gm_2098623bAmid all the recent talk of manufacturing resurgence and growth in the United States, we can see that there just may be hope for middle class America yet. Getting back to what made the U.S. so dominate during the twentieth century will take hard work from every laborer in the country, at all levels. And it can be done. It is being done. People are starting to get back to work. But something that has me concerned is what comes after this resurgence begins to level off? What will we do with the American factory worker once the peak passes?

Continued growth and expansion is something that every business strives to obtain. The adage that “if you’re not growing you’re dying” tends to come to mind. While there is a good deal of truth to this saying, growth does not always come in large heaps. Growth can take small steps and show slow gains over years. There is nothing wrong with this. Big boom periods always come to a leveling off period. It is a law of nature and will happen one way or another. We saw this in our own country over the last seven or so years (if not longer).

Recessions are a part of the economic cycle and will always happen no matter how hard we try to prevent them. However, we can strive to limit the impact that recessions can have on families, especially middle class families who are not only the most affected group of people, but also the ones who make up the bulk of our labor force. The Great Depression and Great Recession are clear cut examples of this. So how do we soften the effects of downward trends and help protect ourselves from deep financial wounds? Legislative policy and education.

 

I admit that I am an advocate for globalization. Any movement to better the world as a whole, I am all for. But that does not mean we should abandon everything we have come to excel at. Strong policies, both domestic and those concerning foreign trade, should be enacted and held up. Shifts in product specialization, even on a global level, happen slowly. But if we’re not careful, then falling behind is almost certainly going to be the outcome and the middle class will fall again. For anyone who doesn’t think that this matters, or thinks the middle class is not the most important component of our society, imagine life without the following: office clerks, retail clerks, garbage men and women, landscape workers, janitors, construction workers, bartenders, waiters and waitresses, mechanics, factory workers, ship deck hands, pilots, and nurses (to name a few).

The second and equally important part is education. This is something that I feel that I cannot stress enough. People need access to top quality education. Nothing is more deadly to democracy than an uneducated, dumb citizenry.  A strong education is something that is enabling other countries to move up economically, and poor or low education standards are causing the U.S. to fall behind. And parents I’m looking at you! You are first and foremost the biggest factor in your child’s education. School systems can only do so much. Parents it’s up to you to encourage learning at all levels. Help to inspire your kids to want to know more.

Education is not something that should ever be near the table when talks of budget cutting arise. Educated people make better decisions and better decisions can lead to the sustaining of a strong American labor force. A proper and well rounded education will instill a sense of pride in oneself, in one’s work, in one’s country, even in co-workers. Individuals never had to be a multimillionaire to have a happy and well off living. Humble and helpful America turned into impatient and insatiable. The good news: now is the chance to reverse that image and become humble again.images
Chadd Brown
Super Tool,  Inc.

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