During the 2016 Presidential Campaign, Donald Trump continually promised to put coal miners back to work and support the coal industry.
This was welcome news to generations of coal miners who were struggling to find work, because roughly 200,000 coal mining jobs have been lost since peak employment in 1981.
However, the Trump campaign shouldn’t have focused on the coal industry for getting Americans back to work, because coal is a filthy outdated source of energy.
Instead, the focus should have been on the real problem, the outsourcing of American white collar and manufacturing jobs.
Jobs are “outsourced” when U.S. based companies hire foreign workers instead of Americans.
According to the most recent report from the Bureau of Economic Analysis, as of 2013, U.S. overseas affiliates employed 14 million people.
In other words, instead of corporations hiring American citizens to produce goods and services at home, they hire employees in other countries with a lower standard of living and poor labor protections.
Corporate profits increase while good paying American jobs are lost.
American technology companies who outsource white collar IT jobs pay salaries of $7,000 per year in China, and $8,400 in India, which is roughly one tenth the salary of those same jobs in the U.S.
Likewise, most of the top accounting firms outsource managerial work because an office manager makes a mere $15,000-$20,000 in India, where the same job in the U.S. commands a salary of $150,000.
Close to 90 percent of radiology services in hospitals are also outsourced to India, as doctors are paid at a fraction of their American counterparts to read American X-rays 6,000 miles away.
These are all examples of good paying, white-collar jobs that are being outsourced for a fraction of the cost, all in the name of efficiency.
The middle class has also been hurt by outsourcing as 5,000,000 manufacturing jobs have been lost since 2000.
Many blame cheap overseas labor for the loss of these American jobs because companies such as Walmart relentlessly push for lower prices and manufacture as cheaply as possible.
Americans flock to Walmart to purchase cheap goods, which in turn causes more outsourcing of jobs.
Improvements in technology through use of robots and machines are also partly responsible for the loss of manufacturing jobs, as companies constantly strive for higher efficiency and productivity.
Even President Trump outsources most of the manufacturing of Trump branded products.
Trump shirts are made in China, Bangladesh, Honduras and Vietnam. Trump eyeglasses are also made in China, as are Trump hotel pens, shampoos, laundry bags and shower caps.
All told Trump products are manufactured in at least 12 different countries, which made his vow not to eat Oreo cookies anymore when Nabisco moved American jobs to Mexico, disingenuous.
Outsourcing jobs lowers barriers in American markets for competition from foreign made goods and services, and makes it difficult for companies who manufacture in America to compete globally.
Sending jobs overseas hurts morale at American companies because employees feel expendable.
Jobs lost to outsourcing rarely come back, making it harder for American workers to find meaningful, stable long-term employment.
Ideas floated to stop outsourcing and protect American jobs include scrapping international trade pacts, stopping government contractors from hiring foreign workers, slowing visa entries of international workers, having caller ID from overseas call centers to raise American awareness of outsourcing, helping displaced American workers through job training and improving education of American citizens.
Unfortunately, there are no easy answers or quick fixes.
Outsourcing of good paying jobs creates an ever-increasing divide between the wealthy, and the middle class and poor.
Without balance in the distribution of income there soon may not be enough of a middle class left with the ability to purchase the goods and services needed to drive the economy forward.