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The summer of our discontent

Published June 18. 2011 09:01AM

As I watch the nightly news on television I realize that the media is deflecting our attention from the real issues as they attempt to focus us on irrelevant stories. The escapades of Anthony Weiner are on every channel. Looking at the pictures of him, I can see that we are getting good value for his membership at the Congressional gymnasium. He obviously likes to lift weights.

Meanwhile, we see that Greece is melting down. The economic crisis there has people rioting in the streets. The talking heads on TV mention that this economic situation could hit the United States in the next 10 years. Thank goodness that Germany is bailing out Greece and that the economic disasters are on the European continent say the commentators! Clearly they and our government are trying to deflect the American people from the situation at home.

In other news, Pakistan arrested five of the individuals who helped us target Osama bin Laden. The talking heads are telling us that we should cut foreign aid to Pakistan, as they are unfriendly to America. We all knew this. It is just another diversion to keep us from focusing on our own internal problems.

The attempts to divert our focus to Greece and Pakistan will be unsuccessful as Americans are feeling our own pain from our battered financial environment. We are losing our jobs, our houses and our families as the decrepit economy continues in a downward spiral.

The collapse of home values is worse than it has been since the depression. The National Association of Homebuilders Housing Market Index stands at an abysmal 13 out of a 100 possible points. This index uses a value of 50 points as the neutral position in the home housing market. Below 50 points indicates that fewer homes are being built and above 50 points indicates that more homes are being built. With a value of 13, we can clearly see that the housing market is at levels not seen since the "Dirty 30s".

According to the "experts", we have not seen the bottom of the market yet. We can expect more foreclosures, more short sales, and more people simply walking away from their homes over the summer and fall and into next year. The unemployment numbers continue to rise even though summer is normally a time when there are more jobs available. This year, unemployment continues to increase even though a large number of people have fallen off the official unemployment rolls because they have stopped looking for work or have accepted jobs beneath their skill level.

Instead of addressing these issues, the television newscasters prefer to dabble in the daily Weiner soap opera. The politicians praise themselves for implementing a stimulus plan that "saved 1 million jobs". They must know in their hearts that they did not save that many jobs.

This week, even the president admitted that the shovel ready jobs were not shovel ready. He thought this was a humorous joke, the highlight of his presentation. It's no joke! A million jobs were not saved. Many Americans wallow in unnecessary poverty as our government continues to restrain growth and economic recovery.

Everyone knows that it will be the private sector, small businesses and large corporations that will create jobs. Yet our government continues to add constraints that prevent the private sector from creating the jobs we need. The onerous regulations and the lack of long-term fiscal policy stifles businesses, preventing them from investing in the expansion we so desperately seek.

I don't know why our government wants to financially enslave the American people. The actions of our government do not make any sense. Anyone with half a brain knows what needs to be done to turn this economy around. To increase jobs in the private sector all we need is a fiscal policy and financial budget that extends beyond next week. Businesses require long-term stability before they will invest in growth and expansion.

Our citizens are holding off on purchasing homes, automobiles and other consumer goods, as they do not know if they will have a job next week. Many believe that we have not seen the bottom and that the worst is yet to come.

Our politicians need to pass a budget and pass it now. It would be nice if it reduced the deficit and paid off some of our debt. But it does not have to do this. We just need to know what the government is going to spend and what they're going to tax. Once this is known, the business community can react and create their short and long-term plans.

Even if taxes remain the same or are raised slightly, corporations will invest in new jobs once they know with certainty the government's fiscal policy. Small businesses will know what constraints the government will place upon them and will look for ways to grow.

Companies small and large can grow in just about any economy just as weeds can grow in any soil. They just need to be given a chance. President Obama needs to take off the chains that hamper growth and get out of the way. The private sector will lead us out of this depression.

When the recovery does come, I believe it will be lethargic. There will be job growth, but it will be slow. Many of those who are unemployed will be out of work for several more years. New college graduates will be added to the ranks of the jobless, as the economy cannot absorb the number of graduates entering the job market. After decades of moving jobs overseas, we are now paying the piper.

The unemployed do not buy homes, they do not buy cars, and they do not buy new television sets. Corporations that outsourced that have not globalized will find that their sales will stagnate as the American consumer cannot afford to buy their products. We must move factories back to America to create the level of employment required to restore a vibrant economy.

We already build the best planes in the world and many of the best cars. As we repatriate factories, quality will go up and transportation costs will go down. This combination should again make American products competitive in the marketplace.

It really is difficult to buy American-made goods. Last week, I purchased some garlic powder. I never thought to look at where it was made until I used it. I was surprised to find it was made in China. I looked for the old bottle of garlic powder that I bought several years ago. It too was made in China even though it had the McCormick's label on it. I am now looking very carefully at the labels of everything I buy in an attempt to buy American.

American made goods are scarce indeed. Everything is manufactured overseas; even the grapes I eat come from Chile rather than California. As for electronics, American made items are a thing of the past. This may be why President Obama's stimulus never worked. When Americans spent their stimulus money and tax credits they bought products made in Asia. This benefited the Asian economies rather than creating jobs here in America.

It is time to build American infrastructure to manufacture products that Americans can buy and that we can export. As the election approaches, I will be communicating with the candidates in my area to determine their positions on rebuilding the American manufacturing powerhouse and putting our citizens back to work in higher-paying jobs. We need our own Marshall plan to rebuild our shattered economy. (

We will not be able to fix the pickle we are in overnight. It will take time to convince Americans to buy American-made goods and corporations to manufacture those goods in the United States. As unrest spreads throughout the world, corporations will realize that it is unsafe to invest in powder keg economies overseas ruled by dictators.

I pray that when my grandchildren are ready to enter the job market they will have many good high paying jobs available to them. I do not want to see my grandchildren working several part-time jobs at low wages to support their families. President Obama was correct. We do need "hope and change" just not his version of it. Not the hope of a welfare check arriving in the mail from Obama's stash of cash, but the hope of a well-paid career. Not the change he gave us that led us into the dismal depths of despair, but real change that results in business investment here in America and in good jobs for Americans.

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