Transcript of “The Disposable American: Layoffs and Their Consequences”

The following is a transcript of Nayan Chanda's interview with Louis Uchitelle, economics writer for “The New York Times” and also the author of “The Disposable American: Layoffs and Their Consequences,” conducted on May 11, 2006. – YaleGlobal

Transcript of “The Disposable American: Layoffs and Their Consequences”

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Nayan Chanda: We are pleased to have in our studio Louis Uchitelle, economics writer of the New York Times. He has just published a book, “The Disposable American,” and this book is going to be the main subject of our conversation this morning. Louis Uchitelle, welcome.

Louis Uchitelle: Thank you very much for inviting me.

Chanda: First of all, the subject of your book is, of course, of great topical importance, given the state of America –

Uchitelle: Layoffs and their consequences –

Chanda: But if you will tell us a little bit – how did you come up with the idea of writing this book?

Uchitelle: Well, I’ve been covering economics for the Times since the late 1980s and almost every other story in one form or another had to do with this process of layoffs. And I sort of tracked it. We resisted them quite a bit in the early 1980s – late 70s, early 80s – and that resistance gradually evaporated.

Chanda: When you say resisted, who resisted?

Uchitelle: We as a people.

Chanda: I see.

Uchitelle: People would protest the layoffs. When it spread to white collar workers, for example to the Harvard class of ’58, when they realized that some of their own people were laid off in the early 1990s there was great shock. There was great effort to try and help them get back into their jobs. When the steel mills shut down, there was an effort on the part of a community – Campbell Works near Youngstown, Ohio – for the community to take it over, put it back on its feet. President Carter came in at that time with a loan guarantee to help modernize the mill so that it could be globally competitive. That reaction – that desire to save industry and jobs gradually dissipated, which is what I mean by acquiescence. And we got to the point where you laid off 5,000 workers which was headlines across the country in the late 1970’s and it barely gets into the paper now. And we’ve come to accept it. We forgot the resistance, we forgot the context, we lost sight of the fact that there are alternatives – if not to all the layoffs then to a lot of them.

Chanda: Before you go into the question of layoffs, let’s first of all hear, what are the conditions in the 1970s or 1960s that allowed American workers the kind of job security that they don’t have anymore?

Uchitelle: Well the job security in America, which was a very unique American thing, was quite practical. It started in the late 1800s, with the rise of giant corporations, the first of the industrial revolution, what later became multinationals, Proctor and Gamble, Dupont, Eastman Kodak, the giant railroads - Alfred Chandler at Harvard is a wonderful historian. Managers realized that job security was important. These were complex organizations, they needed experienced people to run them and so they put into place policies – the managers themselves – that preserved the jobs. Part of it was also union agitation. William Proctor came up with a very innovative pension plan in 1888, which happened to be a year after the Haymarket Riots in Chicago, so he was worried about unrest. But he was worried about losing workers, he needed skilled people. This went on right up until the 1930s - they called it “Welfare Capitalism.” In the 1930s, of course, it began to dissipate, but we stepped in, of course, during that huge depression, with labor laws that strengthened it. And after the war, there was the memory of the depression and job loss and the importance of job security. Even Peter Drucker recognized it in one of his best management books. Everyone was in favor of job security.

Uchitelle: And it enabled not only productivity, but companies doing well.

Uchitelle: They did well and productivity rose.

Chanda: They needed secure workers.

Uchitelle: And of course we had hegemony.

Chanda: Right.

Uchitelle: No one was competing against us. Well along came, of course, global competition in the form of autos from Japan and hand tools, which I illustrate in the chapter about the Stanley Works from Asia, and all sorts of products. We lost our monopoly, if you will, and we were caught at a moment when we weren’t so efficient in manufacturing. And there was a need to cut labor costs and to do a number of things. But what started out as a legitimate response to global competition went, in my opinion, or in my reporting, in all my reporting – and this is what drove me to write this book – beyond what you could justify with global competition. Or even good sense.

Chanda: So you are writing in your book that the corporations basically look at mass layoffs as the only cost-cutting measure they could adopt in order to adjust to the competition. Now how did they get away with doing this?

