Saving American Jobs
R. Thomas Buffenbarger 3/23/09
In January alone, 598,000 jobs were lost. More than 200,000 of those jobs were lost in the manufacturing sector. The employment rate now stands at a staggering 7.6 percent. The global credit crunch has, finally and decisively, thrown the gears of growth into reverse.
This global recession is like a runaway tractor-trailer. Downshifting works, once in a while. But if the incline is too steep or the load too heavy, downshifting destroys the gearbox. Momentum does the rest. When the rig comes to rest--and it will, eventually--the wreckage is found everywhere.
The just-passed stimulus bill will repair some of the damage done to Americas economy. But a second stimulus package is needed. And revitalizing Americas manufacturing sector must be its highest priority.
Americas trading partners will not buy a trillion dollars in U.S. Treasury notes to finance our recovery while their own economies sink deeper into recession. Theyve already been burned badly once. Yankee traders sold them the toxic debt--the subprime mortgages, credit default swaps and collateralized debt obligations--that triggered this global recession. Selling them more commercial paper stamped Made in America is not a viable option. Our only recourse is to make things other nations will buy. So to stimulate our own economic revival, we must renovate our plants, install new machinery and hone the skills of our workforce.
America needs a 21st Century version of Franklin Roosevelts Works Progress Administration. Roosevelt put millions of Americans back to work on an emergency basis in 1935. He did so by creating jobs that would produce permanent improvements in living conditions or that creates future new wealth for the nation.