I'm starting to feel that the Republicans are losing the ideals that brought me to be a Republican in the first place. I feel that the president and none of the democrat candidates are willing to look long-term at our country's economy and infrastructure, and I think that America's dominance (economically) will not last. I also think that China is not really our friend, but our politicians only seem interested in the short-term, trying to cozy up to China to get the best economic benefit.
This whole job outsourcing situation is mainly the reason why I'm starting to feel out of step with Republicans. I am not losing faith the conservative ideals that are the guiding force in my life. I still believe in personal responsibility, self-sufficiency, liberty, democracy, low-taxes, and free-markets. However, for even the most free market to survive, it has to have some protections built-in, because the playing field is not level at all, when you talk about a global economy. How can you compete with countries that have no respect for IP, have almost no environmental regulations, have no child labor laws, and have no minimum wage laws, no OSHA, no nothing?
How can white-collar professionals compete with people who can work for 1/5 the cost, with no benefits? The simple answer is that they can't. American workers cannot work for 1/5 their current wage, because they could not afford to put a roof over their head. I'm not talking about a 3000 square foot roof, I'm taking about a basic 1000 foot starter house would be out of reach.
America needs a strong middle class to survive. A significant portion of our economy is built on consumerism, which is driven by the middle class. All of these white-collar jobs that are lost are hurting these middle-class Americans. However, neither the president nor the dems show up at a Microsoft or a Cisco office building to talk, they show up at steel factories, touting job re-training programs. The white-collar people have already done their best to prepare themselves for a "21st century" job, only to have to train their replacements in India. Our tax policies and corporate culture only make it easier to perform this offshoring. What has happened to some of these corporations? I used to defend the practices of corporations during arguments with liberals. I still believe that most corporations are clean, ethical, and make money lawfully, but there are some that don't. A memo recently published on drudge's website from IBM showed how much money they would save by outsourcing, whereas they had publicly said that they were outsourcing primarily to develop "diversity". What a joke.
What is to become of America's economy when there are no manufacturing jobs and no high-tech jobs? Will we be a country full of service-oriented people, managers, and executives? Who will be able to afford those services anymore? Will the day come when we can outsource managers and executives? Will Wall Street ever start to accept lower profits if it means more goods and services are from the US?
I want America to remain the leader of the world and be the most prosperous country. I want us to develop new sources of energy (to cut the flow of money to the middle east), develop new technologies, have a vibrant middle class that encourages wealth building and prosperity, having responsible corporations that are still allowed to make as much money as they can (but still be fair to workers, consumers), have low taxes, and keep our sense of the American dream. Sadly, I don't see any politician out there with the long-term vision to drive something like this.
Some things we can do in the short term, which are still in-line with conservative principles, but would also help:
- Pressure the WTO to level the playing field. Other countries try to use the WTO to raise our taxes and cut off tarrifs. We should be encouraging the WTO to say that any member country should be forced to follow some environmental regulations, child labor laws, and repect for human rights.
- start a Manhatten-like project where we take the best scientists in the US to develop alternative energy sources. screw the oil companies, or let the oil companies transition themselves into the new energy companies of the future. Cutting off oil imports would reduce the middle-east's income greatly.
- start plans to rebuild our infrastructure. Roads, bridges, power-lines, communications all need to be updated and/or replaced. To maintain the economy, goods and services need to be able to move quickly.
- government health care? I can't believe I just typed that. However, I don't believe in a national health care system like Britain or Canada. The only government health care I want is for the government to pay for private health care plans for American's, either directly, or a tax credit to pay the premiums. This would allow corporations to spend less per employee (not less salary), and allow american workers to be a bit more competive with foreign workers.
- cancel the H1-B program. There are enough american tech workers out there. hire them!
These ideas won't solve every problem. I used to think that Republicans were the only ones brave enough make changes to their policies, but it doesn't seem to be the case. I was dissapointed with bush's speech last night, because I was hoping he would address some of these, especially the outsourcing of high-tech workers, but he didn't.
I know that some people are going to read this and think that I only care about the high-tech worker because I am one myself. Well, I don't think that's true. In this new century, white-collar professionals are going to drive this country's economy, and losing them will make our economy falter.