Actor Mike Rowe praised plans by two major automakers to invest in American manufacturing, telling Fox News' Tucker Carlson Monday that the issue "goes right to the national identity."
Rowe spoke with "Tucker Carlson Tonight" the day after Fiat Chrysler announced it would invest $1 billion into two U.S. factories, a move the company said would create 2,000 jobs. Last week, Ford abandoned plans to build a $1.6 billion auto manufacturing plant in Mexico, a move Rowe described as a "big, fat victory."
"Look, it’s not just jobs," Rowe told Carlson. "And when I say that, I don’t mean to minimize it at all, but there’s just something ... larger at work here, and it has to do with our identity, it has to do with what it feels like when we’re actually making things as a country."
Rowe, best known as host of the Discovery Channel show "Dirty Jobs," which ran for eight seasons, said that the lesson of that program was "the value that comes from getting your hands on a thing and always knowing how you’re doing because you’re a part of some kind of process."
Rowe conceded that cars built in Mexico were likely to be cheaper in the U.S. because of the low cost of labor south of the border.
"At some point we have to ask ourselves ... who are we? What do we do other than buy things that other countries make on our behalf?" he added. "Eventually, when the bottom falls out, it’s like [the 2006 movie] ‘Idiocracy,’ [where] we don’t know how to hang a picture any more, much less make a car."
Rowe concluded the interview by dispensing his advice to young job-seekers.
"Get a skill that’s in demand, that’s really in demand, that can’t be outsourced," Rowe said. "Plumbers, steamfitters, pipefitters, carpenters, mechanics, those men and women right now ... can pretty much write their own ticket, and so, again on a micro- level, I see a lot of reasons to feel really optimistic."