by Patrick J. Buchanan – March 9, 1999
To the women and African-Americans who hold most of the jobs in textiles and apparel, news that Levi Strauss is laying off 5,900 U.S. workers is a premonition of what awaits them. Their death sentence has been rendered, and there is to be no appeal.
This industry that employed 2 million Americans in 1981 has lost 700,000 jobs since. Cause of death: imports. Our trade deficit in textiles and apparel alone hit $47 billion in 1998. Our women and minorities cannot live on the 50-centc-an-hour wages paid to their competition in Mexico and Asia. So, all the jobs will go.
Our Lords of the Universe in Washington and on Wall Street are writing off all the old industries. Last year, the U.S. trade deficit in manufactures was an astronomical $197 billion, 12 times the size of our shrinking surplus in farm goods. Our skilled workers are all expendable to those who hold that making textiles, autos, and steel are “dead-end jobs” that America doesn’t need.
For beneath our binge of consumption, driven by debt, the first symptoms of the global depression have begun to appear. Last year, farm income fell 25%. Manufacturing lost 200,000 workers. The oil industry laid off tens of thousands. The steel industry was swamped by the devalued and dumped exports of Indonesia, Russia, Korea and Brazil, all being bailed out with International Monetary Fund loans backed by the very U.S. steelworkers now losing their jobs.
But who cares? After all, look at the Nasdaq! Look at the Dow!
Our elites believe they have found the philosopher’s stone that turns lead to gold. Brimming with hubris, They have decided that the vocations of factory and farm are yesterday and that our future lies in a glorious tomorrow of hedge funds and high-tech for all.
Upon this vision they have gambled, and sacrificed, the best jobs of our workers, the greatest industrial empire the world has ever seen, the economic security of our nation, the independence and sovereignty of the U.S. May the Lord help us all if they are wrong.