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COLUMN: Jobs! Jobs! Jobs!

OPINION: Ken Herron talks about the low unemployment rate and his belief of why trade and tariffs are partl of the reason.

The following article is an opinion piece and reflects the views of the author and not those of AllOnGeorgia.

When President Trump announced that his main focus was going to be getting manufacturing jobs returned to America, former President Obama laughed and asked

what he was going to use to get the jobs back because these jobs were gone forever. He asked if President Trump had a magic wand he was going to waive over the country. He did not have a magic wand, he had a brain.

The jobs disappeared when we removed the import taxes on the products coming into our country. Previous presidents had listened to collegiate economic experts who believed that

the economic earth is flat and that we should let the country that can produce a product at the least expense produce that product for the world. This is the basic belief of globalism. They called it Free-Trade.

The USA moved toward this goal and remove our import taxes. At the time this began, the USA was the world’s largest producer of products to be exported. The problem for the USA began when the countries that were shipping to the USA increased their tariffs on the products they were receiving from the USA. Their exports were shipping to the USA on a free-trade basis.

The USA companies could not compete in the other countries because of their high import taxes. The USA companies began to go out of business and much of the equipment used in the USA was shipped to the foreign countries to be used to produce products to ship back to the USA. Many US companies move their manufacturing to foreign countries to take advantage of the low cost labor.

During the 1800s, as much as 50% of the federal income came from import taxes. During the administration of President Obama import taxes contributed less than 3% of the federal income. The biggest offender to the USA has been the nation of China.

China is a Socialist (Communist) country where the government owns all of the businesses. They determine what the workers will be paid. They set the selling prices on the products made by the businesses. They take all the profits. When a foreign company comes into China, the Chinese government maintains a controlling interest in the new company that they establish. In the event the foreigners decide to leave, the facility stays complete in China owned by the government.

Prior to 1985, China was not a member of the WTO and they did not trade as a most favored nation with the United States. In 1985, the USA shipped to China $3,855 million in exports. During the same year China shipped $3,861 million in imports into the United States. This was a balance trade situation. During the year 2000 the USA shipped to China $16,185 million in exports. During the same year China shipped $100,982 million in imports to the United States. During the year 2018, the United States shipped $129,198 million in exports to China. During the same year China shipped $539,679 million in imports to the United States.

At the present time, this trade imbalance is taking over $400 billion of US assets away from our country each year. This must be stopped. There are several steps we can take and President Trump is doing these things. The first thing to try is to achieve a trade agreement which allows both countries to import from other country an equal amount of value without tariffs.

At present China has high import taxes on most products from the United States. An equal trade agreement with China would increase production in the United States and create jobs. The second thing to try is to put import tariffs on products coming from China into the USA. This has two effects. Companies who have established manufacturing in China may come home to the USA and reestablish their own local manufacturing. New companies may realize that they can produce the same products at a lower price than the imported price with the tariffs.

This also creates jobs in the USA. There are certain products that should be made in our country regardless of the cost advantage of buying foreign made goods. Number one is our food. Who knows what an enemy might put into our foods in preparation for war to poison us.

Our health standards on food produced in the USA are higher than any other country in the world. The health of our citizens is most important to us. We should produce our own building materials such as steel, aluminum, wood products, and cement. We should produce our own textile and clothing products. We must remain energy independent. We do not have to produce all we require of these products but we should have a significant ability to produce them. We must never again allow our manufacturing abilities to be reduced to the level of the Obama administration.

The workforce in America is considered to be men and women capable of holding a job of any sort. We eliminate those that are under 18 years old. The elderly, the sick, the students, and those imprisoned are not included in the workforce. In 2018, this was approximately half of the population of 320 million. That leaves 160 million capable workers. The unemployment rate is 3.8%. That means there are 6,080,000 workers available.

According to the latest reports, there are 6.6 million jobs available in the United States. Having more jobs than there are workers available leads to increased wages. Anyone who wishes to work should be able to find a job. What this means is that we must streamline our immigration system just to fulfill the jobs that are already open.

New factories are opening on a regular basis in the United States which is increasing the number of jobs available. The immigrant workers should be selected on a merit basis with the ability to develop the skills that we need for the open jobs.

When I was working in Saudi Arabia, the entire workforce was immigrants. When we needed additional workers we would notify the agency of how many workers we needed. If we needed 20 workers, we would receive resumes of perhaps 40 different workers from a number of countries. We would select from these resumes and send a check to pay for their transportation to Jeddah. Someone would meet them at the airport and transport them to the living quarters. On the next day they would be brought to the factory and begin training for the job that had been selected for them.

President Trump must be commended for recognizing the solutions to these problems and taking action to solve them. Probably none of the steps that President Trump has taken occurred to Barack Obama.

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