The American Dilemma and How We Can Fix It

Archive for the ‘jobs’ Category

CHIPOTLE MEXICAN GRILL

Perhaps I’m one of the few people in America who hasn’t eaten there but I haven’t.  My friends who frequent Chipotle regularly tell me it provides a far better dining experience than its competitors.  And while I enjoy Mexican food, I don’t go out of my way to get it.  Now open a great dim sum restaurant and we’re talking a whole other story.

The genesis for this story has nothing to do with the quality of food or the dining experience at Chipotle.  It has to do with the compensation of the company’s CEO, Steve Ells.  In an advisory vote, the majority of shareholders recommended that the Board not increase Mr. Ells annual compensation to approximately $25 Million.  Apparently, several unions and others who hold the stock in pension plans were responsible for the overwhelming “No” vote.  As shareholders, that is their right and that they exercised their voice is their responsibility.

This story, which has received more coverage on the Huffington Post than the scandal at the VA which apparently has now spread to include eleven separate facilities, also generated far more comments than the second story.  Most of those comments applauded the vote and went on to comment about how CEO’s are overpaid to the detriment of the poor schlub counting out twenties at your local bank or slinging guacamole at your local Chipotle.  I engaged in a conversation with one person who left such a comment.

In response to this individual, I asked, “If $25 million is too high, is $1 a year too low?  If so, what would you consider to be equitable and how would you determine what is fair?”  While I was waiting for him to get back to me, and I still am, I decided to try to look at this situation in as objective manner as I could.

The first thing that occurred to me is that many who have not been in the situation personally can only theorize, if they take the trouble, to understand what it is like first to conceive of a business and then to make that vision turn into a reality.  If they had done this themselves, they might have more respect for those CEO’s whom they denounce.

What if Mr. Ells had never had either the moxie or the good fortune or the work ethic to start this company which now employs 45,000 people?  Where would these individuals be going to work on a daily basis?  In this Obamaconomy where new business start ups are few and established companies are laying off and trimming the fat, would they even have a job or just join the ranks of the gainfully unemployed?

But then I thought, not that it’s my business since I’m not a Chipotle shareholder, what if the company reduced Mr. Ells’ compensation by 90% to $2.5 million a year and the $22.5 million difference was passed along to Chipotle workers in the way of pay increases.  How might that impact their lives?

Well, it would result in a $500 a year annual increase for each of the company’s other employees.  Of course, after they paid Federal income tax, FICA, Medicare Tax and in many cases state income tax, that pay increase would shrink to about $350 per year.  That works out to a little less than $7.00 per week or, based on a forty hour work week, seventeen cents per hour.

Now the people who man those fast food lines at their outlets earn more per hour than the typical fast food restaurant worker who makes minimum wage.  But if we were to apply their percentage increase in earnings attributable to stripping Mr. Ells of 90% of his income, we would not be talking about raising the $7.25 minimum Federal wage to $10.10 per hour but to $7.34 per hour.

There are two other points we should consider.

The first is that should the Board enact the hypothetical pay plan I created and Mr. Ells agreed to work for a 90% smaller salary, it might occur to him to put forth only 10% of the effort that he previously expended in his job.

Instead of opening 100 new outlets this year, he might decide only to go ahead with 10 of those – if any at all.  After all, the company is doing very well so why rock the boat?  Why go through all the trouble of doing site surveys, negotiating leases, overseeing construction, purchasing equipment, interviewing and hiring and training employees and management, negotiating contracts with new wholesale grocers, conducting on-site audits to make sure that these new facilities were meeting high corporate standards?  Why indeed?  That would leave approximately 2700 prospective employees who might have been hired for jobs in the 90 restaurants that were never opened sitting home collecting unemployment – if it hasn’t run out.

