learned nothing and forgotten nothing. They do not understand that we
have entered a new world where the old ways no longer work. They yet recite
the old litanies that lost their relevance in the Reagan decade.
When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, and India abandoned state
socialism, and China threw open its doors, a billion workers were thrown
onto a global job market to compete against Americans who earn 10 and 20
times their wages.
The trade deals the U.S. government then negotiated, at the behest of U.S.
corporations, were not really trade deals at all, but enabling acts. U.S.
corporations were told: You can now shut your U.S. factories, shed your U.S.
workers, build your new plants in Mexico, China and India, and bring your
finished goods back to the United States, free of charge. Go for it!
As Paul Craig Roberts writes, what is happening is not "free trade" in the
Adam Smith sense where Portugal makes wine and Britain makes textiles and
ships. What is happening is the mass transfer of the "factors of production"
from First World countries to Third World countries.
What is happening in the world is what happened in America after World War
II, when factories moved to the Sun Belt in search of non-union labor that
would work as hard for half of what the high-paid workers in the industrial
heartland demanded and got.
Asia is the new Sun Belt, and America is fated to be the "Rust Belt" of the
world, as China becomes the factory floor of the global economy and India,
through outsourcing, its back office.
Republican free-trade dogma inhibits action to protect U.S. jobs. The GOP is
hogtied and hamstrung by its ideology in dealing with the crisis. Its only
response is to mutter with Dr. Pangloss that it is all for the best.
The GOP is fortunate its opponent in 2004 is John F. Kerry, who is as
clueless as they are on the new world economy that has been designed, and is
operating, to loot America of her patrimony.
© 2004 Creators
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