I grew up in Maine, where I woke up this morning, and which is full of empty factories, dating back to when manufacturing jobs were shipped overseas to take advantage of cheap labor. Here in Biddeford, where my mother lives, this town is still struggling to make its way back from the loss of those jobs. Slowly, artists and small businesses are making it work for them locally, and if you’re looking for huge converted or raw loft space, Biddeford is still your town.
It was always my theory that industrialists have been trying to break the back of the American middle class so they could then bring the factories back and pay people nothing once again to work in them, only of course after having discredited and destroyed the unions. We’ve watched as the factories first went to China, then to India, Bangladesh, Mexico, and we’ve watched as in each of those countries, labor standards were eventually enacted to at least some degree, raising wages to, say, a dollar an hour, and each time, of course, some of the manufacturing would leave, for some other place.
This morning, I walked into my mother’s living room and heard this from Erin Burnett, of CNBC, a guest on the Tim Russert show:
“One advantage of the weak dollar is exports! 12% of our economy is exports and it’s booming. American goods are very cheap overseas, so people want them. Also, with the weak dollar, companies like BMW are opening plants here, creating jobs.”
So, good-bye, Take Your Kids To Work Day, hello, Send Your Kids To Work Day.