Route to Recovery

A trip through the epicenters of the recession

America’s Route to Recovery: Part One – Castles Built on Sand.

December 29, 2009

For the Reuters multimedia project Route to Recovery, a team of journalists toured America to examine the impact of the recession and posted their reports on reuters.com. For the last installment in the series, reporter Nick Carey has written an extended overview of the challenges and opportunities facing the country. The first part of this three-part report is below:

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – When Bob Hagan was a boy people hereabouts equated the coke dust they swept off their doorsteps each day with opportunity, for it came from the steel mills that built this city.

After graduating from high school more than 40 years ago, Hagan worked briefly at one of the local steel mills that dominated the local economy. In 1971, he became a locomotive engineer at railroad company CSX Corp, switching rail cars in every mill and yard in the area over the years.

The job afforded him a ground-level view of the slow-moving disaster that would tear out Youngstown’s heart over the next decade and a half — as it did many other towns in America’s Rust Belt.

“In my rides through this valley on the train, I used to watch the fires of prosperity burn,” said Hagan, 60, an Ohio state representative since 1986 who still works for the railroad when not in session. “And then, years later, I watched the lights go out.”

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Barbed wire protects a building still standing from Youngstown, Ohio’s industrial past November 22, 2009.   REUTERS/Brian Snyder

On September 19, 1977 — remembered locally as Black Monday — Sheet & Tube Company laid off more than 4,000 workers in a single day. In the following years, the steel industry all but died here.

In hindsight, the big mistake was trying to save it.

“We have spent the past 20 to 25 years looking in the rearview mirror,” said Jay Williams, the city’s 38-year-old, independent mayor. “Letting go of the past has been difficult for many people because the past was so good.”

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Ohio Gas Mart owner Paramijt Singh (C) is reflected in the rear view mirror of a car while talking to his employees in Youngstown, Ohio November 21, 2009.    REUTERS/Brian Snyder

Today, the city immortalized by Bruce Springsteen’s 1995 Rust-Belt anthem “Youngstown” is moving on. Among other things, it has created an incubator to attract the types of small businesses that are expected to drive future growth. Despite the thousands of vacant homes that serve as reminders of a traumatic past and turbulent present, some business and civic leaders think this heartland city has a chance to lead the U.S. into its next era of prosperity.

Getting to there from here, however, won’t be easy — for Youngstown, for Ohio, for the nation.

BURST BUBBLES
Youngstown is an extreme but by no means unique case in America. On a basic level, it represents some of the challenges facing the country today in the wake of the longest and deepest downturn since the 1930s.

After two economic expansions based not on sustainable growth but on asset bubbles — the dotcom boom of the 1990s then the far more damaging housing mania this decade — longstanding problems have been brought into sharper focus.

Even during the recent good times, the U.S. manufacturing sector, the muscle behind U.S. post-war economic might, was buffeted as corporations shipped low-cost production overseas.

“The easy, blue-collar shot to the middle class is gone,” said Mike Rollins, president of the Austin Chamber of Commerce. “It’s going to take a lot more work to get there now.”

In short, the world’s largest economy is at a crossroads.

With a smaller manufacturing sector and a consumer base less able to keep leveraging future earnings, where will sustainable, long-term prosperity come from? And more immediately, where will jobs come from?

This is a debate that is taking place at the local level around the country, from Youngstown to El Centro, California, and many places in between. But it is also a discussion that few see taking place at the national political level.

“Washington just doesn’t get it,” said Shane Savage, a real estate agent in Pensacola, Florida, smoking a cigarette outside the home of a client who needs to sell fast in a down market. “It’s going to take a long time to fix the mess that we’re in and our politicians don’t have a clue how bad it really is out here.”

REINVENTING A NATION
Local politicians and businesses acknowledge that the answers to America’s primary problems have been long known.

The country has to get smarter and send more people to college, making it more able to compete in the global high-tech “knowledge economy” of the future. And America needs to keep attracting the world’s best and brightest to help it prosper.

Manufacturers must also continue moving up the value chain, switching to niche production that cannot be easily transferred to China or Mexico. In the future, the sector will involve fewer but more-educated workers.

Now civic and business leaders are looking closely at another part of the economic equation. After seeing the impact that the departure of large corporations can have, there is a renewed focus on fostering small businesses instead.

The reasons are simple: They create more jobs and can be more easily replaced if they leave.

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A waitress waits for plates in the kitchen of a restaurant in Bayou La Batre, Alabama November 10, 2009. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, companies with fewer than 500 employees accounted for 64 percent of new jobs from 1993 to the third quarter of 2008.

Small firms also tend to be more involved in their local communities than major corporations.

“We have forgotten in this country that there is so much more to capitalism than just the exchange of goods and services,” said Amy Kedron, who runs Buffalo First, which sells books of coupons promoting businesses in this city at the far northern end of New York State. “It’s also about community.”

“And local businesses are the best at building communities,” she added, “because their owners are in it to make a living, not a killing.”

The other, not unrelated new focus is the “green” economy. Wind farms, solar panels and geothermal power plants will require someone to manufacture them, plus a trained workforce to run and maintain them. And if the private sector and government agree on anything, it’s that this industry must and will become increasingly relevant.

So at a time when critics have been quick to dismiss the U.S. economy as a has-been, some see the makings of an eventual if not immediate resurgence.

“America’s greatest ability has always been its capacity to reinvent itself,” said Diane Swonk, chief economist at Chicago-based financial services firm Mesirow Financial. “We may be able to emerge stronger and better, to the possible anger and envy of some parts of the world.”

But getting there will take a lot of time, effort and money in a nation not renowned for patience and long-term planning.

“Neither our political system nor our capital markets are used to anything but a short-term view, and fixing K through 12 is a long-term proposition,” Swonk said. “Not addressing the issue is an option we don’t have. There is a difficult decade ahead of us.”

The first step toward inventing the future, as Youngstown has found, is acknowledging that the past is gone.

