‘America’s Biggest Export, Our Jobs!!’
The corporate news media, more accurately described as a propaganda machine, is on the move in an effort to derail the campaign of Bernie Sanders.
Below is an op-ed in the March 20, 2016 Oregonian newspaper. The Oregonian is a charter member of the corporate brainwashing machine. They used an op-ed written by economics professor Kimberly Clausing of Reed College.
The professor uses the economic fairy tales of free trade to point out the errors of those who are against the Trans Pacific Partnership, and other trade agreements, which are nothing more than scams to redistribute income and wealth from the 99 to the 1 percent. In Italics I show how she aims to mislead. The professor’s point of view is supported by the editors of the Oregonian, otherwise they would have offered a counter argument to the professor’s claims. So here it goes.
By Kimberly Clausing
“Candidates on both ends of the political spectrum, the far-left Bernie Sanders and the extreme Donald Trump, have displayed skepticism and even outright hostility regarding the influence of foreign competition on the U.S. economy.”
When was the last time you purchased an I-phone or a Dell computer made by a Chinese company? When was the last time anybody purchased something by a Chinese company? How about hardly ever? Much, and perhaps most, of Chinese exports to the USA are made by US corporations producing their products in China. The “foreign competition” isn’t with China. That “foreign competition” US companies face is US companies manufacturing stuff in China. The US trade deficit with China does not exist, at least not in total. In reality, the so-called trade deficit with China is largely a US trade deficit with US corporations that have shifted production from the US to China, and then exported their Chinese made products to the USA. Stunningly, the professor does not know this, but her ignorance is serving Wall Street and the rest of the 1 percent by brainwashing us to reality.
The professor went on:
“Both Sanders and Trump have vowed to tear up existing trade agreements, table new international initiatives and make tougher deals with China.”
As pointed out above, Clausing is clueless about what she writes, but Bernie Sanders is not. Sanders understands that the primary export product of the US is US jobs. I don’t know what Trump understands about these deals, but it is clear that the editors of the Oregonian newspaper, as well as the New York Times, the Washington Post, the New York Post, the Wall Street Journal, CNN, ABC, Foxnews, MNSBC, and others, don’t want you to know this reality.
The Professor goes on and on:
“While both candidates are responding to very real voter concerns regarding wage stagnation and income inequality, they are proposing destructive solutions that will cause more harm than good for Americans, including Oregon’s workers and consumers.”
Clausing doesn’t understand that all those millions upon millions of US jobs in China, Pakistan, Malaysia, Vietnam, Mexico, and elsewhere, are depriving many US citizens of employment. Trade treaties paved the legal road to ship those jobs overseas, or create them there rather than here. One corporation alone, Nike, accounts for approximately one million jobs overseas. About 250,000 of those are in China, and another roughly 350,000 are in Vietnam. That’s just one US corporation, meaning tens of millions of US jobs are overseas exploiting lower wages, as well as lesser environmental and legal rights of workers.
“Let’s be clear,” Clausing wrote. “American workers have had a tough several decades. Aside from a period in the 1990s, wages have been nearly stagnant in recent years. And while economic growth in the United States does well in comparison with other rich countries, gains in gross domestic product (GDP) have increased incomes at the top of the income distribution far more than in the bottom 80 percent.”
Clausing’s got it correct there, but then she puts in the typical propaganda below.
“Workers, and voters, are understandably frustrated. But many factors other than trade play a role in these economic outcomes.”
Trade is likely the biggest factor causing this frustration, and by a wide margin. Just look at all of those tens of millions of US jobs that have been exported, thanks to these trade agreements, but then Clausing steps into her own bullshit on her next paragraph.
“Foremost, technological change has revolutionized production processes, with computers displacing workers in many sectors. We no longer need secretaries to type our work or bank tellers to hand us cash. Assembly lines are more automated than ever before. Yet no one is suggesting that we throw away our computers to get these jobs back, because computers are useful in countless ways in our daily lives. And computers augment what skilled workers can produce and earn. The maker of a software application, the designer of an aircraft engine and the analyst of data are all more productive than they would be without computers to aid them.”