The second point is that no one is forced to work at any job they don’t like or want.  In our current Obamaconomy that is more theoretical than real since this administration has not only not encouraged the creation of new businesses, but has done everything possible to make starting a new venture difficult if not impossible.  If we had a vibrant economy, a worker who was dissatisfied with his job could find another one – or even accept a second job if he were so motivated

So if we want to have a debate over the minimum wage, we should focus our attention not on “greedy CEO’s that want their employees to suffer” but to a government which has made sure that they will.  This may be one of the few times that I agree with the president when he said, “You didn’t do that.  Someone else was responsible.”  He’s right – it’s him.

MERRY CHRISTMAS (AGAIN)

For those of you who are Orthodox followers of the Old Calendar (Julian), today is Christmas.  So MERRY CHRISTMAS.  Would that the spirit of Gregorian Christmas had been extended yet another thirteen days in Washington.  But then there’s hope and then there’s reality.  Politics, with the return of Obama from his Hawaiian vacation, have returned apace.

Today El Presidente gave an interesting speech kicking off what we have in store for 2014.  He began his crusade to eliminate “income inequality” and make us all happier and poorer.  First at the top of the list was the “Emergency” extension of unemployment benefits which have been in this “Emergency” status for five years now.  Incidentally, that is the exact period of time that we have been under the guidance of the Obama administration.  Coincidence?  I think not.

It is fairly difficult for all but the mentally dyslexic to understand much of anything that comes out of this administration.  On the one hand we hear how Obama has “reduced unemployment, cut the deficit in half and helped the housing market.”  So if all that is true, it is unclear why there is a need to extend unemployment benefits further.  Realistically, all those who are unemployed should be able to find positions in this brave new economy.

But logic and reason have never been long suits for the Obama administration which claims a wonderful victory that 2.1 Million have enrolled in Obamacare which is 50% less than they projected and omitted the fact that 5.6 Million Americans and their families had policies that were cancelled leaving fewer of us with health insurance than before the enrollment began on 10/01/13.

Returning to the issue of extending unemployment benefits further for those who have lost their jobs “through no fault of their own,” to quote the President – well if they lost their jobs through no fault of their own – whose fault is it that they are now unemployed?  Could we lay the blame at the feet of the President who spent the first two years of his time in office getting Obamacare passed instead of addressing the serious problems in the economy?  Surely his economic stimulus (spending billions of taxpayer dollars) should have done the trick.

But, as the President correctly pointed out in his speech, this is not merely a matter of statistics.  There are real people involved who have probably become dependent on this new entitlement program after so long out of work – despite their diligent efforts at finding gainful employment.  And as the administration has done nothing to get the economy going again – in fact, one could argue that all the new regulations and Obamacare itself have done just the opposite – we should have the compassion to extend these benefits for a short three additional months.

I accept the fact that most of those who are unemployed would much prefer working than sitting home waiting for the next check to arrive from the unemployment office – essentially being the recipients of public charity.  So what if we could merge both their desire to work and receive something in return for the tax dollars we are willing to use to help them out?  Well, we can – and my liberal friends with their environmental agenda will, I think, embrace my suggestion.

Given the Arctic freeze that is sweeping much of the nation I don’t want to throw any stones at Al Gore or his prediction that the polar ice caps were supposed to have melted by the end of last year.  But I will accept the idea that humans do have an impact on the planet, whether or not it results in the now favored phrase “climate change” rather than global warning.  But setting aside that conversation, there is no doubt that we people do have a negative impact on our environment and I know this because I have seen its manifestation countless times.  It’s something with which we are all familiar – litter.

Consider the fact that the government now has fifty years of the War on Poverty under its belt since LBJ first got that passed.  And then we had Lady Bird’s “Beautify America” program.  And don’t forget VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America).

So what if we asked those who are recipients of further emergency unemployment benefits to go forth and attack the litter which soils the sidewalks and the parks in our cities?  In that way they would have the pride of working until their better job comes along, the taxpayers would receive a return on the money that we are spending and we would beautify our country?  That’s a win/win/win solution to an unfortunate problem.

