Mike has a keen interest in the effects of politics in our culture. He has a unique way of simplifying complex concepts.
Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by over 2.5 million votes. However, Trump became the president of the most powerful country in the world. This happened because he appealed to the "Forgotten Ones." He recognized their plight and as a billionaire business man was able to convince them that he was on their side and that they would never to be forgotten again.
He convinced the out of work coal miners, steel workers, and assembly plant workers that he was going to bring their jobs back. He convinced people who were either on unemployment or had simply given up looking for jobs that the immigrants had taken their jobs. He convinced others that he was going to bring off shore jobs back to this country.
Hillary Clinton made a big mistake by telling the coal miners that their jobs were not coming back. She immediately lost their votes at that point. But she was telling the truth. Why is that?
(Daily Kos, Monday Nov 14, 2016)
"There were hundreds of new coal plants in planning across the country in 2008. By 2010, there were dozens. By 2012, there were none. Even plants that had broken ground were abandoned in progress.
As fracking made the price of gas go down and stay down, the other advantages of natural gas became too tempting. Power companies not only used gas for new capacity, they began retrofitting coal plants to burn gas. Coal-powered generation fell 11 percent in 2009 alone. It kept falling.
No one had predicted the nation’s energy production could change so quickly. In fact, they’d predicted the exact opposite—especially when talking about the possibility of replacing fossil fuels with renewables. Wind and solar made up just 3 percent of the energy portfolio in 2008. By the time coal and natural gas were tied for production at the end of 2015, renewables were up to 7 percent of the picture.
The United States is now in a cycle that looks like this: gas gradually replaces coal where it can. Meanwhile, renewables—which are rapidly decreasing in price and increasing in efficiency—slowly eats up the difference.
The result is simply that there is no market for coal. Even making coal cheaper won’t bring that market back, because to buy more coal, power plants would have to build more coal capacity. And they are not going to go there, especially when they can add renewables at a reasonable cost.
Everything Trump said about coal during the election, every sign waving at the convention, was simply a straight up con for the votes of people in coal areas."
I have a friend from Pittsburgh who says the laid off steel workers still think their jobs are coming back.
(USA Today, November 4, 2016)
"Trump has wooed steelworkers near Pittsburgh by saying he plans to bring steel jobs back to the region. But that’s just not possible, said Frank Giarratani, an economist who recently retired from the University of Pittsburgh.
When Pittsburgh’s iron-ore-based steel mills were closing in the 1980s and 1990s, new plants were opening elsewhere in the country, in locations with nonunion workers, low-cost electricity, and fast-growing populations that needed new buildings, such as the Midwest, South and Southeast.
Those newer factories make steel differently. A majority of steel made in the U.S. today is recycled — melting down existing steel to form it into new metal. Recycling plants are highly automated and need hundreds of employees, but not thousands as at ore-based steel plants in the 1970s,"
Assembly Line Replaced With Robots
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Assembly Plant Workers
The sad facts are that assembly plant workers in many industries, including auto, electronic, and fabrication, have been replaced with automation and robots. These jobs are performed more effectively and tirelessly. They don't complain, they don't ask for raises, and they don't ask for time off. They do take highly skilled trained people to operate them however.
Migrant Worker Working a Field
I live in Southern California. I don't know about the rest of the country, but we have migrant workers who work in the fields picking everything from artichokes to strawberries. They do it with their families and for a very minimal wage. I don't know of any red blooded non-immigrant person who would want to work under those conditions for what they earn in a month.
The same thing goes for those people who work in car washes and the hotel workers who clean rooms and make beds. It is all a matter of division of labor. Trump says the immigrants are stealing our jobs. I say more power to them. I don't want a job like that.
Bring Jobs Back From Foreign Countries
How much would things cost if they were made in the U.S.? Here are the prices of four items if they were made in this country, according to Marketplace from the University of Southern California:
- iPhones - An evaluation by Marketplace looked into the hypothetical cost of an American-made iPhone, and came up with the following estimate. If all the components were made in the US, they suggest, that could push the cost up to $600, which would mean the phone could retail for as much as $2000.
- Jeans - "If you look at labor rates around some of the really cheap areas, Vietnam is like $2.50, and Bangladesh is like $1.80 an hour," he says. By comparison, IHS' analysts calculate the labor rate in the US at $25-$30 per hour (a number that takes into account costs beyond an employee's wages). "So even if there's an hour worth of labor in a blouse or a men's shirt, now you're talking about a $25 buck difference per piece," he says of the manufacturing cost.
- Sneakers - New Balance shoes are made in China and the U.S. They range in price from $65 to $399, but the American-made pairs start at $165 and get as expensive as $399. (The most expensive pair on the New Balance website is indeed made in the US.) That means none of the lowest-priced pairs are manufactured domestically.
- Solar Panels - In the case of solar panels, those manufactured domestically are consistently more expensive than those imported from abroad. A 330-watt mono panel from Canadian Solar—which manufactures most of its panels in China and Vietnam—costs 69 cents per watt. SolarWorld, one of the biggest domestic solar panel makers, sells a similar 300-watt mono panel for 85 cents per watt. Considering the typical home uses 7,000 watts of solar power, that difference translates into a price difference of $1,120."
The Bottom Line
That title is no pun. The bottom line is what this is all about. The bottom line is what corporations are concerned about. The corporations and their board of directors are not going to bring jobs back to this country for one simple reason: cheaper labor costs. Many of the big corporations and big moneyed interests have powerful lobby groups who influence congress by contributing to their reelections via Super PACs and other types of funding. These congressmen are beholden to those corporations and are not going to allow Trump's scheme of bringing jobs back affect their bottom line profits.
The Next Generation Will Unite Our Country
Trump is a master at dividing and conquering. He divided and conquered the republican field in the primary. He divided and conquered Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, and now he and the GOP are dividing and conquering the country.
In my humble opinion, I see the only hope for a "UNITED" States of America is in our next generation. They are technically and socially savvy and understand how to use technology and change to their advantage. They are the coders, programmers, operators, and engineers of the future.
It is sad but all of those who are forgotten today will continue to be forgotten by the next generation because of three forces that are a reality: accelerated technology, climate change, and globalization. The populous movements that are happening throughout Europe are the remnants of those who are afraid of change of what the future holds. They want things to remain the same, but the next generation will change all of that. Trump will be caught in the middle of the natural forces of accelerated technology, climate change, and globalization.
There are new companies that are training people to have the skill sets and to acquire jobs that are in demand. One example is the Golden Triangle Area in Mississippi. They have retrained people to transition from low skilled jobs to high skilled jobs. Joe Mac Higgins is an economic developer for the Golden Triangle. He has attracted $6 billion of advanced industry including this mill run by Steel Dynamics. It’s one of the most hi-tech steel mills in the country. He got a helicopter factory up and running. Truck maker PACCAR used to build engines only in Europe. It opened its first U.S. plant in the Triangle. He has a program at the local junior college for retraining the local people from the mundane jobs they had to being highly skilled and earning much more money than they were working in an out of date steel mill, a slaughter house for Sara Lee, and a defunct lumber mill. So there is hope.
This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.