[See also Pondering Pittsburgh: Prosperity Does Not Require Population Growth, by Donald A. Collins]
High above the Ohio River, where the Allegheny meets the Monongahela, hangs this sign: "Pittsburgh Welcomes the World"
While the world may have been welcome during this week's September 24-25th G-20 Summit, Pittsburghers were expressly not invited.
Pittsburgh summoned police officers from nearby cities like Chicago to keep the agitators, who have also traveled from as far as Oregon, under control. [Chicago Police to Help Secure G-20 Summit, by Bill Kissinger, WGN News, September 22, 2009]
As I compose this week's column, I'm involuntarily hunkered down in my home about fifteen miles north of Pittsburgh.
Even days before the conference's official start, residents in the outlying areas were advised against venturing downtown for fear that we will be locked in a traffic jam that will not thin out until Sunday. [City Remains Quiet, Closures in Effect, by Jon Schmitz, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, September 23, 2009]
One airport traveler was given this advice when she inquired how much time she should estimate to get to her mid-week flight: the same amount as if you were driving through severe blizzard conditions.
This is symbolic. Boiled down to a single word, the G-20 is about globalism. To ordinary Americans, brutalized by domestic job loss because of insourcing, outsourcing and imported "cheap" labor, globalism is a red flag.
Nevertheless, the G-20 presses on with its anti-American agenda.
Corporate potentates like Alcoa Chief Executive Officer Klaus Kleinfeld can't praise globalism enough. As Kleinfeld concluded, wrongly, in his recent Op-Ed: "...globalization makes America more competitive and the world more sustainable." [In Praise of Globalization, by Klaus Kleinfeld, Op-Ed, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, September 20, 2009]
Where's there's globalization, lobbying for the "free flow of people" isn't far behind.
The Center for Global Development put on a seminar titled "Climate Change Implementation and Immigration" to "develop a framework to govern international migration including principles for negotiating worker mobility."
The presenters, Lant Pritchett and Michael Clements, have long advocated that (cheap) labor should have easier access to worldwide employment—without ever considering the impact on the existing, native-born workforce. or the long-term consequences on the nation to which they migrate but from which they never return.
"Increased labor mobility holds potentially huge gains for the developing and developed world. If rich countries were to permit a mere 3 percent increase in the size of their labor force by easing restrictions on labor mobility, the benefits to citizens of poor countries would be $305 billion a year—almost twice the combined annual benefits of full trade liberalization, foreign aid and debt relief."
Pritchett disregarded the fact that mobility between rich and poor countries already exists, most obviously between Mexico and the U.S, but also through outsourcing and virtually unlimited pools of non-immigrant visas.
What the G-20 delegation, especially President Barack Obama, should do is study why Pittsburgh thrives while other large metropolitan areas have suffered through sustained periods of job loss
Although unconfirmed rumors circulate that Pittsburgh was the third or fourth choice to host the G-20, and selected only after cities with classier imagines declined, Obama has talked the city up big time.
"Pittsburgh stands as a bold example of how to create new jobs and industries while transitioning to a 21st Century economy. As a city that has transformed itself from the city of steel to a center for high-tech innovation—including green technology, education and training, and research and development—Pittsburgh will provide both a beautiful backdrop and a powerful example for our work."
Obama's statement serves as a rare example where something he's said is actually correct. But, typically for him, he hasn't told the entire story.
Manufacturing plants and American workers are the key to Pittsburgh's prosperity. Although the U.S. has lost five million manufacturing jobs since 2000, Pittsburgh has escaped that fate.
In his insightful essay Eric Lotke, Research Director for Campaign for America's Future, analyzed how Pittsburgh saved itself. (Pittsburgh: The Rest of the Story, by Eric Lotke, Our Future.org)
First, as detailed by Lotke, Pittsburgh manufacturing never disappeared entirely.
When Big Steel faded, Pittsburgh diversified into products ranging from advanced metal alloys to surgical implants and sophisticated robotics. Manufacturing remained a vital part of the regional economy.
Local businesses worked cooperatively to develop technology and design to promote the use of sunlight, natural air flow, and other energy-efficient means for lighting, heating and air conditioning.
Pittsburgh also redefined itself into one of the country's leaders in the manufacture of green building products that alone has over 450 manufacturers and employs more than 13,000 people. Pittsburgh ranks eighth in U.S. cities with the most Leadership Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)-certified buildings, including its David L. Lawrence Convention Center.
Since manufacturing jobs are generally unionized, they pay well and generate economic activity beyond the company payroll. More take home pay translates into more goods and services purchased.
Second, many concerned community leaders played a role in Pittsburgh's transformation.
Pittsburgh's renaissance is a result of deliberate plans and partnerships between government and private industry working together to achieve the shared goal of creating local jobs.
Pittsburgh's rebirth involved public investment in infrastructure, private and government subsidies, and far reaching plans to invest in and support winning businesses until they achieved a competitive advantage over their competitors and could support themselves through cash flow.
By committing to industrial planning, Pittsburgh's leaders adopted a strategy that has been missing for the U.S. economic equation for more than three decades.
Unmentioned by Lotke in his report, but well known to VDARE.COM readers, is a third factor:
In addition to hosting new jobs, Pittsburgh is virtually immigrant-free. Americans here don't have to compete with legal and illegal aliens for employment.
This phenomenon is largely unreported, but vital to Pittsburgh's success.
Pittsburgh's Hispanic population is under 2 percent with only 7 percent of Pittsburgh households foreign-born.
Compare Pittsburgh to another non-border hub city, Chicago—where among 28 percent foreign-born Hispanics represent over 28 percent.
The comparisons grow more dramatic in the most immigrant-dominated cities. Los Angeles, as an example, is 48 percent Hispanic among its 40 percent foreign-born residents.
What is so obvious to us—that an overage of cheap, often illegal foreign labor hurts American workers and that conversely where labor is in short supply it Americans gain—is steadfastly ignored by Obama and post-America, globalist economists.
U.S. job loss wasn't addressed in any depth during the G-20 for the simple reason that it's a U.S. problem, not a global one. And to have expanded on the obvious Economics 101 supply and demand theory that fewer foreign workers boost Americans job opportunities is inconsistent with Obama's philosophy.
The math is well known and alarming: America needs to create 150,000 jobs each month to keep up with the growing working population. Yet the every month, the U.S. issues 160,000 new green cards and temporary work permits to working-age foreigners.
Although Obama could use Pittsburgh as a template to create those 5 million new jobs he pledged to create during his campaign, serious-minded G-20 observers like me do not expect anything other than hot air to come out of the summit.
If he were serious, Obama would cut back on his overseas trips and instead dedicate himself to deliver on his domestic commitments. (See former Vice President Dick Cheney's opinion on Obama's schedule here.)
Politically speaking, November 2010 is not far away.
Obama may be surprised to learn that Americans are not impressed by globalism no matter how many photo ops they see from Pittsburgh.
Joe Guzzardi [email him] is a California native who recently fled the state because of over-immigration, over-population and a rapidly deteriorating quality of life. He has moved to Pittsburgh, PA where the air is clean and the growth rate stable. A long-time instructor in English at the Lodi Adult School, Guzzardi has been writing a weekly column since 1988. It currently appears in the Lodi News-Sentinel.