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Did Obama Appoint People With Track Record of Making Right Decisions?

By       Message Ralph Nader     Permalink
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I've wondered often why people who go to "town meetings" held by campaigning politicians rarely ask fundamental questions.





Here is one that should have been asked of presidential candidate
Barack Obama: "If you get to the White House, will you appoint to top
positions Americans who have a track record of making the right
decisions in their respective fields?"





"Of course, I will," Obama would have undoubtedly replied.





Of course, he did not when it came to the collapse of the corrupt Wall
Street casinos and the bailout of these gamblers by the American
people.  Obama chose the very Wall Streeters and Wall Street servants
who were involved in, condoned, or profited from the speculative binges
that led to the biggest government bailout scheme in world history.
 The President's explanation is that he wants experienced people who
know how Wall Street works.  Yeah, right!  In reality, he wanted
political cover.



Something very important is missing when even people who are part of
the ruling establishment are ignored, marginalized, or ridiculed even
though their detailed, public warnings prove to be all too accurate.



Consider billionaire, Ross Perot.  Back in the 1980s and 1990s, Ross,
as everyone calls him, was right on General Motors, right on NAFTA
trade, and right on the federal deficits.



In 1984, he joined the Board of Directors of GM after selling his
successful company, EDS, to the auto giant.  He could scarcely believe
how stodgy, bureaucratic, and insensitive GM executives were in running
the company.  He tried to shake up the boys at the top to meet the
fast-growing competition from Asia and Europe.



The GM brass couldn't stand Ross "at large" probing up and down the
company, so in 1986 they bought out his shares in return for him
leaving the Board.
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Two years later, reflecting on his experience at GM with a reporter
from Fortune, Perot called the "General Motors system a blanket of fog
that keeps people from doing what they know needs to be done."



Warming up, Perot continued: "One day I made a speech to some senior
executives.  I said, 'Okay, guys, I'm going to give you the whole code
on what's wrong.  You don't like your customers.  You don't like your
dealers.  You don't like the people who make your cars.  You don't like
your stockholders.  And, to a large extent, you don't like one another.
 For this company to win, we're going to have to love our customers.
 We're going to have to stop fretting about dealers who make too much
money and hope they make $1 billion a year though us.  The guys on the
factory floor are the salt of the earth-not mad-dog, rabid,
burn-the-plant-down radicals.  And all this sniping at one another-the
financial guys vs. the cars guys-is terribly destructive.'"



GM didn't listen to Ross.  Now, after a long, relentless slide, GM is
bankrupt, abandoning their workers, two thousand of their dealers, and
their customers' grievances.  Moreover, GM is into the U.S. taxpayer
for over $70 billion.



Perot devoted much of his 1993 published book Save Your Job, Save Our
Country to NAFTA and trade.  Looking back, he was right most of the
time.  NAFTA cost more U.S. jobs than it created, generated a huge U.S.
trade deficit with Mexico, and mainly benefited the "36 businessmen who
own Mexico's 39 largest conglomerates or over half of Mexico's Gross
National Product."



The border-located maquiladora factories have high worker turnover and
squeeze the laborers in often unsafe conditions for little pay.
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Here is how Perot described the scene behind the boasting of
Washington, DC, and corporations about the large increase in trade
after NAFTA:

       "Most of the goods produced in the maquiladoras are shipped into
the U.S. market.  Consequently, most of the so-called trade between the
U.S. and Mexico is not trade as trade is commonly understood.  Rather,
it is primarily U.S. companies shipping their own machinery,
components, and raw materials across the border into their Mexican
factories and then shipping their finished or semi-finished goods back
over the border into the U.S."



A good deal of the U.S. auto industry went south after NAFTA, leaving
workers and communities stranded in Michigan and other states.
 Bankrupt Chrysler is planning to move a modern, award-winning engine
plant in Wisconsin to Mexico after receiving billions of dollars in
taxpayer bailouts.



On Perot's nationally-televised deficit warnings (with charts), what
more need be said?  Even he did not envision what would pile up after
his clarion calls.  The burden on the next generation and the tax
dollars diverted from our country's needs to pay the interest on these
trillions of dollars of debt were pointed out again and again nearly
twenty years ago by the Texas entrepreneur.  He even has a website (perotcharts.com) updating the red ink.


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Ralph Nader is one of America's most effective social critics. Named by The Atlantic as one of the 100 most influential figures in American history, and by Time and Life magazines as one (more...)
 

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