Uchitelle: Well it’s very interesting. It’s not just mass layoff, it’s all sorts of layoffs. Part of this, of course, was, they were going through a period when unions were in decline. The unions were strongest in the companies most exposed to global competition, and there was an undercurrent of resistance to unions that developed in the 1980s, part of it brought on by the unions themselves. And we got into the idea, which was a myth, that look, we’re not efficient, but if you’ll just bear with us folks and bear the pain of losing your job in a few years we’ll become efficient and the layoffs will stop and we’ll reach a new equilibrium. I think what developed was that labor cost-cutting in the form of layoffs became the route of least resistance and a form of capitalizing on profits – on profitability and the stock market, which became the single measure, rather than in the past when CEOs had the shareholders to worry about, but also the workers and the community and the suppliers and the customers and society as a whole.

Chanda: So this was a kind of paradigm shift.

Uchitelle: It was a paradigm shift, yes.

Chanda: In terms of the company shareholders and directors caring not about workers, but caring only about the quarterly bottom line.

Uchitelle: Yes.

Chanda: And so, how did this happen? This is the kind of mystery.

Uchitelle: It’s still a mystery to me, as much as I’ve explained it. But the paradigm shift included going from a society in which we thought of ourselves as a community if you will, everyone in it for everyone else, to this individualism which has always been a strain in American society, which got out of hand. I think that it became very convenient to blame workers for their own layoffs. We got to the point where we said, “Look, we have to lay you off because you’re not worth what we’re paying you.” A tremendous psychologically damaging blow to people. And then we said the solution is training and education and you’ll qualify for the good jobs out there. There weren’t enough good jobs out there so you’re blamed again for not enough training, not moving around, not being flexible enough. Very convenient for the Republicans and the Democrats – they didn’t have to come up with policies that might challenge the layoffs, and challenge what was going on. Very convenient of course for the CEOs. They were absolved of responsibility.

But we did not measure the social damage. We used to measure in this country all sorts of social damage. And we didn’t measure, for example, the psychological damage from being told that you don’t have value. I was amazed doing this book, you know a journalist goes out and interviews somebody for a daily story, or for a story that’s done after a month’s research, and you don’t get deeply into the lives of these people until you do a book, and then you really become involved tracking families. And I only used in the book some of the people that I got to know over the years. I never thought I would be so drawn into the psychiatric aspects of layoff. I’m not talking unemployment, unemployment is a separate issue.

Chanda: Right.

Uchitelle: Just this traumatic statement that you don’t have a place in society, in the workplace. In a society where people’s identity is very much wrapped up in the workplace among other forms of identity – family, community, so forth. The workplace is very important. So here you’re doing this damage, and I went to psychiatry, they said “Yes, we run across it all the time in therapy, and we are undermining public health.” In fact I’m going to make this point to a psychiatric convention in less than a month, and we’re not putting a warning label on it. There’s something wrong. Well, we have to measure that. If we’re not going to measure that, then we’re not going to put some sort of brakes on layoffs. Again, I do not want to say that we can stop the layoffs, but I do think that if we measured the damage we would begin to say, “Well, is there a way to lay off five people instead of ten. Are there ways to make people feel better if we lay them off? Are there social ways to deal with this problem?”

Chanda: One of the things that I found most interesting in your book is the fact that Democrats, starting with Jimmy Carter, seem to have crafted policies which have legitimized the layoffs that had begun in large scale. How did this happen? Why did the Carter administration go along with this?

Uchitelle: Well the Carter administration got into deregulation, which was becoming quite a public pressure at the time. That was one thing. The deregulation of the airlines – there was at one point, 13 percent of the workforce worked in regulated industries and regulation meant job protection. That’s not to say regulation is good or shouldn’t be altered, but a protection was removed. Carter also became more concerned with inflation than he did with full employment if you will. And he became concerned that the US had to be the buyer of last resort for the rest of the world. It entered into his decision not to go through with this loan guarantee to upgrade the technology at the Campbell Works.

Chanda: Right.

Uchitelle: While European governments were helping their steel industry rebuild, Carter felt it was important to purchase European steel. And so we – it wasn’t so much that the Japanese invaded our markets, but to some extent we invited them in. And I can’t criticize that necessarily, that was the nature of globalization. What I do criticize is that we then turned around and in the name of globalization we got into layoffs, saying “We need this to compete globally.” When in fact, so far as I can tell from all my research, layoffs and outsourcing are 90, or 80, or 70, or 60 percent a domestic affair. There aren’t that many jobs yet – they’re rising – that have gone offshore.

Chanda: We’ll come to that, but let me read this point. You mention, on page 14, that “by the late 1980’s, that the made in America sentiment had dissipated, Americans had become focused on quality and price and uninterested in origin.”

