Thursday, Jan. 16, 2014 | 2:01 a.m.
Shouting “Buy American” isn’t enough. Consumers struggling with necessities can’t afford idealism, they choose price when purchasing comparable goods (even if they feel bad doing it).
Can we legislate the return of American industry? Sure, we can tax multinational corporations to offset slave wages and absent environmental and safety regulation. We can violate trade agreements and cut imports. Or we could try something else.
But what about exorbitant executive pay?
Labor productivity steadily rose while wages stagnated, but top executive pay has approached 400 times the wages of the worker.
Which is better, one mansion or 400 family homes, one limousine or 400 family cars, one yacht or 400 recreational vehicles? An obscene wealth concentration is the antithesis of a dynamic economy.
Reopen shuttered factories, make craftsmen shareholders, lend them capital for materials, they don’t need private investors or executives — consumers will buy quality competitive products (without expensive promotion). If we can use public finance to save select industries, we can use it to save American labor.
Put America back to work, restore living wages and benefits, and uphold our free trade agreements. Real competition will make bloated corporations change.
Similarly, we can improve our public sector by transferring resources from layers of overpaid administration to increasing service providers.