The countless ads by Whitman in the current California gubernatorial race lead most people to believe that she’s been creating lots of jobs. But when you take a close look at what her company EBAY actually does, on balance she may well be the jobs killer.
First, in many ways our economy has exhausted much of its private sector jobs potential; many left-of-center economists believe we need a massive public works plan to get us out of the Great Recession, which has been plaguing the country now for three painfully long years.
Our corporations are now making it in China, moving production and jobs east. But of course they still want it both ways: produce there and dictate domestic policy here. The last 2 million manufacturing jobs that left can be traced directly to China, according to recent government reports. Also, shipping cost have dropped to the point where they are now one or two percent of the price of a foreign made products — hardly a factor in a world where most Third World workers make less than a dollar an hour and some just a dollar a day.
Also , Americans work longer hours than anyone else in the industrial world — even more than people in Japan. Our expensive health care helps keep hiring down and hours long. Other countries like Germany have adopted what they call a “short week,” where workers spend less time, giving them more time with their families and letting the country employ more people — a nice win/win, most would agree.
In The Future of Success, Robert Reich noted that forty percent of college grads work more than fifty hours a week.Add to these factors the automation of work or what we proudly call High Tech, which from the employment perspective is another job drain because it produces more production with fewer workers. Add to that the consumer debt problem and the outright usury and fleecing of the poor, which is also not making people jump for joy with consumer confidence. Altogether, they spell a long journey before we’ll be out of the unemployment conundrum.
Candidate Whitman’s business EBAY is no help either and it’s surprising that the Democrats haven’t brought up this fact. While hammering Jerry Brown with millions of dollars spent on negative ads, calling him a loser and job killer, she may be the one in the loser business, who has killed quite a few jobs herself on her way to becoming a billionaire. Making money from products that don’t sell on the normal market could be considered the loser market and a drain on the economy. Anyone in the private sector knows that a slow economy means that products are moving slowly off the shelves, that inventory is backing up, and that sales are down. By creating a market for products that don’t make it normally, Whitman has added one more traffic jam in the distribution of products and the jobs that the market creates. Why shop at the mall when you can go to EBAY.
We’re a live and let live society, but if she wants to hurl political stones and even boulders at Brown, Meg’s Junk Shop Jobs Killer Industries should be fair game. Given the fragile employment situation, we would do well not only to think of what she’s worth but also what she sells and its positive or negative effect on businesses and employment.
Little wonder she’s financing her campaign almost completely by herself. I’m sure many people who make products that have to compete with Meg’s leftovers are not too thrilled to support her new venture. Also, killing public sector jobs, her campaign pledge, in itself will also be a drain on consumer confidence and may drag down employment, leaving us all shopping for leftovers.