- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 12, 2003

Are we being spun on jobs by the White House and the rah-rah Bush media like we are being spun on Iraq? Make up your own mind after considering the following.

Only a few of the 116,000 private-sector jobs created in October provide good incomes: 6,000 new positions in legal services and accounting — activities that reflect corporations gearing up to protect their top executives from Sarbanes-Oxley.

The remainder of the 116,000 new jobs consist of temps, retail trade, telephone marketing and fund raising, administrative and waste services, and private education and health services.

Physicians’ offices hired 9,000 people to cope with Medicare and insurance company paperwork. Nursing and residential care facilities hired 5,000, child-care services hired 6,000, and hospitals hired 3,000. Many of the new jobs do not pay enough to support a family. The temp and retail jobs are 40 percent of the total.

All of the new jobs are in services. None of the new service jobs are capable of producing export earnings to bring balance to our massive trade deficit.

Jobs capable of producing tradable goods and services continue to be lost rapidly. In the last three months, the U.S. lost 91,000 manufacturing jobs.

Computer jobs have disappeared. In Tampa, San Antonio, Seattle and California, office buildings are closed that a few years ago contained tens of thousands of computer engineers. People who in 2000 were making between $60,000 and $100,000 annually cannot today find jobs.

On Nov. 3, CBS News reported: “U.S. October layoffs surge 125 percent.” Layoff announcements from U.S. companies more than doubled in October to 171,874, the highest in a year, according to the outplacement firm Challenger Gray & Christmas. In October, the auto industry sacked 28,000 workers and telecommunications companies cut 21,000 jobs.

While the ladders of upward mobility collapse, the U.S. continues importing several million legal and illegal poor immigrants each year. Thirty-five million Mexicans are not needed to pick the California fruit and vegetable crops. There is no economic or social rationale for the U.S. to permit massive inflows of poor people, whose needs are overwhelming U.S. taxpayers, hospitals and government budgets.

Population experts predict immigration will boost the U.S. population by 100 million people by mid-century. Imagine what that portends for energy consumption and the environment.

The U.S. already is a heavy energy importer with a serious trade deficit. The economic development projected for Asia means a huge increase in world energy consumption. Unlike the U.S., Asian economies have export surpluses with which to pay their energy bills.

It is possible that the loss of American jobs in tradable goods and services, combined with the importation of massive numbers of poor people, will leave the U.S. without the means to purchase its energy needs in world markets. When the dollar’s value is undermined by budget and trade deficits, energy prices for Americans will explode.

A country that substitutes foreign labor for its own domestic labor via outsourcing, offshore production and Internet hiring, a country that transfers its wealth to foreigners to pay for imports, a country that fills up with welfare-dependent multitudes while it squanders $200 billion in Iraq, is a country headed for Third World status.

Some industry experts argue that the U.S. has lost so much of its core industrial capability that advanced manufacturing skills are disappearing in the U.S. The U.S. lacks mass production ability in critical areas of high-tech manufacturing.

The U.S. assembles parts made elsewhere. Knowledge- and capital-demanding activities, such as charge-coupled devices, industrial robotics, numerically controlled machine tools, laser diodes and carbon fibers, are passing out of U.S. hands.

A service economy has less to export than a manufacturing economy. What will the U.S. sell abroad to pay for its energy and manufacturing imports?

We currently pay for our imports by giving up ownership of our companies, real estate and corporate and government bonds. Once the U.S. has spent its wealth, we will have no way to pay for the energy and manufactured goods on which we have become import-dependent.

While the once fabulous U.S. economy erodes, the hapless Bush administration thinks its most important goal is to waste American lives and massive sums of money to force “democracy” on Middle Eastern peoples who do not want it.

Paul Craig Roberts is a columnist for The Washington Times and is nationally syndicated.

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