By Mark Wachtler
November 27, 2011. Los Angeles. (ONN) Democrats and Republicans around the country are scratching their heads wondering where all of America’s jobs went. A report released by the Scripts Howard News Service and detailed in this weekend’s Chicago Sun Times shows that cities like Chicago lost a staggering one-third of their manufacturing jobs over the past ten years. In fact, Chicago has lost more jobs than any other city in the nation except Los Angeles with its larger population. Where did they go and why?
The 3 men who purposely changed America from a manufacturing-based economy into a service-based economy.
Scripts Howard data shows that in the ten years from 2000 to 2010, Los Angeles County lost 113,000 manufacturing jobs. That compares to 89,100 lost manufacturing jobs in Chicago’s Cook County and 84,000 in the already hard-hit Detroit area. Overall, US factory workers filled 17.3 million jobs in 2000. By 2010, that number had shrunk to 11.8 million.
According to the Chicago Sun Times and the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the specific manufacturing jobs that have disappeared at the largest numbers include:
Contrast that with the fastest gaining jobs over the same time period:
This author remembers President George HW Bush’s historic speech to the nation like it was yesterday. Twenty years ago, the former President explained to the nation how a bipartisan effort was about to transform the American employment landscape. It was going to be the glorious result of Bush’s ‘Voo-doo economics’ - another name for his predecessor Ronald Reagan’s ‘Trickle-down economics’. When the jobs and government welfare never trickled down from the rich to the rest of society under Reagan, Bush reassured America that it would under his economic plan, though he couldn’t explain how since his policies were the same as Reagan’s. For that reason, his plan was termed ‘voodoo’, as in the jobs will appear magically.
While the above sounds like a bad joke, it couldn’t be any more real. And that’s the extreme right turn in America’s national economic compass that directly led to the country’s devastated jobs picture today.
The America that was supposed to be
President Bush Sr. explained how America was going to willfully trade its manufacturing jobs for service jobs. American workers were going to thank him and the bipartisan Republican and Democratic effort that gave us this new reality. According to the former President, here’s how today’s America would look.
The Federal government would remove all obstacles, and in many cases provide financial assistance, for America’s manufacturers to lay off their American work force and move to Mexico – enter NAFTA. The US Chamber of Commerce even published a booklet titled, ‘Opportunity in Mexico’ to help guide America’s corporations to the land of cheaper labor and no unions.
With corporations now paying workers only a few dollars a day, with no paid days off, injury liability, health insurance, child labor laws, or any other costly constraints, America’s corporations would be flooded with an explosion in profits. Those Nike shoes that cost $12 a pair to make in America now only cost $0.80 to make in Indonesia. With the company selling the shoes for $150 a pair, profits soared. In fact, profits at most American corporations increased exponentially, just as President Bush promised.
With millionaires now multi-millionaires and multi-millionaires now billionaires, that richest and elite 5 percent of the American population would now hire the other 95 percent to perform luxurious services like painting mum’s toenails, mowing the mansion’s lawn, preparing gourmet dinners in the 5,000 square-foot kitchen, washing the fleet of Rolls Royces, working at Starbucks, Hooters and the casino to satisfy the elite’s guilty pleasures, and a host of other luxuries and pampered services that fill the lifestyles of the rich and famous. President Bush promised that not only would these jobs servicing the super-rich pay better than factory jobs, but they would be cushy and easy jobs, almost like getting paid to have fun. With each multi-millionaire employing 95 American servants, the nation’s employment picture was sure to be a utopia by 2010.
The America they gave us
Here we are though, 20 years later. America’s corporations took advantage of the global trade deals that opened US markets to products made by slaves or an army of children forced into labor. To compete, US corporations laid off their American workers by the millions just as President Bush promised. They moved their American factories to countries like China, Indonesia and India where there is no enforcement of anti-slavery laws. Turning a blind eye as they outsourced their manufacturing to foreign subcontractors, America’s corporations found themselves swimming in higher profits, just as the President promised.
But instead of being showered upon the American people, those skyrocketing profits have instead been used to line the pockets of the most elite one percent and economically conquer even more regions of the Earth. It’s also been shown that America’s corporations are sitting on trillions of dollars in extra profits thanks to the one-sided, bipartisan deal with the American people. It’s just sitting in off-shore bank accounts, growing ever larger.
And at the same time, the American people are suffering, wondering where their manufacturing jobs went. With the national news media owned by the very same corporations that traded our jobs for profits, like none other than General Electric for example, the American people are in no danger of ever finding out the truth.
The Chicago Sun Times article mentioned above quotes the chief economist for the National Manufacturers Association Chad Moutray, “We’ve lost some high-skilled areas of manufacturing in the US due to a lot of short-sightedness, quite frankly, on our part.” Attempting to convince unemployed Americans that they’re not really unemployed, Moutray explained, “The conventional wisdom out there is that manufacturing is dead. But that’s just not true at all. The US produces more goods than any other country in the world. We are number one. China is number two.”
The above account doesn’t confirm it, but “The conventional wisdom” also considers companies like General Electric as American companies. GE however, actually has more foreign employees than American employees. Read the most popular Whiteout Press article ever written, ‘Jobs Czar sends American Jobs to China’. The article details how immediately after GE CEO Jeff Immelt was named as President Obama’s ‘Jobs Czar’, he shuttered GE’s X-ray division headquarters after more than a century of being located in Wisconsin, and announced its relocation in China. That however is nothing new and only one more example of what’s happened to America’s jobs.
It’s not too late to make good on the Reagan/Bush/Clinton/Bush promise. Each of America’s multi-millionaires only need to hire 95 American servants. That was the promise by Reagan, the Bushes, Clinton and the leadership of both political parties. But we all know that’s not going to happen. Why the American people fell for this scam 20 years ago is a mystery to most. But for those of us who lived it and fought against it two decades ago, we remember quite bitterly.
Instead of giving a stage to fierce opponents like the Teamsters, Pat Buchanan, Jesse Jackson, Ross Perot and a host of others who tried to warn the American people, the corporate owned national media instead only presented the corporation’s side. Dan Rather, Diane Sawyer, Peter Jennings and the rest of America’s most trusted commentators called NAFTA critics names like ‘protectionists’, ‘isolationists’ and even ‘racists’ and ‘bigots’. ABC, NBC, CBS and CNN assured us that in 2011, America would be flooded with more high-paying service jobs than the country would know what to do with.
Well ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, Republicans, Democrats – what happened to your promise?