“The thing we’re starting to understand is that the prosperity of the steel mills was the past,” Hagan said. “So let’s accept it and let’s move on into something that makes it even better.”

CASTLES BUILT ON SAND
What sets America’s current downturn apart from most past recessions is that the Great Recession has been national in scope. “Other recent recessions have been regional in nature,” says Swonk. “But this time, there is nowhere to hide.”

Data from the U.S. National Association of Realtors shows the median home price rose every year from 1989 to 2006 before the slide began in 2007. According to real estate website Zillow.com, as of the third quarter of this year 21 percent of all American homeowners owed more than their homes are worth. That equates to 12.4 million single-family homes with mortgages in negative equity, Zillow.com said.

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Daniel and Robin Akerman inspect their new house after buying in short sale in Pensacola, Florida November 11, 2009.   REUTERS/Carlos Barria

Real estate gains have been a major source of wealth creation and class mobility, so the hangover from the recent binge is likely to prove more painful than usual.

“I keep telling people this is not a housing downturn,” said Al Muller, a partner at Pensacola, Florida-based Metro Market Trends Inc, which tracks real estate markets in Florida and Alabama. “We are in the middle of the bursting of the biggest real estate bubble in the history of this country.”

The wealth destruction in Florida, which along with California has been among the hardest hit by the property tailspin, has been staggering.

“In the years of easy credit we all thought that we had more money,” Muller said after flicking through a wad of papers that included the names and addresses of the 3,018 foreclosures for the first 10 months of 2009 in Escambia and Santa Rosa counties where Pensacola is located.

“The people in foreclosure could be your neighbors, your friends or you could go to church with them or work with them,” Muller said pointing to the papers with evident sadness.

“We all thought (in the boom) that we could live in a bigger house. But we never realized that we were not getting any wealthier… Now there’s simply less money everywhere.”

From its peak in 2005 to the second quarter of 2009, U.S. home equity fell 37 percent, or $4.7 trillion, according to the Federal Reserve. To put that into context, China’s economic output in 2008 totaled around $4.3 trillion.

By the second quarter of 2009, Americans’ total net worth had shrunk 17 percent or $10.7 trillion from its peak in 2007.

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Leaves gather in front of an empty and boarded-up house in Youngstown, Ohio November 21, 2009.    REUTERS/Brian Snyder

FEWER JOBS EVERYWHERE
As well as their money, many have lost jobs. Unemployment stood at 10 percent in November after hitting a recession high of 10.2 percent in October. More than 7 million Americans have become unemployed since the recession began in December 2007.

For areas like Wilmington, Ohio, the job losses involved a single major employer.

This town of 14,000 was home for two decades to express delivery company Airborne Express. In 2003, Airborne was bought by DHL, a unit of German post office operator Deutsche Post, which was looking to take on America’s homegrown package giants FedEx and UPS on their home turf.

After spending billions of dollars, DHL gave up and shut down its U.S. domestic operations in January of this year, with a cost of 9,500 jobs.

DHL was the biggest employer not just in Wilmington, but in the five surrounding counties. The shock waves are being felt in communities filled with people who were able to make a good living with relatively little education.

“I hate to say it, but you have to wonder whether in the long run it was a good thing having DHL and Airborne Express here,” said Katy Farber, president of the Chamber of Commerce in nearby Highland County.

Some 2,800 people out of a population of 42,000 in Highland County lost their jobs when DHL left. The county had Ohio’s highest unemployment rate in October — 15.9 percent. Unemployment in the area before DHL began ratcheting down operations in May 2008 had long been around 3 percent.

“For decades our children were able to make $50,000 to $60,000 a year throwing boxes without even a high school diploma,” Farber said. “We have to retrain our workforce because those jobs are gone.”

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People in a truck leave after shopping at Walmart in Rogers, Arkansas, November 8, 2009.  REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

It’s a challenge to which Michigan, home of the automobile, has become accustomed.

“The hardest thing for many auto workers who’ve been doing the same job for 25 years or so to accept is that instantly, permanently, their standard of living has been ratcheted down 80 percent,” said Douglas Stites, chief executive of Capital Area Michigan Works, a career center in Lansing, Michigan. “You may have been making $25 an hour making widgets for years, but now your skill set means you’re worth $8 an hour.”

The center is a hive of activity, with people filing in to make job applications and sign up for retraining courses.

Stites recalls a group of Hmong men who turned up after being laid off at an auto supplier. Although they moved from Southeast Asia to America decades ago, their low-skilled jobs meant they never had to bother learning English.

“What do you tell people like that?” he said. “There is no way they’re ever going to be able to sustain the lifestyle they’ve become accustomed to.”

Accepting that many of the easy, high-paid jobs of the past are gone is the first step in a process that some communities have taken toward reinvention. Youngstown, for instance, spent many years looking for a way to revive the steel industry.

“We have had to embrace the fact that we are going to be different and there is no going back to where we were,” said Mayor Williams. “But being smaller can also be better.”

Part of Youngstown’s Plan 2010 strategy involves trying to revitalize neighborhoods that can be saved and — in a city with 4,500 vacant homes — letting go those that cannot.

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A man walks past a painted building in Youngstown, Ohio November 21, 2009.      REUTERS/Brian Snyder

“We are aiming to focus on the neighborhoods that can be saved,” said Phil Kidd, a community organizer at the nonprofit group Mahoning Valley Organizing Collaborative. “But we have to accept the fact that we are going to have to wind down some neighborhoods gracefully.”

From a peak of 28.3 percent in 1953, manufacturing’s share of U.S. Gross Domestic Product fell to 11.5 percent in 2008.

Much of that decline in the recent past has been due to production moving overseas to developing nations like China or across the U.S. southern border into Mexico.

This is a source of frustration and anger for workers like the 1,100 former employees at the Whirlpool refrigerator plant in Evansville, Indiana, which has said it will shut in 2010 as the company shifts production to Mexico.

“It was like a punch in the gut,” said Natalie Ford, 42, of the announcement in August. Ford worked at the plant for nearly 19 years, while her husband Jim, 47, counts 18 years there.