Heck, if we aren’t careful, we could turn America into a country that looked as spotless as Singapore.

 

YO, BAMA–DO YOU CARE?

Well, there I was, trolling through the “news” shows yesterday when I heard something that truly startled me.  That news item was that those who have been hired (through government grants to various organizations) to become “navigators” for helping people enroll in Obamacare are getting paid up to $48 per hour.  By my quick math, assuming full time employment (now defined as 30 hours per week), that comes to just about $75,000 per year.

That’s not bad when you consider that apparently all you need to qualify is 16 hours of training.  When I compared that to what we pay a starting teacher who needs to spend a minimum of four years in college, I thought this sounds like a pretty cushy job.  So I thought to myself, “Well, self.  You’re retired, have time on your hands and have a background in insurance.  Why not check it out and see if you can pick up some extra income – and potentially become a one person fifth column?”

So I went to the internet to see where there were offices in Las Vegas where people could sign up for Obamacare.   As it turned out, that was somewhat akin to the journey that Jason and the Argonauts undertook in Greek mythology.

After spending nearly two hours on the internet trying to find a “center” where they had “navigators” helping with the process, I finally gave up because each link that I checked brought me back to the same place where I had begun my search.  So, I decided to call the toll free number, stupidly thinking that I might actually be able to speak to someone.  “Oh, what fools these mortals be.”

Naturally, I followed the computer’s instructions, trying to locate a center which served my zip code.  After punching in all the requisite numbers, including my zip, the system returned the answer that, “No centers were found.”  Not to be deterred, I tried again, seeking to locate a navigator for my area.  Once again, “No navigators were found.”  So I hung up.

After sitting back for a moment, I thought of another way to attempt reaching a person.  I called back and requested information on making a payment, the first of the computerized options.  I was finally connected to a live person.  (It’s funny how government always makes it as easy as possible to send money to them).

I spoke with a nice young woman who, when I asked where I could sign up for Obamacare, effervescently responded that, while she didn’t have any “centers” listed, she did have the telephone numbers for three “navigators” who would be available to service me based on my zip code.  She then provided me with the phone numbers of these three gentlemen (yes they were all men, how sexist).

I called all three of these “navigators” to find out how they could “facilitate” my enrollment in this divinely inspired program but was unable to reach any of them so I left messages for each.  That was about eight hours ago – but I have yet to hear from any of the three.

So here’s my analysis in review of this program thus far.

We know that there are fatal flaws, a/k/a “glitches” in the computer program.  After a fair amount of effort I tried an alternative method, the old-fashioned one on one contact.  Those who are being paid a substantial rate to get people enrolled have not responded to my inquiry.  Oh, did I mention that yesterday I created an account but when I went to access information based on the computer accepted account, it didn’t recognize me?

While I can’t verify this, purportedly during the first two weeks of the rollout of Obamacare, approximately 38,000 people have signed up.  If, in fact we are going to enroll 30 million people in this program, at that rate it will take a little over fifteen years to accomplish this goal.  And that’s a good thing.

You see, if this abominable law stays on the books that long, I guess that if I’m ever able to figure out how to be a “navigator,” in that period of time I could earn over $1,125,000 – all at the expense of other taxpayers.  America – what a country.

ANOTHER ENDANGERED AMERICAN JOB

I never had aspirations in this direction – which is probably a good thing.  That is to one day make my name as a clown.  And certainly if I did it would not have been in the state of Missouri.  Just as well.

Apparently in the “Show Me” state, there are certain things that it is not polite to show the people – as in making a joke of President Obama while wearing a mask of that gentleman.

The presumed insult to the Chump in Charge was, of course, predicated on an assumption of racism.  People – get over it.  You are the ones who insist on calling him “black” rather than referring to him by the more accurate term of “multi-racial” or even “bi-racial”.  Personally, I prefer to think of him as white with a good sun tan.  Categorizing him as black will probably insure that a black man or woman will not be elected to the office of President  for another 232 years – assuming that we survive this president and his policies – something which I question.

