Senator Marco Rubio, who also happened to be my first choice for President in 2016, is taking some heat on the political right. In two recent speeches, both of which I watched, he outlines his vision for America in the 21st Century.
Rubio is championing what he calls, and others less charitably call a new “industrial policy.” As many Americans know, industrial policy has a long history in the United States, and it hasn’t been an exceptionally positive one.
I, for one, have consistently opposed what economists refer to as industrial policy in that I am a believer and advocate for free markets and our free enterprise system.
However, I also believe there is a role for government when it comes to supporting industries that create jobs that provide a family with upward, and sustainable economic mobility.
One of those industries is, of course, our energy industry. Or, more specifically, our oil and gas industry. Other sectors that create what I would call “head of household” jobs are in manufacturing and technology.
America’s manufacturing sector has been hollowed out by a variety of different factors, not the least of which is automation. But also due to the outsourcing of jobs to countries where wages are lower, and so corporate profits can be higher.
Let me state this clearly; I’m not against corporate profits. Higher corporate profits mean high share value, and America is a shareholder Democracy. From our public employee pensions to individual retirement accounts, America relies on rising share prices.
It wouldn’t be a Joe Armendariz commentary if I didn’t also point out the problem with excessive government regulations and confiscatory taxes. Over the past 25 years, we’ve seen a rise in both.
However, the Trump Administration has worked hard to reduce regulations on small, medium, and large businesses to help remove this as an impediment to America’s competitiveness. This is starting to make it more attractive, i.e., more profitable, to produce a variety of goods domestically, rather than overseas.
Still, I don’t think there’s anything inherently wrong with suggesting to America’s CEOs they need to consider the wisdom of focusing solely on profits.
A business or corporate strategy that only values higher-profits ignores the value of a sustainable workforce and the economic health of the local community that depends on them.
There is tremendous social value in having a middle-class society where males, for example, with no college degree, can find jobs that can support a family. If we lack enough of these heads of household jobs, we will have fewer males getting married and starting families.
And I believe the following to be a self-evident truth. If we have fewer men getting married, we will have less family development. And family development, make no mistake about it, is a definite good for society. There should be no debate about this.
And here’s a known, but wholly ignored fact; there are more marriable males in South Santa Barbara County, then there are in North Santa Barbara County.
Senator Rubio’s “21st-century industrial policy” is essentially a call for refocusing our nation’s economic policy priorities. And these new policy priorities should support our domestic industries with the potential to create value-added, head-of-household jobs. The type of jobs that allow non-college-educated men to enjoy upward mobility.
Because ultimately, and perhaps most importantly, a growing population of “marriable” males, due to their upward economic mobility, is in the best interest of our entire society.