Examiner #18 – Where have all the jobs gone?
The national unemployment rate is 9.7% with a caveat that the adjusted rate is closer to 17%. The unemployment rate in lee County, Florida is 17% and the rate adjusted for underemployment and discouraged applicants is closer to 25%. The Fort Myers-Cape Coral area recently won the dubious distinction of having the highest unemployment rate in the nation. The federal government is finally officially recognizing the crisis and has enacted a hopelessly inadequate jobs stimulus package of 18 billion dollars. Unfortunately, nothing of substance will result from the late and insufficient action!
One must first recognize the nature of unemployment in the USA if there is to be a realistic solution. Our political and business leaders have ignored the genesis of our current problem for far too long. Through their inaction, they may have created permanent structural unemployment in our country. The consequences of free trade and illegal immigration have debilitated our economy and produced the high unemployment rates we are currently experiencing.
Since 1976, the USA has had a horrific string of uninterrupted trade deficits which has cost our economy over 7.2 trillion dollars. During the same period, tens of millions of jobs were lost to foreign manufacturers who have the clear advantage of a penny labor force, hardly any labor laws and very few environmental concerns. None the less, our leaders continue to expand the losing trade relationships by incentivizing American producers to shift their production to foreign countries. It makes no financial sense for the vast majority of Americans, but it is obviously quite profitable for our multi-national corporations and our corrupted congress. It appears we are intent on committing national economic suicide, for a profit.
The issue of illegal immigration is another financial nail in the coffin of the USA economy. Both parties have railed against the illegals, but neither party has done anything to enforce existing laws. The undocumented worker is willing and able to work for lower pay and subsequently has caused the loss of work for millions of American citizens. In addition, the scale of wages in related career fields has fallen due to the increased competition for the available jobs. Essentially, our government leaders at the request of their corporate sponsors have artificially inflated the labor force resulting in an oversupply of workers. Businesses love this situation because lower wages generally means higher profits.
The solution to the present day economic crisis is clear. The USA needs good paying work. The living wage jobs are immediately available if our leaders do the right thing for America. Repealing the free trade agreements and enforcing the immigration laws would result in a revitalized economy with increased opportunities for every American citizen. It’s time we all be concerned with the future of our country!