We’ve had some losers that we elected to this esteemed office in our history.  Quite a few of them, in fact.  And we’ve never taken umbrage at the fact that political pundits and cartoonists made fun of them.  Nor should we have as that is the nature of political dissent – a premise on which the country was founded.

Had the clown at the Missouri State Fair made fun of the presidency – I would agree with critics who said that was inappropriate.  It is an entirely different matter that he chose to make fun of the person who currently occupies that position.  And that he was banned for life from ever performing again at that event – well it speaks to the amazing thin skin that many Americans seem to have to live with.  I’m only surprised that there aren’t more cases of skin cancer among our liberal citizens.

FINDING A JOB

During the twenty-five years I was in the executive search business, I read a lot of resumés.  I’m guessing the number could have been close to one hundred thousand or so.  As a result, I know a little bit about resumés and resumé writing.

Of course, this was back in the days when people committed their thoughts to paper, typed or “word processed” them with only a limited benefit from “spell check” and then folded this vital document, placed it in an envelope, used the USPS to deliver it and then hoped that the recipient would actually care about the contents of their communication.

People generally share the opinion that writing a good resumé will get you a good job.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  But I can assure you that writing a poor resumé will result in your never being called for an interview for that good position.  Allow me to explain.

My normal efforts to recruit for a specific position were to use contacts with whom I had a good relationship and work through a referral network to identify appropriate candidates for a position vacancy.  Sometimes those efforts would come up short and I would run a “Blind Box Ad” in the “Chicago Tribune” to bring in a new field of potential candidates.

During times of economic prosperity, an ad would generally yield about two hundred responses.  During bad economic times, the number of responses might be three to four times that great.  In either case that was a lot of reading.

If I did nothing but read all these responses thoroughly, I would have had no time to address myself to the ongoing management of my business.  So I developed a system for sorting through this correspondence  to minimize my time devoted to reading them.

I thought of it as the “Goldilocks System”.

My essential view of resumés is that they bear a lot of similarity to a striptease.  They should whet the appetite – but not necessarily be all-revealing.  That is the purpose of a personal interview.  So those resumés which were sent to us that were as heavy as the first volume of The Encyclopedia Britannica normally went directly into the circular file without being opened.

On the other hand, there needs to be enough material for the person reading the resumé to make some sort of judgment about the individual’s background  to decide whether to call him in for an interview.  So those resumés which were so light on information that it was impossible to make a reasoned evaluation were also sent into the wastebasket.

This process reduced the number of resumés by at least thirty percent – which still left a daunting number to be reviewed.

Then I applied the “Precision Factor”.  Those resumés in which I found typographical mistakes (sometimes including the misspelling of the name of their current or previous employers) met the same fate as those which failed my first two sorts.

We were dealing with financial personnel and my logic for giving these resumés a failing grade was that if a person were not correctly able to spell the name of the company that wrote his paycheck, what kind of work product would he deliver in dealing with a corporation’s finances?

I was raised in an era in which we were taught grammar and spelling.  Perhaps it is a personal bugaboo but I still believe that accuracy and attention to detail matter.  (This is one reason that my two year stint working for government resulted in my starting my own business.  It drove me crazy watching slip shod, sloppy work pass for a quality product).

At last I was down to the serious business of actually reading and “vetting” the remaining candidates.  I only wanted to interview and submit to our client those candidates who had the capability to discharge the duties of their new position in an effective manner.  I did not want to waste my client’s time by referring people to them who were not appropriate and I had a sense of professional pride in being able to sort the wheat from the chaff.  After all, that’s why my clients had hired me in the first place.

