The Lost DecadeBy John Médaille for FRONT PORCH REPUBLIC
Here are some interesting numbers. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in October of 1999 there were 109,487,000 non-farm, private-sector jobs in the United States. 10 years later, there were 108, 401,000, a loss of 1,086,000. The US population grew by 34,573,000 in the same period.
This decade was largely counted as a period of “growth.” And for a lucky few, it was. These are the few who control the economy, or what’s left of it. For the rest, not so much. Indeed, we would have to add 10,000,000 jobs just to get back to where we were in December of 2007, when the Great Recession began. Where are all the jobs going to come from? Beats me. The Obama administration is pinning its hopes on the “green” economy, but even if that is the next boom, why wouldn’t these jobs be outsourced just as all the others were?
Americans can compete with foreign workers, if the playing field is leveled. Indeed, Americans are the most productive workers in the world, or close to it. But we cannot compete with currency manipulations, slave labor, disregard for even minimal environmental or health standards, etc. Without abandoning the whole “free” trade ideology, an ideology peculiarly divorced from any actual reality, we cannot revive the economy. There are other things that need to be done, but without this nothing can be done.