- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 5, 2004

Listen up, students

This year’s incoming high school seniors should pay close attention to the election debate on the outsourcing of U.S. jobs abroad (“Unions increase anti-Bush efforts,” Business, Friday).

New technologies are exposing the service sector to the same forces that have been reducing our manufacturing jobs since the 1970s. Just like before, the long-term effects on the U.S. economy will be positive.

In the past 30 years, the wage gap between low-skilled and high-skilled workers has increased continually. The wages and employment opportunities for educated and skilled workers have continued to rise. For those students who continue their studies and obtain advanced skills and degrees, there will be plenty of high-paying jobs. In fact, we will desperately need people to fill those jobs.

For those who don’t continue to study, wages will be low and jobs will be scarce. Economists have predicted that in the coming years, the United States will need to import hundreds of thousands of skilled workers from abroad to fill many of the new advanced positions. That is a shame because we have the best university system in the world and a growing population to fill those jobs.

Today’s students need to understand this and act accordingly. The laws of comparative advantage apply as much to service-sector employment now as they did to the manufacturing sector decades ago. Rather than trying to stop the outsourcing trend, we need to prepare for the benefits it will bring. Specifically, that means lots of high-skill jobs with better pay.



The other pre-emption strategy

I read with interest the Thursday article which described efforts by the textile industry to seek pre-emptive quotas on textile products from China (“U.S. firms to seek curbs on imports,” Business).

The article incorrectly implies that the U.S. apparel industry supports those efforts. The American Apparel & Footwear Association — the national trade association representing the U.S. apparel industry — has not taken a position in support of these petitions, and, in fact, strongly opposed petitions that were invoked last year limiting U.S. imports of bras and dressing gowns. The AAFA and individual clothing companies have opposed these moves because there is no evidence that imports of these products from China have disrupted the U.S. market.

Improper use of the China safeguard mechanism will only foster uncertainty and raise false expectations of relief while delivering no benefits for the U.S textile industry. We believe the Bush administration should instead focus its efforts on removing trade barriers, as it did recently through the just-completed free-trade agreement with Central America and the Dominican Republic.


President and CEO

American Apparel & Footwear



The president and the war

President Bush, in his acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention, said “The progress we and our friends and allies seek in the broader Middle East will not come easily or all at once. Yet Americans, of all people, should never be surprised by the power of liberty to transform lives and nations.”

On the surface, this seems like an unarguable point with which even Mr. Bush’s opponents can agree. However, it contains a crucial and profound error.

Liberty, as magnificent as it is, does not itself transform a people. Rather, a transformed people demand and fight for liberty. Colonial Americans were self-starting, self-responsible, rational people determined to make their own way in the world. Because of this, they were ready for liberty and demanded it. They would not have put up for five minutes with a Saddam Hussein, and the American Revolution was a revolt against a far less dictatorial regime than that. Many early Americans were religious, but most did not let religion dictate their lives in the same ways many of today’s Muslims let religion (and religious dictators) determine theirs.

Dictatorship, secular or religious, springs up only where the roots of liberty — rationality, independence, self-esteem — fail to take root. Our forces in Iraq are powerless to do anything about this problem.

One of the major flaws in Mr. Bush’s foreign policy is this mistaken premise. The premise is that liberty causes personal transformation, rather than the other way around. When and if the Iraqi people or any other people in the Middle East transform themselves into rational, self-responsible people, they will both demand liberty and support our attempts to help them have it.

Until or unless this happens, our military can do relatively little except take the shots it’s taking in the Middle East in hopes that, sooner or later, these poor people finally will “get it.”

This is why Sen. John Kerry has such a good chance of winning the upcoming election and in some polls has even been ahead. In one of the most dangerous eras our nation has ever faced, nobody who has voted against so many defense weapons in the past 20 years should even have a chance at becoming our commander in chief.

The problem is that many voters sense the error in Mr. Bush’s reasoning about the Middle East. The focus of the war against terrorism should solely be destroying and dismantling terrorist states, not pie in the sky about delivering liberty to people who may or may not want it and who may or may not be ready for it.


Bethany Beach, Del.

It’s about time

Regarding “U.S. troop plans alarm local towns” (World, Aug. 25): The headline on this great article could have been used in 1944 as well as 2004. The surprise on the face of a politician when he is about to lose his lunch is something that I, as an American taxpayer, would love to see.

Wouldn’t you love to have been there when that GI said “Gotcha” to Saddam Hussein?

I think the best so far would be when Gerhard Schroeder, chancellor of Germany, opened his morning paper over coffee to find out that President Bush was going to pull thousands of American troops out of Germany and send them home or to where they are far more needed.

The Marshall Plan revived Germany at the cost of billions to U.S. taxpayers, many of whom had fought to crush Nazi Germany. Many others, of course, had died in the endeavor. Since then, each chancellor in turn has coasted along on U.S. dollars, all the while condemning the United States for virtually everything imaginable.

The Germans still even hold a grudge about World War I. We rebuilt their country, rebuilt their economy, defended their freedom and finally united their country again. All this has been on the backs of the American taxpayer. Well, Mr. Schroeder, it’s Wagner revisited, and the free lunch is over. You and Jacques Chirac can have a good cry on the Rhine.



Something missing in New York

I have never seen a convention that spoke so little about the future. There has been no discussion of what this administration would like to do the next four years. I’m really turned off by all the hate and negativity and the lies. Vice President Dick Cheney’s trousers went up in smoke during his speech (“Cheney hits Kerry on national security,” Page 1, Thursday).

Does anyone really believe a group that can’t protect itself from sneaky protesters while inside Madison Square Garden can protect our borders from terrorists?


Iowa City, Iowa

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