If there’s anything the Obama administration can and should do is be bold on matters of jobs and an even newer vision for economic equity. For sure a bold approach will anger people on both sides of the equation. When politicians get in campaign mode, they get a little bolder. They start naming names. They may start pulling back on a couple of messaging points too. “Jobs” (and I’m not talking about a surname but it fits the bill) doesn’t seem to be one of those back offs, at least for now. In fact, it’s more of the political measuring stick with the potential to be a slippery slope for Republicans on the domestic front. Or more like the story of Brer Rabbit and the tar baby.
In 2008 the Obama camp went all out to win and found themselves in a situation in which they are not only bringing mops and buckets to clean up the messes of the previous tenant, but to manage interests in the old (idealistic dreams of a simplistic past that never really existed) in a world that’s dramatically changed in the last 20 or even 10 years economically, socially, demographically. “Jobs” have a simplistic one syllable ring in the social landscape. But not so simple in the new economy.
“Made in America” has mean more than just a political talking point. Made to last, Made better, Innovative would be selling points for the consumer who doesn’t have the disposable cash to buy better, buy more, or buy to replace. What does obsolete mean to people who are already implementing their own “austerity” plans?
Selling the new trade agreement means assuring Americans that this does not outsource more industrial jobs. However, a few trends loom. As we become more global, workers will become more mobile, that includes U.S. workers. One can look simply at a Hollywood trend, i.e. the recent “Karate Kid.” I will always consider the (Will and Jada Pinkett) Smiths’ version a very important film on this topic.
Kobe Bryant and various b-ball inspired nations trying to finagle a deal during the NBA lockout. This is why we shouldn’t be too quick to condemn immigration. Americans may find themselves in the same boat, trunk, or cargo (not the same kind from the good ole days I hope). What will jobs mean as more blue collar labor becomes “titanium collar” (robotics). Can we get along with machines? Who better to clean up the radioactive mess when the earth decides to roll over in bed?
Another trend – Made in the U.S. may = cheap labor. Recently, I reviewed two IT contracts. One from India, the other from the U.S. The rates in India were higher. Why is this? Maybe it isn’t a question of why, but “when.” It was bound to happen. Call centers have been outsourced to the Philippines AND the U.S. But wait, Ikea even European nations are outsourcing to the U.S. I seriously doubt you will see the union label on these products. Is that the Republican job plan? To bring jobs into the U.S. where labor
will be is cheap. Where unions have limited or no power. Where the middle class economy is so pitiful that people will take what they can get for any pay. Is this what the troops are looking forward to when they begin returning from Iraq at the end of the year? Is this why Republicans shoot down the president’s job bill before it reaches the floor? There’s always a kickback for cheap labor in someone’s pocket.
Monday, Walter Isaacson’s biography of the late great Apples genius Steve Job will be rolling off the prin–…uh downloaded onto iPads and (dare I say Kindles and other devices) around the world. According to the book, Steve Jobs was not impressed with his meeting with the president because of his focus on what why “things can’t get done” vs. what is possible. One would take that as yet another criticism of Barack Obama’s pragmatism, cautious, incremental, or “weak” approach to governing. But how does a producing visionary think? According to a recent article, Steve Jobs told President Obama he was heading for a one-term presidency if he didn’t adopt a more “business friendly” policy….
Jobs told Obama that American regulations make it more difficult for Apple to build its products cheaply in the United States compared to the cost of building them in China. Chinese health and safety standards are more lax than the United States.
Could the jobs bill be the “briar patch” Obama has been waiting for?