On Jobs

I wonder how many times I’ve heard Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) say something about jobs in America. Yes, jobs and the economy is a pressing need – but how many times have politicians used “jobs” as political manure? Let’s face the music!

Company mergers cost jobs. Company A purchases Company B, thus consolidates operations. Jobs are gone and won’t return.

Companies operate with their eye directly on the bottom line. If the company moves jobs to another country to lower labor cost in order to achieve a certain target, then that’s what is done. Jobs are gone and probably won’t return.

Some companies move operations to another country because of environmental laws. Jobs are gone and probably won’t return.

Companies have been downsizing, thus doing with less. Jobs are gone and probably won’t return.

Many aspects of manufacturing as textiles have gone elsewhere, and probably won’t return.

In manufacturing that remains, technology has replace what employees used to do, so those jobs won’t return.

Many look at government jobs as being the most stable, yet the current political climate is to cut, cut, cut – thus eliminating jobs.

As our politicians look to cut spending, especially by the Department of Defense, I wonder how many jobs will be lost in defense equipment and its supply chain.

The next time anyone hears Mr. Boehner or any other politician ask Where are the jobs?, let us remember that unless they detail specifics about a plan (and good luck with that), their statement is nothing more than political rhetoric for the benefit of their party. Just listen below to hear the party rhetoric of regulations and taxes. Meanwhile,  many Americans need jobs.

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9 thoughts on “On Jobs

  1. Then you get the political players, who court overseas companies (or threaten them with tariffs) to build over here. For instance, Honda or Toyota. If we’re gonna buy the cars, might as well have them built here, right? Well, the profits made go back to the home country. Plus, when the home country of the business suffers (i.e. Japan), our plants are idled until the parts can be made in the home country. And with “globalism”, you end up with weird things happening to American companies. Ford cannot build any new trucks in red or black, because those colours are made in Japan.
    If the pols want to talk about jobs, they should talk about jobs that will stay here, and will route the profits back here. Otherwise, the jobs don’t build up our manufacturing base, or even maintain it. And with more defence cuts coming, we lose more of those rare jobs. Even service jobs, while they sound like a good thing, are far too vulnerable to the exchange rates of currencies and pay levels in various technologies to be certain – look at the trend of call centres moving to India or other low-cost companies.
    We have an opening with China, and their desire for technology and especially autos from the US. This could be our last chance at recovering some of our lost jobs and manufacturing capacity. If we don’t hold our politicians to their promises of jobs that will STAY here, we’re going to be in serious trouble.

    • John.
      There’s a lot that I can say here, but will try to keep it short.

      Regarding exchange rates. Contracts take in account the exchange rate, thus also determine the currency of payment. One must also remember that when exchange rates goes against one party, it is also favors the other.

      Today’s economy is global – and will remain that way – and will works to the benefits and consequences to all companies.

      I know you didn’t use the phrase “Buy American”, but I must mention it. Some people like to use the slogan, yet they not only have a hard time defining it, they are horrible at identifying the products. Here’s a post I did in May 2009. As a side note to the post, the person in the story has not spoken to me since that day.
      http://afrankangle.wordpress.com/2009/05/12/on-a-buy-american-quiz/

      In terms of politicians, I’m simply saying that their talk is just that – talk. It’s easy for them to make a statement about jobs, but I’m just getting to the point of the uphill nature of the problem – rhetoric aside.

      Thanks for commenting.

      • Frank- I avoided the “Buy American” because even the most intensely domestic product contains some quantity of foreign parts or materials. My point was that US politicians too often look at just the job, not it’s impact. A job with an American company keeps the employment here AND the results here. A job with a foreign company not only ships some of the results elsewhere, but makes the equivalent job more precarious due to outside influences.
        I realise we have a global market, and do indeed need to embrace it further. But our domestic production should be sufficiently robust to, for instance, allow Ford to paint their trucks red or black, regardless of natural or man-made disasters overseas.
        And yes, when exchange rates hurt others, it’s an opportunity for us. But I was trying to focus on a U.S. viewpoint; hence, any unfavourable exchange rate on the dollar damages our economy.
        I know there are no easy answers,and I know you were looking for accountability (which I fully support). However, there have been claims by our pols that jobs at, say, Honda or BMW (sorry, I know cars! :) ) benefit our economy as much as domestic jobs. I find those statements hard to believe when at least some of the profit leaves the U.S. permanently.
        And you can insult the living daylights outta me, and I will not hold it against you personally. That doesn’t mean I might not seek revenge one of these days….;)

        • John,
          Many good thoughts. I know you know cars … and in your first comment you wrote ‘Ford’ …. which also means who said it (at least mentally)! I couldn’t resist that one! :)

          Industrially, there’s the interesting dilemma. On one end, the US company bringing their cars in from Mexico or wherever, and the foreign automaker with plants somewhere in the US. Those US plants of the foreign automakers employee a lot of people, help a lot of communities, but the profits ultimately end up elsewhere. On the other hand is a US automaker getting profits and investing to employ elsewhere. So, in that two-choice scenario, buying American is difficult to determine.

          However, we do agree that the politicians are using “jobs” in the light of snake oil sales personnel …. of course no offense to the those hardworking souls in the snake oil business. Bottom line —- no easy solutions & we both question Washington’s interest and/or motives. Good stuff John!

        • Well….. I mentioned Ford by name because of a particular situation (the red and black paint for F-150s is made in Japan, and the factory was damaged by the earthquake/tsunami). Not that I really NEED a particular example to trash Ford – since they always provide plenty of ammunition. (Pinto – need I say more? :D )

        • So would you count me as insufferably self-centered, if I said I hoped your stay “in the saddle” was on a more permanent basis? ;)
          Hey, I’m not fussy, I’ll take as much or as little of you as I can get. How ’bout that? :D

  2. Yep, every time I hear a politician talk about the need to create jobs, I want to ask, Exactly how are you going to do that? How does one “Create” jobs? They tend to act as if jobs were kept in a warehouse somewhere and all the government needs to do is open the doors and set them free.
    I’m no economist but there doesn’t seem to me that the gov can do as much as the politicians imply.
    The only direct way for the government to create jobs is by something reminiscent of what FDR did with the CCC and other programs. Of course the anti gov. folks won’t go for this. But the CCC and others put people to work, did good work (you can still find CCC picnic shelters, etc in parks- wonderfully built still useful) and its a program that faded away once its usefulness was gone.
    What doesn’t work to create jobs is tax cuts for businesses. Anyone living in MI can tell you that. We have gutted our revenues for minimal return. But to expound on that turns this into a blog post rather than a comment.

    • Nancy,
      You have noted the one of the core issues in the discussion. I’ve always felt that one of the roles of government is to step in during down times … but that also means get out of the way during good times – and history shows government has done much better at stepping in than in getting out of the way.

      You also hit another philosophical issue. During down times, does gov’t create the jobs or does it create a job-creation atmostphere for the private sector? Yep – the anti-gov folks won’t buy into the first suggestion, but as we know, the private sector is about the bottom line … so would jobs be created here?

      Bottom line – it is a difficult issue – and your warehouse description is priceless. FYI: Science with a hint of theology tomorrow. Thanks for commenting.

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