By on November 16, 2017

us-capitol, public domain

A bipartisan group of over 70 members of the U.S. House of Representatives has asked the Trump administration to reconsider its North American Free Trade Agreement proposal on auto parts rules of origin. Seen as a sunset clause by Canada and Mexico that tweaks international agreements to lower the United States’ trade deficit, the rule has also received some serious blowback from domestic automakers. They’ve even used trade groups to craft awareness campaigns and reach out to congress, a decision that appears to be working.

Currently, NAFTA mandates at least 62.5 percent of the materials used in a car or light truck be sourced from North America in order to avoid tariffs. The Trump administration’s proposal would up that requirement to 85 percent, with 50 percent of the total being from the United States.

However, letters arrived at the White House on Wednesday from a handful of Republican senators and dozens of House representatives, from both sides of the aisle, condemning the proposal.

According to Reuters, they wrote that the push from U.S. negotiators “would eliminate the competitive advantages provided to the U.S. auto industry under the current NAFTA rules — or lead to rejection by Canada and Mexico and the end of the agreement.” They also suggested “either outcome would adversely affect the U.S. auto industry — reducing sales, production, and exports and harming U.S. workers in the process.”

These claims are echoed by automotive trade groups and numerous industry experts, but run counter to the current administration’s claims. Donald Trump himself has said that the renegotiation of NAFTA would serve to bring more jobs to the U.S. and improve the country’s $74 billion automotive trade deficit with Mexico (and $5.6 billion gap with Canada).

It’s difficult to know where to stand on this one when looking only at the facts, primarily because NAFTA has done both harm and good for the country and North America as a whole. But U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer has repeatedly reiterated that the deficit cannot stand.

NAFTA bickering negotiations resumed on Wednesday, with cabinet-level officials from all three nations saying they’ll skip attending the talks for this round and leave discussions up to their negotiating teams. Formal talks with chief negotiators begin in Mexico City on Friday, hopefully progressing positively through November 21st.

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51 Comments on “House Members Aren’t Digging Trump Administration’s Auto Trade Proposals...”


  • avatar
    I_like_stuff

    God forbid American workers are protected at the expense of lobbyists who fund political campaigns for “bipartisan house members”.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      American workers are also *exporting* five times more to Mexico than they did in 1993.

    • 0 avatar
      Guitar man

      USA signed an agreement and now wants to renege on the agreement. That’s the type of behaviour you expect of Venezuela or Argentina.

      • 0 avatar
        Luke42

        Well, what did the Trump voters expect?

        Trump is the kind of leader you’d expect to see in power in Venezuela or Argentina.

        ¯_(ツ)_/¯

        Trump is basically a white Jacob Zuma:
        https://youtu.be/2FPrJxTvgdQ
        The only surprise is that anyone was expecting the guy to be anything else.

        WYSIWYG

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          “The only surprise is that anyone was expecting the guy to be anything else.”

          Much to the surprise of everyone, especially ME, Trump got elected on the hope and dreams of those who actually voted for him.

          And for them, he delivered, continues to deliver, and will deliver in the future as long as he is in office.

          The media told us all that there was no way Trump could win. They made fun of Trump even before his announcement that he was going to run.

          I didn’t vote for Trump, but I am very glad he got elected and is shaking up the status quo environment in the DC swamp.

          Trump is “Exactly what was needed!”

          If he runs again in 2020, he’s got my vote!

          • 0 avatar
            thornmark

            Harry Truman famously said:

            “any politician that gets rich doing their job is a crook”

            Trump nailed it w/ “crooked hillary” . And so did Truman.

            The clintons proved themselves the kind of self-enriching politicians you’d expect to see in power in Venezuela or Argentina.

  • avatar
    I_like_stuff

    https://www.census.gov/foreign-trade/balance/c2010.html

    In 1993 (the year NAFTA was signed) the US had a $16B trade SURPLUS with Mexico

    In 2016 the US had a $64B trade DEFICIT with Mexico.

