Over the last few weeks, I have been hearing more and more reports about President-Elect Trump’s promises to bring back manufacturing jobs to our home soil by punishing US companies that move production overseas. While I will concede to the fact that many manufacturing jobs have been lost over the last few decades due to companies push for cheaper labor, I don’t think that placing a 30% or 35% tariff on the goods produced overseas is such a good idea. Nor do I think it will help bring jobs back, and here are two simple reasons why.
First, the price of goods will go up and people will stop buying or won’t be able to buy. Pretty simple right? Plus, it is not a very conservative policy. It looks a little more like socialistic thinking to me. Why not let the values of the American consumer drive the market? Why depend on our very few elected officials to fix this problem for us? Shouldn’t the masses be driving the economy? Shouldn’t the American consumer determine what they should buy and from whom they should buy it? If we want jobs back in America, then the masses should make their wishes known and start buying “Made in America” products in larger quantities. Manufacturing decline is not a policy problem but a consumer desire problem, and only the consumer and our self-correcting free market economy can fix it.
Second, you can’t convince me that jobs moving out of country is the main issue with manufacturing. I may not be an economic expert, but I do understand a little about science, technology, and society’s advancement in these areas. Take a look at America in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. EVERYONE was a farmer, basically anyway. Technology, of course, changed that and our workforce frantically re-educated itself; and everyone found new jobs or created them for that matter.
Our problem today is not much different. Robots, more efficient systems, and computers are replacing human run jobs left and right. It is, therefore, time for the workforce to re-educate itself and find other work. That is easy to say I know since I am not a factory worker who just had her plant shut down or her job given to a machine. However, this is a reality that every generation faces; and we can either play the “it’s not fair” card, or we can do what Americans have always done and that is to reposition ourselves for future prosperity through education, innovation, and hard work.
So to all those who are suffering without work, my heart goes out to you. I pray daily that our economy would turn around and that people would find new jobs. But I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting on the new administration to magically fix the problem. It isn’t their job in a truly free market economy and you might suffocate before they can move things forward enough to you personally.
Image: Shutterstock; Image ID:536075035; Copyright: Jacek Dudzinski