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Lloyd Waters: Jobs, jobs, jobs ... going, going gone

September 15, 2011|By LLOYD WATERS

As I sit back and watch the continuous rhetoric unfold between the political parties and their plans for increasing jobs in the current economic meltdown, I can't help but wonder exactly how successful either party might be.

I also wonder if they have any concerns about jobs leaving America for other shores.

In the last election, our political nominees touted "green jobs" as the answer for increasing employment. That solution has not materialized.    

Is there any possibility that we can resolve the unemployment dilemma with current political thinking?

I remember reading a story in the Wall Street Journal several months ago by David Wessel. His topic was the loss of jobs to other countries and how businesses in the United States were looking at increasing profitability while minimizing costs for manufacturing products.

In the story, Wessel indicated that during the last 11 years, U.S. companies cut their work force by some 2.9 million jobs in this country while increasing jobs abroad by some 2.4 million.

Some of these major companies were General Electric, Caterpillar Inc., Microsoft Corp., and Oracle.

Since no one really keeps a specific count of jobs lost to other countries, I suspect this number is probably increasing every day.

When I think about the "idiot" who suggested that many of these jobs are unsuitable for the American worker, I thought about some of the second jobs I held to make a few extra bucks to make ends meet in my earlier years.

Unloading railroad lumber cars at the old Lowe's store for the Manpower employment agency; working at Snook's poultry for $3 an hour; and serving in a Reserve unit for several years are just a few side jobs I worked for some extra money.

I wondered, too, if any of those people in the 15 percent poverty level might be interested in some of these jobs if they existed today.

I was always thankful I could find some work regardless of the salary. Some salary, I usually reasoned, was often better than no salary.

Times have surely changed.

When I consider some of the reasons companies are moving their jobs to China, India, Mexico and elsewhere, some of the answers seem relatively simple to me.

 There is no minimum wage issue in these countries to consider.

 There are no pension plans to finance.

 There are no monies allocated for accident leave, workers' compensation or disability claims.

 No health benefits have to be paid to the worker.

 There are no regulations and red tape to contend with by the employer.

 There are no unions with which to negotiate or compromise.

And don't forget the sheer numbers of available workers in places like India and China just looking for an opportunity to make a simple living.

While I totally disagree with companies taking these jobs abroad, one cannot minimize or ignore the reasons for doing so. Capitalism supports this very premise.

The company's goal is to make a profit with minimal concerns about the worker.

Will patriotism rise up again to support the concept of build and buy in America? I don't think so. That concept is going the way of the dinosaurs.

These companies operating in other countries are also selling more of their products to growing economies elsewhere.

What would your decision be if you owned a company and had to make the same decision about staying or leaving?

We have created some of the very problems we are now trying to resolve.

Fixing the problem of unemployment will take much more than just cheap political rhetoric. Actions will speak stronger than words.

We are losing more and more jobs to other countries for obvious reasons. Unless we can come up with a way to encourage those companies through laws, incentives or other avenues to stay, the exodus will continue and many of our future jobs will be going, going and gone.

Lloyd "Pete" Waters is a Sharpsburg resident who writes for The Herald-Mail.

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