I am in favor of creating jobs. Who isn’t? However, I do not believe the ways this administration is going about “bringing back jobs” will work. Trying to get back factory jobs, at least at this particular moment, is probably a bad strategy. Although there will always be industry, the Industrial Age, those busy days of railroads, steel, coal, automation, automobiles and burgeoning electronics were changed forever by a relatively tiny chip. The Industrial Age has left the west. It has gone “on tour” to nations that have not yet been “modernized” and monetized.
So not only is vacating the regulations that help rein in the rapacious greed that often partners with Capitalism a bad move (everything has a bad side); such actions are unnecessary and probably counterproductive. The same is true of trashing our environmental protections.
Even if you reset our laws and regulations back to when America was packed with factories, when workers left home each day at the crack of dawn with their lunchboxes, when the air was clogged with the smoke factories emitted, containing all kinds of toxic elements, and when the industrial wastes containing heavy metals and other carcinogens were discharged into our water and our soil; even with a reboot you cannot expect to “regenerate” the boom times of the peak of the Industrial Age.
I could listen to Led Zeppelin every day and wear bell bottoms and a headband, but just reproducing these details will not cause the 60’s to suddenly re-coalesce – and thank goodness for that – because, even though in many ways the 60’s were wonderful, terrible things were also afoot (the Vietnam War, policemen training hoses on black folks, or doing worse).
I am reading a book which takes place in colonial times but keeps flashing back to 1665. In 1665 people believed, for example, that meat left to sit out would generate maggots. Today we know that, in the absence of flies, old meat cannot generate maggots. Just recreating the conditions that pertained at the height of the Industrial Age will not necessarily bring back the factories so essential to that booming era in American history. Other unknown variables might be absent.
We can have a new boom. We might have full employment with jobs that pay well once again. History doesn’t clone itself exactly, but it is a sort of spiral where events circle back but on a different level.
As I watch this administration undo the 21st century in order to get back the 19th and 20th centuries it is reminding me of something I once read by Edward Albee, “sometimes you have to go a long distance out of the way to come back a short distance correctly.
Why would we want to do that? After all we learned in geometry that “the shortest distance between two points is a straight line” Lowering taxes on the rich (‘job creators’), tickle-down economics, deregulation, abandoning environmental protections are variables that might have been present in the last boom. But trying to implement the exact same constellation of events is practically impossible in the first place and in the second place is unlikely to generate America’s new economy (or, in other words, make America great again.)
Education and training – even if it is more technical and less “liberal” is most likely the true key to the “new age” What we need is the patience to let the world as it is now generate the events to come and we need to get as many Americans as possible proficient in current technologies in order to give people a platform from which to build the future. Obviously this is no time to dismantle America’s educational system either. I am sorry to see us taking these unnecessary detours to the past.
Here is a list of the bills that my representative in the House of Representatives voted for since the beginning of the 115th Congress and almost every one of these bills overturns a regulation on businesses, the SEC, or removes an environmental protection, except for the one that takes away more of our privacy on the internet.
John Katko’s voting record
017: 115th Congress 89%
- 1: On Passage: REINS Act – H.R. 26✔ Yea
- 2: On Passage: Regulatory Accountability Act – H.R. 5✔ Yea
- 3: On Passage: H.J. Res 41 – Resolution of Disapproval Against the SEC’s Disclosure of Payments by Resource Extraction Issuers Rule✔ Yea
- 4: On Passage: H.J.Res. 38 – Resolution of Disapproval Against the Department of the Interior’s Stream Protection Rule✔ Yea
- 5: On Passage: H.J. Res. 37 – Resolution of Disapproval Against the DOD, GSA, and NASA Federal Acquisition Regulation✔ Yea
- 6: On Passage: H.J.Res. 36 – Resolution of Disapproval Against the Bureau of Land Management’s Prevention, Production Subject to Royalties, and Resource Conservation Rule✘ Nay
- 7: On Passage: H.J.Res. 57 – Resolution of Disapproval Against the Department of Education’s Accountability and State Plans Rule✔ Yea
- 8: On Passage: H.R. 372 – Competitive Health Insurance Reform Act✔ Yea
- 9: On Passage: H.R. 1101 – Small Business Health F
· Recent Votes
Guess what. Mr. Katko was not alone. Looking at the voting records of any one Republican representative in the House is the same as looking at the voting of all of the Republican representatives in the House because they all vote pretty much exactly the same way. They are all busily and happily deregulating everything they can think of, in order to undo all laws that they believe restrict industry and business in the US, and fully believing that if they do this America will once again be the key nation in the world in terms of economics and therefore power. When everyone in a party votes in lockstep, this is what partisanship looks like.
This is a view from the cheap seats.