Punching holes in Anderson's latest missive

August 18, 2013

Daniel G. Anderson takes us yet again on another trip through his reality distortion machine ("Jobs and the Economy - Delaware," Aug. 2-5). Three of his major claims are as follows. First, Delaware jobs have become less plentiful mostly because of Delaware government policies and "22 years of liberal Democrat government." Second, "the Obama administration...has virtually destroyed this great nation's ability to compete in world markets." Third, that Texas Republican Gov. Rick Perry is a winner because he "created more new jobs...than all other states combined."

Counterfactual to his first claim, Delaware jobs, like many U.S. jobs, started moving three to four decades ago from the USA to Japan, Taiwan, S. Korea, Hong Kong, Singapore, and the Philipines. Starting one to two decades ago jobs also moved to the BRICs (Brazil, Russia, India and China) and since NAFTA, to Mexico.

According to my reading of many books on trade economics, development economics, and economic history the governments of all, or almost all, of these countries deliberately created policies and gave government subsidies to grow their companies there to grab as much as possible of our industrial base and make more money off exports to the USA than the USA would make from foreign imports from the USA. This goes against Anderson's general idea that any government is always useless or destructive.

U.S. executives also exported jobs from the U.S. to foreign sites because these same foreign government policies could reduce U.S. corporate costs. Thus foreign governments got U.S. executives to spend U.S. dollars on investments to build factories at foreign sites instead of  U.S. sites.

Meanwhile, U.S. presidents, senators and congresspersons of both parties have--over the last four decades--generally looked the other way while all of this was happening because corporate lobbying and campaign contributions were aimed to get pro-business favors, and discourage anything that would interfere with corporate profits (this ideology was also publically promoted as "lets have more free trade"). Anderson is wrong to blame only (our) government policy or just Obama for our economic

Anderson's third claim that Gov. Rick Perry is a "winner" because of all the "new" jobs he created in Texas needs to be compared with a recent report that he got tens of thousands of "new" jobs into Texas by calling up executives of many corporations in other U.S. states and successfully selling them the idea of moving to Texas. This looks to me like job "creation" by job poaching. Thus Anderson's "winner," Rick Perry, is really a thief.

While our modern standard of living needs corporations, these same corporations, whether U.S. or foreign, sometimes will actively pit one state or local government against another in a bidding war to get the best incentive package (tax deals, subsidies, access to land, waivers of regulations, and other perks) to lure the corporation to build a factory and create jobs. What is the point? Anderson always blames only government. But I think we can blame a lot on greedy-selfish corporations for a lot of our economic suffering and diminished number of jobs, too.

Arthur E. Sowers


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