Democratic Hypocrisy On Income Inequality

In the not so distant past, textile mills employed thousands across the state of South Carolina.  People had jobs – real jobs that paid a living wage. Unfortunately for these hard working people, a wonderful trade agreement sprouted wings and decided their destiny for them, NAFTA. We all remember the…

In the not so distant past, textile mills employed thousands across the state of South Carolina.  People had jobs – real jobs that paid a living wage. Unfortunately for these hard working people, a wonderful trade agreement sprouted wings and decided their destiny for them, NAFTA.

We all remember the mills that gave generations a livelihood – and a sense of pride in their community – but those days are long gone. If you go Clinton or to Laurens or other small towns along the once-proud textile corridor paralleling I-85 in South Carolina, you can see the remnants of the past given way to the future of “progressive ideas.”

It is almost as if people are seeing the images of World War II – textile mills carpet bombed by the ideas of Washington D.C.

Washington doesn’t see how it hurts the people, and like a disease – continues pushing bad legislation. Starting with NAFTA and continuing to the Korea Free Trade Agreement (which Congress passed and President Obama signed in 2011), Washington decided to wash its hands of saving jobs … yet again.

According to Public Citizen, The Korea FTA will eliminate 70,000 jobs in South Carolina alone – further destroying the shiny veneer of the promise of the American dream, and solely for the benefit of foreign interests.

Not surprisingly, of the almost 70,000 jobs due to be lost under the Korea FTA, more than 24,600 are in textiles – the biggest hit of any economic sector in the state. Another 15,000 jobs will be lost in motor vehicles and parts. So when the Democrats beginning hammering Nikki Haley on job creation in South Carolina – they need look no further than the pen sitting in the president’s hand.

Now Washington wants to pass the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP). They are even trying to pass ‘fast track’ legislation known formally as trade promotion authority which will deny Congress the ability to have a say in the scope and structure of these FTAs. Under ‘fast-track’, Congress will only have an up-or-down vote with no opportunity to amend the various provisions, our trade negotiators have hammered out behind closed doors (in the case of TPP).

This is nothing to take lightly in light of last month’s dismal jobs report – and in light of South Carolina’s abysmal labor participation rate.

According to columnist Harold Meyerson of The Washington Post, former Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Alan Blinder calculated that 22 percent to 29 percent of all American jobs could be sent offshore. He called “offshoring” the next great industrial revolution. If the American dream is designed to be working part time, Washington is doing a great job on that account.

Shipping jobs overseas is absolutely no way to fight “inequality.” If the President and Democratic members of Congress want to stand for something, start standing for the workers – not just the unions. Even in our own state, Rep. Gilda Cobb-Hunter (D-Orangeburg) pre-filed legislation to raise our minimum wage to $10 an hour, or to whatever Washington sees fit.

If this is the real face of the war on poverty, we’ve got some real problems. What sort of “progressive” leader says “let’s crush small business – making it even harder to create a new idea.” That’s not how we fix our problems.

If we want to fix the inequality problem in America, we need to make jobs here – not in foreign countries.

John Osborne is a military veteran and a recent graduate of the University of South Carolina.

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SamAdams2010 January 16, 2014 at 2:35 pm

Remember when Carolinians were demagogued into opposing the nasty unions and supporting ‘right to work’ in textile mills would protect the thousands of employed across the state of South Carolina and people had jobs – real jobs that paid a living wage?

idiotwind January 16, 2014 at 2:45 pm

NAFTA? the textile jobs that SC lost did not go to Mexico. or maybe you think they make tube socks in canada. why does everyone want to be op-ed writer? how about doing some journalism?

Empire Strikes Out January 16, 2014 at 3:25 pm

When did conservatives become anti-free trade? You people confuse the shit out of me.

"You people"-lol January 16, 2014 at 3:57 pm

They confuse the hell out of themselves too, so don’t feel bad.

I quote Big T(paraphrase really): “Conservatism is my gut feeling”.

lol…no thought needed. (and this isn’t an endorsement for Dems)

Tre B. January 16, 2014 at 4:21 pm

This prose is nothing more than the blind attempting to lead the blind… Washington is synonymous with RINO’s and has been for nearly half a century… remind me again when NAFTA was passed??

dwb619 January 16, 2014 at 4:52 pm

NAFTA, passed under “Bush the First”, signed into law by “Slick Willie” Clinton.
I am beginning to give more credence into the “Illuminati”.

Tre B. January 16, 2014 at 5:27 pm

…yep, although i am not quite yet ready to give the illuminati any credit at all, but someone(s) sure are trying to imitate the fantasy b/c these presidents are only talking heads… the underbelly is what is really moving the whole facade…

Tex January 16, 2014 at 4:26 pm

How long ago was it that the min. wage was a living wage? I don’t think it ever was…

Tom January 16, 2014 at 5:48 pm

Son, if you are just now gradating USC you were not even born when SC’s textile industry died. NAFTA was a Bush I plan, and Republicans have always supported free trade and shipping jobs to China. Remember Bush II said outsourcing was good for the country. Please stop watching the Fake News Network and listening to Rush Limbaugh. You don’t know what you are talking about.

patriotic consumer January 17, 2014 at 12:08 pm

we, the consumer, dictate where the jobs are. As long as folks patronize wallyworld and its clones, there will not be fair paying jobs here. You want 4 tee shirts for $2.99? Do the math. There is no way in hell to manufacture that in the US and make a profit. When we stop buying this cheap, inferior merchandise and bite the bullet and pay real prices for quality products, jobs will return. I look for made in America logos before I buy anything.

Thought of the day January 17, 2014 at 1:59 pm

“There is no way in hell to manufacture that in the US and make a profit.”

There are ways, but it requires elimination of labor(automation).

I suspect that trend will speed up over time, but there is a fundamental issue with the money printing that is distorting(and has been) capital structures for some time and driving things away from capital investment in manufacturing for some time….propping markets that probably shouldn’t be and wiping out markets that would actually create more manufacturing base with the proper capital investments.

It makes sense to manufacture labor intensive things over seas, but the current conditions in the US make it hard to even do the automated manufacturing.

99 January 20, 2014 at 12:06 pm

Actually, no, it doesn’t. It simply means a return to healthy, yet not continuously increasing, profits. When businesses moved manufacturing offshore, prices didn’t go down. Reported profits did, however, go up. Management bonuses went up. Prices did NOT go down. Money that would have been paid as wages and would have re-entered the economy was taken out of our economy altogether. Sorry, China isn’t buying a whole heck of a lot from us. Corporate greed and a pirate mentality have damaged our economy.

euwe max January 18, 2014 at 2:42 am

I blame Bush

Native Ink January 19, 2014 at 11:38 pm

Get your facts straight. NAFTA was negotiated by the first President Bush. At least in the Clinton White House, there was some hand-wringing about NAFTA. Clinton was a Blue Dog Democrat who was right-of-center on most economic issues


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