Published January 21, 2022
Some good news for American workers and our national security: Intel announced on Friday that it intends to build a new semiconductor manufacturing plant in Ohio. There could be even more good news like this if the government committed to supporting more such investments.
Manufacturing provides good jobs for many Americans, especially those without four-year college degrees. They may not be cutting-edge or terribly exciting, as I know well. I spent two summers working on the line in a plant dipping silicon wafers in acid for eight hours a day to ensure there were no impurities. Standing on one’s feet moving wafers from one acid vat to another did not exactly tax the mind, but it did provide a steady income for my co-workers and their families.
The average manufacturing wage of $24 an hour may not sound like much, but it’s better money than many can make in retail jobs or in the leisure and hospitality sector. For many with only a high school diploma, it’s the difference between a shot at the middle class and life in poverty.
Henry Olsen is a Washington Post columnist and a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center.
Henry Olsen, a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, studies and provides commentary on American politics. His work focuses on how America’s political order is being upended by populist challenges, from the left and the right. He also studies populism’s impact in other democracies in the developed world.