Elizabeth Warren Versus Paul Ryan on the Economy

Elizabeth Warren Paul Ryan

Senator Elizabeth Warren recently took Congressman Paul Ryan to task for his comments on unemployment and the economy. Congressman Ryan suggested a culture of laziness had developed in some quarters and that public assistance enabled the indolence. Senator Warren pointed out that there are three unemployed people for every job opening, a point which shatters much of Ryan’s claim.

The argument about welfare and sloth is not even worth having until we have a stable economy. With a true unemployment rate of over 23% – once long-term unemployed and underemployed workers are counted – and so few jobs available, the question of whether those on unemployment insurance would work if they could cannot be answered. We need to cultivate our economy again, to bring jobs back so that people have options in their lives. Once these jobs are restored we will see definitively whether they are taken by the unemployed or shunned in favor of Ryan’s claimed culture of laziness.

Getting the jobs back will require a commitment to the fair trade principles espoused by Senator Warren, instead of the “free trade” dogma espoused by Congressman Ryan. We have been led astray by a dedication to so-called “free-trade“. Free trade” is uncontrolled, unrestricted access to our economy, tariff- and duty-free, for goods made in foreign lands for $4 per hour or less. We cannot compete with these wages, so our manufacturers are forced to close up, sell out or leave the country.

A rich nation that practices this madness is sure to lose its best jobs and companies to overseas environments where workers are paid less and regulations are few. Our unemployment rate is no surprise when we realize how many jobs we have lost to China and other low-wage nations over the years. It seems almost grotesquely callous to talk about cultures of laziness because people aren’t working in a nation where all the good jobs are leaving. Only service-sector jobs remain.

The first order of business is to reject “free trade” and pursue fair trade on a level playing field. This would include, among other things, repudiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership and other proposed “free trade” deals, withdrawing from the World Trade Organization which imposes a “free trade” agenda on the U.S., and erecting a reasonable barrier to admission to our coveted markets, something which tax reform could achieve.

When this is accomplished, the economy will get itself back into shape and we can see whether Senator Warren or Congressman Ryan is correct.

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