4.6.17

EMBRACING THE LUMPENPROLETARIANIZATION?

The Rust Belt, where Salena Zito documented the factories closing, and the poverty industry moving in.
The drive from Pittsburgh to Harrisburg on old US Route 22 to see Trump’s first rally took an hour longer than on the Pennsylvania Turnpike, but the trip began to tell the story of how this candidate would most definitely be the Republican nominee, and possibly the president.

Town after town was worn down by neglect. Main Street shopping districts were half boarded up, sometimes with only a Dollar General store serving as an anchor. Voters were angry with Washington, DC, disappointed in President Obama, and were tired that every time they sent DC a message with their votes, elected officials misread it.
That's been my impression of summer excursions on the blue highways as well.  (When I'm really cynical, I use the brevity of the store signs as an indicator of the local economy.  {TAN.  NAILS.  TATTOO.  CHECK CASHING.  DOLLAR + wildcard} downscale.  And there's a lot of downscale, enough, C. Bradley Thompson suggests, to put Mr Trump in the White House.
The new political spectrum is less ideological and more cultural. It is divided between the Ruling Elite and the Deplorables.

The Ruling Elite are powerful: they occupy the commanding heights of social, economic, and political power; they make decisions about what other people should think and how they should live; they control the cultural institutions; and they control access to privilege, prestige, wealth, and power. The Deplorables are powerless: they must obey the rules made by others, and they are shamed into accepting cultural institutions they despise and mostly do not understand.

The Ruling Elite are typically Ivy-educated. They have investments and disposable income and live in 5,000-square-foot homes in safe, leafy suburbs. They are high achievers who see their path to advancement through adherence to a system of perpetual virtue signaling. They have contempt for the Deplorables and their way of life, and they think that America is fundamentally racist, sexist, and homophobic.

The Deplorables, by contrast, may or may not have graduated from high school. They have debt and live paycheck to paycheck, residing in 1,000-square-foot homes or double-wides in unsafe neighborhoods. Their communities have high rates of unemployment and broken families, closed manufacturing plants or mines, unaffordable health care, and meth addiction.

In essence, the Ruling Elite is protected from the world they have created for the Deplorables. Take regulations, taxes, and jobs, for instance. The Ruling Elite designs and enforces but rarely experiences the regulations and taxes that close plants and chase jobs overseas. College professors and public-sector bureaucrats have job security for life; the Deplorables have either lost their jobs or live in a state of constant fear that they will. The only way a Ruling Elite college professor could ever know what it feels like to live with the economic anxiety experienced by the Deplorables would be if the universities were to abolish tenure.

Or take immigration. For the Ruling Elite, there is something romantic and chic about living in a multicultural world where Main Street America looks like the General Assembly of the United Nations or the Star Wars Cantina. But this fantasy world barely touches the Ruling Elite other than to provide them with cheap nannies and gardeners and trendy ethnic restaurants on the Upper East Side or in Dupont Circle. Their gated communities are far away from sanctuary cities.

The Deplorables, however, experience the immigration policies of the Ruling Elite in a very different way. They live at the crossroads of immigration, where the clash of civilizations is a daily reality. This is particularly true in America’s government schools, where children in some cities are pressured to wear the hijab, to celebrate Cinco de Mayo, or to pledge allegiance to an “international flag.” It’s the Deplorables’ kids who sit in classrooms where a quarter of their classmates do not speak English.

As if all that weren’t enough, the Ruling Elite looks down its nose at, mocks, and parodies Redneck America. The fatal conceit of the Ruling Class is that it is intellectually, morally, and socially superior to the Deplorables. It mocks them on Saturday Night Live and The View. For decades, the Ruling Elite has shut out the Deplorables, stepped on them, and kicked them around.
Douglas MacKinnon is thinking along similar lines.
The midterm elections of 2018 are coming up fast, and pragmatic Democrats are realizing that more and more working-class Americans are embracing President Trump's messages of enhanced national security, better border security, sensible health care, and placing American workers into American jobs.

And these pragmatic Democrats also are realizing that the something-for-nothing, PC-driven utopian-fantasy messages of the Nanny State are the real "fake news," and are falling upon more and more deaf ears.

