Manufacturing in the United States

While the number of people employed in manufacturing jobs has declined consistently for decades (most due to automation and other technological efficiency improvements), automation continues to add jobs in robotics, engineering, computer science, et al. Companies don’t want to eliminate jobs, they want to produce and ship products more efficiently—same as always.

The concept of a factory, itself, was also borne out of a desire to produce products more efficiently. Factories and other bulk manufacturing processes once eliminated the livelihoods of people who produced goods one at a time. (Anybody know any blacksmiths these days?) Efficiency is progress. Progress is good.

Progress has always made certain economic activities obsolete. People must adapt by growing skills and adding knowledge. The economy will move forward with or without you. Education, training, and re-training (oft-ignored) are keys to ensure everyone participates in a healthy, growing economy. They should be the policy focus, not protectionism.

Donald Trump indirectly forcing taxpayers in Indiana to subsidize those Carrier jobs is, ironically, a very liberal tactic. A thousand people keeping their jobs is never a bad thing at its most superficial face value, but the way in which those Carrier jobs were maintained is troublesome in a world where resources are scarce.

Should we subsidize every manufacturing job that becomes obsolete? We literally can’t afford to do that. So, where does it end? Why were these 1,000 manufacturing jobs chosen over 1,000 jobs in any other place? It doesn’t seem fair. I surmise that these jobs were chosen as nothing more than an opportunistic publicity stunt in a state recently governed by Trump’s running mate.