Office Work is Killing America

Office Work is Killing America
June 7, 2022 Comments Off on Office Work is Killing America Business, Economy, Op-Ed, RNHA News Articles Paul Lott

Before you object, let me explain.  Remember when the Keystone Pipeline was shut down? President Biden offered America the simplest solution for all those high paying jobs lost. The workers can simply become programmers. Problem solved, but could they? Would they even want to?   

How the US Lost Manufacturing Jobs

Progressives have told us for decades that manufacturing is not America’s future and that we all needed to accept the fact that manufacturing jobs were gone and would never come back. We were told that the “high paying” jobs of the future were technical jobs. Go to college. Learn to program, or be an engineer. Obama told us to switch careers and forget about manufacturing in more speeches than I can count.

Several decades after we were told to find new careers, has it actually worked? Is America more prosperous and more secure after having given up manufacturing jobs? The answer is no! History tells us that replacing manufacturing jobs with “high paying” technical jobs was never going to work.

What History Tells Us

First, lets just look at history. Has there ever been an economy that lifted its people out of poverty without focusing on manufacturing? The answer would be no.  Just take a look at Asian countries. Japan, Vietnam, and Korea all battled poverty until they were able to become manufacturing power houses.

Japan understood this in the early days. The country passed a law that certain raw materials could not be exported until improved. Japan realized that the jobs that counted did not just rest in harvesting raw materials, but that there were lots of jobs in processing raw materials into improved products, such as iron ore to steel. The country saw the double benefit: jobs taking the ore out of the ground and jobs creating an improved steel product. 

Since 1972 when immigration policies opened the borders and globalization began moving domestic manufacturing overseas to countries like Mexico, the Democrats have been selling Americans on the idea that shipping manufacturing overseas was good for the country. We were told that we were sending the less desirable jobs overseas and keeping the better paying jobs for ourselves. Except none of it was true. Losing those jobs was the beginning of sending a significant cross section of America sliding back into poverty, or stagnation at the very least.

China Becomes Manufacturing Leader

The rise of the Chinese economy confirms that the key to fighting poverty is manufacturing. What the Democrats have never understood was that people who want to work in manufacturing have no interest in becoming programmers no matter how much they could potentially make. In fact, most people would prefer manual labor to years of education leading to a knowledge worker job. 

Manufacturers in the United States account for 11.39% of the total output in the economy, employing 8.51% of the workforce. By contrast, China is the top nation in terms of manufacturing output and the percentage of its national output that is generated by that sector.  China’s manufacturing output is 26.8%. It’s high point was in 2004 when manufacturing as a percentage of total output was above 30% for almost a decade starting in 2004.

In 1978 the Chinese began investing significantly in assets such as capital assets, new factories, manufacturing machinery, and communications systems. Their government then poured significant resources into increasing labor output by investing training its workers to operate these factories. As exports expanded, China’s wealth expanded rapidly at a pace that has set it on a path to outpace the United States economy. Today, the Chinese manufacturing sector dominates or completely owns the production of key global products. That dominance threatens the national security of the United States and Europe.

Bringing Manufacturing Jobs Back

America must create a long term manufacturing strategy to reclaim domestic manufacturing if it is to compete with the Chinese and maintain a strong national security posture. Rather than spending on failed social programs, the United States government must invest directly in manufacturing infrastructure and worker retraining.

The idea that going to college is the best path for a more prosperous America is simply a political lie told on the left. What we need is to bring manufacturing back to poor Americans. We can do this through the defense authorization act allowing the government to quickly invest in key product segments, and by offering loan guarantees and incentives to create America’s next manufacturing boom.

About The Author
Paul Lott Paul Lott is the Founder of the National Society for the Advancement of Black Americans, an organization formed in the aftermath of the George Floyd riots as a needed counterbalance to the false racial narrative being pushed in American today. Mr. Lott is an alumnus of Harvard College, a U.S. Army veteran, father, author, and long-time education activist.
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