More than all of that, the far-left ideologues in the Democratic Party, the media and their allies realize this truth. Which is why they are doing all in their power to try to delegitimize and destroy President Trump weeks into his presidency.
But will contemporary logistics replace the lost factories?  House Speaker Ryan, representing Janesville, hopes so.
Employees, friends and family members wandered through Dollar General's new 1-million-square-foot warehouse Saturday while awaiting the official ribbon-cutting ceremony.

The grand opening is a few months overdue, as the warehouse already has been operating since last fall.

The loudspeakers echoed off the high ceilings as the ceremony began. Among the speakers were Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, Dollar General CEO Todd Vasos and Rock County Administrator Josh Smith.

“This is fantastic. This is the work of our plan here in Rock County and the Janesville-Beloit area to bring jobs—good, family-sustaining jobs—right here,” Ryan said.
But there's a Missing Actor, and everyone recognizes that.
Can Dollar General fill the void left when General Motors stopped production in Janesville in 2008?

Mike Sturdivant of Milton, a Dollar General employee attending the event, said the new warehouse benefits all of Rock County, not just Janesville and Beloit. And while completely filling the void left by GM might be difficult, having a large employer creating jobs definitely helps.

Sturdivant didn't work for GM, but he worked for one of the companies with which it contracted.

"I felt the effects" of the Janesville plant's closure, he said.

Distribution center director Matt Lucas said it would be tough for Dollar General to make up for the loss of GM, but the company isn't looking to be just another employer. It wants to be a community member in supporting the local work force, he said.

“This isn't just another job for you. This is, hopefully, a career place for you," he told those gathered.

The warehouse isn't currently offering any part-time work, only full time, Lucas said.

“We have 400 to 500 people here now, and we've had over 7,000 applicants for those jobs,” he said, adding that the company hopes to increase its local workforce to 600 or 700 in coming years.
There are Dollar General warehouses opening elsewhere in the country.
Kent Hatter was in town Saturday to support his daughter, who moved from Pennsylvania to take a managerial position at the Janesville warehouse.

Hatter said many Pennsylvania communities that once relied on industries such as coal mining are struggling. However, distribution centers such as Dollar General's have popped up and, in many cases, helped the job market.
And Dollar General may have their sights set on Wal-Mart.
The nation's second-largest discount retail chain confirmed Wednesday it will build a $91 million distribution center in Florida, New York.

Dollar General (NYSE: DG) has acquired 103 acres from the Montgomery County Industrial Development Agency for $1.545 million. The land will be used to build a distribution hub that will employ 430 people to store and ship merchandise to 800 stores throughout the Northeast.

The 750,000-square-foot warehouse will be Dollar General's 16th distribution center. The company completed construction of a center in Janesville, Wisconsin, last year. The discount retailer also is building its 15th distribution center in Jackson, Georgia.
There appear to be agglomeration economies in logistics, although the reward to a skilled trade is still likely to be higher.
The average salary of the employees at the distribution center will be about $34,000. That is about $10,000 a year higher than the average household income in the town of Florida.

The 1.5-mile corridor along Route 5S now is home to several large distribution and warehouse sites, including a Target distribution center, Hill & Markes and a Beech-Nut food baby food factory.
The manufacturing base in that part of New York, however, ran afoul of globalization and managerial hubris.
Montgomery County is located along the Mohawk River and Interstate 90. For decades, the area was a hub for manufacturing. Carpet and textile companies operated factories there, and Cabbage Patch doll maker Coleco employed hundreds of workers until the company ran into financial problems after a failed attempt to enter the home computer market.
That transportation corridor also includes the New York State Barge Canal and The Water Level Route, now part of CSX's railroad.

1 comment:

David Foster said...

The 'elite vs deplorables' model is useful, but to add some texture: There are plenty of people who are by no means Elite who strongly identify with the values defined as elite values...for example, untenured professors and adjuncts without much realistic hope of ever getting tenure...low incomes, no job security...who still line right up with the 'Progressive' worldview.

There are also people who are quite wealthy but are neither Ivy League nor 'Progressive'. There is a big difference from industry to industry: finance and law, yes, frequently Ivy League and Prog; manufacturing and transportation, not so much. The so-called 'tech' industry, a mix of libertarianism and Prog-ism, with the latter on the ascendent.