It is within the context of reviewing candidates’ credentials that I began reflecting on the results of the Presidential election of a few days past.  I wondered what sort of an ad I would write were I retained to fill that position and I came up with the following:

OPENING FOR PRESIDENT OF A MAJOR COUNTRY

Our country is in need of a new leader to replace our CEO.  The individual we select will have shown a proven ability to be a problem solver, work with a diverse group of individuals, arrive at simple, effective solutions to complex issues, and will have demonstrated a successful track record throughout his or her professional career. 

Our culture requires a person who has a firm grasp of economic, social and foreign issues and will be able to reach out to our diverse citizen base in an inclusive manner.  A strict adherence to our fundamental governing document, our Constitution, is required.

For consideration, please submit your resumé to the citizens of the United States of America.

Perhaps before the general election in 2016, we can offer a crash course to our voters on how to read and evaluate a resumé.  It might produce a better result for all of us.

Certainly, we could do no worse.

DIRTY LITTLE SECRETS

What really is in Mitt Romney’s years of tax returns that he has not released for public gawking?  Apparently only he, his wife, their accountants, the IRS and Sen. Harry Reid really know.

You may recall that about a month ago the good Majority Leader of the Senate made the declamation that “he had proof” that Mitt Romney hadn’t paid any taxes for ten years.  Having laid that unsubstantiated bombshell on the public, there has been nothing further forthcoming from Sen. Reid on the subject.

Frankly, neither I nor the intelligent segment of the American public really cares whether that is true – other than to point to the incredible stupidity of our massive tax code which no one can understand – including Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, who failed to pay his own taxes correctly.  The Tax Code should be overhauled so that it is not only equitable but understandable to the average Jane Citizen.

A few days ago Sen. Reid was “involved” in a six car collision here in Las Vegas.  Not only was his vehicle damaged but two that were being driven by Capitol Police and two Metro Police cars, all four of which were “escorting” him were involved.  Now I do not know if the Senator was at fault in causing this accident since the media coverage conspicuously avoided describing the circumstances surrounding it.  But if the Senator’s driving skills are as compelling as his ability to bringing a budget to the floor of the Senate, I think that is a good possibility.

I’m not sure who the occupant of the last car was, but you can be pretty certain he was a Republican who had not yet participated in early voting.

Throughout this campaign, President Obama’s ads have leveled charges that Mr. Romney isn’t “paying his fair share” – or more accurately – “his fair percentage.”  This makes for good sound bytes and gets people riled up and angry – which has been a hallmark of the achievements of the Obama campaign.

People who couldn’t, with or without the use of a calculator, tell you what percentage 87/299 is,are totally stoked by this inequity.  The fact that Mr. Romney and his wife paid $3 Million or so compared to their $10,000 doesn’t seem to impress those who buy into this rhetoric as being “fair”.  Again, you can hardly lay the blame at Mr. Romney’s feet when it deserves to be leveled against those who wrote the code under which he made his contribution to the welfare of the nation.

Frankly, if I had been an advisor to Mr. Romney, I would have simply said, “Show them the returns and let them have fun with them.”  I would also have used that as an opportunity to address the fact that we need, not to revise, but to re-do the tax code.

Just think about all the jobs we could eliminate at the IRS, and H & R Block and public accounting firms if we had a flat tax.  We would no longer need those handy dandy tax software preparation programs nor would the firms that provide them need software developers.  And the amount of paper that we would save!  We could cut back on the number of loggers and employees at paper manufacturers as well, even as we were saving some of our remaining trees and forests.  And let us not forget that with the reduction in advertising all these tax preparation services, we could slash quite a few jobs in the media as well.

Earlier today I put up a post, “What’s Sauce For The Goose Is Sauce For The Gander”.  And given all the criticism which has been leveled at Mitt Romney and his tax returns, I thought it was only fair to turn the tables and look at some “dirty little secrets” that President Obama is keeping from us.  Specifically, I refer to his college transcripts.

