For many years, a public service commercial was run in this country that said, "If you want to get a good job, you have to get a good education."
During that time our nation was emphasizing the importance of a high school diploma. Education is the super glue of the super structure that we refer to when we say the "American Dream." We need more people with two-year and four-year degrees. We need more people with master's and Ph.D. degrees.
Today, I am addressing a threat that is being presented to Americans of all educational levels — even Ph.D.s and medical doctors.
Our nation is being attacked by a dream thief that goes by the name of globalization. It has manifested itself through outsourcing. This is a process that has been under way for quite some time. Unfortunately the people who were able to oppose it were the people that tended to do the least to fight it. Many of them felt smug and insulated from the ravages of outsourcing. They thought that their level of education would protect their income and, therefore, their standard of living.
Martin Luther King Jr. said, "That injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." How naive is a man who thinks his rights are not connected to the rights of others? If the rights of the weak have been abridged, the rights of the strong will surely follow.
Many years ago I picked up the expression that "The life that you save may be your own."
I have been following outsourcing for quite some time, but the final straw for me came when I began to call for airline ticket prices. I noticed that every time that I called Delta I got a person with an East Indian accent. Were there not enough people in the United States with high school diplomas for these jobs?
Less than a week after this happened, I was talking about this to a friend of mine from the medical field, and she said that she had been informed that Blue Cross has outsourced its customer service jobs to the Indian subcontinent. Once again we have a major corporation with entry-level jobs that are being denied to Americans.
Many years ago I read that Henry Ford said that he wanted his employees to make $5 a day so that there would be somebody who could afford to buy his cars.
I decided to try and sort this through with someone who had more knowledge and experience than I did. How bad was this really? I decided to speak to Bob Baugh, the national executive director of the AFL-CIO Industrial Union Council. He started off the conversation by telling me that "manufacturing is the canary in the coal mine." It turns out that we have lost 3.5 million manufacturing jobs since 1998.
In the new millennium, we have expanded our job losses into research, engineering, design and professional/technical jobs. We even have companies that are outsourcing the reading of X-rays; General Electric Co., in particular, has outsourced tens of thousands of financial service jobs. And just in case you're thinking that what we need are more major American companies with major contracts, you'd better think again.
Boeing got a new Aerospace contract to build 787 jets, and turned around and outsourced more than 70 percent of the labor that was needed to build the planes. Meanwhile, they have laid off 25,000 machinists and 25,000 engineers. They thought that these jobs should go to some very deserving people in places such as China, Japan and Italy.
This job destruction does not bode well for Black America. Just in case something in this article has disturbed you, you'll probably sleep better tonight knowing that the average CEO of a Standard and Poor's Company made $11.75 million in total compensation in 2005.
I've concluded that we need to look at homeland security in a new way. Homeland security isn't just about being safe in your home. Homeland security is also about being able to afford a new home to be safe in.
This election cycle, and every election cycle, we need to pay close attention to anything and everything that our future leaders have to say about outsourcing. If we don't, "Made in America" will be just a memory that is made in our minds.
Samuel Justiss Vance is a columnist for BlackNews.com and is the CEO of Talkinggreen.com which produces the syndicated radio segment, "A Positive Moment."