Pipelines, coal, protectionism = Jobs?
A.H. Chu
21

Mr Chu,

I appreciate your thoughtful response and do not disagree with many of your points. Please don’t mistake me for a Trump fan — I am not one. In particular, I am concerned about the environment and I find the recent pipeline decision distasteful. I also worry about the national sentiment on race, gender and orientation/identity issues. That said, I consider issues one-at-a-time and I am not ready to condemn Trump’s entire administration on a wholesale basis.

In particular, on the topic of globalization and jobs, I disagree. In fact, I would suggest that even federalism is in contention. Tip O’Neill once said, “All politics is local” and I believe that to be a truism. Local politics is accessible and accountable. Washington is not. As a result, Washington has been spending money like a drunken sailor since we broke from the gold standard. After such a spending spree one might think we would have something, the best schools, the best roads and bridges, no more hunger, we would feel safer, or possibly we would have annexed oil-producing countries (not that I would agree with it but it would be something to show for the money spent.) If the federal government is not held accountable, then how could we possibly hold a larger, more-global governance accountable? We could not, this was the reason for the Brexit and this is why I see a general retreat from globalization.

Concerning jobs, I make no assertions that returning to coal or increasing domestic oil will bring jobs back — a few maybe but the environmental costs are too high. But why not manufacturing jobs? I understand that automation has accounted for more lost jobs than globalization. And I believe that unions contributed to the loss of manufacturing in the US. But the US is the world’s largest consumer and we should be making most of what we consume. Americans would be better off with the jobs than with hand-outs. Furthermore, I would be very interested to know the impact of global shipping on the environment. And I also wonder whether domestic factories would operation with higher efficiency under the EPA and pollute less than foreign counter-parts.

Humans are tribal. It is going to take more than a few hundred years for us to develop systems with sufficient accountability to successfully govern large populations. Our unit and democracy has been strained over the last several elections, the electoral college is under review, and citizens are talking about leaving individually or seceding as a state (California). And, until we are able to sterilize a human’s lust for power, the risk of corruption goes up as we establish power at higher levels.

Robert Frost said, “Good fences make good neighbors”. I am certain he did not mean the wall between the US and Mexico. On the other hand, I believe he did mean that we should respect and manage our boundaries, for doing so brings us together more than one might suspect.

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