Democrats need to better educate voters about who’s really at fault for the loss of US factory jobs which has nothing to do with the GOP bogeyman, immigrants. Recently, I had someone tweet that Democrats already know this. But it’s incumbent for Democratic Party leaders to get that many GOP voters truly believe this dribble and that an education campaign needs to be developed to counter this belief system that immigrants are responsible for the widespread loss of good paying factory jobs.
“Jobs, jobs, jobs”, was one of President Trump’s campaign promises, especially to ‘blue collar’ factory workers. But the president has chosen to tackle this problem of a major decrease in good paying manufacturing jobs by focusing on trade inbalances and the cutting back on both legal and illegal immigration, deliberately leaving out the alternate explanations of corporate greed and automation.
One of the most used GOP themes with racist implications, is that immigrants “steal” the jobs of Americans. Dark money donors help disseminate this lie via the republican President Donald Trump with his GOP sycophants operating in the White House and the US Congress, which is then echoed, frequently and repeatedly, by right wing media outlets like FOX News TV and Russian bots. The Trumpian Republican Party wants the message delivered paid for by dark money donors, that “illegal immigration hurts American workers” and that the working class is paying the price of mass illegal immigration which means there are fewer jobs available, and at lower wages.
While there is little to no data to support the republican party’s false mantra, there’s another much more tangible threat to employment: automation and artificial intelligence, experts say. Even those factory jobs moved abroad have been based on decisions made by corporate executives who were looking to increase revenues by having goods made by paying workers, lower wages and less benefits.
Link for related articles: jobs lost to automation vs immigration
Across the spectrum of Republicans and Democrats, the only Democratic Party candidate who’s been talking about this issue is Andrew Yang.
My prior post and future ones are going to be focusing on how GOP dark money/ special interest donors are the producers of the daily Trumpian Republican Party Reality Show that we’ve been witnessing for years. These GOP dark money/ special interest corporate donors, comprised in part, by the fossil fuel industry, major banking and financial institutions, pharmaceutical manufacturers and distributors, are the ones dictating the policies and GOP talking points that are important to far right-wing conservatives of the John Birch ilk.
As per the 2/25/2019 Truthout.org report, “A Billion Dollars in Dark Money Is Just the Tip of the Iceberg” by David Muir:
“Conservative groups that only partially disclose their donors spent nearly 4 times as much as their liberal equivalents with $311.2 million by conservatives and $79 million by liberal groups.”
“In total, conservative groups that do not fully disclose their donors outspent liberal groups by hundreds of millions of dollars during the 2018 election cycle. Conservative groups that don’t fully disclose their donors spent more than $354.47 million while liberal groups spent just over $161.5 million.”
Link to entire article: opensecrets.org/ Billion-dollar ‘dark money’ spending is just the tip of the iceberg
As per another OpenSecrets.com article, “Politically active nonprofits – principally 501(c)(4)s and 501(c)(6)s – have become a major force in federal elections over the last three cycles. The term “dark money” is often applied to this category of political spender because these groups do not have to disclose the sources of their funding.”
Groups — like the Karl Rove-linked One Nation and the Koch network’s Americans for Prosperity — don’t have to report their wealthy individual and corporate donors to the public, prompting the term “dark money.”
As per a 2016 OpenSecrets.com.report, “(In 2016) The Chamber of Commerce and the National Rifle Assn topped the list of dark money group spending that was reported to the FEC. The Chamber spent almost $30 million on congressional races, with the greatest portion going to five tight Senate races. In four of those races, the Chamber was on the winning side.”
The big lie: Hard working Americans are losing good paying factory jobs because of others (immigrants) are taking their jobs at less pay…
The GOP talking points’ gurus on behalf of GOP dark money donors, have been working overtime to divert attention from the real reasons for the loss of good paying US factory jobs, which are the corporate executives who have been increasing their factories’ reliance on technology, including automation and artificial intelligence (AI) by having angry White folks focus on the idea that immigrants (the other) are responsible for the decrease in manufacturing plants jobs.
In short, Robotics and automation have been linked to the significant increase in the loss of US manufacturing jobs in the U.S., in addition to the exodus of factories to countries like China because of cheaper labor costs. The reality is that if China becomes too expensive, corporate executives will simply relocate their factories to other cheap labor countries like Vietnam and not the USA.
