Okay, a mea culpa, of sorts; I’ve written in the past that I want to see manufacturing jobs come home from overseas. I note two reasons. One, I feel that American military strength has been weakened by the loss of working factories that might be converted during an actual, existential war. (What, do you think China would continue to supply the US with steel should the US and China go to war?) Two, they were good-paying jobs. Both statements remain true but the second half, the “good-paying jobs” part needs a bit of an update.
I had occasion to watch Bernie Sanders’ internet Town Hall with Michael Moore and Elizabeth Warren. They had a guest on the panel, Cindy Estrada – the current Vice President of the UAW. She made the point – correctly, to my mind – that those jobs weren’t “good paying” because of the job itself but because they were unionized jobs.
A large segment of our society has been deceived by what people call Right to Work states. 28 states have instituted “Right to Work Laws.” Right to Work takes the position that people have the right to work without joining unions. Whenever I hear Right to Work, I always think, “Wait…the slaves had a “right to work” as well…”
The fact is, labor is a commodity. The idea that workers might band together to protect worker interest is VERY “Capitalist.” It’s just that the Capitalists don’t like unions. Being forced to pay a fair wage, they contend, harms their overall profits. I’d say that’s true. The Antebellum South didn’t pay their “workers” at all and profits soared – for a few. Today, the closer an employer can get to that model, the higher the profit for the company. But it’s not good for the workers and, long-term, it’s not good for the overall economy. The Antebellum South was a poverty-stricken hell-hole for most of the inhabitants.
So, in retrospect, it wasn’t “manufacturing jobs” the corporations outsourced so much as it was the UNION jobs. They told us, honestly, that the US was going to become a “service economy.” As it happens, many service jobs weren’t unionized. Note that they were and are low-paying. So, my correction is this: it’s less important to “bring back” manufacturing jobs (at least for that reason) and MORE important to start unionizing service jobs.
Yes, I include burger-flippers. No, I don’t want to pay $15 dollars for a fast food product. Of course, if all workers are paid a decent, living wage one COULD pay that but the truth is, these corporations make BILLIONS of dollars in profits every year. They COULD pay a living wage and still make money – just not quite so much.
I’ll tell you this: when all is said and done, it all comes down to one point; if a person is ready, willing, and able to work 40 hours a week, they have a right to earn a living wage.
Speaking of making money, I’ve begun to suspect that our National Embarrassment is doing so with his mouth (or his Twitter account). He puts out a comment, say, about tariffs on Steel. Stocks drop. He updates his position. Stocks recover.
During the drop – if you know it’s coming (because you’re about to say something that will bring it about) – why wouldn’t you use what’s left of the vast fortune your daddy built to buy the temporarily declined stocks at bargain basement rates and then “update” your position, bringing the stock price back up?
I’ll make the numbers up for an example. Let’s say a stock trades at $10 dollars a share. Trump throws out some threat and the stock drops to $5 dollars a share. Trump buys 5,000 shares and then recants his threat. He just made $25,000 and all he had to do was undermine the stock market for a few hours – or days, depending upon how much he needs.
Of course, Trump supporters (yes, there are still far too many) will call that “smart.” I don’t think he’s smart. I think he’s a schemer and schemers don’t have to be smart. What I call it is illegal stock market manipulation. Insider trading at it’s worst.
I’ll tell you this: I’ve stopped being surprised to find ‘Trump’ and ‘worst’ in the same sentence…