Multi-national firms are often the target of accusation when it comes to the loss of American jobs. The prevailing thought over the past four years and beyond has been that greed has driven firms across the Pacific for cheaper labor and that somehow
these firms need to be punished. But this blog post is about the flip side of the coin; the loss of American jobs as a direct result of American policies.
I came from a family of mostly blue-collar workers from Pennsylvania. For years my uncle worked for a coal-fired electricity plant. He is now retired, while his son (my cousin) works for the same plant. Last night I learned that my cousin will soon be out of a job. Why? Because the coal plant that for decades has provided energy to his area for decades will be forced to shut down under new EPA rules. (For more on these regulations see these NCPA publications, “The EPA’s New Air Quality Regulations: All Pain and No Gain” Part I and Part II.)
Besides the fact that many in this area are wondering what type of energy will replace the plant that has served them well for so many years (in this part of the country, solar power is not an option since it is completely cloudy and/or rainy the majority of the year), many wonder what the employment prospects will be for those who find themselves unemployed as a result of the shut-down.
The truth is, manufacturing jobs that the president so wants to keep in the United States are going away at a rapid pace not because China has cheaper labor and not because India has a better R&D tax credit. It is because miles away from rural, blue-collar America, stifling regulations are being put into place
with no regard for who will be out of work and what their next job might be, if they’re lucky enough to find a next job.
Perhaps the first step in preserving American jobs is to stop blaming other countries and to re-evaluate our own policies that destroy so many of them.