In the race to embrace a feel good and overly simplistic message, Americans on both sides of the spectrum flock to Bernie Sanders and Trump as the present and future solutions to what is hurting the American “middle” and “working class.” It’s easy to convey a message where the fix to what ails America is the building of walls and the tearing down of trade agreements, but it’s harder to deal with the complexities of a tax, campaign finance, and electoral system reforms.
Both Trump and Sanders promised to leverage tariffs, taxes and government contracts in order to hinder globalization. Sanders has already proposed withholding government contracts from companies that move operations overseas. While Trump spent some of his time over the thanksgiving weekend trying to convince Carrier Corp, a division of United Technologies Corp, from moving 1,400 jobs to Mexico. What sanders and Trump fail to realize that even if they kept those jobs here, business will eventually find a better and cheaper way to make things because, at the end of the day, our corporate and capital gains tax laws encourage the maximization of profits for shareholders at all cost. Meaning that some sort of automation will eventually take place and The Donald and Bernie will feel the burn to do something about that too. And when they fail to obstruct progress, which they will, Americans will claim that they too are in the pockets of big business which, to a large extent, the government is.
When Bernie and Trump fail to bring manufacturing jobs back by impeding free trade, Americans will clamor for an even bigger populist than the last one and cycle of incompetence will continue. Why? Because in failing to address campaign finance and electoral college reform, the American people will continue to elect representatives that pander to their lowest common denominator. In the absence of real reform, these elected officials will continue to fail to address the true obstacles to job growth and income equality, choosing instead to remain in a constant fundraising loop while promising to turn back the clock and failing to embrace the future.
“President-elect Donald Trump would be hard-pressed to deliver on his promises to ‘bring back’ large numbers of America’s lost manufacturing jobs, even if he does renegotiate the nation’s trade deals. The reason: Manufacturing work is increasingly carried out by robots, rather than people….The problem for Trump and blue-collar workers is that when manufacturing returns to the states (and several trends favor that), the associated job-creation will not be what it once was. Nor will the difference be just a minor effect – it’s going to be major.“
Free trade and globalization are not the perpetrators of job losses in America, but the mere victims of automation and a misguided populist movement.