Wednesday, January 24, 2007

State of the Union

It was decidedly weird affair. Bush was more humble, while Cheney squirmed in his seat and Pelosi smiled. The speech changes very little. The war is out of control, and the majority of Americans are unhappy.

"Hey Cheney, are you worried about the Libby trial?"

I thought Jim Webb's Democratic Response hit the nail on the head. The middle class is struggling to make ends meet due to medical costs, college tuition, and outsourcing. While corporations claim record profits and the Stock Market is doing well, our wages and jobs are stagnating or disappearing completely. These are tough times and a war with no end in sight is not helping either.

JimWebb: Tells it like it is.

The problem with Bush and many in Congress are that they do not really grasp what is happening. Maybe if they read the Detroit News, they would see that there are a lot of people who are hurting.

Almost every day there are articles about the latest round of layoffs. Ford and GM have laid off thousands and will lay off thousands more; both blue and white collar workers. Pfizer's planned exit will further damage the Michigan economy.

I'm heart broken for several reasons. First being that this is where I am from and it pains me to know that my friends and family are having trouble making ends meet. Second off this could possibly be the future for the entire United States.

Imagine a future without technology, science, and manufacturing jobs. It's a wet dream for Wall Street. Low manufacturing and engineering costs equals high profit margins.

Sure the stock price shoots through the roof, but the long term effects are not evaluated. Layoffs equals more people who are unlikely to purchase things they do not need. That means no new cars, computers, IPODs, health care, DVD players, etc... Soon enough people get desperate with desperation comes crime, suicide, and domestic abuse.

The company may be well off right away, but they soon find themselves without buyers for their goods and services. Who is going a buy a product from a company who laid off you, your sister, your brother, your mother, your father, or your friend?

Product loyalty is a huge reason why people purchase a product. Toyota became a force in this country simply by building manufacturing plants here. In essence, they bought more loyalty than any advertising campaign or good review could ever bring.

The former Big Three (Ford, GM, and Chrysler) thought outsourcing would cut down costs. It sure did, but it also cut product loyalty, which ended up hurting future profits. How do you make amends with the people you stabbed in the back? Companies need to think about how to address this question before issuing their next round of layoffs.

So what can Bush and Congress do to curb this phenomenon? Offer incentives to buy American goods. Tax imports so domestic goods and compete. Tax companies who outsource. Offer tax credits to companies who have their manufacturing and engineering sectors here. Punish companies who have more of a loyalty to their CEO and Wall Street investors than they do to their own employees.

Some people think that these measures would be pushing us towards socialism, but what we have currently borders on fascism. Take your pick... either one is not a good option. The solution lies somewhere in the middle.

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