Economists have been warning for over two centuries that technology growth will lead to higher rates of unemployment, but that has never happened, then or now. Clausing, in the paragraph above, doesn’t understand reality, just obscure theory that isn’t based in reality. Technology wipes out jobs, and that’s true, but it typically creates far more jobs than it eliminates. Let’s take one example.
The National Cash Register Corporation (NCR), whose stock is traded on Wall Street, has been a US company since 1888. The company used to manufacture cash registers in the United States.Those jobs are long gone.
Nowadays, NCR manufactures its retail and restaurant self-checkout machines in China (which are officially called “Retail and Restaurant Point of Sale hardware and software,” on the company’s website). NCR is the largest manufacturer in the world of ATM machines, and almost all of them are made in China, and well, maybe they’re all still made there. A few years back, NCR announced that a tiny number of jobs manufacturing ATM’s might be brought back to the USA, but there is no evidence that I’ve been able to find to suggest this has come to pass. So it’s likely that all of NCR’s ATM machines are still made in China. NCR also manufactures Airport Self-Service Kiosks and a bunch of other items in China. In fact, everything it produces (with the possible exception of that small number of ATMs) are manufactured in China).
According to its website, NCR manufactures, “POS Terminals, POS Software, POS Printers, Fuel Controller, Back Office Software, Self Checkout.” Under the travel category, “Common Use Self-Service, Airport Kiosk, Hotel Check-In, Car Rental Software, Bus Check-In.” If this was fifty years ago, before the World Trade Organization, before all the free trade treaties, all of the company’s jobs would be in the United States.
NCR has more employees now than ever in its history, and this is especially true when you count the use of contractors and their employees in China. The technology produced by NCR has created more jobs than the old cash register business thirty years ago. Thousands of jobs were wiped out, but hundreds of thousands and perhaps millions more jobs have been created with the new technology.
Technology did not put those jobs in China. Low wages did, and the demands of its stock price did. The ability to produce massive amounts of pollution did. The ability to use an essential slave labor force six to seven days a week, and up to sixteen hours per day and without overtime pay, put those jobs in China. But something else paved the way to export those jobs; trade agreements.
“Trade, like computers, creates both winners and losers. Unfortunately, the workers that would have made the imported goods may be harmed.”
The professor should have added, because their jobs will be exported.
“But workers in export industries benefit greatly, and consumers benefit from price reductions on virtually every product they consume.”
The professor is way off base on this one, perhaps because she lacks real life experience. I have a friend named Sloan. He is a contractor who builds homes. He used to purchase his ceramic tiles from a company that manufactured them in the USA. Then one day he realized the company was now making them in China, and the price they charged him was the same.
“Increased foreign competition prevents domestic firms from wielding undue market power.”
Just look at the political markets and you’ll see who owns what. Wall Street investment firms own the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Koch Brothers own Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, and you can go on and on, but the professor shows total ignorance.
“Economic growth abroad makes more stable societies and alleviates world poverty.”
Tell this to the folks in Vietnam. They’re not allowed to unionize, their air is totally polluted, and they live in a total police state. Poverty is difficult to determine, and sometimes it’s a matter of opinion. But if the rich are getting richer, then the rest of us must be getting more poor.
Close, mutually beneficial economic ties between countries build peaceful relationships and reduce needless antagonism among nations. And addressing global policy problems like climate change will require an international community that is more interested in building bridges than walls.
I agree with the professor above, but that’s part of her propaganda about how everything is wonderful with trade agreements.
“Indeed, the country as a whole benefits from trade.”
Trade agreements have largely created the income and wealth inequality we have here in the USA, so the professor is way off base here. The rich primarily benefit from the scams that redistribute income from the 99 to the 1 percent and that are marketed as trade agreements. The difference between the old higher US wages and the new lower overseas wages goes straight into the pockets of the rich via higher corporate profits, rising dividends and soaring share prices. The job losers get unemployment insurance if they’re lucky. So no, the country as a whole has not benefited from international trade, but the rich as a whole has.
I could go on and on with Professor Clausing’s propaganda op-ed on behalf of the 1 percent, but by now you should see the difference between the reality of trade agreements, and the theory offered by the professor.
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