    Look at the link above and you will see how every year since 1993 the deficit has grown. 2017 is on track to be about $67-68B.

    But please, do go on telling me how wondrous NAFTA has been for America.

    • 0 avatar
      IBx1

      This. When the corporate lobbyists get mad, you’re heading in the right direction!

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      And in 1993, we had $43 billion in exports to Mexico.

      In 2016, we had $230 billion in exports. That looks like a 500% increase to me.

      Yes, I’d like to see NAFTA become more fair to us. Yes, we have trade deficit with them. But to say the treaty’s done nothing for us is a long, long way from the truth.

      • 0 avatar
        I_like_stuff

        We are giving Mexico $60B a year in net benefit, which is financed through borrowing. We borrow that extra $60B and send it to Mexico. And we do the same with China, Japan and pretty much the entire world. We have $500B in trade deficit with the rest of the world. And yet laughably, we are told by “bipartisan members of congress” nothing to worry about, all is well.

        You can spin it all you want but reality is my great great great grandkids will be paying off this debt, just so a group of “bipartisan members of congress” can get their cut of the action.

        Thanks but no thanks.

        Your argument is a bit like saying, I got really sick and it cost me a ton of money in hospital bills. But the good news is my doctor was able to buy a new boat, so you can’t say it was ALL bad.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          No, what I’m saying is that I don’t want to throw away $230 billion in exports to deal with the deficit. That $230 billion represents a paycheck for a LOT of Americans. What, we go back to 1993? I don’t think so.

          And then there’s this: what would the reduction in Mexico’s GDP as a result of getting rid of NAFTA do to them? I’d think it’d be disastrous. It’s easy to say, “well, fella, that’s your problem,” but considering that the country a) isn’t all that politically stable to begin with, b) is in large part run by the narco-lords, c) and has huge problems with poverty that translate into a large population of people who come here looking for work illegally (which, last I checked, riles the Tweeter-In-Chief to no end), maybe we should think twice about throwing a monkey wrench into their economy.

          And think about this for a second: would an sociopolitically unstable country with a massive border with the United States –
          and a festering resentment over losing the whole American Southwest in a war, by the way – possibly become a national security issue for us? Would terrorist groups find it easier to set up shop in a Mexico that’s growing economically, or in one that has become a completely failed narco-state? We need to think very carefully about that, I think.

          There’s just a bigger picture beyond “the giant sucking sound”. The system needs to be fixed, not blown up.

        • 0 avatar
          ect

          First, you’re only talking about trade in goods. The US has a surplus in trade in services with Mexico (approx. $8 bn), and US company subsidiaries in Mexico sell another $45 bn in services there.

          And by the way, jobs in the services sector tend to pay significantly better than low-skilled manufacturing jobs.

          Secondly, it is utter nonsense to assert that the US finances a trade in goods deficit with any country by borrowing. There are numerous measures of international funds flows and the subject is too complex to be explained here, but the fact is that the US does quite well in overall currency flows, as evidenced by the strength of the US Dollar.

          A fairer statement would be that other countries finance their financial obligation to US entities by sending us stuff.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            The $63 billion deficit figure he quoted was for goods AND services.

            I assume a lot of the boom in exports to Mexico have fallen under the latter category.

          • 0 avatar
            gtem

            “jobs in the services sector tend to pay significantly better than low-skilled manufacturing jobs.”

            You’re going to have to expand on this. Around here, people went from a single family member working a union factory job, to both parents doing a mix of low end retail just to make ends meet.

          • 0 avatar
            I_like_stuff

            “Secondly, it is utter nonsense to assert that the US finances a trade in goods deficit with any country by borrowing.”

            I guess you’re right. The money just appears out of thin air. The Fed doesn’t print any money to finance it. The govt doesn’t borrow money to finance it either. It just grows on the money trees all over the land.

            Here’s a question: if $500B trade deficit is OK, is $5T? How about $50T? And if $60B deficit with Mexico is good, $600B would be 10X as good right?

