Eagle Forum Legislative Alerts

Friday, April 25, 2014

Time for a Republican Rebranding

A hundred years ago, the great automobile manufacturer Henry Ford doubled his workers’ pay to an unheard of $5 a day. He believed that the average worker’s wage should be able to support his wife and children. This expensive decision demonstrated that the interests of labor and capital could work together, that the living standards of the average worker could rise, and that high wages and affordable goods were within reach of the average worker. By the end of World War II, Ford’s idea of the “American Standard” was broadly accepted. It was a major factor in creating the American economy of the 20th Century, with shared prosperity, an expanding Middle Class, and healthy corporate profits. Productivity rose, and the average pay of production workers and non-supervisors rose 100%. The share of national income earned by the top 1% was then between 9 and 13%.

It’s been a very different story in recent years. Corporations have rejected the Henry Ford view in favor of maximizing profits and stock value. Executive compensation has gone through the roof, while the corporations use legal and illegal immigration to provide a steady stream of cheap labor. Between 1979 and 2009, productivity rose 80% and corporate profits doubled, but compensation for average workers only rose a measly 8%. The top 1% now earn almost a quarter of national income.

This is not a call to class warfare, but there is something un-American about exporting millions of good U.S. jobs to Asia. We don’t need to stick corporations with higher taxes or more regulations, but corporations should be held accountable to fulfill their responsibility to the American economy by creating high-paying and secure jobs here at home, rather than sending U.S. manufacturing jobs overseas to Communist China. The Republican Party could use a rebranding. The GOP is needed to represent Middle America.

Listen to the radio commentary here:

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