Save the Rustbelt’s post on "Casualties from Economic Transition"

This one is by reader Save the Rustbelt. He can be contacted at “save underscore the undersore rustbelt at yahoo period com.”

Casualties from Economic Transition

During the run up to the NAFTA vote the Clinton Administration told workers in the rustbelt something to this effect, paraphrasing of course

“yes, manufacturing jobs will be lost, but the jobs will eventually be lost anyway, and not to worry, because we will create a flood of high-tech and high-value service jobs for our new economy….”

The first part was correct, in Ohio and Michigan about 400,000 manufacturing jobs have been lost since 1995, some to NAFTA, many to China and some in the normal course of business.

But the high-tech and high value service jobs did not arrive, or at least did not arrive in the same geographical area where the manufacturing jobs were lost. The tech bubble and stock bubble disguised this for a while, but by 2000 the problems were becoming evident.

I don’t think the Clintonistas were misleading us, I do think they made some miscalculations, especially on the speedy ascent of the Chinese. The jobs being created in the rustbelt are low-value retail and service jobs.

I can be more critical of George Bush, who is not a conservative but a crony capitalist. His Kudlow-esqe “let them eat cake” message is infuriating.

For the past 5 years I have been watching decent folks with excellent work histories file personal bankruptcy, lose pensions and health coverage and lose their homes. The full impacts of the slow motion suicide of the Big 3 and the UAW are just now taking a grip, which means more misery. The ripple effects hits even more people.

I’m a fair trader rather than a free trader, and think the Chinese should play by the rules. Being a conservative I do not want a European-style welfare state. I do not want to protect makers of buggy whips.

So what to do? Should this be happening in the richest country in the world? Do we just allow the suffering for the greater good? Should the feds sacrifice the rustbelt to enrich the coastal states?

Your ideas?