“After all we have done for Whirlpool, I feel like we’ve been betrayed,” she added, her eyes misting over.

Part Two – A New Revolution

90 comments so far

It is hard to believe the level of tolerance the United States has for failed public policies … failed public schools, failed welfare programs, failed illegal in-migration across the southern borders, failed drugs enforcement, failed allocation of health care resources and an absolute refusal to simply kill all those who would have us killed … failed prisons where recruiting and preaching Islam and the annihilation of America is tolerated … a failed 9th circuit court which takes every opportunity to turn the Constitution into a suicide pact … being poor and dependent on government is too comfortable in the United States … The solutions are clear: Cut welfare, Cut Entitlement Programs where ever they exist, Cut Government employees by 50% … Cut all Taxes of all kinds by 75% and make everyone pay something … Then, as history has shown, revenues to government will increase, employment in productive enterprises will increase, our goods and services will be more competitive at home and abroad … stop whining, start working and make November, Twenty-Ten the month and year the country crushes those who are elected, appointed, teach, preach and encourage ever larger government interference in your personal life … then and only then will the economy regain health and then and only then will your own personal prosperity, production and pride return.

- Posted by F. N. Cee

Corporations sent jobs out of the country to places where nobody will buy the products they produce. They laid off the people in this country who might buy them. Democrats, Republicans, it doesn’t matter. If the people here who used to buy what you make live off 1/3 of what they used to make because that’s all unemployment pays can’t buy what you sell, and the people who you do employ in Mexico City don’t buy it because it’s still priced to sell to people who make $25.00 and not $3.00 an hour like they do, it won’t sell. When will someone get this?!!!

- Posted by Dennis Aldis, Detroit, MI

I CAN CREATE 15 MILLION JOBS ALMOST OVER NIGHT in America..

If America Pulls out of NAFTA and WTO so many jobs will be created we can not fill all of them.

I will bet anyone one million dollars to a donut that I can create 15 Million JOBS if I was President. America would instantly kick into overdrive and you would see more Jobs created than Americans could fill almost over night.

The American people have been screwed for the last 80 years and they do not even have a clue of what is happening.

All the Democrat or the Republican Congress/people and Presidents for the last 80 years in Washington D.C. of both parties do not care about America or the American People.

Most of the American Politicians have been either been bought off by the wealthy Council on Foreign Relations (CFR PARTY) or they just sit on their hands and go along to get along.

The CFR Party was founded by JP MORGAN , Paul Warburg (Jew), John D. Rockefeller (Jew), three super wealthy CFR members back in 1921 with the specific goal to control the American people by buying control of all means of communication to control and generate public support to advance the CFR Party agenda.

With control of the people they could now buy off and elect American Politicians of both parties to carry out their CFR PARTY agenda which is called International Free Trade.

But how can any country survive when all of the Politicans advocate sending all of the best paying jobs off shore to China and watch millions and millions of deplaced workers walk the street, lose thier homes, families go hungry in the name of International Free Trade.

That is exactly why the American Government is shipping all the American Manufacturing Plants off shore to China as fast as they can in the last 16 years. You are watching the largest transfer of wealth is the history of the world (from America to China). The American Federal Government is serving up all of the America wealth to China on a silver Platter.

Please tell me how America and our way of life will survive if the politicans continue destoying America?

At some point American workers will be required to compete with the Chinese workers for Slave Labor $2/day jobs. Every American regardless how much money you have will be affected in one way or another because a lowering tide will automatically lower all boats.

I think we are in the about the 8th inning right now.

If you think I am wrong I have only two questions for you to think about.

Why would AMERICA the most Wealthiest, the most Advanced, the most Strongest Country in the entire World, want to enter into NAFTA and the WTO and want to try to compete with third world Countries where the Workers are forced to work for Slave labor wages at $2/day?

There can only be one out come. All of the American International Manufacturers will be forced to move all of our great Factories that won world war II and our Technology off shore to Communist CHINA. Please tell me how that is in the best interest of the American People?

The American People has no choice in the matter either the USA pulls out of NAFTA and the WTO or at some point our country will just sink into the Abyss. You absolutely cannot have a complete Economic Recovery without Creating Good High Paying Jobs. Flipping Hamburgers at McDonald’s and working as a store clerk at Wal-mart will not do the trick.

I heard today on the news that the President Obama is going to start sharing America’s top nuclear secretes with China?

A country that has no Manufacturing base is called a THIRD WORLD COUNTRY. That is exactly where America is headed.

Once all the high paying manufacturing jobs are sent off shore to China. Please tell me where the America government will collect tax revenues to support our way of Life?

The CFR PARTY Global International Trade policy will end up driving America into total Bankruptcy, that is exactly what is happening right now. When the America people finally figure this out what is really happening it will be too late to stop it.

You want me to tell you why I already know this is the long term Plan.

Why don’t President Obama create those 15 million JOBS right now as the USA desperately needs additional Jobs?

My answer is because President Obama is a card-carrying member of the CFR Party and they have a concerted plan to redistribute all the American People’s wealth to all of the Third World Countries.

It is called enslaving the American workers and the total destruction of America as we know it. If you beat the American Worker down far enough he will be ready to accept anything you offer to feed his family.

All of you people who have money in the Bank and well fix and you love this International Trade, just wait till you lose everything then tell me about how smart you was.

Back to my Question:

How I would create 15 million jobs almost over night?

There is one thing the America Government has total Control over and that is WHERE and WHO will produce all of the products the American people buy and use on a daily basis.

I would PULL OUT OF NAFTA and the WTO and close the doors to the American Consumer Market (the biggest consumer market in the world) and I would tell the entire world if they want sell their Products in America they must build their products in America. This is exactly what China does.

I know all of you American people have been told for 80 years that protectionist will hurt the USA even more because all other countries around the world will stop buying American made products and the USA will lose a lot more American JOBS than they ever gain.