Uchitelle: Yes.

Chanda: “That the product was made abroad ceased to be a negative.” Now is it realistic to think that consumers, in peacetime, would pay more attention to a patriotic concern of “made in America,” than about quality and price?

Uchitelle: Well I was just trying to make the point that one of the resistances to layoffs was this idea that “made in America” was important. It was part of our national wealth if you will. It wasn’t a peace or war issue and it wasn’t logical, but it was an issue of “support our workers.” So I bought a Ford Taurus once. It was the last American car I bought and it was so bad that I since purchased a Nissan, but there was this label right in the front window saying “made in America by American labor.”

Chanda: Right.

Uchitelle: And Wal-Mart made a big, big advertising campaign out of how they purchased only American goods until CBS or one of the networks came along and just went shopping in the store and found that most of it was made abroad. But Wal-Mart doesn’t even think about a thing like that anymore. So on the margin, chipping away, jobs were lost. I’m not going to say they were lost for a bad reason, but there was that resistance, that sense of “certain things should stay home.” Dissipated.

Chanda: Another factor you mentioned among many things that have allowed these layoffs to continue is, on page 135, you quoted business historian Peter Capelli saying “there had always been the issue of balancing corporate profitability with protections for employees and communities. The shareholder-value movement altered the balance.”

Uchitelle: Yes.

Chanda: Now how do you make shareholders care more about employees and community than about their portfolio of value?

Uchitelle: You can’t get shareholders to do that, but out of the depression and out of the rise of job security before the depression came this sense of, we didn’t want to go through those sorts of traumas again, came a constituency for job security, and came a constituency for community protection. The corporate culture – it was a culture – and I illustrated it with the Stanley Works, there were three generations of chief executives. They thought that way. They would have loved to have beaten down labor, but it wasn’t socially acceptable, unions had enough power to push back, so the issues were never over layoffs, they were over furloughs or seniority, who might be sent home for six weeks until business picked up again.

And that was a culture, and somehow, starting with Carter, the importance of capital, the decline of unions, the rise of options and of financial instruments, the use of stocks and bonuses to pay chief executives, and the attachment of CEO pay to performance, which was never as emphasized in the past as it is today, we shifted to a shareholder-oriented society. Kidding ourselves – we used to talk about this all the time, we stopped doing it – “We’re all shareholders so if we’re not getting a salary, well, we can live off our dividends.” Nobody says that anymore, but that was actually a thought at one time. It really went strongly when it was blue-collar workers because we all could say, “Well, they’re not worth what we’re paying them.” Then it shifted to white-collar workers like ourselves and we didn’t want to say that anymore and there was a backlash in the 1990s. And so, there was a political moment when [US President] Bill Clinton, running for a second term could have pushed back, and he said in effect, “I don’t want class warfare.” That was a phrase that one of his people used, if not himself – the opposing class being the CEOs. So he took a position that he would generate enough jobs, people could get laid-off and they would get reeducated and retrained and segue into jobs that paid as well as the ones they lost. Well, that didn’t happen. But when he took that position, maybe the last barrier to layoffs came down.

Chanda: You say that when NAFTA was signed, there was a promise that over 10, 20 years, there would be a net gain of 200,000 jobs. But after 10 years up to three quarters of a million jobs had been lost. Now can you actually clearly link this job loss to NAFTA?

Uchitelle: I can’t, and of course that’s a huge debate. The standard is that we went from a surplus in our trade at the time of NAFTA to a deficit. And there’s been several books written about it, the AFL-CIO and various think tanks in Washington have argued what the number is. But I think everyone agrees that jobs have been lost. Perhaps not as many as some quarters would suggest, but that there has been a job loss. The original idea, that we would generate jobs by shipping capital goods to Mexico for the use in producing consumer goods didn’t quite work out that way.

Chanda: In fact, jobs later moved from Mexico to China.

Uchitelle: Yes, jobs moved from Mexico to China. This was just the beginning. So in the end, it was NAFTA that shifted jobs overseas. But I would argue still with NAFTA – NAFTA became a turning point for Mr. Clinton – I would say during his first term he took a few steps to try and stem the layoffs. For example, he declared illegal the use of permanent replacements for strikers. He tried to make unemployment insurance premiums higher for corporations.

Chanda: But the Congress didn’t pass those bills.

