Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Manufacturing, Wages, And Welfare: How To Flip Red States

I saved this article from the New York Times a while ago, because I disagreed with its premise, and wanted to explain why at what I sensed would be the right time.  In the post-election climate, the time seems to be now.

My point was going to be (and still is) that manufacturing is an essential component of national security.  A country that can't rely on its own factories to build its defense structure is not a safe country.  We import key components of that structure from outside the U.S., including not-so-friendly nations like China.  From a military perspective, this is a clear conflict of interest, because (as recent events have shown) history is far from over.  It's easy to visualize today's military suppliers as tomorrow's enemy combatants.  In such a situation, we may be defeated before we have even begun to fight.

That's reason enough to have a national policy promoting manufacturing.  The 35-year economic and social tragedy of the Rust Belt is another.  Hillary Clinton was unjustly accused of ignoring the needs of workers in this region; this proves otherwise. Had the corporate press spent a little less time on her e-mail server, and a little more time on the substance of her approach to this issue versus Donald Trump's (which amounts to little more than grandstanding), we might not be agonizing about the awful choices Trump is making in filling out his Administration.

What people in the Rust Belt need is not a self-promotional loudmouth, but practical ideas to get back on their feet.  Telling millennials to move there is not the answer--they'll just join the ranks of the underemployed.  Better they should organize via the Internet to work with people and promote good public policy, like the $15-per-hour minimum wage.  This idea found success on election night and, in fact, it looks like they are already taking me up on this suggestion.  Good for them!

And, while we're at it, and waiting for good policy to produce good jobs, can we please reform welfare reform, so that the money goes to people and not to tax breaks for GOP donors?  Is that too much to ask?

Manufacturing, wages, and welfare:  these can be the three keys to unlock the door to a very different Election Night than the one through which we just suffered.

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