No matter how one studies this situation, it’s clear that it’s corporate executives who are responsible for these decisions that have resulted in the decrease of great paying US manufacturing jobs and not the GOP bogeymen, the immigrants.
The New York Times ran a story titled “The Long-Term Jobs Killer Is Not China. It’s Automation,” while the Associated Press explained “Why robots, not trade, are behind so many factory job losses.” A much-cited Ball State University study suggests that automation has already proven a major driver of job loss this millennium. The paper notes that the decade between 2000 to 2010 marked the U.S.’s largest decline in manufacturing jobs in its history. The National Economic Council Director turned Harvard professor Larry Summers penned the bluntly titled piece “Robots are hurting middle class workers. ”You get the picture. It’s technology along and with corporate decision making that’s killing manufacturing jobs and not immigrants
As per the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), from WWII to 1973, when US corporations productivity numbers increased to 95.65%, the average workers’ pay wages increased by 91%. This picture shifted from 1973-2018, as corporate productivity increased by 77%, but the average workers’ pay increased by less than 13% which just happens to coincide with the establishment of ALEC in 1973.
ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council) was founded in 1973 by corporations in order to craft legislation designed to promote corporate interests and then to be used by GOP lawmakers at work in the states’ legislative bodies and the US Congress. ALEC which was backed by Koch brothers’ monies include the fossil fuel sector, Wall Street, the insurance industry, along with the NRA (National Rifle Association). Many of these ALEC members are also the dark money donors of today.
Some more key facts from the 2018 OCED (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) Study report:
- The US ranks 3rd worst when it comes to the share of households earning less than half the median income in 2016.
- The U.S. ranks second from bottom (only next to Israel) when it comes to income inequality. In other words, it’s nearly the worst in the world.
- The US spends less on help for active measures that help the unemployed and workers considered at-risk than almost every other country.
- Unions represent just 12% of workers in the US, ahead of only Turkey, Lithuania, and South Korea. This makes a critical difference in both unemployment and wage growth.
Read full report here: OCED Employment Outlook 2018.
Here’s a dose of reality…
The below article is a case study in how ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council) has attempted with some success, to do away with hard working people’s pensions, as well as decreasing the power of labor unions…
As per the 10/24/2013 Labornotes.org report, “Tea Party, ALEC Prescribe CPR to Kill Pensions” by Bruce Bostick:
VICTORY UPDATE: Voters in Cincinnati turned down by a huge margin a Tea Party initiative that would have wiped out public workers’ pensions in that city, becoming the first city in the nation to turn back one of the ALEC-inspired, anti-worker “pension reform” initiatives.
“Heavily funded by the right-wing Liberty Initiative and the National Taxpayers Union, and written by ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council, the ballot issue would have replaced the pension system with 401(k) funds. While other ballot measures, supporting the city and schools, passed easily, the Tea Party’s issue went down in flames, 79-21 percent.”
“Cincinnati’s labor movement organized a massive campaign against the issue, organizing phone banks, mailings, and a huge door-to-door campaign. The Faith Alliance campaigned, as did both major political parties and their mayoral candidates. The city council voted unanimously to oppose the issue, as did all retiree organizations. Standing alone in supporting the misnamed “reform” were only the forces around the Tea Party.”
“What do you call a proposal that breaks promises to city workers, destroys their families’ hard-earned retirement security, lowers the city’s tax base, harms our fragile economy, and actually requires the city of Cincinnati to pay out more in retiree funds?”
“The tiny group of wealthy financiers and Tea Party supporters sponsoring this proposal calls it “Cincinnatians for Pension Reform” (CPR). But unlike the medical procedure of the same name, this one would kill its patient.”
“Similar measures have been passed in Knoxville, Tennessee, and San Jose and San Diego, California, in the last 2 years. Attempts were made in Los Angeles and Tucson, but the measures in those cities were knocked off the ballot when opposition coalitions brought legal challenges. In each case, the measure’s wording comes from the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), the group that generates “model bills” to rewrite state and local laws in a corporate-friendly fashion.”
WHO IS BEHIND CPR?
“If you said, “Cincinnatians would never push something this bad,” you are right on the money.”
