J.D. Vance, author of the best-selling book Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis, wrote on Twitter:
This is true. It’s not “illegals” or “China” stealing your job. While manufacturing jobs in the U.S. declined by millions over the past thirty years, manufacturing output has steadily increased
. We’re producing more now than ever. Efficiency is what’s taking jobs. This is too difficult a truth for right-wing populists to grasp or accept. It’s easier to blame brown people. There will always be a racist demagogue, like Donald Trump, who, to win votes, blames foreigners or lazy, non-whites for unemployment and low wages. The truth, greater efficiency is eliminating jobs, doesn’t sell nearly as well. West Virginia voters this past election, wanting their coal jobs back, overwhelmingly voted for the demagogue who lied to them and said he could bring them back.
But we shouldn’t inhibit automation either. Greater economic efficiency can be a good thing for all if managed properly. As corporations increase their use of automation, eliminating millions of jobs and skyrocketing their profits, that’s great. That’s progress. But the conservative Republican view would be to allow this great wealth to accumulate into few hands because “freedom,” while unemployment rises and the vast majority of Americans are worse off.
First, we need a better-educated society to ward off the threat of right-wing nationalism. Second, we need to embrace and encourage automation, not fight it, but impose high taxation on those profit margins and invest that revenue into education and a guaranteed minimum income for citizens. That’s the future. Not the future conservatives are fighting for, to produce more billionaires and more hungry kids, but an efficient economy which serves all of the people.