Oh dear. The good people over at The Daily Beast have heeded the call of the Pied Piper of Pennsylvania and endorsed the never-gonna-happen pro-manufacturing-rennaissance mirage offered up by Rick “Blue Collar” Santorum.
Of course, they are at pains to distance themselves from his more extreme social policy positions, and they get that out of the way at the beginning:
“There’s a lot not to like about Rick Santorum on the social-issues front. He’s an anti-abortion absolutist, no fan of gay rights, and possesses politics so influenced by faith that even contraception remains controversial in his mind.”
But after this, and a couple of disclaimers about the effect of such a manufacturing policy on the budget deficit, they are all praise:
“But at least the man is making a bold proposal that attempts to address an issue that has helped destroy the jobs that used to enable families to get on the first rung of the ladder out of poverty. Rather than simply having products designed in the U.S.A. and then produced overseas, an added incentive to make things in America could help tip the scales back in favor of American manufacturing. It might help make a real dent in our half-trillion-dollar trade imbalance with China and other countries.”
Okay, firstly: future manufacturing jobs will be more highly skilled and require a greater level of education or prior training than many of those displaced by the decline in manufacturing currently have. They aren’t going to get these jobs, if employers bother to create them in the US at all, despite a big tax giveaway. Those jobs that don’t require this higher level of skill won’t offer a rung on the ladder out of poverty any more than an entry-level job in the service sector.
Secondly: What if I write and distribute an awesome piece of new software? What business is it of the government to tell me that my work isn’t as worthy as that of someone else who opened a factory or a sawmill? Are we supposed to pick winners now, based on perceived societal good? The Daily Beast seems to lean to the left somewhat so I can understand them espousing this argument, though I vehemently disagree with it.
But my point remains: a Republican – especially one who rails about government handouts to individuals and bailouts to Wall Street and Detroit – has no business espousing policies to favour one segment of the economy over the other. I mean, that’s European/Soviet style planned-economy socialism, right?