Blogs by William G. Davis
Scary Stuff #2
9/22/2006 8:41:27 AM
Employment in the U. S. automotive industry has dropped by 200,000 jobs over the past four years. During that time, imports of Chinese auto parts have doubled. Just last week Ford Motor Company announced it is planning buyouts of 75,000 of its American factory workers.
In 2000 over 100,000 jobs were outsourced (sent out of the U.S.). In 2005 over 500,000 jobs were lost and within 10 years an estimated 3.3 million will be affected.
96 percent of clothing production is now done outside our borders. Last year 37 textile factories closed in North and South Carolina,
Our own Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that over 14 million Americans are at risk of having their jobs outsourced.
Management consultants conduct seminars for American corporations to provide information on how to outsource their American operations. According to Lou Dobbs in his book Exporting America, “The thing that’s not being communicated at these conferences is that American multinational companies that are outsourcing and offshoring are … essentially firing their customers. India can provide our software; China can provide our toys; Sri Lanka can make our clothes; Japan can make our cars. But at some point we have to ask, what will we export? At what will Americans work? And for what kind of wages? No one I’ve asked in government, business, or academia has been able to answer those questions.”
How did this happen?
During the past two decades, while we were busy raising our families, making a living, and pursuing our leisure time activities, multi-national corporations and international financiers were at work “globalizing” the world economy. American trade negotiators signed on to various international agreements that benefited what they called “free trade.” A couple you may or may not have heard of. One was the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the other was NAFTA. Free trade actually meant that our borders and our workers were no longer protected from cheap foreign manufactured goods getting an unfair advantage to our own workers and production facilities.
Through lobbying and campaign contributions, our representatives in Congress were sold a bill of goods as to how these agreements would ‘benefit’ our own economy. They didn’t, and today we are reaping the consequences, a wholesale loss of jobs. We have sacrificed our American sovereign right to enact tariffs to an international body. If we try to protect our economy and our workers, that body can decree trade sanctions against us. You and me.
Some deal, huh?
What can we do? Find out how your congressmen and your Senators feel about this issue. There are several that have proposed legislation to try to fix it. Rep. Bernard Sanders of Vermont introduced the Defending American Jobs Act of 2004 with 50 co-sponsors from both the Democratic and Republican parties. It obviously didn’t pass since the problem of American job loss persists. Powerful forces lobby against such measures that try to protect the American worker.
Another congressman speaking out against these trade agreements is Rep. Dennis Kucinich of Ohio. While I’ve always considered him some wild-eyed liberal nut, what he says on this issue makes sense. “ …Canceling NAFTA and the WTO will enable the U.S. to protect high-tech jobs from outsourcing … We must not tolerate the loopholes and offshore profit shifting that corporations engage in to get out paying their fair share of taxes … We live in strange times when patriotism merely extends to unnecessary wars and not to protecting the lives and welfare of American families by keeping jobs here. It is necessary to promote a new corporate responsibility and sense of shared commitment, so that the race to minimize wages … and maximize … profits in already profitable businesses is considered unpatriotic and punishable …”
So here’s the challenge. When you go out shopping for clothes, electronics or most other non-food items, try to find something that is still ‘Made in the U.S.A. If you do, pack it up in plastic, put it away, and then bring it out in twenty years and offer it up for sale on e-Bay. It should be as rare as Mickey Mantle’s rookie baseball card.
That’s no joke. If we don’t get Congress to do something about this loss of American jobs, we’ll all be learning to say, “Do you want to super-size that?”
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