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PROSPERITY: Economic Policy | October 19, 2004


Personal Correspondence with

Family Members Fearing for Their Jobs

...I know from my experience and all I read and hear in the news that a lot of phone service etc., like a lot of other jobs, is being "out-sourced" (where do they get these "euphemisms"?!) to India etc. And that's a serious problem here in the good ol' US of A (a big reason I think why most of the "new" jobs pay a lot less than the "old" jobs that were lost).

It reminds me of my friend John, whose job at a woodworking shop was taken by illegal immigrants -- guys he trained, no less... John was pissed -- he had a wife and four kids to support and the next job he got, during the Elder Bush recession -- didn't pay as well, but John didn't really blame the Mexicans -- he knew them man-to-man and knew they were working hard to support their families, too. No, it wasn't right for them to sneak into this country illegally -- yes, we should do a MUCH better job of keeping them out -- but John was mostly mad at the boss, who was rich and didn't really need to cut John's throat to get by.


Likewise, I can't really blame the folks in the Third World trying to get jobs, but that's no excuse for the big companies to send our jobs overseas -- the big guys in this country are richer than ever, and whatever happened to the whole idea of "patriotism"? What our men and women are fighting and dying for overseas (regardless of what we might think of one war or another, it's PATRIOTISM on their part, God bless 'em). And to hear that the government is giving tax BREAKS to companies that send jobs overseas -- I couldn't believe it but I've heard nobody deny it -- that really sucks.


The only way things will work out in the long run is if the people in other countries get their act together and form unions or whatever and get rid of corruption (like in Mexico, where almost all the money goes to the top, leaving the poor schnooks at the bottom so poor they'll leave their families behind and cross the border for a low-paying job here). But in the meanwhile, we've got to protect our borders and our jobs here at home, and reward companies for keeping jobs here, not sending them overseas.


Trade can be a win-win situation: Other countries have things we need (like oil, precious metals, etc.) and we have things they need. Back when Dad was growing up, the countries of the world got paranoid and passed strict anti-trade laws, with big tariffs on goods from other countries; that was the nail in the coffin that led to the Depression (the stock market crash was part of it, but not all of it).


But trade has to be fair. The workers of America are not expendable "pawns" in some big business chess game. We are human beings and Americans and that means something. Something special.


We just need to treat people with respect. The most important thing is to keep a strong middle class, which buys most of the stuff the companies make. When everyday people suffer, everybody else will sooner or later suffer; and when everyday people prosper, everybody else will do better too (including the rich people, who invest in the companies we buy things from). It's just common sense and common decency. And it's nothing like what's going on now.

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