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Fri, Mar

SOTU Calls for Pride in Production

VOICES

ACCORDING TO LIZ - Part of Biden’s State of the Union speech on Tuesday addressed bringing manufacturing back to the United States. 

This is essential to relieve the supply chain disruptions experienced during the pandemic, to significantly reduce the climate-change exacerbated by transportation and increasing the cost of energy, and provide more Americans with well-paying careers. 

It will also help rebuild communities that were hollowed out by the rush of multinationals to off-shore in the rush to the bottom-pursuing short-term profit approach in the wake of corporatocracy-driven trade deals, and aid in establishing a robust economy that built up ta solid customer base as well as their personal fortunes. 

Emotionally, the restoration of America’s manufacturing heartland will also drive a resurgence of Americans’ hearts beating with pride. 

Not so long ago, when a single job could provide well for a family, men took pride in what they did whether as a researcher or assembly line mechanic. 

For many, whether miner or manufacturer, unions were the center of family social events. They were a resource when there were problems and they promised continued good living to people who showed up on time and worked hard. 

Even as factory jobs were outsourced, even as one job was no longer sufficient to buy a home, take vacations, put children through university, and have a decent living in retirement, as the power of capitalists and their privileged cronies overwhelmed and destroyed unions, the stature of once-union proud professions have crumbled until to many who work with their hands are looked down upon by their families, their neighbors and their children. 

As the working-class, especially men, need to find more satisfaction in their lives so that their internalized anger, too often directed at women, immigrants, other races and political affiliations, will dissipate. 

Additionally, our society must find better ways to appreciate public service workers, both by insisting that pay be improved to reflect the importance of teachers, nurses and care workers improving respect, working conditions, and social status and thereby attracting the quality applicants needed for the many vacant positions.

Pundits and decision-makers must put a stop to considering such positions superfluous, allowing them to be cut with every call for austerity. 

What MUST be addressed, and before it’s too late, is the accumulation and concentration of income, wealth, and power in the hands of fewer and fewer people that is exacerbating inequality and destabilizing democracy. 

Our government must pull on its big boy panties and, instead of sending American children out to fight wars on behalf of corporate interests – what, you thought the invasion of Iraq was about democracy, not oil? take a strong stand against the domestic and international financial institutions that continuously insist on placing the interests of profit above people.

Instead it needs to focus on the needs of the younger generations of Americans – quality education, satisfying careers, time to enjoy leisure, excellent healthcare and satisfactory retirement benefits. Which contribute to and depend on the expansion and improved status of socially-oriented professions. 

And, as was implicit in Biden’s State of the Union on Tuesday, the importance of elevating our manufacturing to the prominence it held in the years following World War II. 

America also needs to encourage a new spirit of volunteerism – not to take jobs away from those who need them, or help with the government’s or company’s bottom line – but to use people’s skills to enhance the quality of their lives and so they engage with others to further develop their self-respect and personal value. 

Biden also laid in on issues that should reduce some of the inequities that have been increasingly prevalent in and destructive of our economy - holding big corporations and billionaires accountable for inappropriate behaviors including price gouging, addressing antitrust actions and cracking down on stock buybacks. 

To polish off his working-class creds, blue-collar Joe took a strong stand against sneaky fees: “Look, junk fees may not matter to the very wealthy, but they matter to most other folks in homes like the one I grew up in. I know how unfair it feels when a company overcharges you and gets away with it.” 

He called for continuing to enhance consumer protections including pressing forward on full disclosure rules, the elimination of non-compete clauses, and increasing safeguards for union organizing to protect ordinary Americans against ruthless corporate lawyers. 

And to stop the massive tax fraud which isn’t being perpetrated by Joe Q. Public but by the ultra-rich and the corporate greed machine. 

Taking care of our own, rebuilding our economy for the benefit of the people, is a far better approach to repairing American ascendancy than driving wars worldwide or myopic focus on divisive elements of wokeness and anti-wokeness. 

While touch-button for individuals such social issues are pretty insignificant when compared to the economic health of the nation. 

So improving the economic health over the next year of all levels of society, not just the prosperity of the multinationals, would do the President proud.

 

(Liz Amsden is a contributor to CityWatch and an activist from Northeast Los Angeles with opinions on much of what goes on in our lives. She has written extensively on the City's budget and services as well as her many other interests and passions. In her real life she works on budgets for film and television where fiction can rarely be as strange as the truth of living in today's world.)