By Luis Manuel Aguana
To President Donald Trump
with the gratitude of the people of Venezuela
It seems that many of the decisions that President Donald Trump is making not only inwardly in terms of domestic economic policy but outwardly in terms of foreign relations are pointing to a development of fundamental principles that had been ignored by previous U.S. administrations and that now take effect when the results become evident. Two examples of this are his policy in relation to domestic employment and his policy in relation to Latin America, especially in the case of Venezuela. Let’s look at both.
U.S. Inward Policy: Case Unemployment
Contrary to economic analyses suggesting that President Trump’s industrial relocation policy decisions may not impact job creation in the United States, the unemployment rate fell in September 2018 to 3.7%, its lowest level in 49 years (see news in Spanish on CNN https://cnnespanol.cnn.com/2018/10/05/la-tasa-de-desempleo-en-ee-uu-cae-a-su-minimo-en-49-anos/). The Federal Reserve Bank of the United States expects unemployment to remain below 4% until the end of 2020. This makes President Trump one of his administration’s greatest political successes.
Robert Reich(1), a university professor and former Secretary of Labor during the Clinton administration, categorized the competitive positions of Americans into three major groups in the early 1990s, and I think they can still be applied to an analysis of this phenomenon. Reich thought that this categorization also applied to other countries: a) routine production services; b) personal services; and c) symbolic-analytical services. Let’s see:
Routine production services cover tasks performed by low-level workers in high-volume production companies. They are considered manual tasks and consist of a repetitive control of the work that includes the entire command and control management pyramid (foremen, line managers, personnel and section chiefs). These services can be found in many places in the economy where tasks are tedious and repetitive, such as entering data in a terminal as tele-operators or bagging different pieces in a production line. Contrary to what we thought at the beginning of the modernization product of this period of high technological intensity, repetitive uses increased significantly in this category.
Personal services also accomplish simple and repetitive tasks. These services are provided on a person-to-person basis but unlike the previous category workers are in direct contact with the final recipients of their work. Such is the case for example of waiters, hotel employees, secretaries, auto mechanics, airline hostesses, nurses. By 1990 this category included nearly 30% of the rapidly growing U.S. labor force and outperformed the combined automotive, steel, and textile industries. At this time, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics projections, the largest projected growth per major occupational group in 2014-2024 is supportive occupations related to health care, at 23%, with the creation of more than 1.3 million jobs. (see Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook in Spanish (OOH), Edition 2014-15, Occupational Employment Projections, 2014-24, online http://www.bls.gov/es/ooh/about/proyecciones-de-empleo-ocupacional.htm (visited 01/25/2019)).
The third category of jobs corresponds to symbolic-analytical services, which includes the activities of experts, scientists, engineers, bankers, lawyers, planners, consultants in various specialties. These experts analyze and solve problems using symbols simplifying reality with abstract images. These people work alone or in small groups, and may be connected to large organizations worldwide. They are highly skilled and their work is not repetitive but rather creative.
Where will the new jobs be in the United States? In the first two categories of Reich, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics figures, and are those that are especially located in the country, not outside it. According to Table 2 of the projections cited, the 3 largest projected occupational groups in the United States are in professional and technical occupations related to health care (1.3M jobs), supportive occupations related to health care (0.9M jobs), and Meal preparation and services (0.8M jobs), all with some repetitive component, as highlighted by the Reich classification.
On the other hand, these figures correspond to the table “Distribution of nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses by private industry sector, 2017” of the Bureau of Labor Statistics for November 2018 (see 2017 Survey of Occupational Injuries & Illnesses Charts Package, November 2018, in https://www.bls.gov/iif/osch0062.pdf), where the Health care and social assistance sector had the highest number of private sector injuries and illnesses. This will mean that for the next few years, more and more workers’ compensation for repetitive work injuries will be necessary in the categories where the largest amount of employment will be located in the United States.
The success of the American policy on employment is based in my opinion on a simple and clear determination of President Trump according to his own slogan: Buy American – Hire American. From there everything else can be deduced, including its commercial policy with the rest of its peers in the world. Nobody else would do something else if what they really have in mind is the welfare of their own people.
U.S. Policy Outside the United States: The Venezuelan Case
After 20 years of the growing Cubanization of Venezuela, with the catastrophic economic results that we Venezuelans now suffer, the final solution was in the hands of the U.S. government, especially because of the determination of President Donald Trump: we don’t want communist governments in Latin America. That is a clear policy position. If we extrapolate it from history, the phrase “we don’t want communist governments” is centered in all the decisions of countless U.S. Presidents in the past. Why had this been forgotten? I thank President Donald Trump for rescuing that policy from the ashtray of American memories and applying it now especially to the cases of Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela.
From the very moment the constitutional situation of the illegal tenant of Miraflores was defined, and more openly as of January 10, 2019, the United States closed ranks with the Venezuelan people. Note here that each statement by the spokespersons of the U.S. government emphasizes that the U.S. government and people support the Venezuelan people and their determination to achieve democracy and freedom through peaceful and constitutional means.
They do not refer to Juan Guaidó in particular but to the person whom the mechanisms of the Constitution of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela indicated as the new Constitutional President. That is what makes that in that country where it is clear what the constitutional institutionality means, all the springs of support to our political situation will be triggered. But that would never have been possible without the determination of its President Donald Trump.
Nicolás Maduro Moros is no longer President of Venezuela. And that, it seems, is still not completely assimilated by all Venezuelans. It has not been in vain years of official propaganda that makes even some opponents, especially the collaborators, still believe that it is necessary to negotiate with him or one of his thugs. And it is with that conviction that the President in Charge of the Republic, Juan Guaidó, should immediately make arrangements to kick out those who hold positions that do not correspond to him in the administration of the State, a situation that should not and cannot wait one more minute. And in this we are accompanied by the first world power.
It was the United States, with its Secretary of State at the head, that convened today a session of the United Nations Security Council to formally debate the Venezuelan case with the rest of the world’s powers. Never before had we gone so far in the discussion of this serious problem that we caused ourselves by accepting a putschist as President in 1998.
But the most important thing is the accompaniment that the Venezuelan people give to that support, not only to Juan Guaidó but also to the democratic institutionality represented by that Constitution, to which the Government of the United States is giving its support and which the Venezuelans still do not seem to understand very well. If we do not respect that, the U.S. government will not. Let us remember Article 333 of the Constitution: “Article 333: This Constitution shall not lose its validity if it ceases to be observed by force or because it is repealed by any other means other than that provided for therein. In such eventuality, every citizen invested or citizen invested or not invested with authority, shall have the duty to cooperate in the restoration of its effective validity”. In other words WE ARE THE RESPONSIBLES. We already have the help we needed, the rest is up to us. Let’s make it count…
Caracas, January 26, 2019
- (1) Robert Reich, El trabajo de las naciones, hacia el Capitalismo del siglo XXI., Págs. 174-178, Vergara Editores 1993, ISBN 950-15-1305-X