            How about we just stop exporting everything all together and just import everything. Maybe we can get the trade deficit to infinity. And that will be awesome!

            The real argument being made here is “who gives a s**t about trade deficits, it just affects deplorables and those sub-humans don’t matter”. At least be honest about it.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            Hyperbolic nonsense. No one’s arguing that the trade deficit isn’t a problem. No one’s arguing that it hasn’t cost Americans jobs.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            @ect – unfortunately, logic does not work very well against emotion.

            I do agree with the anti-NAFTA people that workers need to have some sort of protection. Ironically, protecting domestic workers from foreign workers and fixating upon trade deficits is rather socialistic. If one wants to protect workers how about pro-union choices in the workforce, better social programs and benefits and taking a nibble out of the financial pie concentrated among the top 1%? “The three richest people in the US own as much wealth as the bottom half of the nation’s population.”

            Killing NAFTA doesn’t appear to be the best way to protect workers. Kill NAFTA and the Chinese, Russians, and Indians will be all over it just like the killing off of TPP or to be more accurate, the killing off of USA involvement in TPP.
            It is much more complicated that killing a trade deal. A famous leader said, ‘Nobody knew health care could be so complicated’. This isn’t any different!

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            Exactly, Lou, but no one wants to hear actual solutions to complex problems because…the solutions are complex as well. Some people would rather hear simple solutions, like “lock her up,” or “build the wall.”

            And the simple solutions generally solve nothing in the long run, save for getting the guy with the ever-louder, more obnoxious simple solutions elected.

          • 0 avatar
            ect

            “The $63 billion deficit figure he quoted was for goods AND services.”

            No, if you look at the link, you see it’s only for trade in goods. For trade in goods and services, it’s about $55 billion.

    • 0 avatar
      BigOldChryslers

      The dollar value of US-Mexico trade in both directions is increasing over time, so one cannot just look at the deficit number and say it’s increasing and therefore bad. These numbers aren’t even adjusted for inflation to constant dollars. Without that, the numbers would increase from year to year even if nothing else changed.

      As a percentage of trade, the US/Mexico deficit is shrinking! Check this for yourselves. If you look at the page that I_Like_Stuff has linked to and calculate Exports/Imports for each year, you’ll see that the ratio from a decade ago was around 70% but has climbed to around 80% today. That means that the US/Mexico deficit is declining relative to the actual amount of trade!

      The trade numbers are even better for US-Canada Exports/Imports:
      https://www.census.gov/foreign-trade/balance/c1220.html

      In the past decade, the Export/Import ratio has gone from about 75% to 95%. Therefore, the trade deficit with Canada is negligible compared to the actual dollar value of trade between the countries.

      Now compare that with the same tables for China:
      https://www.census.gov/foreign-trade/balance/c5700.html

      Without even doing any math, you can see that imports from China have exploded and exports to China have been pretty sluggish. In the past decade, US exports to China have approximately doubled, while imports have increased by 2.6x as large. This trade ratio is bad (Export/Import ratio only 25%) and getting worse.

      So where’s the REAL problem here?

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        Oh, China is definitely the bigger threat. Our trade deficit with them is TEN TIMES larger than the deficit with Mexico, but more importantly, they are on a par with us on most, if not all, industrial terms. Mexico is no match for us economically, period.

        But China could nuke us militarily OR economically, so they aren’t an easy target for certain Twitter fans’ ire.

        Plus, they ain’t those stinkin’ Mexicans. Sorry, folks, but that’s part of it as well, no matter how you slice it.

        • 0 avatar
          I_like_stuff

          Ahh I was wondering when the race card would show up. Better late than never, I guess.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            I don’t notice certain prominent elected officials calling people “bad hombres” in Chinese.

            And that’s interesting, because with a keystroke, those “bad hombres” in China could vaporize a hundred million or so of us in the same time it takes to order a pepperoni pizza from Dominos. Seems to me that little problem might just be more serious than some folks from Mexico looking to dig ditches and get paid under the table for it.

