There’s one thing that both progressives and conservatives can agree on, and they can quote both FDR and Ronald Reagan on it. And that is that, “The best welfare program is a job.”
FDR extended the idea to say that when there are no jobs, the government should act as an employer of last resort. But Ronald Reagan supported the fantasy that rich people will simply create jobs out of sheer benevolence if we just cut their taxes and tear down pesky financial and trade regulations. And Ronald Reagan was right in some twisted way, by lifting trade barriers and financial regulations, the richest among us created hundreds of thousands of jobs.
There’s just one problem: The jobs that got created are overseas: primarily low-wage, often-exploitative jobs in China, in Vietnam, in Malaysia and in Mexico. And all of those jobs came at the expense of someone else’s job, right here at home.
Back in 1998, Nike Chairman Phil Knight explained all the wonderful benefits of “international trade” in a speech at New Mexico State University.
He said, “During the 1990s, all our experiences have caused us to really believe in the benefits of international trade. The uplifting of impoverished people, the better values for consumers in industrialized nations, and most of all, the increased understandings between peoples of different cultures.”