One Simple Step To Solve Our Unemployment Crisis
Without further ado, let me offer my radical jobs proposal. It’s so unthinkable, so impossible, yet so easy and 100% effective…and it doesn't involve the government.
American companies could hire American workers.
That’s it. No complex theories, no discussion of trade agreements, no discussion of anything beyond simply hiring American workers. Now I know that there are many out there, particularly in this finance driven city that would have us believe that it’s a complex world, full of complex theories, complex problems requiring complex solutions. However, when you start to do the research you come to learn that in almost every situation they would be wrong, it’s simply not that complex.
American corporations and the wealthiest among us are sitting on record amounts of cash. Many of our corporations are continuing to make profits even while we struggle. So the idea is if you sell in America and you are profitable, consider hiring some American workers. If you are an American company, consider hiring American workers.
Our consumption is what drives American business. If we don’t have jobs, well paying jobs, how can we continue to consume? If we don’t consume, how much longer can your business remain successful?
What makes this simple idea so beautiful is that it’s something we can all agree on. Conservatives should like the idea, because it doesn’t involve any government action at all, no policies, no laws, no government. LIberals will like the idea because, well, they like it when people have jobs. Tea Party people should like the idea because it makes Americans stronger, it makes American business stronger over the long term and it makes America stronger.
Now you may say, “if American companies could hire American workers, they would.” Unfortunately that assumption is wrong. First, even through the recession American business and the wealthiest Americans have continued to accumulate profit and wealth. According to David Cay Johnston,
"corporate income taxes in this country are one-third lower than they were in 2000—that’s in my column this morning at Tax.com—even though corporate profits are up 60 percent and corporations have almost $2 trillion in cash. They’re approaching $7,000 of cash for every man, woman and child in the United States. They’re not investing this money. They’re not creating jobs. They are hoarding this money that they have pulled out of the economy. It’s one of the reasons we’re in so much trouble..."
What if corporations started using some of that money to hire American workers? Those American workers would then start consuming and create more demand, which would in turn drive the need for more American workers. Simple.
Of course for this idea to be complete we need some companies that we know are performing well who could sacrifice a small amount of their already large profits to hire some American workers. Fortunately, I have a few examples.
I have nothing against Apple, in fact I have been a life long mac-head, I'm even typing this article on my MacBook Pro right now. As we all know, the demand for Apple products like the iPhone and iPad is so great that people frequently stand in line for hours and in some cases wait for weeks to get the next new Apple product.
With such demand, there must be great opportunity and great return for the American worker, but there isn't. Much of the work, and much of the money goes abroad. According to the Asian Development Bank Institute, only $11 dollars from the purchase of an iPhone is spent on American workers. The remaining amount is distributed across Europe and Asia. In fact, the only country involved in it's manufacture that makes less than America is China.
Apple literally can't manufacture their products fast enough. So why not hire American workers? Why not build an iSomething factory or two here in the US?
Similar to Apple, Nike is a brand that is passionately beloved by it's customers. Everywhere you look you see Nike shoes, Nike shirts, Nike shorts, the list goes on and on. Yet not a single Nike shoe has ever been made in the US.
Why not make a few shoes in the US?
Unemployment is high, to quote R.L Burnside, "it's bad you know," and in the African-American community, unemployment is as high as 20%. Why not give a little love to the communities that support you by doing a little to support them? Why not move a few factories from Honduras to Harlem, Detroit or LA?
JP Morgan Chase
There are a lot of ways that JP Morgan Chase could give back to American taxpayers and workers who have done so much to support them through the financial crisis. One such way would be to hire some American workers. For example, JP Morgan Chase manages our food stamp program by issuing food stamp credit cards. Part of the process of managing the program is a support call center. In the interests of maximizing profit from the program, JP Morgan Chase, opted to locate those call centers in India, rather than hire American workers.
If we are going to privatize government functions, shouldn't US tax dollars pay to hire American workers?
There are obviously many American companies who are struggling to make ends meet and stay afloat. I'm not advocating a run on all companies, but for those companies that are doing well, who derive large portions of their profit from American consumers, they should consider hiring American. We don't need government to make this happen, we can encourage businesss to hire American ourselves with our purchasing decisions and more. See the ideas in the side bar about how you can encourage American companies to hire American so we can continue to buy American. If you have some other great examples of companies like the ones above, pass them along.