In an ever-changing economy, jobs are always being lost: 75,000 Americans are fired or laid off every working day. And sometimes whole sectors go away as tastes or technology change....Is there something different about coal mining and manufacturing jobs? Is it just politically useful (because conservatives can blame liberals and foreigners for the job losses? because these are jobs for, mostly, white men?)?
While we can’t stop job losses from happening, however, we can limit the human damage when they do happen. We can guarantee health care and adequate retirement income for all....
I don’t want to sound unsympathetic to miners and industrial workers. Yes, their jobs matter. But all jobs matter.
I'm a little surprised to see Krugman adopting the rhetorical format so recently seen in the much criticized "all lives matter" response to "black lives matter." Trump is essentially saying "mining and manufacturing jobs matter," and Krugman is responding "all jobs matter." The first speaker says there's a special problem here, and the second speaker — with the "all Xs matter" response — cancels out all the work of the first speaker. I'm not saying the second speaker is always wrong, just that the "black lives matter"/"all lives matter" sequence is so freshly critiqued that I'd choose different words if I wanted to enlarge the frame around a problem that someone else has taken pains to identify and get other people to care about.
By the way, I remember when Obama wanted to pay special attention to jobs that "fit with how [men] define themselves as men."
[F]rom Ron Suskind's new book "Confidence Men: Wall Street, Washington, and the Education of a President" (pp. 18-19)(boldface added):
“Look, these are guys,” [Obama] said. “A lot of them see health care, being nurse’s aides, as women’s work. They need to do something that fits with how they define themselves as men.” ...
As the room chewed over the non-PC phrase “women’s work,” trying to square the senator’s point with their analytical models, [Alan] Krueger — who was chief economist at the Department of Labor in the mid-1990s at the tender age of thirty-four — sat there silently, thinking that in all his years of studying men and muscle, he had never used that term. But Obama was right. Krueger wondered how his latest research on happiness and well-being might take into account what Obama had put his finger on: that work is identity, that men like to build, to have something to show for their sweat and toil.