Changing the Reason for Outsourcing

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Commentary

by Daniel Nardini

One of the most powerful promises that Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump made was that he would work to bring American jobs back to the United States, and that he would “get tough on China,” and renegotiate trade deals he said were “unfair” to America. There are a number of Americans I have talked to who believe that Trump will be able to bring back or create good paying manufacturing jobs that Americans used to have 40 to 50 years ago. This all is, in my view, pretty wishful thinking. Corporate business has been outsourcing good paying manufacturing jobs for close to a generation, and the attempt by corporate business to finding greener fields outside of the United States started long before that. Trump is simply playing to peoples’ fear, desperation and hope of having good paying jobs again.

It is easier said than done to change the whole concept of bringing in jobs that have been shipped overseas and to creating new and high paying jobs. I hate to say it, but pretty much the jobs that have been lost will never come back. One example of this is the toy industry. Eighty percent of all toys in the world are made in China. This has been true for almost a generation. How do you in-source such a vast market like this to the United States? All of the factories, all of the in-country network for delivery of toys, and those people who used to make toys in the United States are GONE. All of the factories are in China, and all of the infrastructure for delivering the toys to America has been built up in China. How can anyone bring back in four years what has been moved over to China in a 26-year period? This is one tiny example of what I am talking about. It has been all moved there because it is A). cheaper to higher Chinese workers and manufacture it in China; B). the factories and the delivery networks have already been built up; C). the corporations already make huge profits from all of this; and D). the corporations do not have to worry about paying union dues, do not have to worry about paying anything except may be at most minimum health insurance, and do not have to worry about how workers are hired fired or injured since it is not their responsibility.

If Trump were to put on tariffs on Chinese-made toys of 45 percent, then all the store shelves would be empty in this country, and we will have no companies, no businesses, and no one to be able to compensate for all of the toys that come to this country now from China. This is just one tiny example of what I am talking about. If the president, or any president, were to slap tariffs on manufactured goods from China or any other Third World country (and let us not be coy about using the term “Third World” since this is where corporate business takes all of our jobs), then we will not have any American industry that can take up the slack for what we do not receive in imports. There are American-made toys out there yes, but they cannot even begin to compensate for the sheer volume of toys that will NOT be on the store shelves. The same thing with every bodies’ smart phones. Can we just slap tariffs on the smart phones because the companies will not play by American rules? Imagine what it would cost if smart phones were made in the United States. The costs would be significantly higher and we really have no equivalent to compensate for any and all smart phones being imported with higher tariffs or not allowed to be imported at all.

What President Trump should do, and this is only a partial solution, is try and give those companies that try to start up businesses in this country and hire American workers special benefits and special tax breaks. This way it might help to fill in a gap for those sectors of the American economy where people might want to buy products and services made in America and where it is possible to employ people. Putting tariffs on imported goods can only be done if a company and country has been proven to have definitely done something unfair to make their products cheaper than American-made ones. Trying to slap tariffs across the board on any and all countries only results in a trade war, and the United States is most likely to lose (or seriously suffer financial losses). Another possibility is to change the tax codes so that they benefit those companies that manufacture here, and also provide them with lower the costs of starting up. But even with making changes like this, it will take years. It will not happen in four years, and it will not happen in eight years. Too many Americans simply have dreams that we can have the American Dream from 40 to 50 years ago. That dream is gone. We have to live with it. We have to recreate, reinvent the American Dream for the time we live in now.

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