Let me begin by saying that when it comes to the subject of Donald Trump, the most complimentary thing I can say is that he must be suffering from a perennial “bad hair day”.  I watched one episode of “The Apprentice” and was mildly horrified at the glee with which he pronounced the fatal words, “You’re Fired”.  I don’t care for the gentleman – but his offer to contribute $5 Million to a charity of President Obama’s choosing if he reveals his college record does underscore a point.

If the President has nothing to hide, why is this such a deep, dark secret?  For exactly the same reason that I believe Romney should have just given us his tax returns to diffuse the subject, the President could put to rest all the innuendos regarding himself by revealing the contents of his academic background.

It troubles me when unsubstantiated statements are made about anyone – including President Obama.  If those statements are intentionally fabricated with the intent to do harm to another, they are called liable and slander.  No one should be subject to that sort of calumny – and when those assertions lie about the shoulders of the person who is the leader of the free world, it does him and all Americans a tremendous injustice.

I have read several pieces which claim that when the President was at Occidental College, he attended as a “foreign student” from Indonesia under the name he used at the time, Barry Sotero.  Further, these reports indicate that he received grants to attend as a foreigner.  I do not know, nor does anyone other than the President and the Registrar at Occidental College whether this is true.  But if it is then it is certainly disturbing.  And I believe that the American people have the right, and the President has the responsibility, to put these matters to rest.

I try to keep my own counsel and share those things about myself with friends whom I trust when there is a reason for them to know.  I think that is good advice for most of us to follow.

But if you’re a public figure, there is a slightly different set of rules.  We should have the confidence that those in public office are telling us the truth about their personal life experience and conduct so that we can fully get behind them and support their efforts on behalf of the country.  Anything less is both unproductive and unpatriotic.

I find being on the same side of an issue with Mr. Trump to be a little disquieting.  But I must admit that he does throw down an interesting gauntlet.  I hope that President Obama takes it up, collects the $5 Million for his favorite charity, and puts to rest the suspicion and ends the talk about his “Dirty Little Secrets”.

THE HYPOCRISY SURROUNDING OUTSOURCING

When I first moved to Las Vegas I learned some things.

The first was that without having to drive twenty minutes to get to the Strip should I want to risk a few dollars on a game of chance, I had several options which were far more convenient.  These were casinos that were more interested in attracting the regular business of “locals” rather than the mob of weekend visitors this city sees every Friday night and who go home on Sunday.

When I first started coming to town as one of those “weekend warriors” back in the ‘70’s I was bedazzled by what was then the Vegas scene.  As I drove down the Strip, billboard after billboard headlined the star who was appearing at that hotel.  The biggest people in show business were always in town, and if I planned the trip right I could see several of my favorites.  Even the real Elvis.

And as you walked in any of the casinos you could view the vast array of table games that were going to allow the gambler the opportunity to part with some of the hard-earned money he had brought with him.  All this excitement, and always in the background was the sound of coins spilling into the trays of the slot and video poker machines which held, at that time, a far smaller share of each casino’s space than did the craps and blackjack and baccarat tables.

Over several trips and a number of years I began to notice something different happening in Sin City.  The number of table games began shrinking and the number of slots began increasing.  And several years after I moved here I noticed yet another change.

The machines which vended the lucky winner his coins were slowly but surely being replaced by newer models which attempted to emulate the sound of coins clanking in the metal trays with synthetic replication, and which, rather than giving the winner his payout in quarters or dimes or nickels, handed him a printed ticket for the money he had won (or still had left).

From the slot player’s standpoint, this was a nice improvement.  No longer did the player have to scoop up his money and put it in one of the plastic containers that the casinos provided.  No longer did he have to look for a moist towelette to clean up after collecting his coins which inevitably left his hands filthy.  No longer did he have to stand in line at the Casino Cashier in order to have them run those coins through their counting machine and pay him off.  Now he merely had a ticket which he could insert in any of the ATM-like machines which would read its value and dispense the amount he was due quickly and conveniently.

