Democrats answer to Globalization

Bonnie

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What exactly did United States Senator-elect Jim Webb mean when he wrote in The Wall Street Journal that

"the most important--and unfortunately the least debated--issue in politics today is our society's steady drift toward a class-based system, the likes of which we have not seen since the 19th century."

Certainly we can agree with him when he asserts that

"In the age of globalization and outsourcing, and with a vast underground labor pool from illegal immigration, the average American worker is seeing a different life and a troubling future... . Manufacturing jobs are disappearing."

And, of course, the average corporate CEO earns about 400 times what the average worker earns, not to mention that he owns most of the stocks. The result, Webb asserts, is an out-of-touch elite:

"living in a different country. Few among them send their children to public schools; fewer still send their loved ones to fight our wars."

You can see where he is going with this:

"With this new Congress, and heading into an important presidential election in 2008, American workers have a chance to be heard in ways that have eluded them for more than a decade... And our government leaders have no greater duty than to confront the growing unfairness in this age of globalization."

In other words, with the economy a disaster of insecurity and the road to opportunity closed off by an unfair new class system, Democrats want to be able to legislate a whole new tranche of subsidy and privilege over the US economy, details to be provided later.
With all this gloom and doom, you would be surprised to learn that the GDP per head in the United States reported in The Economist's Pocket World in Figures, 2006 Edition is $37, 240, against $30,280 in the United Kingdom, $29,240 in France, and $29,130 in Germany. You might even be surprised to learn that unemployment in the US is about 4.5 percent.But let us review a few of the problems that the US worker is facing.

First of all, despite 160 years of public education, the National Assessment of Adult Literacy rates a mere 15 percent of US adults as "proficient" in literacy and 13 percent "proficient" in numeracy. Yet Democrats have truculently resisted reform of the US education system with charter schools and vouchers.
Second, despite the certain knowledge that Social Security cannot deliver its promised benefits without withering tax increases and/or benefit cuts-a prospect that threatens the security of every American, young or old-Democrats have truculently resisted the president's proposal to fix Social Security by turning it into a mandatory savings program that would help ordinary Americans get to own a lot more stocks and bonds.
Third, just what is the Democratic plan to deal with globalization and outsourcing? If the US wants to maintain its position as the most productive nation in the world then its workers must perform high-value work. The corollary is that low-value work, aka "manufacturing," must be outsourced to other countries. As Carl J. Schramm says in The Entrepreneurial Imperative:

"Every one of us will be forced to become more entrepreneurial... No government can be rich enough or impose significant enough barriers-such as trade restrictions-to protect all of its people from economic insecurity. No institutional force such as unions can protect against the rigors of world competition."

When Senator-elect Jim Webb talks about a new class-based system he is just as wrong about the 21st century as Marx was in his understanding of the economy of the 19th century. Forget bourgeois vs. proletarian, the 19th century was a period of startling transformation driven, in large part, by men who started out on the ragged edge of the
proletariat: John D. Rockefeller, son of an itinerant patent medicine peddler; Andrew Carnegie, son of a hand-loom weaver; Karl Benz, son of a locomotive driver.

The 21st century economy is shaping up rather similar to the 19th century. Old established enterprises find themselves threatened on every side by aggressive competition. What kind of class-based system are we drifting towards on a day when upstart Google, founded by Larry Page and Sergey Brin, a couple of twentysomething PhD students, has a market valuation of $147 billion while old, established IBM has a valuation of $137 billion?

How do you "drift" towards a rigid class-based system when everything is in flux from globalization and outsourcing?

It's easy to write glib op-eds about fairness, globalization, and worker security, and to pompously pronounce that with the new Congress workers will have a chance to be heard. But which workers did the Senator-elect have in mind?

Right now, according to Steve Malanga , the average state-and-local-government worker gets paid about 40 percent more than a comparable worker in the private sector. We private-sector workers, fully exposed to the risks of globalization and outsourcing, earn a lot less than tenured, sheltered, Democrat-voting government workers. Where's the fairness in that?
http://www.americanthinker.com/2006/12/what_did_senatorelect_jim_webb.html
 

1549

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Bonnie, if you do not mind, I would like to ask you a question. I am not trying to go on the offensive here, I really would just like to know your thoughts and opinions on this subject.

My question: What is the future of the 'American working man'?

The expression encompasses women too, of course.

My worry is that we are going to lose many of the blue collar industries. I also worry that this nation's blue collar workers are not going to be able to enjoy a good middle class living. Look at places where the custodial trade has been privatized. You go from qualified custodians, making around 40-50 K a year, to crews of random workers making $6 an hour.

