Monday, February 19 , 2018, 2:28 am | Fair 48º


Randy Alcorn: The New Normal Puts America in an Unfamiliar Place

Reversal of salaries, affluence is the least of our worries today

The voters have spoken — or more accurately they have vented their fears and frustrations; displayed their hair-trigger impatience; and again shifted their tenuous allegiance to the political party that had been out of power. Like flotsam caught in an eddy, the desperately hopeful electorate sloshes back and forth between Democrats and Republicans.

Randy Alcorn
Randy Alcorn

The voters’ main concern is the economy, more specifically how to keep their jobs, their incomes and their homes, not to mention their relatively affluent lifestyles. As this Great Recession lugubriously lingers on there is an underlying apprehension among Americans that some ominous, systemic change is happening and that things may never return to normal. Since World War II, normal has meant increasing affluence for most Americans, but corporate greed, globalization and goofy government policies may have disrupted that.

Investment guru Bill Gross has described the current economic conditions as the “new normal” — a time of sluggish economic growth, increasing regulation and lower returns on both stocks and bonds. These conditions will persist for some troubling distance into the future, and given the ginormous national debt of $13 trillion-plus, that distance will be measured in years, if not decades.

Reacting to his trouncing at the polls, a contrite President Barack Obama, the scapegoat for the new normal, shuffled off to Asia to pitch American exports. It is hard not be cynical about such efforts resuscitating America’s once inviolable economic engine.

Globalization has not only eviscerated the United States’ manufacturing base, thus eliminating tens of thousands of high-paying jobs, it has increased our trade imbalance to staggering levels. It seems that America’s greatest export now is jobs, prompting one Indian business leader to comment that the United States had better find a way to reinvent its economy because more and more jobs, including those requiring highly educated workers, are being done in Asia where labor costs are a fraction of what they are here. One irony is that most of those Asians got their educations at American universities where academia’s own brand of greed welcomes foreign students and the astronomic tuitions they pay.

Labor is like most commodities: the greater the supply the less the cost. Globalization opened up vast new supplies of labor to salivating American corporations all too eager to relocate operations overseas where they can pay slave wages, no employee benefits, and be free of insatiable labor unions and troublesome government regulations. Even those corporations remaining in the United States can benefit from cheap foreign labor by importing it, either legally by convincing government to issue more H1B visas, or illegally by hiring illegal aliens.

The economic paradox that threatens America’s return to normal is population. The argument that a robust economy requires an increasing population is not only fallacious; it can actually be antithetically fallacious. By decreasing the cost of labor and increasing the numbers of under and unemployed, over-population can weaken an economy rather than improve it. What good is a growing market if there is little disposable income?

The latest employment statistics show job creation up but total unemployment remaining unchanged. One big reason for this seeming contradiction is that the rate of job creation must be sufficient not only to recover Great Recession job loses but also to provide jobs for the nation’s new job seekers. America’s population is increasing faster than that of any developed nation on earth; in fact it rivals some Third-World rates. And, even an advanced college degree no longer ensures a well-paying job for Americans — India and China have growing numbers of college educated workers.

For America, the new normal may well mean the end of escalating pay and rising affluence. Rather than fumble about trying to create jobs, government would be more effective attacking the other side of the equation — reducing labor supply by curtailing immigration, the main cause of America’s Third-World rate of population growth. End the importation of cheap labor, end birth-right citizenship, and in the process end the unsustainable rate of population increase. We cannot compete with Third-World labor rates or create enough jobs to accommodate a Third-World rate of population growth.

— Santa Barbara political observer Randy Alcorn can be contacted at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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