Robert Reich was Secretary of Labor in the Clinton administration.
As best I can tell from his Wikipedia entry, he's never done anything but teach school, practice law, or help screw up the country as a government employee. I don't think he's ever manufactured anything but regulatory burdens.
Reich recently came up with a list of things that The Teleprompter Jesus could do to create jobs. Half of the suggestions were the standard "give employers a tax credit for doing things that their Lords And Masters like". The other half were the standard "take money from one group that I don't necessarily like (rich people, unborn fetuses, banks, etc.) and give it to another group".
But the tenth proposal perfectly reflects the lunacy to which we've all descended, and that's the one that got my blood boiling. Here goes:
10. Impose a "severance fee" on any large business that lays off an American worker and outsources the job abroad.
Before I unload on this Statist sonofabitch, let me get in some full disclosure. I'm proud to work for an American manufacturer. We make things in the United States, which, considering the regulatory environment, is just about impossible. We also outsource some work to China. We're warehousing some stuff in Canada. We're about to get something big going with a manufacturer in Brazil.
But in addition to bringing things in from other places, I routinely ship our American-made (and outsourced) products to stores all over the world. Before my vacation this past week, we loaded out 5 full-sized shipping containers of freakin' fruitstands to Chile. Yeah. Fruitstands. You can make fruitstands anywhere, but people in Chile like ours. So do our customers in Mexico, Canada and Colombia. "Trade" works both ways.
Before we started bringing some of the simpler products in from China, our company had 300 employees in the United States. And less than a decade after "outsourcing these jobs", in Reich's phrase, to China, we had....
Yep. We started making some things in China and this allowed us to double our U.S. workforce. (We've cut back to around 500 since our peak a couple of years ago, but then, there's a madman in the White House.)
To what degree should we be punished? And who will decide how much we should have to pay for sending work to Chinese People and then hiring more American People in the United States as a result of our increased efficiency?
Let's get to the next bit o' goofiness in Reich's proposal... I once spent a phenomenally dull Spring welding these weld nuts into 7 3/4 lengths of steel tube.
Before long, we had doubled the size of our metal shop, and instead of 4 employees, we had 8. Somebody else welded those things into the steel tubes. Then 3 people welded them.
Next thing you know, we've got 3 shifts and 90 people working in our metal shop. We don't have room to breathe.
But at the same time, customers decided that they didn't want any more weld nuts tacked into 7 3/4 lengths of steel tube. Instead of 3 people welding the things, we cut back to just one person doing the job. Then, for a brief period of time, we occasionally set up a robotic welder to do it.
Now we order a couple of thousand of the things from China a couple of times a year.
How is the law firm of Reich, Rodham, and Reid going to determine what "severance fee" we should pay? And to whom? Especially since the metal shop has grown to 150 employees since we sent the simpler stuff to China and since no one purchases enough of them to keep an American busy full-time?
I bet Uncle Sam would have to hire 5 Regulatory Gremlins to monitor our company alone, which is probably the goal of Reich's proposal. Who knows. Moving on....
Let's assume that we're succesful in our attempt at manufacturing fruitstands in Brazil. Let's also assume that Robert Reich persuades The Teleprompter Jesus to slap a "severance fee" on any company that manufactures anything overseas.
Do you really think that our customers in China, Colombia, Chile, Canada and Mexico will be able to continue ordering things from me at the same price? Or will their governments turn around and slap a "severance fee" of some sort on manufacturers who purchase my component parts and complete products?
Remember, Robert Reich was educated/indoctrinated at Oxford and Yale. He's one of the brightest and best. God help us all.
Next, put yourself in a company owner's position. If there was even a remote chance that a new product could be made in China, would you ever consider making it in the U.S. if doing so meant you might one day be required to pay a "severance fee"?
Hell no, you wouldn't.
You would keep your U.S. workforce on your old product line. The new product would be made exclusively in China from Day One so no one at Reich, Rodham, and Reid could ever accuse you of laying off someone and sending that job to China.
Finally, let's get to the racial issue. We recently put up a new Martin Luther King Memorial on the National Mall in D.C. Here's a quote from the base of the statue:
"our loyalties must transcend our race, our tribe, our class, and our nation; and this means we must develop a world perspective."
Yeah. What King said.
I don't give a rip about the lines of latitude and longitude where something is manufactured. Robert Reich wants to take that into account when HE decides what HE will allow in and out of what HE thinks of as our little cage.
I don't care about the nationality of the people my employer sells to, or the arbitrary borders on a map that show where they were born. The ones I've met have been good folks, almost without exception. I can say the same thing about the people oversease who we purchase from. Robert Reich thinks that nationality matters more than "the content of their character".
I don't give a rip about the skin color of the people making my fruitstands. Robert Reich appears to be obsessed with it. I wonder if Reich is disturbed that the MLK statue was outsourced to a Chinese dude....
I see no other explanation than to say that I believe Robert Reich is a racist of the worst possible sort. (And an economic idiot.)