I ran across this interesting set of graphs in the New York Times the other day. The graphs show the total number of persons employed since 2000 in three major industries: financial, manufacturing, and construction. The intent of the article and the graphs was to show that financial jobs were starting to rebound. Actually, all three industries show a bottoming-out and a potential rebound. The graphs also depict the growth spike of the financial and construction industries that heralded the present recession.
What I found interesting was the center graph. It shows the decline in manufacturing jobs. Interestingly, the decline in manufacturing jobs started about the same time as the GWB federal tax cuts. "Trust us," Congress and Bush said, "We know how to jump-start the economy and create jobs." About this time is also when the wars started, and deficit spending went through the roof.
I'm in favor of cutting taxes--I wish we had none at all, but tax reduction should follow expense reductions, not precede them. Everyone, even government, should expect to live within their means.
Manufacturing and supporting industries have been the heart of the middle class and the bulk of the jobs in the US since the last World War. In my opinion, the health of our economy won't improve until those jobs return.
Despite the borrowed cost at this time, I like the idea of tax rebates to stimulate the growth in manufacturing. Unlike general tax cuts, rebates are a good way to provide tax relief and, at the same time, stimulate growth in certain directions.
Stimulating the development and manufacture of alternate energy sources is a good direction. We should have done that a long time ago. It's not healthy to be dependent on other countries, many hostile to our way of life, for 80 percent of our energy. Energy independence for the US is do-able, despite the radio, power company, and politician rhetoric saying it's not.
I'd like to see energy independence happen now, rather than in the future when those hostile countries flip on us.