That my friend is just not true.

How can anyone make that statement without at least evaluating the Export and Import numbers?

Normally that answer is true. But, the American International trade deficit has grown so super huge in the last 16 years (and still growing); that if America just stops exporting anything and just produces the items we use on a daily bases that we are now importing mainly from China, we can create 15 million additional new jobs almost instantly.

In fact I really do not care if the rest of the world buys even one penny of American made Products from America. If America just manufactures all of the products we use on a daily bases right here in America, we will create an additional 15 Million Jobs automatically.

Also, the USA yearly National Budget Deficit will automatically be lowered by $760 Billion because that Trade Deficit Money will not be transfer off shore to China like now. The Federal Government will get a huge boost in Tax Revenues from the 15 million American higher paying Jobs.

The American Government must understand they can not continue to allow sending all the high paying American JOBS off shore to Mexico, India, China and Japan and still have enough JOBS to support the American way of life.

YOU CAN NOT GIVE SOMETHING AWAY AND STILL HAVE IT. . . .

Right now all of them 15 Million Jobs I am talking about have all been moved off shore to China, Mexico and Japan, Germany, India. They are producing all of those goods and are shipping it back to America to supple our daily needs.

Then when this very same goods is imported back into the America, the American Government who is broke, must borrow money from China and Japan to buy the very products that should have been produce right here in America in the first place.

This is Equivalent to our Stupid American Government forcing the American workers to sit on his Hands and then tell China to produce all of the goods America consumes and then when the goods is imported back into America the Federal Government is broke and are forced to borrow money from China and Japan to purchase all of this goods we are using on a daily bases.

This has got to the most stupid damn bunch in Washington or they are just conspiring to bankrupt and destroy America?

If you think I am wrong. You can goggle it and check it out for yourself. Then go to “youtube.com” and do some key word searches and listen to some of the videos and do your own research on the web.

I CAN CREATE 15 MILLION JOBS ALMOST OVER NIGHT right here in America ! ! !

Here is my Job creation Computations:

America Imported in 2006 mainly from China, Mexico, Japan and India well over $760 Billion Dollars more than we exported in 2006.

The $760 billion dollar import number that I am quoting includes Oil Imports which is something that America cannot change over night therefore must be subtracted out of total import number. The total U.S. crude oil imported during 2006 amounted to: $309.4 billion dollars of crude oil in 2006.

So, $760 billion minus $309.4 billion = $450.6 billion dollars worth of Manufactured Goods that could have and should have been produced right here in America.

Based on conventional wisdom in job creation, if you take $450.6 billion dollars worth of imported goods / $30 billion to create one million jobs = 15.02 million jobs would be automatically created almost over night.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ +++++++++
Now because some of you people still do not get it I am going to recalculate the cost of the Trade Deficit in just Jobs.

So please do not tell me the stock CFR PARTY answer: “YEA, but look at all of the EXPORTS JOBS the USA will LOSE.”

The American people have been BRAIN WASHED by the CFR PARTY into believes in that GLOBALIZATION is in the best interest of USA. I think they are trying to destroy the USA because that will be the final outcome.
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ +++++++++

Total USA Imports in 2006:
———————————-
$ 2,211.7 billion ——- (this is the total Import number including all Oil Imports in 2006)
$ 309.4 billion less — (minus the total amount spent on Imported Crude Oil in 2006)
————————————————–
$ 1,902.3 billion / 30 billion=63.41 million jobs from Import. ======================================== ==========

Total USA Exports in 2006:
———————————-
$ 1,451.7 Billion / 30 billion=48.39 million jobs from Export.

If USA Pulls out of NAFTA and WTO right now:

USA could possibly lose 48.39 million Jobs from EXPORTS.

However, I am sure many countries will still export many items from the USA because they will be forced too. That would create even more jobs gained than I have estimated.

USA would absolutely gain 63.41 million Jobs from IMPORTS.

So, 63.41 minus 48.39 = 15.02 million NET JOBS GAIN.

My calculation means an ABSOLUTE 15.02 million Jobs gained if the rest of the world did not buy one penny of USA EXPORTS.

But, instead the Washington Politicians with all their Infinite Wisdom elected to move all of that manufactured goods off shore to China. Even as America has up-ward of 17% unemployment rate and climbing.

Then to make things even worse the Federal Government must borrow money from China and Japan to purchase back these very products as they are being brought back into America.

I think we are witnessing the Federal Government in the process of transferring all the America Assets off shore to Communist China on a silver platter.

The CFR PARTY goal is to turn America into a Communistic “North America Union” state consisting of Mexico, USA and Canada. The CFR are in total control of the American Government and have been for well over 80 years.

Why would the American Government sit on their hands and watch as all the Manufacturing Base and all our high Technology are being shipped off shore to a Communistic Country like China?

Make no mistake about it China is still a Communistic Country.

We are handing all of the American Military Defenses and our entire manufacturing base over to China on a silver platter.

Please tell me; “What the HELL are we going to do if we get into a War with Russia and China”?

I guess we’ll just concede the War without firing a shot like Poland did to Hitler during World War II. It looks like we would have been better off too have lost World War II to Hitler, at least we would not be forced to work for $2/day slave labor.

They must be stopped or one day America will wakeup under total Control of China Government.

This is so sad because we had it all and our Federal Government just transfers everything we own off shore to China, Mexico and India.

Have you ever asked yourself?

Why is it “when we elect a President from a different party and he always looks and acts almost identical as the last President”?

It really makes no difference who you vote for President as you will still end up getting the same party and it is called the “CFR PARTY”.

If you think I am crazy go Google it on “youtube.com”. Then Google any name along with “member of CFR”. Then start reading, reading and reading.

The American people have absolutely nothing to say about it.

You will never take back your country with the Ballot Box. I personally think it will require an all out Civil War. At some point the American People will say ENOUGH is ENOUGH and that is when all hell is going to break lose.

The Presidential Elections have been predetermined by the CFR PARTY since 1921.