“The 7,000 signatures filed last month to get the proposal on the November 5 ballot were gathered by out-of-town petitioners; a California company, Arno Petition Consultants, was paid nearly $70,000 to bring them in.”
“Paul Jacob of the Virginia-based Tea Party group Liberty Initiative Fund has put more than $81,000 into CPR thus far. The conservative California-based National Taxpayers Union has put in another $52,000. Liberty Initiative has funded similar anti-retiree measures in other cities.”
“To give an idea of the thinking behind CPR, Jacob has said that Social Security is “fraudulent,” “a Ponzi scheme,” and “a system based on swindle.”
“So, on one side we’ve out-of-state financiers who want to kill Social Security, out-of-town petitioners paid by a California company, and the Tea Party. Who’s on the other side?”
“Just about everyone else.”
“The opposition to CPR is both nonpartisan and bipartisan. The Faith Alliance, a coalition of many different churches and communities of faith, has taken a strong stand against CPR. Both major Cincinnati mayoral candidates oppose it, and the city council voted against it unanimously. Public and private unions and the Ohio Alliance for Retired Americans are working to defeat it.”
WHY IS THERE A ‘CRISIS?’
“CPR’s backers say greedy public workers, who are grabbing our public tax money so they can live high on the hog, caused a “crisis.” That’s why we need to break our promises of retirement security.”
“Economic experts, as well as regular people, disagree.”
“First of all, the economic crises of 2001 and 2008 created debt problems, not just for Cincinnati, but for every city.”
“The last 2 state budgets made huge cuts to all Ohio cities. Years of giving tax abatements to businesses also badly hurt the city’s finances and undermined the public retirement system. Outsourcing of public services, like city golf courses and Fountain Square—our landmark downtown city square—has transferred jobs to non-public workers, who then don’t pay into the city’s retirement system, while also undermining the tax base.”
“In the past, public and private pensions were required to be fully funded. Congress changed that during the Reagan administration, under the influence of corporations who argued that pension funds were “unproductive” and that if they could just be “freed up and used productively” pensions would be “more secure” and “better funded.” Cincinnati, like many other cities, used pension funds for other purposes, undermining city employees’ retirement.”
“While nobody likes taxes, sometimes—when a wide variety of pressures undercuts a city’s ability to function—tax levies might actually be needed. Whether that’s the case in Cincinnati’s situation or not, politicians’ fetish to never, ever consider those options and to immediately attack anyone who might raise the idea made it impossible to even talk about strengthening our city’s tax base.”
“Cincinnatians know that our budget problems and city pension problems are real. We need to find ways to resolve our problems, but CPR would make the situation worse.”
WHAT WOULD CPR DO?
“This proposal, if passed, would do many things. None of them, however, includes “saving the city from bankruptcy.”
“First and foremost, newly hired city workers would no longer have pensions, and current workers would see their pensions cut. New workers would be thrown onto the tender mercies of the stock market. Anyone who had their retirement funds in a 401(k) when the economy nosedived knows what that means.”
“A recent study by the Employee Benefits Research Institute and the Investment Company Institute found that U.S. workers with 401(k)s lost on average 24.3 percent of their invested funds in 2008.”If CPR passes, the city would be required to start paying into Social Security for its workers: 6.2 percent of salaries, far higher than the 1.8 percent it currently pays into the city retirement system. In other words, taxpayers would see a massive increase, not a savings, in city expenditures.”
“City workers would lose the disability retirement benefits and death benefits they now have.”
“And by closing the city’s retirement plan, Cincinnati would have to cover its $862 million debt in the next 10 years instead of the current 30 years, a terrible new burden on the city.”
“All of the above means far less retirement security; more, not less, city debt; and multiple blows to our economy, forcing more people onto public aid—again, harming, not helping, the city.”
“The Ohio Federation of Labor and its affiliated Ohio Alliance for Retired Americans have organized retirees who know the ground they’re on, and they are using innovative ways to get the message out. Bentley Davis, coordinator for the Ohio Alliance for Retired Americans, says the language to change Cincinnati’s charter is so extreme that even the Chamber of Commerce and the conservative Cincinnati Inquirer have come out against it.”
This post was updated on 8/31/2019.
See: Why Wages Aren’t Growing in America – Harvard Business Review/ 2017
See: For most Americans, real wages have barely budged for decades/ Pew Research