The Plain Dealer's Sept. 1 editorial titled "The Changing Face of Work" is really about chasing rainbows. Cleveland was once a high technology center. Many in the Silicon Valley knew about it. I traveled there frequently.
Free trade came and put out about 1,000 computer-related businesses in just Ohio, Michigan and Pennsylvania. These businesses were cost-effective in adding value up and down the line from raw product to the retail level. Now with all the electronic devices coming from faraway places, very little value is added. The devices do not create jobs here.
It is what I call secondhand money. This is money that does not create an economic cycle. It just moves money around in a static fashion. It becomes play money in our casinos with a vast restaurant and entertainment sector needing to serve alcohol to survive.
As far as education is concerned, during the first ten years of the computer revolution, companies trained and schooled the new workforce, not the colleges. As a result, you had data processing managers coming from the factory floor and office environments. They came from the real world and made computer technology dynamic in many different ways.
I personally went to Honeywell GE Corporate schools to learn the trade. And prior to that, when I worked at several factories while going to college, it was the foremen who took the young off the streets and taught them a skill. In turn the young made enough money to get married, have a family, buy a home and have money left over to help their children get through college.
By the time, I graduated from college, I was an experienced spot welder, inventory manager, punch press operator and a set up man for three assembly lines. These jobs were not something a college or trade school could teach me. The job fit the need easily. I had hands-on training.
And if these jobs were available today, there would be millions standing in line across the nation to get them, including college graduates.
We need to tell it like it is. Free trade came and stole all of this away from us. And back then, contract jobs, temporary jobs and part-time jobs were just a small part of the economy. Now they make up the largest part. States have even paid foreign auto assemblers to build their plants in their state with parts and machining coming from the impoverished workers of the world. These companies promise to hire full-time workers but after a few years the majority are contract, temporary or part-time workers not making enough to support a consumption economic system. Many in the retail sector need government assistance to survive.
The term "Built in the USA" carries a lot of economic sins with it. Lets not hide these facts.