Why is it every Presidential Candidates of both the Democrat and Republican Parties are always all members of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) which is controlled by the most wealthiest Jews in the world?

The “CFR Party” has tons of money so they figured out in 1921, if you want the President of the USA to be a card-carrying member of the “CFR Party”. They simply BUY OFF all the Presidential Candidates of both the Democrat and Republican Parties before the election even starts. Then the “CFR Party” WINS EVERY ELECTION before anyone ever casts a single vote.

Where is Joseph McCarthy when you really need him?

All of these politicians should be tried for treason and every penny of their ill-gotten wealth from all of these lobbyists confiscated and returned back to the U.S. Treasury.

This has to be a Concerted Conspiracy because most of these politicians hold Major Educational Degrees from some of the best colleges in America.

I worked as Industrial Engineer working as an Expert in Industrial Relocation, Manufacturing Efficiency & Engineering, Industrial Economy Analysis, etc. for Rockwell International. Most of my adult life was spent studying the very things of which I am posting about. So, please trust me I know exactly what I am talking about because that was my job for 30 years.

Here is the Main Problem in America.

The American People keep thinking their Representatives in Washington are looking after your interest and will always solve problems and do whatever is best for America and the American People.

Wrong!!!

If you do not listen to me then you are part of the problem too. If you think I am wrong go Google it and check it out. Then go to youtube.com and do key word searches and listen to the videos. Start thinking for yourself and doing your own research.

This is about Presidents and congress of both Democrat and Republican Representatives in Washington who have turned the operation of running the Federal Government entirely over to the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR PARTY).

This is also why Israel always gets exactly whatever they want from America. America has been helping Israel in every way possible even to the point of using borrowed money to support them.

Here is some of the things that should be done to make America Great again.

Add an amendment to eliminate all forms of “affirmative action” in every school, college and all other organizations in America.

Add an amendment to eliminate the American Electoral College System.

Add an amendment that Federal Elected Offices must have a majority of the total vote to win Office.

Add an amendment for Term Limits on all Federal Congressional Offices.

Add an amendment to abolish the Federal Reserve System because the America Treasury should be printing all money under the direction of the American Congress.

Add an amendment to put America back on the Gold Standard.

Repeal the State Home Land Security Act.

Build a Concrete Wall 15 feet high and 3 feet wide on our Southern Border and topped off with razor wire.

Rescind the Anchor Baby Law back to its original inception.

Any Illegal Aliens caught on American Soil would be given a mandatory 20 year prison sentence. Then watch them all run south back home.

Bring home all America Soldiers all over the world and shut down all of the Foreign Military Bases. We are not going to be the policeman to the rest of the world.

Add an amendment to make Lobbyist Illegal with a Mandatory 20-year prison sentence.

Appoint Ron Paul as Secretary of Treasury and very close adviser.

Appoint Lou Dobbs as Secretary of State.

Then hold the 2008 elections all over again for every office in the Federal Government.

Is there no end to the ruthlessness of the most Super Wealthiest People in the World?

If the American people wants their great Country back. There is only ONE WAY to get it back and that is march on Washington and physically take it back.

Did you think for one minute that all of those Prima Donna in Washington will give up all of that Power and money easily?

The CFR PARTY members always win the Presidential and Key Congressional elections and because it is absolute impossible to vote the CFR PARTY out of office.

You see if you control all the money in the world then you can always buy anything you want, even the United States Government.

The CFR PARTY buys-off all the main Candidates of both parties, then the American people elect one of the two carry-carrying members of the CFR PARTY every time.

The CFR Party has totally controlled the American Federal Government for well over 80 years.

So, if you want to end up working for $2/day just like the Chinese slave labor, just keep votes for your favorite Republican and Democrat Candidate. They are all a bunch of damn greedy Crooks.

SO MOTE IT BE. . . . .

Do you truly want to help straighten out the United States Government now? Then, copy and post this article everyplace on the Internet you can post.

The American People have a right to know exactly who runs our Federal Government.

BY: Harry Dingey

Have a good day my friends.

- Posted by Harry Dingey

Pure and simple, do not vote democrat or republican.
A third party candidate will work to Americas advantage.
Do not vote for any incumbants, vote for alternative
candidates who best reflect your views and the countries
domestic interests.
In America today the road less traveled is the road of
integrity, honesty and a spirit to serve each other
rather than our own self interest.

The next time you vote, make it count by not letting
the votes add up in the column of the incumbant.

Bill Scotti
978-979-4864

- Posted by Bill Scotti

Since the passing of the reforms of the Immigration Act of 1965 which was suppose to offer more opportunities for legal immigrants has turned into a nightmare to our own economy.Our own government doesn’t know how many illegal immigrants are here.Estimates put that figure at between 12 and 20 million.Now so many companies are reinventing themselves by catering to this “Se Habla Esponol”craze.If you were twenty years old and went into a coma in 1953 and woke up today you would wonder if you were in another country and how did Americans let this happen.I long for the times a man could raise a family on a single income.Greed and politicians have destroyed our way of living.Oh the Nestle company sent me a free sample of a new hot chocalate they are coming out with the instructions are all in spanish.How much is 200ml de leche?

- Posted by JR

I agree with the proposition that in order to take our country back we need to vote out of office those incumbents that have turned their collective backs on us..those who would ignore the voice of the people and listen to their own entrenched colleagues in Washington. It seems that the politicians in Washington are in their own world and living in the D.C. vacuum. We need to throw the bums out and re-elect another bunch that we hope will listen to reason and common sense.

