Made in the USA

The opposition to President Obama’s American Jobs Act have estimated costs as high as $1.1 trillion. And I hear moaning and groaning about spending money we don’t have. I agree. Americans need to demand our government to live within its means. But is now the best time to make a radical departure from decades of a buildup of massive debt?

Consider this… our country DOES need massive infrastructure improvements. Everyone knows America has a $14 trillion dollar debt. So. What’s the problem? If President Bush can get us into a war that costs Americans more than $1 trillion dollars in Iraq, Afghanistan and the Middle East, never mind the horrific human casualty, why can’t Americans invest the same amount in themselves, in their families, neighbors, co-workers, communities, and nation? Why not invest $1 trillion in US? What is the difference between turning the corner of financial responsibility at $14 or $15 trillion? That’s a 7% increase. And if I can say it really quick, maybe it won’t be so bad. But that’s not the truth. Is it? It IS a lot of money. For me, personally, an inconceivable amount. But for a nation with a GDP the CIA estimates in 2010 at $14.66 trillion, it’s not so bad. In fact, there are 31 other countries with a higher Public Debt to GDP ratio. And their world hasn’t ended.

We rebuilt Japan after WWII. We helped rebuild Europe. We are rebuilding Iraq and Afghanistan. And I agree it would be really fortuitous if we had the money to invest in ourselves without borrowing. But when do you foresee America paying off her debt? I hope it’s soon. But I have my doubts. Because we haven’t paid a single penny against the principle debt, EVER. In addition, we’ve been borrowing from our Social Security Trust Fund to the point of near-bankruptcy. Let’s face it. As a nation, we have been financially derelict… and the whole world has sit back and watched. And now that’s the problem with Italy, Spain, Greece, Brazil and other nations. We’ve been their example. And yes, we surely have been. But for what NOT to do.

So believe me. I am all about getting our nation’s financial house in order. In fact, that was one of our principle tenets in Got Liberty?, Proverbial Publishing, 2002, a book I co-wrote with Charles C. Heath. I’ve been on record for not in favor of our federal government not going into further debt for almost ten years. But I AM in favor of driving over bridges that don’t collapse. And I AM always relieved when my plane lands safely. So that is a fairly high priority, too. I’m just saying. We NEED to invest in the American infrastructure that the American Jobs Act will provide job opportunities for unemployed Americans to build. What’s wrong with that? Do we wait until planes run into each other? Bridges and overpasses collapse?

The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) reported in their Report Card for America’s Infrastructure in Jan 2009 Scientific American, “The nation’s roads, bridges, levees, schools, water supply and other infrastructure are in such bad shape that it would take $2.2 trillion over five years to bring them up to speed… We’ve been operating on a patch-and-pray system,” says ASCE President D. Wayne Klotz. “That is, patch something and pray that it holds up-instead of providing regular improvements for aging facilities.”

Of course, the stock market isn’t happy. Do you know why? Couple reasons. 1) Because they’ve just been put on notice. It’s time for them to start investing in America or start paying taxes. I love it! Don’t worry about Wall Street. They haven’t been exactly worried about you now, have they? They can take care of themselves. 2) The government is spending money that will not go directly into their pockets. It will have to circulate a while. Do you remember when the American people bailed out Bank of America to the tune of $118 billion? That was just for one company. As everyone knows… the banking and real estate collapse quickly mushroomed into an ongoing mortgage crisis. But Wall Street was thrilled! So don’t pay any attention to the hype. It’s no biggie. They’ll get along just fine. Matter of fact, despite their initial negative reaction, they will prosper with a strong America. It may not be great for 2012 first quarter profit sheets, but this is not about next quarter, next year. This is about the future of a great nation.

