THE BLOG
11/04/2012 10:05 pm ET Updated Jan 23, 2014

The Republican Vision for How America Will Compete Globally

The choice in this election is clear. The Republican vision for the future represents real pain for the working class. The Democratic vision embraces the American dream and the belief that American workers deserve opportunity and a living wage.

To a Republican, a well-paid worker represents a decreased capacity for profitability of the corporation. To a Democrat, a well-paid worker ultimately represents the very fabric of a vibrant national economy.

To a Republican, the wealthy represent "job creators." They would argue that if you want a job in the future, we have to allow the wealthy to pay less and less in taxes now, so they can invest more money in our economy.

I will admit that on some level it seems like it could work or maybe even should work. Unfortunately we have tried trickle-down economics for thirty years and we have no evidence to suggest that it actually does work.

If we give more money to the rich when our economy is suffering and people are out of work, they have absolutely no incentive to invest in an economy when the people cannot afford to buy the products that they are selling. So they either wait until the government takes action to improve the economy or they invest overseas in economies where the economy is strong and the middle class is growing. They invest in economies where there is demand for their product. All evidence suggests that this is exactly what has occurred since 2008.

In the 21st century it is almost as easy to invest overseas as it is to invest in our own country and Republicans have fought tooth and nail any attempts by the Democrats to remove rewards for overseas investments. While other countries are actively seeking to prevent tax evasion via offshore accounts, we have a presidential candidate who wears his offshore investments as a badge of pride and a symbol of his business acumen.

As if someone paying $50,000 to have dinner with Mitt Romney is not nauseating enough, most people find that various portions of the now infamous 47 percent video readily test the gag reflex. The part of the video that I just cannot shake is when he discusses a potential investment in a Chinese company.

"... when I was back in my private equity days, we went to China to buy a factory there, employed about 20,000 people, and they were almost all young women between the ages of about 18 and 22 or 23. They were saving for potentially becoming married, and they worked in these huge factories, they made various small appliances, and as we were walking through this facility, seeing them work, the number of hours they worked per day, the pittance they earned, living in dormitories with little bathrooms at the end with maybe ten rooms. And the rooms, they had 12 girls per room, three bunk beds on top of each other."

This company represented an ideal investment for his firm. The company utilized extremely low paid, overworked, unskilled employees who work in an environment in which management is unrestrained by concerns for their safety or health. These workers are able to churn out low cost products which make it difficult for others to compete with.

So what do Republicans feel that we have to do to be able to compete effectively in a global environment? They want us to be China.

We have threats to turn back child labor laws. We have calls to eliminate the minimum wage. We have a full blown war against labor unions, the voice of the worker. We have a vice-presidential candidate who voted against equal pay for equal work, and a presidential candidate who is still trying to find an answer to this question that will not cause women to hate him even more than they do. We also have calls to abolish the Environmental Protection Agency and it is far too obvious how Republicans feel about science, education, and teachers. It is much easier to control an ignorant populace than it is to control an educated populace.

Yes, according to the Republican world view we are well on our way to being able to compete globally as our workers become increasingly unskilled, uneducated, without hope and so desperate for a job that they will settle for a pittance in pay, long hours, unsafe working conditions and zero benefits.

Do Americans no longer value their paid vacations, their ability to provide adequate health care for their family, and the ability to retire with a measure of dignity and security? The fact that Mitt Romney even has a shot to win the presidential race makes me wonder. If this is the only option for our future, then it will be hard for the drug companies to make enough anti-depressants.

There are, in fact, other options. We can invest heavily in emerging industries and become leaders in those industries. We can use the tax code to reward companies creating jobs in the U.S. that provide for a living wage. We can reward companies that are heavily invested in research and development. We can continue to ensure that quality education is available for all people regardless of their social status.

We have two different competing visions for the future. The Republican vision wants to make us a nation of low-paid workers so that we can make products as cheaply as China. The Democratic vision says that just cannot be our goal and presents an argument for a new direction.

Are you for the corporation or are you for the American worker? When you figure that out please vote accordingly.

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