- Posted by Sig Friedman

This is not the entire story. There are millions of people like me who saw the reality of the economy and made ourselves useful to companies that hire. I started out of high school making $12/hour at the J&L plant in Pittsburgh. All I had to do was stack steel I beams… this was in 1977. I was way overpaid for what value I added to the company’s product. The reason I was paid this wage was cuz of unions. At age 18, I realized this was unsustainable and many like me went to college and got a degree which allowed us to get good jobs. Millions of us Americans figured this out and made ourselves valuable to employeers. It’s called FREEDOM of choice and is the core value of the USA.
BTW, typically 10% of the cost of a manufactured product (like a whirlpool washer) is actual manufacturing labor. The other 90% of the cost is overhead (Marketing, sales, legal, accounting), engineering, R&D, and materials. So we should be grateful to the Chinese for significantly reducing 10% of the manufacturing labor cost so that the company can pay their USA employees who work the overhead jobs a higher salary and/or pass the savings onto the USA consumer. The cheap chinese and mexican labor actually helps our economy. It’s simple economics if any of the media braintrust would sift through the details as I have and do the math.

- Posted by Greg

It’s Democrat policies of welfare, tax and spend, immigration, NAFTA and now healthcare that have stripped working people of their jobs in favor of a welfare class that works part time or not at all.

The economic downturn under Bush was primarily a result of the 9/11 attacks and the resulting cascade effect from the Iraq war and the shutdown of airline transportation. It would not have been so without the non-stop economy bashing from the main stream media hell bent on selling fear to the masses in an attempt to enrich themselves and seat a Dem president.

Every positive bit of news was met with media spin from all angles to try and squash it. People got scared and they stop buying anything with a big ticket price. Homes, cars, appliances sales all slowed and the result was economic downturn.

Without the media fear-mongering, the US would have moved on from 9/11 and even the war expense would have been just a bump in the road.

Now the voters have buyers remorse and we’re left to pick up the pieces.

- Posted by Disgusted Centerist

Voting more Democrats into office will be the worst thing The American public could do. The ones in power right now are smothering whats left of the American private sector. Read Saul Alinsky’s book “Rules for Radicals” This is Obama’s bible. It outlines in detail how to dismantle the American private sector, exactly what he’s been doing. Smash it apart and start over with some Socialist Communist takeover. We need to vote Constituntional minded business people into the Congress and White House to get this great Country back up to speed and fast! No more Liberal Community Activists please. Throw out all the Democrat Defense Attorneys running Congress too! If they were any good at being Attorneys they would still be doing it!

- Posted by William

Not much of our manufacturing work is done in Mexico City. Their smog rules preclude anything serious in manufacturing. One thing people must do is find out what is happening outside the US, and anyone who knows so little they think our jobs go to Mexico City is not able to survive in the real world. I have a house there so this is not an intellectual exercise. And, let me make it clear I worked as a skilled factory worker, not as a rich management person.

- Posted by irlandes

hey, if you want to recover: just STOP voting democrat!!!!!

Last I check the Democrats were in charge of the banking committees in both houses.

House Financial Services Committee Chairman – Barney Frank
U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs – Chris Dodd

- Posted by David

To President Obama and all 535 voting members of the Legislature,

It is now official you are ALL corrupt morons:

>The U.S. Post Service was established in 1775. You have had 234 years to get it right and it is broke.
>Social Securitywas established in 1935. You have had 74 years to get it right and it is broke.
>Fannie Mae was established in 1938. You have had 71 years to get it right and it is broke.
>War on Poverty started in 1964. You have had 45 years to get it right; $1 trillion of our money is confiscated each year and transferred to “the poor” and they only want more.
>Medicare and Medicaid were established in 1965. You have had 44 years to get it right and they are broke.
>Freddie Mac was established in 1970. You have had 39 years to get it right and it is broke.
>The Department of Energy was created in 1977 to lessen our dependence on foreign oil. It has ballooned to 16,000 employees with a budget of $24 billion a year and we import more oil than ever before. You had 32 years to get it right and it is an abysmal failure.

You have FAILED in every “government service” you have shoved down our throats while overspending our tax dollars

AND YOU WANT AMERICANS TO BELIEVE YOU CAN BE TRUSTED WITH A GOVERNMENT-RUN HEALTH CARE SYSTEM??

- Posted by Long Island

Hey William, I guess you never got outside of Mexico City much. Did you ever check out the Mexican cities of Leon or Monterrey or Juarez? Those Mexican cities are full of U.S. manufacturing companies, especially U.S. automotive suppliers. Believe me I know all about it because I have lived there too but not in the disgusting rarefied air of the capitol.

- Posted by MexiMike

look, in this country you got two choices by which to be ruled: the government OR corporations!

and since there’s a ‘revolving door’ at the top, between both, we’ve got the worse of both choices.

the previous 8 years under bush’d showed us what corporate rule results in: tainted food deaths, highways collapsing, economic failure, mistaken wars, generational war, etc.

the profit motive has no place in good governance.

so, a good route to recovery is to revolutionize the way we choose leaders and media types. (the latter have to be included because of their power to sway opinion.)

the way to revolutionize the way we choose leaders is to establish a ‘leadership academy’ (or something like it) from which all governmental and media leaders will be chosen (for vote or appointment). a Phd in appropriate academic areas will be required for graduation into status for being voted on or appointed. all grades and all papers will be public record.

the academy will be open for competitive admission to all high school graduates. no tuition will be required for study in the academy. all academy graduates will be required to commit to lifetime government service (no corporate crossing-over).

- Posted by jborrow

The only way manufacturing and America will return to prosperity and thus America will have a sustainable economy and create millions of jobs is to get out of NAFTA and WTO. And here’s the shocker people: both parties sold us out. Bush Sr. created NAFTA and Clinton signed it. No wonder both parties are bought and paid for,IBM is an example. Free trade is nothing but a ruse.

I feel sorry for those people in the Whirlpool plant, they’re a few miles away from where I live. They were sold out while the mobsters laugh all the way to the bank and thus destroying America in the process. Disgusting.

- Posted by fm65

most accurate and honest article about the real condition of america I’ve seen.

Large Corporations DO NOT give a *** about this country or us – they prove it everyday – they only base here in the US because of the tax incentives and put their labor and other investments where it is the cheapest – they do not care if we have any money to buy what they have to sell cause they can always sell it to the Europeans or Chinese or wherever – build back manufacturing in small business pockets spread over the whole country – owned and ran by locals – BREAK THE BIG ONES UP – RUN THE BIG CORPS out of this country by taking the tax havens and incentives away. We do not need them if we get smart – they have hurt us so bad on all levels from ethics to income to politics to pollution.