This is an historic opportunity for working-class Americans to make gains in countering the powerful corruption in Washington bought and paid for by corporate lobbyists. I’ve hoped and waited for meaningful campaign reform, term limits, outlawing lobbyists to no avail. It’s like having no ability to do anything but hoping the wolf will lock himself out of the henhouse. It’s all been going the way of the status quo for quite some time now. Corporations have moved investments and jobs overseas for decades without penalty. Taxpayers subsidize oil companies while CEOs pay themselves millions for doing such a great job. If they’re doing such a great job, why do they need taxpayer money? But it has always been just a matter of money for corporate lobbyists to extract what they want from our legislators. But not now. Finally. We have a president who says, “Invest in American jobs or pay up.” And Wall Street is not happy. But I am. And you should be, too.

Because it doesn’t have to be like this. It should not take both parents working just to survive. Two working adults should have the ability to live comfortably and raise a few children without struggling just to make ends meet. The capitalists have been gaining the upperhand in labor negotiations by lobbying for legislation to bust the unions. And guess what? They’ve done it. Real wages in America have declined over the last ten years. And as soon as interest rates start going up–and eventually they will–you think your budget is tight now?

Don’t ever think the Fed chairman is keeping rates historically low by choice. Are you kidding? The Fed really warms up to upper single digits… a nicely contained balanced growth just tickles their purse strings. Don’t forget it is in their best interests to balance their greed with monetary policy. They want to maximize profits while keeping America from defaulting on her debt. They would go broke. So they ease interest rates while printing paper Monopoly money as fast as their printers will run during times of economic crisis. And that is where America is, at the moment. From month-to-month, the financial markets squirm, bounce up and down, and wring their hands waiting on economic news informing them of whether America’s economic engine is pointed up or down. That’s the reality of our current situation.

America has been taken over by the political power of corporations, inherent in our poli-economic form of government most Americans refer to as a democracy. But money has even displaced the vote for top dog on the politician’s ten most wanted list. Human nature is frail. The divided government designed by our founding fathers could not have included unforeseen circumstances, as well as the document was indeed written. But if Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, and their ilk could have foreseen today’s circumstances, I assure you they would have created a very healthy maze of checks and balances against it. But as smart as they were, they could never have imagined 225 years into the future with their wildest dreams.

Corporations have the conscience of no one to blunt their immoral greed-driven behavior that alters the natural balance between management and labor. If they couldn’t export the job, they hire cheaper labor. Our naton’s hypocritical open-door illegal immigration policy has been a double-edged sword against the American worker. Not only are Americans competing in a labor market against a currency-exchange-advantaged illegal immigrant worker, but they are also asked to pay for their education, medical care, and miscellaneous governmental expenses, i.e., law enforcement, jails, etc. They can live cheaper in America because they don’t pay taxes… and if they don’t pay taxes… they will work cheaper. It’s a vicious cycle… with only one direction for working-class Americans’s standard of living to go… down.

In my opinion, we should reform immigration, grant amnesty, give everyone in the country abiding by our laws a social security number or federal identification number and start collecting their taxes. I imagine there to be some construction jobs with the potential for illegal immigrant employment. Let’s allow them to support the nation that feeds them.
The bottom line: Government has always been the people’s tool for equaling the opposing forces of labor and management so as not to build so much pressure that a major social quake occurs in the manner seen elsewhere around the world. This is the beauty of the American system. Its dynamism. Ideologies battle daily in Washington. They duke it out in a gentlemanly fashion of pragmatic compromise. But an upper hand has been enjoyed for quite some time by the Capitalists. And look around… remember when one parent could earn a living? Remember a better time? Wouldn’t you like your children to know such a country? The trickle-down-theory has been running down their leg… and it smells.

The American government needs to balance its budget. Americans need to start paying down our debt. We need to eliminate bureaucratic waste and downsize government in many areas. But none of this can happen, if we don’t rebuild our infrastructure and force American corporations to invest in America to put Americans back to work at Living Wage jobs. A burgeoning, prosperous middle-class America is good for all Americans. It’s good for our nation. And it’s good for the world.
They say history always repeats itself. They say America has her best and greatest behind her. They say the 21st Century is the Chinese century. You know what I say?

Bring it on! The sooner the better.

Made in USA

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