Uchitelle: Nothing. And when 1996 came along and Pat Buchanan did well in the New Hampshire primary and there was this backlash and “The New York Times” was writing a downsizing series of which I was part, and Allan Sloan in “Newsweek” was writing about corporate killers, his response was to soothe everyone, to say we’ll do it with job creation. That was, sort of, we will live with layoffs from now on. And we didn’t properly measure the layoffs. Even now we don’t measure the extent of them. He himself argued that they’re not as bad as you journalists are saying they are. Only now are the statistics beginning to catch up and even then they don’t catch the hidden layoffs, the forced retirements.

Chanda: You give a number from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 30 million manufacturing jobs lost?

Uchitelle: No, just jobs.

Chanda: I see.

Uchitelle: But I did that after many conversations with Tom Odone , who’s in charge of all that data, and I’ve known people – that’s a wonderful agency – for a long time. That 30 million figure is mine. What you can deduct from the worker displacement, the biannual worker displacement survey, in which people were asked whether they lost their job because it was abolished, for very restrictive reasons. Ah, you can come up with the statistic, this is an unpublished statistic, of 100 million full-time workers, about 4 percent are laid off annually, according to that survey. Then, and this is my estimate, if you added in all the people – I mean layoffs have shifted off into a more indirect form – who accept a retirement package, knowing if they didn’t that they’d have a problem. Or quit, because they don’t want to take a cut in pay. Or take a buy-out, thinking if they don’t, they might be forced out of the company without one. All these hidden forms of layoffs, you come up with about 7 percent roughly of all full-time workers, never mind part-time.

Chanda: Annually?

Uchitelle: Annually!

Chanda: I see.

Uchitelle: And that’s a lot. If we had that sort of data, people might get alarmed. Because and I didn’t think of this when I was writing the book but I think that the main solution, quote, unquote, of the author is to inform people of what has gone on in the late [20th] century and when they get a sense of what has gone wrong, what happened, maybe a discussion will start and maybe people say do we really have to do all of this? And that in the end has to be the solution.

Chanda: Yes, and I have a question. In your whole book, I don’t find one mention of the word, “globalization” once. And yet it seems to me that the book illustrates one of the impacts of globalization on the American economy. The examples you give of companies downsizing, they’re all doing because they’re facing competition from abroad. So if you were going to apportion the responsibility for America’s layoffs, what percentage would you put to the global trading challenge as opposed to corporate policies, government policies?

Uchitelle: Maybe you and I would disagree on this, but I would put less of an emphasis on globalization than I would on corporate polices. They both, of course, play a role. I’m not even going to begin to suggest that we should keep the shoe industry or the textile industry in America or other labor-intensive industries. But there are cases, where on the margin – and the margin is where the solution is – where we’ve gone too far. The Stanley Works, for example, makes tape measures…

Chanda: Now Stanley Works is a company that produced tools, hand tools.

Uchitelle: Hand tools. Yes, So Stanley Works is based in Connecticut and produces hand tools. One of the most famous is a tape measure that spools out of a cassette that hooks onto your belt. They once made all the domestic supply in the US. They made an effort – and I was just talking to the CEO the other day – to automate their main plant in New Britain and they did automate. But they automated badly and they should have gone back at it again. And they still keep a certain amount of production here. But they put a plant in Thailand, where they originally intended to make these tape measures for the foreign market. They then decided, the third CEO who came in, said the heck with that, we’ll make them and ship them back to the US. And that will put a lot of pressure on our plants in America. I would question whether that was necessary or whether a lot of that tape-measure production could have been kept here, with automation. That’s not the same thing as keeping the workers because the automation might have cost the jobs anyway, but there would have been the production here, the spin-off industries, and the sense that we’re trying to keep people here.

So that, with other policies of helping people, might at least have taken some of the stigma out of layoffs. I have another example of the United Airlines maintenance center in Indianapolis. It was a brilliantly executed maintenance center, probably one of the finest in the world for narrow-bodied jets, that is the 737s, the A-319s and so forth. And it was built in the early 90s and for a while until a labor dispute erupted, before 2001, the FAA requires that these jets be stripped-down, dismantled, and rebuilt every five years – they were doing that in 10 days, 11 days instead of 20 days and then that extra revenue from the extra time in the air paid the relatively high wages of the mechanics and of the operation of the center. It was so efficient that Luftansa was thinking about bringing globalization here, its planes here. It was a winner in the global battlefield. Well, this labor dispute developed. All sides were at fault as far as I could see and 9/11 just complicated the matter. There was a slowdown, United dealt with it by outsourcing. This was before 9/11. And they continued to outsource and it eventually shut down that center.

