Perhaps you’ve already seen the above linked article, but I can’t let it pass without comment. It seems that the president plans to hold a forum on “Insourcing American Jobs,” in which he will encourange executives to bring American jobs home.
It’s not enough that trade negotiators in places like China, Japan, Germany and South Korea are rolling in the aisles with laughter upon the departure of American trade delegations. Now they’re splitting their sides with laughter in America’s boardrooms, too. Go to all the effort to bring jobs and factories back home? Why? Just because Obama says so? Give me a break. It’s going to take a lot more than a sappy appeal to a sense of patriotism that hasn’t existed for decades. Obama is like the school marm who, upon hearing the splat of a spit ball on the cover of the book she’s reading, gives the boys in the class a stern lecture. As soon as she turns around, there’ll be another big, fat, juicy one zipping right towad the back of her head.
Besides, there’s a huge problem with this approach that, apparently, has escaped Obama. In many, if not most cases, there’s no one to bring these jobs home even if they wanted to. What about all the jobs lost to imports of electronics? There are no American electronics companies any more. Who will bring those jobs home? What clothing and textile manufacturers are left to bring those jobs back home?
Once again, the president is shirking his responsibility to take action on the economy. Much easier to try to talk someone else into doing the job for him. Take tough action on trade policy to restore a balance of trade and bring millions upon millions of manufacturing jobs home? Nah. We’ll just ask foreign countries to be nice, play fair, and buy more American stuff. And now we’ll just ask companies to bring the jobs home. That way we create the perception of doing something about the economy without risking awkward scenes around the punch bowl at the next G8 meeting.
The only way to get those jobs back is to force foreign manufacturers to send them back. The only way to do that is with tariffs. The American market is still the most lucrative in the world. No foreign manufacturer is going to exit the American market as an angry response to tariffs. Instead, they’d choose to circumvent the tariffs by building factories in the U.S.
Instead, while the rest of world plots and enacts trade policies designed to drain away more manufacturing from the U.S., our president holds forums and gives speeches.