Good article – thank you.

- Posted by rm

hey, harry dingey

i’m no fan of the CFR, but get your facts straight.John D. rockefeller was not a jew (a weird thing for you to mention anyway?? crazies abound… and jews rarely name their kids after new testament figures, DUH…

from wiki

Rockefeller spent the last 40 years of his life in retirement. His fortune was mainly used to create the modern systematic approach of targeted philanthropy with foundations that had a major effect on medicine, education, and scientific research.[citation needed]
His foundations pioneered the development of medical research, and were instrumental in the eradication of hookworm and yellow fever. He is also the founder of both the University of Chicago and Rockefeller University. He was a devoted Northern Baptist and supported many church-based institutions throughout his life. Rockefeller adhered to total abstinence from alcohol and tobacco throughout his life.[7]

- Posted by carlo b

Vote Indepublicrat!

- Posted by Retired Medic E7

The US economy is the latest victim of an economic policy led by the Chicago School of Economics and it’s cheerleader, Milton Freedman. In the mid 1980′s, the Uraguay round of the GATT, General Agreements on Tarrifs and Trade, which set the groundwork for NAFTA, had a clearly written goal: “NORMALIZE LABOR MARKETS” The ‘free trade’ agreement has led to the greatest welfare bonanza in history, for the multinational corporations, that is. Multinational corporations have been able to move operations and jobs out of higher wage countries (i.e. US) to countries paying lower wages(i.e. MEXICO). Please don’t blame our neighbors to the south, for they have been suffering from US dominated economics in latin america since Britain pulled out to the slave trade in the 19th century. The ‘free trade’ agreement collapsed the natioinal agricultural and manufacturing industries of Mexico and other countries. This led to a mass rural to urban migration, flooding the cities in Mexico with low wage workers, destroying the middle class, and sending more economic refugees over the the northern border. NAFTA was supposed to have a provision for ‘economically displaced’ workers. Since the ‘tequila crisis’ in Mexico in 1994, an increasing number of immigrants arrive to the US as undocumented workers. Unfortunately, right wing media pundits like Lou Dobbs demonize ‘illegal’ immigrants and blame them for taking our jobs here. No mention is made in our popular Media about the fact the many multinationals have pulled out of Mexico, in favor of exploiting workers in S.E. Asia. US policy, led by Freedman’s disciples, has diminished our manufacturing infrastructure and turned the US Economy into a service economy, unable to produce it’s own material needs. A country that is unable to produce it’s own goods, will be dependent on the countries that do. It their any wonder that the financiers of China are buying US treasury bills-keeping our own government on life support-are producing the majority of ‘low-cost’ products in the big-box retailers(i.e. walmart) and dollar stores? In addition, US and China arms manufactures are profiting from the illegal weapons smuggling into Mexico – an estimated 4,000 to 5,000 per day – and into the hands of the narco-trafficers. Having a full out Columbia Style ‘drug war’ at our southern border theatens our security. Does any one else see this?

- Posted by Ricardo T

What really bothers me is the class envy, The rich are the enemy? Rich invest money and hire people they way I have always seen it. Atlas Scrugged by Ian Rand should be requered reading in the schools. This country will return when the contry quiets thinking of evertone as victims and the spending is reduced. Business needs credit to run and the Fed is borrowing to spend and taking it from those that create jobs

- Posted by Tom

Ricardo T you are brain washed and spouting the current status quo rhetoric that empowers these elites to RULE over what is left of the middle class – throw the bums out – start over with a more equitable democratic system – one with dignity and the right to work and make a fair and equitable living for all – OWN OUR OWN businesses and labor if necessary – compiling our services together into a system that moves those goods and services to the market (like our granddaddy’s used to do before the big guys took it all over through gov regulation and intervention)

your assumption that anyone who presents objections and intelligent discussion of the real issues is whining and lazy sounds more communist then democratic – the bottom line is that a democracy DOES NOT HAVE TO BE a capitalist big corp society to be a DEMOCRACY – in point of fact it will more likely really be one when they do not exist to exercise such a biased and inequitable stranglehold on our financing, banking, production, labor, ethics in business and politics.

You need to grow up and THINK FOR YOURSELF.

- Posted by rm

This article highlights one aspect that most bloggers here seemed to ignore: (We are)”a nation not renowned for patience and long term planning”.
Some are calling for “vote out all incumbents”? And then what, replace them with “new faces” who say they will be different? That claim, that within 2 years these new individuals will somehow re-make our entire economy? IMO, that is a political knee-jerk reaction, that probably will not bring anything but “new faces”. Which will result in another 2 year cycle of “new faces”, but no actual results.

Looking in the rear-view mirror is great fun, but it certainly will not help you in driving down the road. Unless of course, you like driving in reverse.

When the GOP are praised for “attempting to stop all legislation”, then do their supporters believe that doing nothing is good for the country?

For some (like me), who don’t have a dog in this fight, this is like a dog chasing his tail, at the end of the day, nothing has been accomplished. Now someone explain how that is a step forward.

- Posted by afisher

Let’s attack and conquer Alaska instead of sending highest-paying jobs to China! Or we could also surrender to Greenland who is not part of NAFTA. And prosper!

- Posted by obam

Term limits to all congressman (women) & the president- 6 years. That should squelch the lobbyists & special interest groups (just ponder that a bit) & just perhaps make a positive difference for the people of this great country.
I’m not pessimistic (generally have a smile), but I do not see any “real” economic improvement forthcoming at all but rather twisted headlines that merely prolong an inevitable disasterous outcome.
But I’ll say a prayer for all of my family and yours too.

