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With Friends Like These

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Message David Cox
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By God, it's nice to be noticed. It is comforting to have someone say, "I feel your pain." It is, however, essential that the being noticed and the commiseration over the problems of the American people be done in the light of dignity. We are not pawns or kulaks, nor are we a peasant class to be cared for and overseen like a herd of sick livestock.

We are the owners of this country; our problems are this country's problems and they are important because we are vested in this country. I read an editorial today titled "Getting Americans Back to Work," and my first thought was that finally the message is sifting up through the bureaucracy, the need and importance for us all to have jobs. The editorial was written by Rosabeth Moss Kanter and published by, and Ms. Moss Kanter begins:

"For all my can-do optimism, upbeat outlook, and global scope, I feel dragged down by the U.S. jobs challenge. High unemployment coincides with eroding competitiveness and lack of consensus about how to help people in tough times."

What? Well, Ms. Moss Kanter, come live on my side of town for a while and bring your can-do optimism along because I'll school you about unemployment and a lack of competitiveness. There's a lack of consensus about how to help people in tough times? You're dreaming, lady! You're living in some academic Elysian Fields on west Mars, so deaf, dumb and blind as to be able to star in the rock opera "Tommy." Let me introduce you to my new friend who waves the signs in front of the stereo store and sleeps in a tent. Maybe you can explain to him about competitiveness.

I know what you're saying when you say competitiveness, even though you lack the backbone to say it to our faces and prefer using a euphemism. You mean corporate America's ability to find the least expensive workers on the planet with the least restrictive environmental laws and least expensive taxes. Then you sell this through bought-and-paid-for politicians and tell us that it is good for us. Then, when it all hits the fan, you mourn, "Aww, that's too bad, gee. But what can we do?"

"I feel dragged down by the U.S. jobs challenge." Dragged down? Is that worse than cold? Is that worse than watching the repo man take your car at three in the morning? Is it worse than being put out of your house and having nowhere to go? Come on, Ms. Moss Kanter, tell us of your travails in the ivy-covered Harvard walls.

Ms. Moss Kanter then places a straw man and whipping boy on display to show us that she is just plain home folks like the rest of us. "Last week, Senator Jim Bunning (R-Kentucky) refused to let the Senate consider a bill -- already passed by the House -- to extend unemployment benefits, meaning that thousands of people will lose financial support."

Former major league pitcher Jim Bunning is nuts, and most observers of the Senate already know that. Other Republicans had even asked him not to run for re-election. You seem to have forgotten one thing, Ms. Moss Kanter. You're on the same side as Jim Bunning, only he's not as articulate at expressing himself as you are because your very next words were:

"Policy-makers nationally and in the states know that small businesses are key to job creation, yet new constraints make lenders cautious about giving them loans. Meanwhile, China's sovereign wealth fund has shifted investment from the U.S. to emerging markets, one sign that America is a less attractive place for investment. Moreover, China has a reputed labor shortage in its industrial heartland while the U.S. has a labor surplus."

Now you've touched a nerve; there needs to be a redefinition of the term small business in our public discourse. Again, it's a euphemism. Most people think of small business as the neighborhood florist or mom and pop dry cleaners. A truer definition is a mine that employs less than five hundred workers or a construction company with less than thirty million dollars in annual revenues. Franchised fast food outlets are, in many cases, small businesses.

"Yet new constraints make lenders cautious about giving them loans." Try this on for consensus, American people without income or without discretionary income don't buy hamburgers or houses or shop at new shopping centers, so there is no need for construction companies or new hamburger stands or strip malls. Really, Ms. Moss Kanter? Do you really believe that the problem is on our end of the economy?

China's sovereign wealth fund has shifted investment from the U.S. because they aren't stupid. They never planned to buy everything in the store, only what they needed. Daimler sold Chrysler in 2007 because they saw the handwriting on the wall, too much capacity in a shrinking market. We had an administration that, along with Jim Bunning and yourself, would do nothing to defend American jobs from Asian workers earning a little more than half of the American minimum wage.

Chrysler was bundled off to Fiat, and Fiat's plans are to build cars in Mexico and market them through the surviving Chrysler dealers. Chrysler skipped the auto show circuit this year because they had no new models to show.

"The American labor surplus includes well-educated middle class professionals and managers who have watched their jobs disappear. Many of them are no longer counted in national unemployment statistics because they have given up."

Dear Clueless in Massachusetts, you just don't get it do you, dear? These well-educated middle class professionals are unemployed because you have advocated having a "global scope;" this is the whirlwind that we have inherited from your beliefs. Germany has a strong and vibrant automotive industry because they don't import millions of cars from Asia manufactured by workers earning five dollars an hour. Germany also has a steel industry. Did you know that Germany must import fuel for it's steel industry and yet it is still profitable? They don't allow dumping from China to destroy their domestic markets.

Did you also know, Ms. Moss Kanter, that the French recently constructed the largest aircraft factory in the world? The factory will employ 11,500 French citizens and pay them union scale wages. These French citizens can afford to buy a hamburger or a house and shop at newly built shopping centers. They can afford to buy a car manufactured in France, and if they become sick or injured they can drive it to the hospital for state-sponsored, single payer health care.

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I who am I? Born at the pinnacle of American prosperity to parents raised during the last great depression. I was the youngest child of the youngest children born almost between the generations and that in fact clouds and obscures who it is that (more...)

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