            Good news, though…wouldn’t have to worry about “anchor babies” anymore. Right?

          • 0 avatar
            gtem

            If there were serious problems with Chinese gangs cutting peoples’ heads off and all the drug cartel stuff, I’m sure there’d be some sort of equivalent “bad guy” term. Likewise if there was a wave of Chinese immigration that overwhelmed communities with a foreign and unfamiliar culture and tongue, you bet there would be an equivalent pushback. Call it racism or whatever else, it’s a pretty natural human response to the world you are accustomed to being turned upside down. If you live in some lily white suburbs and your interaction is limited to hispanic folks mowing your lawn and “totally authentic tacos at this one place” then of course you’ll turn your nose up at the plebs and their racism. But to folks in poorer neighborhoods that have first seen their factories shipped south of the border, the poverty that ensues, then the now-rental-slum houses getting rented to and filled up with 20 people with uninsured cars, things are indeed quite jarring. In my old neighborhood, the run down commercial businesses were being fixed up and renovated by hispanic entrepreneurs, all of East Washington St. is basically turning into businesses with hispanic signage. Hispanic families are moving into the worst ghettos and things are actually turning around for the better as more of them become homeowners and bring pride of ownership back to neighborhoods. These are neighborhoods that went from blue collar white, then as manufacturing left and white flight took place, things turned into poor mixed/black, and now are still very much high crime poor neighborhoods, but the hispanic arrivals are starting to fix some things up as they settle in. To the lingering blue collar whites (and blacks) that were basically too poor or to proud to relocate, the descent of their environs from a safe childhood home into a crime-ridden crap hole, and now into a crime-ridden craphole with a bunch of foreigners and foreign language all over the businesses, I can understand where the resentment might come, although a large part of it should be directed at the leadership of the country and their corporate crony partners in crime. But go ahead and keep trying to beat these people with the “racism” stick, it seems to have worked out so well in the recent election. I really haven’t ever heard much negative sentiment expressed against legal, productive immigrants by anyone in the US, ever.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            Mexican gangs are a law enforcement problem.

            Hundreds of Chinese nuclear weapons pointed at us is an end-of-about-100 million-Americans problem. But if they wanted to harm us gravely, they wouldn’t need to fire a shot, given how economically powerful they are.

            Mexico can cause problems for us. China can END us. That’s the difference.

            And Mexico’s a “foreign culture”? LOL…let me think about that as I grab a Corona to wash down my Chipotle with.

          • 0 avatar
            gtem

            I’m explaining the thought process of how people arrive at the “bad hombre” stuff, not assessing existential risks. And yes, here in the Midwest, folks seeing “Carnicerias” pop up and a bunch of Spanish speakers with poor English everywhere, it absolutely is culture shock. Again, try to look beyond your enlightened self and imagine how the optics of all this look to those in these poor, less-educated communities.

            This article does a good job of explaining my point:
            http://www.bostonglobe.com/news/nation/2016/09/10/being-white-and-minority-georgia/PpBh8303fUVlfkYUDgQeuN/story.html

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            Every single wave of immigration to this country has represented culture shock. We adapted by incorporating these waves into our culture.

            And you know what? Lots of those immigrants were criminals too. Ever heard of an outfit called the “Mafia,” by chance? Hell, the family rumor has it that my grandfather was in the Meyer Lansky mob (which was in bed with the Mafia and the Irish mobs). It was commonplace.

            There’s really little here that’s new, if you think about it.

            And now you’ll excuse me while I enjoy an all-American pizza.

          • 0 avatar
            gtem

            I don’t disagree with that assessment at all. I think the key was that a wave would come in, would become Americanized/assimilated after that inevitable friction period, and all was well. But when you can’t even regulate the tap anymore (ie massive illegal immigration), things can get out of hand. The issue is compounded when there is a predominant trend of political parties harnessing the newcomers as a mode of shifting the political map, and offering to open said tap even more in exchange for political loyalty. I’m obviously speaking of the Democrats, but many many short sighted Republicans are every bit as complicit, as they do the bidding of their corporate lobbyists who love the cheap labor source. I’m sure none of this dynamic is new either, as you note. It used to be cheap Irish labor, or cheap Southern/Eastern European labor, etc.

