There has been a lot of talk about how US manufacturing jobs are heading overseas and how we don’t export as many goods as we used to just 20 years ago. This, to me, from an entrepreneurial perspective, makes sense. Even though there are signs that the economy is resurrecting, companies, just like individuals, are realizing that they need to set money aside for the next set of rainy days. There is no telling when they will come and no one wants to go through what they did over the last 30 months or so.
In an effort to reduce expenses, outsourcing jobs to companies in China, Korea, India, the Philippines and others can reduce overheads by 40% or more. Why? Because their labor rates are a small fraction of ours. This is not the fault of our Government, our people or our employers. There is a cost associated with living in the greatest country in the world and so our minimum wages have to be set accordingly.
However, I believe that there are some opportunities available to all Americans if we can privatize the jail system. Millions of our tax dollars are put into operating this ever-expanding program and there is no end in sight. I think the City, State and Federal Governments should hand over the keys to some of their jail properties to some private companies or consulting firms. In fact, they should give away these properties for pennies on the dollar and even provide tax benefits to them for the future. Then, these companies should create manufacturing operations so that US companies can bring back some jobs which were previously sent offshore.
Of course, all operations need to be designed to keep everyone safe, but I’m sure someone can figure that out. Inmates can become the labor force and work at a lower wage (yes, we need to make an exception here). They can earn money for themselves and their families while keeping their time occupied. The owners of the jails can mark up the labor enough to run the facilities, provide better housing and meals for the inmates, etc. but still provide a competitive offering to their customers.
Not all jails would work, but based on the types of prisoners, private companies should be able to decide what they want to take over and what they will leave in the hands of our Government. There can even be some inmate recruiting based on his/her skillset.
All this would:
1. Lower the Government’s expenses
2. Lower our local, state and federal tax contributions
3. Bring thousands of jobs back to the US
4. Allow our companies to begin exporting again
5. Allow prisoners to earn an income for themselves and their families
6. Create jobs around the entire operation from suppliers to retailers, etc.
7. and much more.
I understand that a lot more thought has to be put into this, but with the right people, I feel this is a viable opportunity for everyone to gain something. But I can see companies like toy manufacturers, computer assemblers and more utilizing this avenue. Just something to think about.