Vice President Joe Biden gave me a good laugh on his recent trip to Georgia. If it wasn’t so unfunny, I’d have enjoyed the chuckle that much more.
While speaking at Dawsonville, Biden stated that there is no reason the United States cannot once again become the world’s leader in manufacturing. Sorry, Joe, there are quite a few, four that come to my mind immediately, all of which are primarily perpetuated by Biden’s Democratic Party.
First, our corporate tax rates are not business-friendly. Democrats consistently take the political position that soaking businesses with taxes keeps the common man from having to pay too much. In reality, businesses pass along taxes to consumers in higher prices or take their operations where tax rates are lower. Overtaxing business only inflates prices and takes away jobs.
Second, as long as labor unions decide how much workers get paid and how much work is done for said pay, manufacturing will never again prosper here. Once upon a time, before minimum-wage laws, OSHA and a host of regulations were put in place to protect Americans in the workplace, unions were a vital part of our nation’s progress. Now they have outlived their usefulness. I know of union workers who brag about collecting paychecks while doing little to no work, and because of seniority, they can’t be fired. Remove collective bargaining and payroll-deduction dues collection from union rights and remove regulations that union labor must be used for any reason, and we’ll see one obstacle removed to the return of large-scale manufacturing. Of course, Biden’s party has always counted on union support, so there’s no chance the current administration could favor such a progressive move.
Third, government intervention into business has produced a less-competitive America and brought a lot of mediocrity to our service industries. Yes, equal opportunity is a good idea. But by forcing firms to hire and promote on the basis of race and gender quotas, we have reduced efficiency and confidence in business, not to mention the added expenses of record-keeping and legal defenses.
Let’s admit this was a good experiment that failed. If I were starting a large business, I wouldn’t be comfortable unless I could hand-pick who I wanted in all the key positions, and you can bet that any entrepreneur with any business sense feels the same way. Remove all government employment restrictions and business will go on the upswing. Let individual talents and the marketplace determine who gets hired or promoted. Biden’s party caters to a lot of those who would find themselves on the outside looking in if such reforms were instituted, so don’t look for this to happen, either.
Fourth (and most importantly), our legal system is the single greatest deterrent to our own progress. Lawyers line up outside manufacturers’ facilities eager to sue when someone gets a hangnail from a product. Tort reform, starting with “loser pays” legislation with fines and suspensions of law firms that file frivolous lawsuits, is a must for manufacturing to return in force in America. This would also lower the cost of health care and virtually everything else the legal system sucks out of our economy. But trial lawyers are supporters of Biden’s party, so we’d have to sweep the federal payrolls clean before we could ever get such reforms in place.
The irony is that our vice president is either so naïve he doesn’t understand why manufacturing has more or less disappeared from the American landscape, or he chooses to feed us a rhetorical line of political baloney he knows to be untrue.
It would be hilarious if it wasn’t tragic.
Lee Clevenger is president of the Southeastern Writers Association, a former newspaper reporter and sports columnist, and co-owner of a book publishing business.
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