Toward the end of the second Presidential debate, Barack Obama made a statement that was so wrong, and such an insult to Americans, that I wanted to "unpack" it and shine a little light on what he said, and the thinking that goes with it.
First, before I get into what was said and the way most people think about this particular statement, which has been around awhile and is not original with The Barack, I want to stress something. In the interest of clarity, I want to point out that nothing I write here is going to be news to Obama. In my opinion, Barack Obama is not politically naïve or misdirected. Neither is he operating from a lack of information, or ignorance. Again, as I have stated before, I think he is well aware of the situation I'm about to get into and is being intentionally misleading for reasons of his own.
There, I wouldn't have wanted anybody to be in doubt about where I stand on this.
What Obama said that has me so incensed is: " there are some jobs that are not going to come back ".
Okay, just to take some of the ambiguity out of this, when I'm talking about jobs that are being done in other countries, I don't care if they are jobs, such as smelting steel, which used to be done here but now aren't, or other work, such as building I-phones, which was never done here. As far as I'm concerned a job is a job, is a job. What I am talking about is jobs that could be employing people, who would get paid for their work, here, in the United States of America.
If I understand correctly, most of the time when this statement is made, regarding jobs never coming back, the thinking behind it, or at least the argument that's being advanced, is that the reason these jobs are not being done here is because of low priced, or cheap, labor. While I personally believe Obama knows better, I do realize there are a lot of people who think that some operations can only be done by large numbers of unskilled laborers (the slaving away part is just understood). People may believe that, but I vehemently disagree.
As a person who has worked for a living from a young age, I'm telling you there are lots of different ways to accomplish pretty much any kind of work you want to do. For example, let's talk about digging a water well. Suppose you need a water well in your back yard and you know the water will be found at a depth of about eighty feet. Here in America, you would almost certainly hire a water well company to come in with a machine and drill the well. In China on the other hand, you might hire a bunch of laborers with shovels and other man-powered equipment to come in and hand dig that same well using lots of "cheap" labor.
Why the difference between the two methods? That's easy; cost, and availability. Since before the invention of water well drilling rigs, our ancestors dug water wells by hand; we certainly know how to do it that way if we want to. However; we have the equipment, and it's cheaper to do that than hand dig wells, so of course we use machinery. Keep in mind, we could do it by hand, it would just be ignorant to do it that way when the equipment is faster and cheaper. Well, maybe except for on a government job.
Anyway, the Chinese also have equipment, and know how to use it. On the other hand something they additionally have is a lot of cheap labor. Since the equipment would probably be hard to get and expensive, but not because it is unavailable and they don't know how to use it, they might dig wells by hand instead of using a rig.
The difference between the two methods isn't lack of knowledge, equipment, or know how, but simple economics. Basically, when all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. If you have an abundance of cheap labor, when you are trying to figure out how to do something, using a lot of people to do it is naturally going to come to mind. If on the other hand you have a lot of readily available equipment and technology (like we do), and labor is expensive, using a hundred laborers instead of two people operating a piece of equipment is never going to enter your mind.
By the way, I have personally spent time working in the bottom of a hand dug water well, and also used equipment to drill water wells.
When somebody says "some jobs are never coming back", whether they realize it or not (and I think Obama does), what they are really saying is that American workers, inventors, and business owners aren't smart enough to come up with a way to do that work competitively, here in the United States. In my opinion we have the cleverest and most inventive work force in the world (that is until the Department of Education can get us "dumbed down" to a level acceptable to them) which is indeed capable of competing with foreign manufacturers. If that's so, why are there "jobs that are never coming back?"
There are lots of reasons some of our industries can't or won't compete with their counterparts in foreign countries, but a couple of the biggest are government (ours) and energy costs. Despite the fact that the left denies that the federal government has any influence over energy costs, the reality is that government overregulation of energy production keeps the cost to consumers (commercial and residential) higher than it should be. By the way, the previous statement doesn't even take into account an apparent government resistance to obtaining energy independence.
As far as I'm concerned, and this is a crying shame, the largest factor standing in the way of getting those jobs "that are never coming back", to "come back" is our own government. The reason people in the government focus on cheap labor or any other thing they can think of as why we can't compete is to draw attention away from the fact that the real problem is our own government bureaucracy. The amazing thing is that even in spite of the way our government treats the private sector, American companies and workers still successfully compete on an international basis all the time.
I'm not going to get down into the weeds about some of the specific regulations, but for those who don't think our own government is anti-business, I do have a clear example.
When Boeing wanted to build jets in South Carolina, they (Boeing) were sued by a branch of the federal government for, among other things, putting the new plant in a place where non union labor is available. In spite of actions like that Boeing still competes internationally, and successfully.
When politicians in general, and The Barack in particular, are trying to convince you that there are jobs that "are never going to come back", they bring up all kinds of things about other countries. At the top of the list is usually cheap labor, followed by things like "protectionist" policies of foreign governments (which by the way is what other governments are supposed to try and do for their businesses and citizens), artificially low energy prices in other countries, and etc. The fact of the matter is that the best work force the world has ever known (which is based on the American worker) could handle all of that if only our own government would stop holding us back.
Those "lost jobs" aren't gone because of intervention by other governments, they're not here because of intervention by our government.
Bruce Kreitler is the author of Obamageddon (the Culmination of the Progressive Looting of America) and posts this and other articles at BruceKreitler.com.