Chanda: Outsource to some other place in the United States.

Uchitelle: In the United States. Someday that outsourcing might go overseas but so far it’s in the South in the United States. Well, 20 or 30 years ago - and they didn’t even own the center, the Indianapolis government did – 20 or 30 years ago outsourcing didn’t exist. The company would have been forced to make some agreement with labor, and layoffs would have been socially unacceptable for an airline or more so than they are today. So there would have been an agreement of some sort. Labor, in fact, was trying, after being cantankerous and difficult, seeing what was happening, the unions were giving in, right and left. The company said “the heck with it. We’re just not going to expose ourselves to this sort of trouble again.” I’m oversimplifying the story but when I asked them about it they said “Sure the efficiency pays off, but so does really cheap labor down South.” So the irony was that some of these mechanics that got laid off in Indianapolis earning $30 an hour went to work at some of the outsources for $17 an hour.

Chanda: And there is no labor union there, in the South?

Uchitelle: There even are some labor unions. The labor unions put up with that.

Chanda: I see.

Uchitelle: Labor unions are no longer a barrier to $17 an hour. That center is virtually not operating; some of the bays are rented out. So you’ve lost this jewel, there’s a lot of mechanics – one of them I tracked for a while ended up running a water taxi for tourists.

Chanda: And someone was driving trucks.

Uchitelle: Driving trucks. All this wonderful talent and skill lost, wasted. Not to mention the psychological damage. So in that sense it’s not globalization. It is globalization but it’s not globalization. It’s a policy thing. If you want to talk globalization, we could have won that battle. I can’t give you a silver-bullet, overriding solution, but if you take it case by case and say, “Look folks, globalization is a factor and we are losing jobs to globalization and it does make it a lot easier to undercut unions here, but we will try as a people to limit the damage,” and that’s about all you can do in this day and age.

Chanda: In your book you have basically talked about blue-collar workers.

Uchitelle: Yes, and white-collar workers in one chapter.

Chanda: Right. White-collar jobs are now more at risk because of outsourcing, because of the electronic highway that takes jobs away. Have you looked at that aspect?

Uchitelle: Well, as a reporter, and there is a footnote in this book, so far, and I’ve been over this with a number of people who try to collect these figures and it’s very hard to find. But so far there’s probably fewer than a million jobs that have been lost to this sort of off-shoring. It’s not a big number yet. Most of the white-collar work is being lost right here in America as a means of cost-cutting.

Chanda: And automation.

Uchitelle: And automation.

Chanda: Right.

Uchitelle: And just simply, we don’t want to bear this cost. That’s partly an indirect result of the competition from abroad but in the auto industry Toyota and Honda are paying wages almost as good as what a lot of UAW workers are earning. They don’t have the legacy costs for health care, it’s not so much a wage issue in a lot of industries as it is a behavioral issue. So what I have to sort out every time globalization comes up is what is truly global competition, and what is something here? Now you go to Whirlpool, this isn’t in the book, and they say, “We have lots of factories in America, but we also make our microwaves in China because we want a global platform there and we make high-end front-loading washing machines in Germany and we’re going to make lower-end front loading washing machines in Mexico because we don’t want to concentrate too much in this country. We want a global platform.” Well, that’s fine for Whirlpool, it’s a fine, wonderful country. but there has to be some recognition of what are the national needs of a nation and what are the corporate needs. And we’ve lost that debate.

Chanda: Coming to your solutions chapter, see if you could sum up the main points – what are the solutions to this problem?

Uchitelle: Well, if I could have written this book without a solutions chapter I would have been very happy. My main solution is to make people aware of what’s happening to them. And one of the chapters I dealt with made the point that companies that engage in layoffs often don’t do as well on the stock market or in profits as companies that don’t engage in layoffs.

Chanda: So they are cutting costs in vain?

Uchitelle: In vain, yes. I mean, Harley-Davidson, for example, had this terrible situation where back in the 1980s they were saved only because Reagan put import quotas on motorcycles. They reorganized and they got back into business and then they made a deal with their unions that every time there was an issue the unions would have a chance to pass judgment on it. It was in debate, and I went out there once and did a story about them and you could sit for an hour and half and listen to the unions complain about how they’re always getting the losing end of every cost-cutting deal but the truth of the matter is that over the last decade almost no one has been laid off at that company. There have been compromises of all sorts that have been made.

