Bringing Jobs Home and the South Carolina GOP Primary
Why Trump Won: In 1992, presidential candidate Ross Perot spoke about “the giant sucking sound” that would result if we passed NAFTA, the first of many free trade agreements that have resulted in the loss of millions of American middle-class jobs. The recent GOP presidential primary in South Carolina was an example of the fact that Ross was right, and the loss of manufacturing jobs was the reason Trump pulled off another victory.
Steve Rattner is an economic analyst who appears frequently on the Morning Joe show on MSNBC. He usually brings along a series of charts to prove his theories.
On the Morning Joe Show after the South Carolina primary, Rattner said: “Trump did particularly well with voters with a high school education or less, and with voters with incomes below $50,000. Since 2000, South Carolina has lost 31 percent of its manufacturing jobs, so it’s not shocking that someone talking about trade would resonate.”
On the national level, Rattner pointed to a chart which shows that since 2000, America has lost: 71 percent of the textile industry, 40 percent of the furniture industry, 36 percent of the electronics industry; 28 percent of the durable goods industry, and 24 percent of the machinery industry.
Rattner also pointed to one of the myths in the discussion on jobs and the manufacturing industry; that new factory plants in South Carolina and across the country, from Boeing and BMW building plants here, have replaced all of the jobs gone overseas. These new jobs “are not nearly enough to cover the loss of manufacturing jobs,” said Rattner, who recently wrote an op-ed for the New York Times discussing this topic.
“Last year, according to the recent figures, our nation added 2.65 million new jobs,” he wrote. “Just 30,000 of them were in manufacturing. So much for the widel- trumpeted renaissance of Made in America… At first glance, the automobile industry looks to be in better shape. From the depths of the crisis in 2009 through 2013, employment in the auto manufacturing sector in the United States rose by 23 percent, to 690,000 from 560,000.
“That sounds pretty good, I said, except that employment in the Mexican auto sector rose to 589,000 from 368,000 during the same period, an increase of 60 percent,” he wrote. “I’m happy that 221,000 more Mexicans got jobs, but let’s be honest: Absent open borders, many of those jobs would have been in America.
“Blaming technology is a common refrain from economists who hate the thought that globalization is not the world’s unambiguous salvation… If technology were the source of manufacturing workers’ woes, productivity would be rising sharply, which it surely isn’t… It’s not only morally wrong to fail to help those on the losing end of globalization, but it will also end badly politically, as the ascendant candidacy of Donald J. Trump illustrates,” wrote Rattner, who worked on the bailout of GM in 2009, which saved thousands of American jobs.