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President-elect Donald Trump campaigned on a platform of bringing manufacturing jobs back to the US. And during the weeks since his election, Trump has tried to deliver on this promise.
But Republican Sen. Ben Sasse, a rising GOP star and prominent critic of Trump along the campaign trail, thinks the deals may miss the point entirely.
Sasse sent out a series of tweets Thursday that poured cold water on the supposed manufacturing victories for Trump.
"Morning news pretends there's a simple political solution to the declining [number] of manufacturing jobs," Sasse tweeted. "It's not true. We should tell the truth."
Sasse noted, as have others like Nobel-winning economist and New York Times Paul Krugman, that trying to keep jobs from going overseas is a temporary fix given the trend toward automation in the industrial sector.
"Automation — even more than trade — will continue to shrink the number of manufacturing jobs. This trend is irreversible," Sasse said.
Sasse added that manufacturing employment has been declining for some time and output is still on the rise, which means that firms are becoming more productive — and employment needs to shift elsewhere.
As an example, the GOP lawmaker cited the percentage of Americans that are farmers, which has decreased from 90% of the population in 1790 to just 3% in 1980. This sort of shift will come to manufacturing, he said.
Sasse continued that "politicians are not good at telling the truth," but they should be honest with the American about the changing dynamics of the job market. Essentially, people shouldn't expect to have the same factory job as the previous generation and different training is needed.
Here's the full tweetstorm:
Morning news pretends there's a simple political solution to the declining # of manufacturing jobs.
It's not true.
We should tell the truth
Automation–even more than trade–will continue to shrink the number of manufacturing jobs. This trend is irreversible. https://t.co/HASJOIK4x3
Politicians are not good at telling the truth.
We should tell the truth, even when it is unpopular – for example, about coming job changes. https://t.co/aNzzrLfbeD
We should be honest that there will be more, not less, job change in the future.
We should be encouraging prep for disruption & retraining. https://t.co/36kOczakAn
US economy is adding approximately 2 million jobs per year.
It's not nearly enough. https://t.co/fMubAn8knS
In thinking about manufacturing job change, consider history of ag:
1790: 90% of workers were farmers
1980s: 3% https://t.co/fMubAn8knS
US manufacturing output continues to be strong. But it's with fewer people (as in agriculture).
= We’re more productive. https://t.co/PE6ZBPW3LU
1. I don't believe in this-worldly utopia
2. Before we make policy, we should start with…Reality
3. Manufacturing #s will decline https://t.co/hjglaem6JJ
Let me get this straight:
Your proposal is politicians should dishonestly promise false stuff instead? 30% o jobs will be in manufacturing? https://t.co/w9hbki2uMu
We cld make lots of progress if we started by agreeing on problems.
Diving to the partisan "one answer" before problematizing rarely works. https://t.co/uZGZt4hPGJ