If we want to explain to people where their jobs went, and why the ones that remain pay so little, here’s a powerful article on our lack of an industrial policy by William Greider in the current issue of The Nation, republished at ZNet:
Democrats dedicated to combatting the egregious economic nonsense being spouted by Republicans these days, and, it must be admitted, by some Democrats as well, should find powerful encouragement in President Obama’s developing commitment to bringing industrial production back to the United States. Make no mistake, this may be the most important policy shift in Washington in decades. When even Andy Grove, the ex-CEO of Intel, which almost single-handedly invented outsourcing in the Eighties, has signaled his approval, we may finally be able to look forward to real progress on the economic front.
If we as Democrats are serious about bringing middle-class prosperity back to the U.S., but have been frustrated by the intransigence of free-traders from both parties, this article can go a long way toward legitimizing our arguments. Here’s the section on President Obama’s efforts, which ought to be memorized by every Democrat in Arizona, and repeated in every public forum we have access to:
Doubters may say that Obama doesn’t have the nerve to tackle this problem. They may be right. But the president is clearly thinking along these lines. He is the first president in thirty years to call for restoration of US manufacturing. This past summer he pushed modest tax measures that give a small advantage to home-based producers. The impact was so meager that Republicans didn’t bother to object. But the GOP may also have grasped that measures favoring US factories over foreign ones will be wildly popular with voters. Obama repeated the message before a Labor Day audience in Milwaukee, saying, “I don’t want to see solar panels and wind turbines and electric cars made in China. I want them made right here in the United States of America.”
The best evidence for Obama’s potential comes from liberal-labor reformers fighting the trench warfare on trade cases while advocating far more fundamental reforms. “The president has been true to his word and very supportive on trade-law enforcement — better than any president since before NAFTA,” says Leo Gerard, president of the United Steelworkers. “The president is trying to do the right thing on outsourcing, on taking away tax breaks from multinationals.”
The next time Jan Brewer or Joe Arpaio, or one of their idiot henchman tells you that Mexican border-crossers are stealing our jobs and our precious bodily fluids, ask them what they make of this. Try to do it in public, where God and everybody can hear their answer first-hand.