            It would be curious to study those earlier waves and to see the speed with which they assimilated and blended into the existing population. One uncomfortable question does become one of race: was it easier for earlier immigrant waves to assimilate because they looked fairly similar to the European-derived Americans already in the US? Then again at one point the Irish weren’t even considered “white,” and I could see Italians of Sicilian stock being pretty close phenotypically to some Mexican/latino immigrants of today.

            My own perspective is that of a first generation Russian immigrant. I’d like to think that we “blended in” rather quickly, and we definitely had help along the way. We picked up on Thanksgiving fairly rapidly along with all the other holidays, thanks in part to American friends inviting us over. Both my brother and I married American women, and have moved “inland” from the college town where we started. The biggest thing we’ve hung onto is language, Russian is still spoken within the family . A few other vestigial elements remain as well (avid gardening, DIY mechanics, backyard sauna, owning multiple track suits, listening to crappy techno-pop), but nothing that is obvious or clashes with its surroundings. Once every few months I’ll go to the Russian deli, but my diet is far and away predominantly regular American fare.

            If the current wave of latin immigration goes down the path of previous ones, with full assimilation within a generation or two, I don’t see there will be a problem or a fundamental shift in how the country operates or the values/principles it was built on. But there is a very real risk of uninhibited waves coming over, with no time to assimilate/integrate. That’s how I feel about it anyways.

      • 0 avatar
        I_like_stuff

        It’s not an either/or situation. The trade deficit is a problem with both Mexico AND China. But for the trade forever and always crowd, that doesn’t matter. After all, if a few million deplotrables in Ohio or Pennsylvania lose their livelihood, who cares? Won’t affect anyone on Wall St, so what’s the problem?

        That’s what this is all about. Elites in NY/DC make sure the 1% worldwide gets richer and fatter at the expense of everyone else. You think anyone in Paul Ryan’s family has to worry about losing a job to someone in Mexico or China? Or McConnell’s family? or Chuck’s family or Nancy’s family? Of course not.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          You’re right, if a bit breathlessly hyperbolic.

          But the fact of the matter is this: the ‘deplorables’ were losing their jobs in droves LONG before NAFTA, and getting rid of NAFTA won’t bring those jobs back.

          • 0 avatar
            I_like_stuff

            But the fact of the matter is this: the ‘deplorables’ were losing their jobs in droves LONG before NAFTA, and getting rid of NAFTA won’t bring those jobs back.

            ___
            Pure BS.

            In 1985 there were 18M manufacturing jobs. In 1990 there were 18M manufacturing jobs. NAFTA comes along in 1993/4. In 1995 there are 17.5M manufactirng jobs. In 2000 there are 17M jobs. In 2005 14M and 2010 11M.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            You left out that the peak for manufacturing jobs was 1980.

            And the last recession wiped a bunch of them out as well.

            Lots of factors went into that. NAFTA was just one.

        • 0 avatar
          jjster6

          Let me ask some really simple questions… if free trade causes all these job losses in the US, who is going to buy the products Mexico makes? Is it just the 1%? But don’t the 1% make their money by selling to the other 99%?

          Free trade is good for everybody. Don’t mistake job losses due to shifting technologies with free trade.

          • 0 avatar
            ect

            Indeed. The very fact that US manufacturing output has doubled (in constant dollars) since NAFTA was signed, while direct manufacturing employment has fallen by 1/3, tells you that the culprit is technology, not trade deals.

