By PETER ROSE
I’ve mentioned this before; forgive me for repeating myself.
But think about this (again): In 1965, 95 percent of all of the clothes that were bought in the USA were made in the USA.
By 2005 (just 40 years later), our 95 percent share had shrunk to 5 percent.
The jobs lost over that span were massive.
Imagine all the workers displaced, their jobs – in essence – transferred to mainly Asian workforces. Apparel manufacturers moved their machinery and entire factories at great expense, because they knew how fast the pay-back was on that expense.
Other businesses have suffered the same fate.
I don’t know how many Americans lost their jobs due to supposedly free trade, across all industries. Millions of jobs, though. And evidently, there was nothing that could be seen in that complete collapse of an industry that would have made them all stop and think a moment.
Americans were damaged by that exodus. America was damaged, because nobody said “Hold on, there.”
We just let so many jobs just plain go away. It’s so vile….
“Free Trade” is a term to be used with great restraint. The idea is perhaps intended to be noble, but all sorts of mechanisms are in place to protect the industries that each country feels must not be allowed to founder.
We, on the other hand, say something like “Well, if China is cheaper, you’re just going to have to adapt.” “Or fail.”
Government bought the mantra of “let the market manage itself” hook line and sinker.
Just like they bought trickle down economics, not smart enough to realize that “bubbling up” is infinitely more effective and powerful than trickling down for the bulk of America.
A market driven economy has some allure from one point of view, but ultimately, ceding all efforts to manage our financial system has damaged that system horribly.
Businesses that made such calamitous decisions to put Americans out of work so they could make more money should have been made aware that the products they would be importing would cost more due to taxes and tariffs.
There easily could have been such a counter move, and what, then, would have been the outcome?
Because “leadership” acted as if it had no real choice, capitalism mutated to become this current, distorted version of itself, treating Americans as disposable and expendable.
This is the capitalism that has people seeking other paths to follow. Capitalism is a very good thing, when it is managed. But it has not been, nor is it being managed.
Bizarrely, many people here believe that China has stolen our jobs. A very inaccurate picture has been painted, creating villains to hate.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I believe China is a very real problem on many fronts. They don’t get a pass from me, but the issue I am addressing was created by American capitalism, capitalism that was not controlled at all by those that should have protected America and Americans. As the process unfolded and accelerated, there was no one to intercede.
Through administrations of both parties, we watched my industry and many others become a very different industry. Actually, we have watched this nation become a very different nation.
As I pointed out last month, monopoly issues have played a leading role. And the pressure against local and independent businesses is inexorable.
This is not just a coincidence.
We also had companies being as ruthless as possible, ending jobs here in a substantial, cold and calculating way.
Where has been the champion? Standing up, defending Americans and their jobs? Defending economies of cities that have lost all the factories and plants that once provided decent jobs for their populace? I can name a few. I can name far too few.
Correcting our course is a project of such magnitude that actually seeking to fix it all is daunting, prohibitively expensive.
Establishing a factory is not cheap and without government intervention there is little chance of it working anyway. I can’t see it happening, can you?
Mind you, I’m only illuminating my industry. So many have been decimated by identical aims and intents of manufacturing corporations across the board.
And there has been no effort to change the way it all works; the price companies have to pay if they transferred jobs away.
This is a huge topic, one that makes people’s eyes glaze over. Macro economic stuff is hard to get our arms around; easier to just ignore it and do our jobs.
When we do that, though, we abdicate our responsibility for our own earth, communities, and indeed, our very lives that are ours to shape, as long as we don’t get hypnotized.