I run into many people who live apart from their family and where they grew up. Lot’s of people face the challenges of caring for their aging parents while living in another place. Young parents don’t have family nearby to help them with childrearing. I remember when I was young that my Aunts and Uncles would babysit my sister and I while my parents were away at social functions.
Most people move away from where they grew up to pursue job opportunities. Sometimes this means moving to another state or country. The heavy industrial jobs that were once so plentiful in America have moved offshore. The steel mills and machine shops in the Pittsburgh area are long gone. These were high-paying jobs that formed the backbone of the middle class in America. These have been replaced by lower-paying full and part-time service positions.
What drives the shift of work overseas? In many cases it’s the pursuit of lower cost labor by corporations. Yes, some would argue that it is the pursuit of new markets, i.e. manufacturing the goods closer to the end users. However, when you look at the amount of goods that are shipped back to the USA from Asia, you realize that the North American market is still one of the largest markets in the world.
The migration of work overseas has created unprecedented pressure on American families. No longer can a family survive on a single “bread winner.” Now both parents must work in order to make ends meet. When the heavy industrial jobs moved out of the USA, their was a depression in real wages as people were forced to find work in service industries. In pursuit of higher paying jobs in the USA, people were forced to accept relocation as a means of survival.
The big winners are the corporations. U.S. government policy has enabled corporations to shift work offshore with little concern for the American worker. Wages are just one of the factors. Fringe benefits, once a key component of compensations packages, have been diminished by the move to part-time work. Companies that employ workers for less than 40 hours per week are permitted offer little or no fringe benefits under US law.
It’s time to bring the jobs back home to the USA. American workers are among the most productive workers in the world. It’s time for corporations and our elected officials to recognize that fact and to bring the work back to America.