With the immigration issue being covered in the report on the educational forum held last week in Kennett Square, I will turn my attention to something different: jobs.
To understand the difference, one must recognize that while immigration is an issue of entry into the country, the job issue is one of something leaving the country. Jobs haven't dried up. They were just moved away. Please allow me to use a couple of personal anecdotal incidents to explain.
First, you need to know that I have been wearing eyeglasses for approximately 45 years. During those years my vision has changed many times, but my taste in a frame manufacturer hasn't.
Without mentioning the name I will tell you that the company has been a long established producer of eyeglass frames based in the United States. So anyway, two weeks ago I visited my doctor and had my eyes examined. After receiving my new prescription I proceed to the optician where I went immediately to the selection of my favorite frames. Once I selected my new frames, I started to remove them from my face.
Imagine my surprise when I notice printed on the inside of the stem the words "Made in China"
My first response was, of course, "what the..., when did this happen?" My optician's reply: "They're all made there."
"But they made them just fine here," I said.
"Oh well!" she replied. I couldn't help but wonder what the people who use to make my frames are doing now.
Second, a week later I decided it was time to finally replace the gas grill that had died on my deck earlier this summer. After much browsing on line and shopping at local distributors I made my decision. The model I selected happened to be strapped to a pallet and stacked several units high in the warehouse.
As the forklift retrieved my new piece of the ultimate in grilling equipment, I could only imagine the taste of the great steaks and burgers that I would create over the fire. But as the crate was lowered to the floor my wife called out, "Bob, look."
Sure enough, on the side of the carton there it was "Made in China." I couldn't help but wonder what the people who use to make my grills are doing now.
Now, far be it for me to decide where a manufacturer locates his business. If the workers in China will do the work for less (considerably less than a living wage here in America), then they get the work. After all, that's the whole idea of laissez-faire markets.
In its most conservative form, our markets should be kept totally free from state intervention. What chance does a young entrepreneur have? I guess we should be thankful that there is no such thing as a truly free market.
Milton Friedman and Jeffrey Sachs tried it in the Southern Cone to the tune of total failure. When given the opportunity to reduce labor costs unabated by government regulations, unemployment went from near zero to over 25 percent in the blink of an eye in Chile alone. At the time, free market capitalism was described as neo-liberalism in the region.
We don't need to argue over whether public stimulus creates sustainable jobs or if tax breaks increase consumption and therefore put more people back to work. We don't need to be at odds over the importance of a strong private sector or a reduction in the public sector.
What we need to do is guarantee Americans that when jobs are created that they will be offered to them here and not sent overseas. The only way to do that is to make it very unattractive for manufacturers to produce overseas and then sell here.
Stop using policy and ideology to divide the country. There is only one institution that can handle this issue. Face it, stop going back. It's really simple. We're all entitled to our own opinions, but not our own facts. At least for now, government is not the problem, it's the solution.
Look what Reagan did.
Political observer Bob Vanella lives in London Grove Township.