So my solutions are, first of all, count the house right. And there are people like Henry Farber and others who would like to have a survey of displaced workers – Henry Farber is a Princeton University labor economist who is quite expert in this area, and others – a survey that captures the hidden layoffs. Because these are no longer the old-style, blue-collar, you know, factory type of layoffs. The forced retirement and so forth that hit so many white-collar workers. That would be very important because we would then have a better statistical sense of what’s happening to ourselves. I also think it would be a good idea if we required what amounts to environmental impact statements for companies, except in this case it would be every company every year listing all the people who depart from the company and how they departed. Quit, retired, laid off, whatever the reasons. And then, academics such as yourself would put together a database and if the average layoffs for the airline industry was 100 a month and here’s an airline with 125 you’d say, well, “why 125? How come the average in a global economy is 100? Why are you beyond the average? That would have an inhibiting effect, it certainly would be a source of debate.

Chanda: So, shaming by statistics?

Uchitelle: Yes, shamming by statistics would be a wonderful start to this debate. I also raise, and please, I don’t have a solution for this but it’s part of the debate and its been in the debate in America for a long time and there’s the question of whether the private sector by itself with the best will in the world can generate enough jobs, good jobs with decent pay to meet the demand for them, and so far that is not happening. So this issue came up in the debate over the Employment Act of 1946, when there was real concern about another depression and whether the government should become the employer of last resort – we’re not a nation that goes easily to a sort of public investment as a source of economic activity and I’m not talking Kenseyian stimulus – and then it came up again in the mid 1970s during a severe recession, the first draft for the Humphrey-Hawkins Act of 1978, Augustus Hawkins a black congressman from Watts, which had endless unemployment, wanted to write into the act and did write into the early drafts of the act making the government the employer of last resort, the source of jobs, good jobs, if and when the private sector couldn’t do it. Well, Humphrey might have picked up that idea, but he died of cancer, and Carter came in and Carter wasn’t interested. Carter was more concerned about inflation –

Chanda: But the Reagan administration did try, at one stage, to put some money into chip design.

Uchitelle: Yes, there was Cemetech.

Chanda: Yes.

Uchitelle: There were a number – I remember – this is another reason I wrote the book – one of my early stories was the Cemetech effort where companies came together to put money into chip design, but –

Chanda: It didn’t pan out.

Uchitelle: And it didn’t pan out. It worked for a while, there was federal money, it was very controversial, and that barrier to layoffs so to speak came down. Joe Bowers up at Harvard Business School was one of the big forces behind that. There were big conferences about it, you have to go back into the archives to even find out about it now. There were all these possible ways to throw sand into the job loss. That process of delaying it, that sense of a country trying to preserve things I think is a healthy thing.

Chanda: You also mention one of the solutions – workers’ right to organize in other countries should be part of a trade negotiation. That has been tried, as you know, Clinton actually raised that during the Seattle meeting and it got a huge thumbs down from other countries. Now is it realistic that countries – that are just coming out, becoming independent, developing countries – to have the same labor standard as the developed countries?

Uchitelle: I don’t think so, but what frightens me is that the developed countries – this country at least – has lowered its labor standard, rather than trying to push at the labor standards of other countries. Clinton did not, except for the Jordanian Trade Agreement, did not write into his agreements labor standards or environmental standards. So in a sense we aren’t engaged in free trade if you think of lower standards as a form of barrier. Or Intel’s president at one point, and I think I quote him in my book, “Layoffs and Their Consequences, The Disposable American,” said, “Why should I put a factory in America when I can go to some other country” – I think he was thinking of Ireland – “and save a billion dollars on taxes?” Well, why should he?

So there should be trade agreements that in one form or another neutralize taxes. Otherwise it’s not free trade. The tax breaks become a form of tariff if you will. So these are all issues that should be back on the table, all the time. And if they were we might be no better off than we are today but I think spiritually we would go from a sense of not even trying to preserve people, of throwing people away and telling them it’s their own fault, which is the biggest point I have to make in this book, to saying “No, you’re valuable. We don’t know if we can actually save your job, but we’re going to try.”

Chanda: So making people aware of the problem is the first step – which you have taken – and thank you very much for your book and for coming to our studio. Thank you.

Uchitelle: Thank you for asking me and thank you for your questions.

Chanda: Thank you.

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