Important Notice

Special captions are available for the humor-impaired.


Tuesday, December 23, 2003

Outsouce This!

It is hard to turn on the radio or open a newspaper without coming across some snake oil salesman trying to convince Americans that it is in our best interests to abandon every manufacturing job in this country because it is cheaper to have someone do it in China. The latest flap is over information technology jobs being shipped out to India. These geniuses all chant the same mantra, “We need to let the market set the price of labor in order to stay competitive in a global economy.” They say that outsourcing all of this labor will free us up so we can all work in the glorious service sector of the economy. When these guys and gals say service industry I think Wal-Mart, I think, “Do you want fries with that,” I think that they can stick their service industry in their asses.

The truth is that for many years heavy manufacturing provided high paying jobs to a very large sector of the U.S. labor force. General Motors has more employees (709,000) than Intel, Microsoft, Oracle, Apple, and Sun Microsystems combined (94,800). It would be great if all of us could sit at our desks, fiddle with our computers, print up stuff, and drive home in our luxury cars. It doesn’t look like that is going to happen any time soon and in the meantime we needs desks, computers, printers, and luxury cars for the lucky few that have these jobs. We should make some of that here and pay people well to do it.

I am not suggesting that America take a stance against trade but I think that history has shown that abandoning every sector of U.S. manufacturing because people work for less elsewhere has lead to a rising percentage of our population working at low paying jobs with zero benefits. Between 1977 (about the time outsourcing or whatever the hell you want to call it began) and 1994 the lowest fifth of the U.S. population saw their after-tax income decrease by 16% while the top fifth saw an increase of 72%. I dare anyone to try to put a positive spin on this.

Now that U.S. plutocrats have ravaged the lower classes they are going after middle income people like IT workers.

I remember something Ronald Reagan said that seems to get to the heart of this matter. He was partly responsible for this shift in our thinking that U.S. jobs should not be protected because we can get stuff cheaper if we let other people make it. He said that he still believed that America was a place where a guy could become a millionaire. A few of you can become millionaires; the rest of us will be greeting you at Wal-Mart.

No comments:

Post a Comment

If you can't say something nice, say it here.