Thursday, August 19, 2021

rightie hypocrisy

I don't talk much about rightie hypocrisy because, these days, it's been the left's turn to wear the stupid hat. But I just saw a comment on Instapundit that bears remarking on, and it struck me as either naïve or hypocritical. Here's the part of the comment that riles me:

We've outsourced to China the manufacture of a large amount of the products we use, the components to make them[,] and the provision of strategic materials.

And whose damn fault is that? 

The blame for the outsourcing in question sits mainly on conservative Republicans' heads. It was Big Business conservatives who were so avid for cheap labor that they had no trouble selling the country's soul to China. Nowadays, of course, the 1% is mostly software Democrats (who, admittedly, also outsource, as Apple does to China to make its iPhones), not the conservative oil barons of the 1980s. But the damage was done in that era, if not before. Trump, essentially a 90s Democrat, turned things around (or tried to) by prioritizing American labor—that was the thrust of America First, to bring jobs back to US citizens, to de-outsource, consistent with the agenda of then-pro-labor 90s Democrats. Too bad Trump didn't de-outsource fast enough; we need to start making our own medicines and mining our own rare-earth minerals/elements for electronics. We might not have as much as China on that score, but it's not as though we have nothing (map). And Americans are an inventive lot: I can imagine the discovery of other ways to build technology in the future, ways that disrupt the current paradigm, just as fracking disrupted OPEC's stranglehold on oil and moved us (at least on Trump's watch) toward energy independence.

Anyway, I think the righties need to own up to their sins in this instance. Our dependence on China is mostly thanks to rightie-driven Big Business, which looked for the cheapest labor and settled on China, a country that has been happy to take our money. This has left us to bargain, in subsequent negotiations, from a position of weakness, and as Trump notes, one of the first laws of negotiation is having the ability to walk away from the table when the deal stinks. You can't walk away from the table if you're weak and desperate. You can, though, if you're strong and independent. There are so many aspects of the US economy that need to be realigned to make the States far more independent and less interconnected. As I said previously, I'm not an isolationist, but I do think radical interdependence at a deep level only hamstrings us. Trump had the right idea by bringing jobs back to American workers. We should continue in that vein. Meanwhile, although righties do have many legitimate gripes about the left, they need to be able to admit when they themselves are not lily-white.


John Mac said...

Admit that I'm not lily-white? What has race got to do with it? These days I'm mostly brown anyway.

But seriously, I'm going to have to disagree with you to an extent on this one. Conservatives support freedom, and that includes free enterprise. So, when the Democrats passed laws and implemented regulations that made manufacturing in the USA cost-prohibitive, the corporate moguls began looking elsewhere. And yeah, the impact of this situation has very much weakened our national security. And as evidence for my argument that the Dems are ultimately to blame, I'd submit that the way Trump was enticing companies to come back to America was by rescinding many of the regulations that drove them away in the first place.

No matter who is to blame for past mistakes, we as a nation are screwed big time.

Kevin Kim said...

Well, a disagreement from your corner was predictable, but deliberate conservative outsourcing to countries that pay their laborers peanuts is a thing, whatever the cause. I think the corporate moguls in question could and should have found legal means to keep jobs in the States instead of scurrying elsewhere. Fight for your labor force instead of abandoning them.

John Mac said...

Wait until they raise the federal minimum wage. There will be a lot fewer entry-level jobs available (unless you are a robot).

I'm still in favor of a free market, but we ought to selectively impose tariffs on enemy states like China and when companies like Nike use what amounts to slave labor.