A high school close to my home town made the switch to save money. Several computers were stolen and they found that the private companies were not under agreement to do anything but clean. They would not even help teachers move their things to a new room. The school switched back to union custodians.

But are profit hungry corporations going to keep union custodians? They can get the windows dusted for much less with a private company...and would be more willing to put up with the baggage.
 

theHawk

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The companies that outsource wouldn't make so much profit if the consumer cared about where the products are being made. You can't expect companies to pay higher wages for American workers and still put out an affordable product. A family friend of mine has started her own business and the cost of manufacturing her product here in America is $25. In China its $10. She has but little choice to change over to a manufacturer in China, because Americans simply don't care where its made, they just want more bang for the buck. Until the American customer changes their views on how to go about purchasing products, trying to regulate against it to protect 'the American worker' is futile.
 

fuzzykitten99

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You'll have to check the Marauder's Map...
My worry is that we are going to lose many of the blue collar industries...
I don't think we'll lose them. this country relies on much of the blue-collar work to continue being productive. Road, home, building, recreational construction will always be there. Then someone has to wire and run pipe through those same homes and buildings, under roads, etc.

Someone has to be there to fix vehicles, fix the roads, houses, pipes, wiring, etc.

This is why I am encouraging my boys to get into a trade rather than a joe-blow office jobs. Trade jobs will always be in demand and they can gain experience through their employer and have indespensible knowledge. Plus the pay can get real nice when you start getting into the more complex jobs. Especially running heavy equipment, like backhoe operators, who get something like $75k/year starting.
 
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Bonnie

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Bonnie, if you do not mind, I would like to ask you a question. I am not trying to go on the offensive here, I really would just like to know your thoughts and opinions on this subject.

My question: What is the future of the 'American working man'?

The expression encompasses women too, of course.

My worry is that we are going to lose many of the blue collar industries. I also worry that this nation's blue collar workers are not going to be able to enjoy a good middle class living. Look at places where the custodial trade has been privatized. You go from qualified custodians, making around 40-50 K a year, to crews of random workers making $6 an hour.

A high school close to my home town made the switch to save money. Several computers were stolen and they found that the private companies were not under agreement to do anything but clean. They would not even help teachers move their things to a new room. The school switched back to union custodians.

But are profit hungry corporations going to keep union custodians? They can get the windows dusted for much less with a private company...and would be more willing to put up with the baggage.
Not a simple problem to address, however a good start would be for government to give tax incentives to all business to stay here, to employ people here, and for manufacturing to be able to produce better quality for less money. I know raising the minimum wage is popular with many, however when government gets involved with this companies are going to outsource. And heaven forbid Hillary gets in and institutes socialized health care, you are going to see the ruin of most small American business because they won't be able to afford the premium costs that they are struggling with now. So you have government involved in every aspect of companies. Bottom line is any person who invests money in a business or company is looking to make a profit, if other countries are offering more cost effective ways to do it, that's where they are going to go. I understand there needs to be some government regulation to make sure companies are operating safe working conditions for their employees but beyond that whenever government gets their hands in too much the economy reacts. Private business in many cases can and does do a better job. Government jobs are great, but not everyone can be employed by unions or the government. Unions were when they first organized legitimate and needed as there were terrible employee abuses occurring, however NOW they are for the most part corrupt organizations that simply milk companies for huge amounts of money to stay relevant and in power. It's really a shame because it's unions and government that are the problem, not the free market system we used to have.
 

Avatar4321

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Blue and white collar workers are essentially socialist contructs to divide society.

The fact is they are all workers. And people often experience both so called classes in their life. But thats the beauty of America. We arent stuck in any one "class" of people. and I think those who try to divide us into classes are trying to limit what people can do artificially.

What will happen is all Americans everywhere will shift to where the jobs are. they will do what it takes to educate themselves. And that includes in so called blue collar jobs. They will be better educated in doing them and there will be more.

You see when we have freedom, the system works itself out.
 
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Bonnie

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I don't think we'll lose them. this country relies on much of the blue-collar work to continue being productive. Road, home, building, recreational construction will always be there. Then someone has to wire and run pipe through those same homes and buildings, under roads, etc.

Someone has to be there to fix vehicles, fix the roads, houses, pipes, wiring, etc.

This is why I am encouraging my boys to get into a trade rather than a joe-blow office jobs. Trade jobs will always be in demand and they can gain experience through their employer and have indespensible knowledge. Plus the pay can get real nice when you start getting into the more complex jobs. Especially running heavy equipment, like backhoe operators, who get something like $75k/year starting.
That's very true, construction jobs, car mechanic jobs, road repair etc will always be needed. It's assembly line jobs, and customer support jobs that are being outsourced....
 

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