            The good news is that technology has created many more jobs than it has destroyed. The bad news is that these jobs require skills that low-skilled factory workers don’t have. Which is a human resources issue, not a trade issue.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            I live in an industrial town but we turn logs into lumber. The population has not grown despite Large employers coming to town. You don’t hear locals blaming the Chinese or Mexicans because they don’t make lumber. Some did blame Indian immigrants but that was short lived since they lost industry jobs too. No one blames Finning Caterpillar for selling 1.5 million dollar tree processors that can do the work of 12 men but that is where the blame lies.

  • avatar
    DougD

    Bicker bicker bicker. Is that because the US negotiators have little to go on other than “renegotiate this because it’s been a disaster” and the Mexico and Canada negotiators have little interest in being bullied into a worse deal?

    Personally I’d much rather have those jobs go to Mexico than China, at least with the interconnected auto supply chain there is some give and take of goods and services across the border, rather than just straight cash going overseas and cars coming back.

  • avatar
    Fred

    Mexico and Canada are our neighbors and we should do all we can to help them and improve the region. Think of it as good foreign policy. Besides combine as of September our deficit with them is 65 billion. Compared with China’s 274 trillion it’s hardly a concern.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      The concern with the deficit is well founded, but it has to be dealt with rationally.

      In the end, all you have to do is look at a map of North America to come to the conclusion that this is a national security interest issue. Do you want 5,000 miles of easy-to-cross, line-on-a-map borders with stable, thriving countries, or with countries that are a socioeconomic and political dumpster fire?

      There’s only one answer to that question that makes sense.

      Yes, NAFTA should be tweaked to get us a better deal, if possible. No, we’re not better off without it.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      @Fred – exactly.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      “Mexico and Canada are our neighbors and we should do all we can to help them and improve the region.”

      I agree, but it should not come at the expense or disadvantage of America. Jobs are coming back to America, and that is a good thing.

      So things are changing for the better in America. Maybe Trump can get trade relations back on an even keel. Mutually beneficial to all parties involved.

      If Congress can agree on rewriting the US Tax Code, that would be a YUGE step forward.

      But I do not believe they can. Hell, they couldn’t even agree on Repeal and Replace, something the GOP has been campaigning on for eight years!

      Trump is not going to get anything of consequence done because he has to fight his own party, the ‘crats and the deep state of the swamp.

      We should be grateful for the public optimism, improved economy and rising stock market since Trump was elected.

      Enjoy it while you can ’cause it ain’t gonna last longer than Trump will be in office.

  • avatar
    gtem

    “or with countries that are a socioeconomic and political dumpster fire?”

    So are you implying that prior to NAFTA, Mexico was on the verge of some sort of serious strife that would endanger the US as a country? Because that is certainly what you seem to be implying.

    • 0 avatar
      I_like_stuff

      Mexican politicians look out for Mexico.

      Canadian politicians look out for Canada.

      But if an American politicians looks out for, you know , Americans….it’s evil and racist and stuff.

      #ThisIsWhyTrumpWon

      • 0 avatar
        Number6

        The only Americans politicians look after are the ones that bought them off. Some of you don’t get that yet.

        You will.

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        @I_like_stuff – American politicians do look out for fellow Americans. The top 1%.The remaining 99% are fvcked. That is partially why people elected the current chump. He did what he always did which was sell his brand but it is just self enriching style with no substance.The other reason was ol’ Hitlery was the poster girl for career swamp dwellers. People are sick and tired of not being represented. Unfortunately the public have not yet seen through the divide and conquer smoke screen of right and left rhetoric. Both parties don’t work for the public. It is a bad reality show that the public hasn’t changed the channel on.

  • avatar
    Robbie

    No mainstream Economist would agree with the protectionist sentiments in this thread.

    Trade happens because one country is more efficient, in relative terms, at producing a certain good. This is called comparative advantage. Free trade has brought the world prosperity.

    There is no economic merit for America in producing cars domestically.

    There are some downsides to free trade. When we buy T-shirts made in China, we rob an unskilled worker in the US somewhere of the chance to produce a T-shirt domestically – at a multiple of the price. Nevertheless, we probably prefer a world in which the US produces the stuff with high value added. We designs iPhones, sell them for $700 all over the world, and China produces the physical product. The net result is that for every top of the line iPhone nearly $500 stays with Apple in the US, and a few dollars stay in China. We charge young Chinese nice six digit amounts to get an American Master’s degree. We get the better part of the trade deal here.

