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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

THE AUDACITY OF HOKUM - PART I: AMERICA - OPEN FOR BUSINESS


We are part of the American family. We believe that in a country where every race and faith and point of view can be found, we are still bound together as one people…

What a wonderful and unifying statement, on the heels of angst over a perceived drop in civility in the national discourse. President Obama’s State of the Union Address [click hyperlink for entire text] contained both rhetoric and delivery intended to produce feelings of hope and goodwill throughout America, and it has... 


[CLICK for ENTIRE ADDRESS]

...wrongly so. I suspect most Americans have not had the time to read between the lines:

AMERICA - OPEN FOR BUSINESS

Although we are “still bound together as one people” President Obama made it clear that some of us are still more equal than others. Most of his remarks were really addressed to his constituency among the “Haves and Have Mores” of the world doing business in America or with American wealth. This first pass at Mr. Obama’s speech will focus on his few words with direct import to the majority of Americans.

What comes of this moment will be determined not by whether we can sit together tonight, but whether we can work together tomorrow.

Although this platitude is addressed to Congress, the application should be universal across our land. Many of us cannot work – much less together, because our jobs have been exported. President Obama proposes nothing for the millions whose jobs have been outsourced to offshore facilities. In fact, he offers this bitter pill to affected Americans:

Many people watching tonight can probably remember a time when finding a good job meant showing up at a nearby factory or a business downtown… That world has changed. …[T]he rules have been changed in the middle of the game.

Most of us never agreed to this mid-game change in the rules. Nor to the recent bailout of some who engineered these changes. But Mr. Obama does not want to look back in his speech – only forward.

President Clinton and successive White House Pinocchios have used fast-track authority to negotiate NAFTA, WTO and other trade-related treaties – with little public discourse, and we see the direct results today. The rules will not be changed back under this President and Congress without great public pressure. In fact, the President’s proposed immediate “recovery” strategy rests upon pending approval of more trade agreements – including more with China and India – already the chief recipients of missing American jobs.

In other words, our lost jobs are not coming home unless we convince our Representatives and Senators that this must happen. And enough of those men holding the Wealth of Nations must agree to reinvest in America as well. 

The President’s plans for no-cost improvements to our already dumbed-down educational system, "green" energy development, and future US public works projects provide no immediate relief for the American labor force. Absent restoration of restrictions to offshoring of American jobs, unemployed white- and blue-collar workers have no hope in seeing new life in vacant factories and abandoned offices in the near future with so many dollars already invested and stored offshore.

In fact, the President further promises: “To reduce barriers to growth and investment, I've ordered a review of government regulations. When we find rules that put an unnecessary burden on businesses, we will fix them.Less regulation - not more. At least he promises to retain American laws against Child Labor, but says nothing about Third World children working in sweatshops profiting the Multinationals. 

Instead of seeking ideas to staunch the flow of American capital and jobs to Third World countries, the President touts his proposed overseas public/private investment schemes (including $Billions of future US tax dollars in incentives, tax credits and investment in R&D to Multinationals) under recent trade agreements with India, China and South Korea (KORUS FTA). He claims that these ventures will collectively “support” 320,000 US jobs. Until those jobs too can be offshored, no doubt.

The big winners in these trade boondoggles are a handful of multinational corporations (General Electric, Boeing, e.g.) and the Friends of Timothy Geithner who will subsist on the income streams generated by these various endeavors. The big losers are the remaining American white- and blue-collar workers who must continue to scramble for an ever-decreasing number of retail and service jobs here which have not yet been outsourced.

Those on fixed incomes, relief programs and the ever-increasing number of unemployed and underemployed Americans are further faced with the burden of the President’s proposed five-year freeze on domestic spending. While those with little are told they must tighten their belts and do with even less, Mr. Obama did broach the subject of possible sacrifices to be made by the wealthiest in our midst: …if we truly care about our deficit, we simply cannot afford a permanent extension of the tax cuts for the wealthiest 2% of Americans. Before we take money away from our schools, or scholarships away from our students, we should ask millionaires to give up their tax break.

How about it millionaires (and billionaires): Are you willing to trickle back down that which you have so stealthily sopped up?

Not with Mr. Obama protecting the sanctity and security of all your offshored wealth, recent wrist-slapping for some of those shorting America as in the recent UBS settlement notwithstanding. But I hope that Mr. Obama’s puppeteers and cronies will apply these words to our common plight: “What comes of this moment will be determined not by whether we can sit together tonight, but whether we can work together tomorrow.

ENOUGH SMOKE AND MIRRORS, MR. PRESIDENT & CO.:

KEEP JOBS HERE/CREATE JOBS HERE/BRING JOBS HOME.

1 comment:

  1. This is all quite true Patrick, I see that this is not a matter of the lost jobs. It can be however a refocus of the need for other types of jobs. let those jobs go where they are going and create new fields - not in the green sector which is just more of the same - but in more creative careers. I'm 66, long past the search for a new career and don't even want to be creative in that regard. so even though the Pres. is talking platitudes aimed at the people who say - Duh! what was that? He is trying to keep the masses from a revolution which would be quite fun even for this country - rather than watch the revolutions of the third world as if watching the latest reality show. the apathy is a disease in this country. people are feeling safe yet almost hungry, not hungry enough to get angry. Saying, it is still those other people over there not in my back yard that are the problem. My social security check has been stabilized so that the Bank of America can become even bigger. And at the same time what can I do about that steal a loaf of bread?
    I do hope to see you soon. Larry

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