This was progress – this was improvement – unless you were Mary or Bill.

Who are they?  Well Mary was a “change girl” at one of the local casinos and Bill had worked at the same casino for 14 years as a blackjack dealer.  They both lost their jobs – Mary because of the new technology and Bill because the casinos were downsizing the number of table games that they ran and eliminated some of their staff.

If you think about it from the casinos’ perspective, this transition makes a great deal of financial sense.  Although there is always a house edge built into any game of chance, baccarat, craps, blackjack or roulette, there is always the possibility that someone can get lucky (or as in the case of blackjack become an expert card counter – which is why it is NV state law that card counting is “illegal”) and seriously hurt the house with a good run of luck and skill.

No such chance exists with a slot machine where the ultimate house rake is pre-determined by an internal chip that exactly calculates the house’s percentage based on the money that is run through it.  And unlike a blackjack game which requires a dedicated person to staff it or a craps table which requires four employees, one hundred machines can be overseen by one technician in the event of a rare mechanical breakdown.

That’s why Bill lost his job.

And Mary, well she got replaced by more modern technology.  While there are still change people who help the slot players in the event of a jackpot win which requires the completion of a 1099 form, their number has diminished because the same machines which payout the winning tickets also break down larger bills into smaller ones.  Technology marches on and unfortunately for Mary and many like her, it marched her out of a job.

It’s interesting to me that the many people I know who talk about the evils of “outsourcing” never seem to feel quite as passionate about those who worked in casinos whose jobs were not outsourced but eliminated.  The reason I happened to write this post is that I had just listened to one of them go on at length about how we are shipping jobs overseas and the tragedy of it all.  This same person spends a few hours almost every day entertaining herself in a casino.  So I mentioned Mary and Bill to her and how they had lost their positions.

Her response was, “Well that’s progress for you.”  She displayed no remorse for them and I am certain that is because she doesn’t play table games and because she finds this new arrangement, not having to deal with coins, as a big improvement, far outweighing the human toll of Mary and others who no longer have jobs.

I thought it was inconsistent for her to be so empathic to nameless, faceless people whom she has never met and were outsourced, when she was so cold-hearted about now unemployed Mary (whom she knew).  While I do not believe it is right to make judgments about others, unless their actions affect me, still this acquaintance’s attitude is not uncommon.  At least that is my empirical observation based on a lot of anecdotal evidence.

So many are willing to descry the unfairness of the loss of American jobs to foreign workers, yet they continue to buy the same products those foreign workers produce in greater and greater numbers, thus supporting those companies which outsource and validating their policy.  Is the company which outsources or the consumer who purchases the outsourced products really at fault?  I would lay this squarely at the feet of those who make those purchases – for without their patronage, these companies would have no sales.

I believe in the reality of a global economy and I realize that the financial capital needed to produce a manufactured product will always find a home where it is best treated.  And that home is not currently in the United States.  That is not China or Bangladesh’s fault.

That is the fault of the Congress and the President for imposing onerous rules which add to the cost of every product manufactured in America and for continuing the policy of assessing the highest tax rate of any nation in the civilized world on its corporations – again further adding to the cost of producing goods here.

But to get to the heart of the matter, even if you accept my scenario that without the consumer’s co-operation, outsourcing simply wouldn’t happen – there is someone who bears an even greater share of the responsibility.  That person is the voter who empowers these bureaucrats with another return to office so that they may continue the same policies which got us here in the first place.

It’s time for a new, fresh and realistic approach.  It’s time that we set aside all the rhetoric about “Saving General Motors”.  It’s time we really took stock of those whom we elect to serve us – and to rid ourselves of those who believe that their election proves we were meant to serve them.  It’s time – no it’s way past the time – that each of us cut through all the hype and got down to the bare bones and the truth.

It’s time for the American people to vote intelligently.

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