I'd think that there would be a winning political message in this, but the Republican party is hopelessly statist and would rather feed the Big Government beast (at the expense of the middle class) and pay off their big business friends. The Democrats only care about the underclass and big business anyway (and actively despise the middle class who show all too much initiative for the Dems liking).
Bottom line, the country is screwed.
It brings to mind the hollowing out of the Roman Republic, when the backbone of society - the small freeholders who made up the core of the army - all fell into poverty and went on the dole. After that, it was just a matter of which Imperial group came out on top. Sulla or Marius, Caesar or Pompey, it didn't matter to the old Roman middle class.
Democrat or Republican party, it won't matter here. This is related:
There's not an inch of difference between the two parties on this. Clinton signed NAFTA, along with a bunch of new regulations. Bush increased the number of countries in Free Trade Agreements from 3 to 16, and added a ton of new regulations (hello, Sarbanes-Oxley, which destroyed the high tech startup IPO market). Obama has, well you see what's going on.To be perfectly honest, the fundamental problem with free trade is not that the federal government allowed foreign companies to sell their goods in the US, but that the federal government imposed a massive regulatory regime on domestic producers, as well as costly taxes, and generally onerous labor laws. The US government basically hamstrung domestic businesses, than invited their less-restricted foreign competitors to compete in the US market. The results are not surprising.Americans should be livid at the federal government for destroying economic prospects and transferring their wealth to elitist corporate overlords. The fact of the matter is that major corporations have benefitted from this massive betrayal of the American people as it has allowed them to gut American wages by hiring poor people in third-world countries to the jobs that American workers are essentially legally prevented from doing (or at least competing on price). As a consequence, the unemployment rate is extremely high, wages are low, and now the benefits of free trade have disappeared as prices of food and energy continue to rise. But at least the corporate elites have enjoyed billions in profits as well as multimillion dollar bonus checks. This particularly insidious form of crony capitalism has ensured that future generations of Americans will seeing their standards of living erode while the corporate elites who betrayed and brainwashed, with help from elected politicians and corrupt bureaucrats, live high on the hog.
The only thing I'd add to Simon Grey's excellent analysis is that both parties conspire to keep the borders open, and that illegal labor undermines legal labor just like when the currency is debased. When the Romans cut the amount of silver in their denarius, people stopped taking the old, pure silver denarii (because nobody could tell if they were good or not). Bad money drives out good, and illegal labor drives out legal in the presence of minimum wage laws.
Bah. Must be Monday.