Robert Reich/TPP: Cheaper Goods And Services. The Reality. | THE POLITICUS

Robert Reich/TPP: Cheaper Goods And Services. The Reality.

If you are living paycheck to paycheck the sound of "paying less" might sound like a win. The trouble is as Robert Reich points out

Economists point to overall benefits from expanded trade. All of us gain access to cheaper goods and services.

But in recent years the biggest gains from trade have gone to investors and executives, while the burdens have fallen disproportionately on those in the middle and below who have lost good-paying jobs. ">Robert Reich points out

For decades almost all the gains from growth have been going to a small sliver of Americans at the top – while most peoples’ wages have stagnated, adjusted for inflation.

Economists point to overall benefits from expanded trade. All of us gain access to cheaper goods and services.

But in recent years the biggest gains from trade have gone to investors and executives, while the burdens have fallen disproportionately on those in the middle and below who have lost good-paying jobs.

We also have had the argument of the holy grail of productivity that will allow us to compete with $1 a day wages elsewhere. When you are already working two or three jobs, or working all the hours god gave you in one and still struggling, productivity becomes laughable.

The promise of retraining for jobs which at present are not there in exchange for the job you have and are at risk of losing, is being touted once more.

Once again Reich concludes with a dose of reality:

If the American economy continues to create a few big winners and many who feel like losers by comparison, opposition to free trade won’t be the only casualty.

Losers are likely to find many other ways to say “no deal.”

To get a better job, you need better education, to obtain this you get yourself deeper in debt.

To get a better job, you take an unpaid internship because a paid one might be just a myth and if you can afford not to be paid in cities where the cost of living is stratospheric.

Unless of course you come from a well connected and rich family that can absorb this economic hurt.

The idea of a level playing field and equal opportunities.... please, I can't go there,  that's just hysterical. Some even refuse to talk about class, desperately trying to refute an economic reality.

The reality is there is not one job that cannot be done cheaper elsewhere, touting cheaper goods and services is a disservice, as it also cheapens the value of that work. The result is a downward value of work and vast rewards to those doing the devaluing.

Just being allowed to keep your job by working longer hours and increasing your productivity at the same time, rewards those promoting the myth of competing with lower costs of living, education and housing.

It is not just the industries that require unskilled labor to make cheap stuff. I have a friend working as a senior software engineer in Hyderabad who holds and MSc from MIT, speaks impeccable English and earns about $12,000/year. A good wage for the area, but hardly livable in the US. Compete with that, if you can. Long gone are the days when it was education, technology and productivity that made a difference. My friend is pretty typical of the competition, highly educated, works long hours and has strict productivity targets to meet.

TPP will be President Obama's legacy, if it passes; it would be nice to know just what is in it, apart from protectionism [for the corporations against the government, not you or I] and increased profits for the corporations.

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