    • 0 avatar
      gtem

      “nearly $500 stays with Apple in the US”

      But the key question is, where does that $500 end up? Certainly not in the hands of the now-unemployed worker in the US (unless it comes to him via govt assistance once he’s destitute). The economics at a high level look good, but in a practical sense this very attitude has been perhaps the single biggest driver in growing the wealth inequality in the US.

      • 0 avatar
        IBx1

        @gtem, I’ve thought about this for a while with regards to not only relocating factories, but the coming wave of automation as well. The companies cut expenses by introducing automation to replace employees, hire a disparate amount of maintenance and engineering to keep the machines going, but they sell the finished goods at the same price as before. Aggregating money like this while leaving people unemployed from wherever the factory may be, I can understand the concept of a “basic income” that would have to come from forcibly taxing the company’s newfound margin.

        For reference, taxation is theft and socialism is doomed in every scenario, but being fresh out of school with my MS in mech. engineering, I can see the future I’ve worked to somewhat insulate myself from.

        • 0 avatar
          gtem

          I personally am fundamentally opposed to the concept of UBI, and will point to current welfare “culture” and the degenerative effects it has on society. But I absolutely agree that beyond outsourcing, the automation of manufacturing and the millions of people fewer that are needed to do certain tasks leaves a big question for where the future demand for a large pool of un-skilled (or low-skill) labor will end up.

          We went from 50% of our population being involved in agriculture to less than 2%, many young men left family farms for higher paid work in coal mines, then factories. Agriculture mechanized and optimized and we grow more food than we ever have, with a fraction of the people. And it looks like our manufacturing now is headed in a similar direction.

          I will say that I’d strongly support efforts to move outsourced production, even for small plastic nick-nacks (to say nothing of electronics, etc) back to the US. Even a modern factory needs quite a lot of human support and they really do support small towns (for every 1 factory job X amount of other jobs are supported in the community, that kind of thing).

          Massively improving and putting more funds into trade schools and basically creating a pipeline from highschool to practical and decently paying employment would be a big help I think. As I understand it, the Germans have a good system. Even something like training to drive a forklift or manage an inventory system would be good practical things to make available, or CDL training and such.

          But to circle back, I am absolutely against just paying people to do nothing, and the UBI utopia of people just deciding to become artists and productive members of society through volunteering etc is an absolute pipe dream.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            @gtem – great points. I see social assistance as a stop gap measure to help people get back on their feet. There will always be people who will abuse any system and there will always be people dependent upon systems for reasons other than their own doing.
            There are aspects that should be “socialized” like education. Too many people end up financially near bankrupt due to student loans. If someone wants to pay out of pocket for a PhD in Arts and Crafts, then that should be their right but if there is a shortage of skilled trades, or skilled professionals then those should see a marked reduction in costs to ensure the skill set to continue growing the economy. Even simpler jobs like forklifts that require a “ticket” should see funding to allow people to get the skills they need to look after themselves.
            The best way to move forward is to take a blended approach to problems. We’ve seen too many times in history where a strictly left or strictly right wing approach does not work. Any society that favours the upper class and neglects the mid to lower class eventually fails.

    • 0 avatar
      pbx

      “nearly $500 stays with Apple in the US”

      Actually, $236 billion in Apple earnings has never made it back to the US. Apple doesn’t want to pay US taxes so holds the cash offshore. Recently Ireland but I believe now in the Jersey Islands.

      The tax on that would, at the 35% tax rate Mr Trump is offering Apple to repatriate the money, be more than the trade deficit with Mexico.

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  • Art Vandelay: Yep
  • mcs: @Jeff S: Yeah, I’d probably go with Toyota for a new offroad vehicle if I needed one. Instead of new,...

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