- Posted by GMM

What most of the posters on here don’t want to say is that the UNIONS caused a nice chunk of this problem…okay, the wages went up…and up…and up…until the companies weren’t able or willing to pay them anymore…and they moved the factory work outside the USA where workers will do the job for less…it’s the same reason that illegal aliens keep coming to America…so they can hire on for chicken-feed wages…so, after paying your dues, after the old baseball bat threats, after going on strike…what did the UNIONS do for you except get your job destroyed? Nothing…and that is what the socialists wanted…so that once the economy collapses, the government can come in and take over…unions and socialism KILL nations…I hope all you good UNION men are happy, look what you did to YOUR YOUNGSTOWN!

- Posted by Heartland Patriot

@Posted by R. L. Hails Sr. P. E.

YOU are the only one I have read comments by that got this whole thing RIGHT! Most of these people are too ignorant, or too in the tank for those who caused this mess, to agree with you…they want an easy way to place blame: Rich bankers, fat cat Wall Street, dirty capitalists…they think that “rich folk” swim in their money vaults like Scrooge McDuck…the people who caused this mess are SOCIALISTS…they want America down to a huge “proletariat” who will then take up their hammers and sickles and go revolting through the streets chanting Karl Marx’ name…wow, have they read America wrong…they are more likely to get a right-wing, mildly theocratic revolution if it comes to it…and the “Little Red Book” and Das Kapital hippie heroes will be the ones dragged into the street and hung from lamp posts…they better hope this turns around, because they stand to lose the most. You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all of the time, but you can’t fool all the people all of the time.

- Posted by Heartland Patriot

@- Posted by Nevarge

YOU are hitting the nail on the head…but why would all that be allowed to go on in those plants? UNIONS…oh, you can’t fire me, talk to the UNION (sound of baseball bat slapping into palm of hand)…and who backs the UNIONS and always have…DEMOCRAT (Socialist) Party! These people RUINED manufacturing in the Northeast with labor and environmental regulation…look at factories in the South today, that operate without or with minimal union involvement…the companies (mostly not American, unfortunately) make money and people have JOBS! All I can say is “FU Karl Marx”!

- Posted by Heartland Patriot

We are caught between a rock and a hard place. The corporations are on top in this country, and have a stranglehold on the government via campaign contributions and jobs for departing congress and administration members. Corporations can get whatever they want, they can effectively kill health care reform, give our jobs to workers in third world and emerging countries that can afford to work much cheaper than we can, and get all the tax breaks and tax money given to them that they need to prosper despite their failed “businesses”. The cost is that those of us not in government or the corporate elite suffer, and most of us are afraid to take a stand when push comes to shove, since our jobs can be outsourced or just eliminated. So fear of losing jobs allows effective wages to decrease since workers have no bargaining power, and allows the same old corporate-owned congress people to be elected over and over.

It is very frustrating, and I worry a lot about the fate of my daughters, just now in college and graduating, and unable to find jobs. The real middle class (that was formed around the WWII time frame) is shrinking rapidly, it’s hard to stay in the middle class when you’ve been laid off, or forced to take a low-paying service sector job.

No major changes will happen in this country until we have a lot more people with nothing much to lose. As it is, people here are easily manipulated by fear, fear of job loss, fear of medical coverage loss, fear of terrorists, fear of our mounting national debt, fear fear fear. It seems that we may have a long way yet to go down before people realize that we need to embrace change, not fear it. We need to see that our taxes are going into needed job creation, infrastructure repairs, educating our children and so on rather than disappearing into corporate pockets where it becomes high salaries and bonuses for CEO’s and other executives despite how their respective corporations are performing.

This is a very difficult situation, and given the current deadlock and corporate control of most everything, I don’t see how it ends. If people won’t push for change because they have too much fear, things will not change. If people only push for corporate America to have more power (since government is clearly evil), things will just get worse. There has to be a balance for corporate power and greed, not more of it. There seems to be an attitude that if we let “free enterprise” work that will be better than having an evil government…but the last few years have clearly shown that “free enterprise” will not do the right thing if left alone, it must be regulated due to its greed and inherent immorality, but the regulating body has to be independent, it cannot be owned by corporations. Again, I don’t know how we can get things back into balance with people refusing to face the issues because they fear any change in the status quo…There was a much better balance between government and corporate power before President Reagan came along, but since then it has been rampant and blatant corporate ownership of government. As long as this situation persists, we cannot improve our lot.

-Roger

- Posted by Roger

A lot of spirited chatting. I enjoyed the article and the comments. Unfortunately, they have proved my worst fear to be true. This country is so divided on party lines that there is no way in the world that there will be a recovery. This is the end my friends. Lots of complaints about Entitlements.. HA! like they are the problem.. last I checked welfare/TANF makes up about 2% of the US budget. You might be surprised that more than half of them receiving are white. Most are Mothers with young children. The US is one of 3 developed countries that does not allow working mothers at least 6 mos Maternity leave. The other two countries.. I couldn’t even spell, much less validate their 1st worldness. I am only in my 30′s and I can tell you this: PAY is going down… everything else is going up. Gas, Milk, Homes, Clothes. Simple stuff, necessities. Two incomes don;t cut it, when One income did 20 years ago, and we raised our own children rather than shipping them off to daycare. I am disgusted that a country like the U.S. can be this divided. Divided over politics, over religion, over everything. The disparity between the parties used to work as a means of check and balance; it doesn’t work anymore. The Government is in a recession. Time for people to take accountability for their actions within their homes (raise your children.. don;t let someone else), within their community (Church isn’t enough), and within their country (voting isn’t enough), or the govt is going to tell you what to do fo you. Wake up people.

- Posted by AT Evans

America the great? Our great country,the good we once did for the the rest of the world,is the reason our country is so diversified,everyone from far and wide came to America for a better life. The smartest and brightest came to America,making our great country what it is today,and still can be. America’s problems have all been caused from self serving politicians! When the majoriy of American people have no voice in politics,the only thing we can do is revolt,and revolt we will! There should be no political parties,only elected politicians doing what the American people voted them into office to do,REPRESENT THE AMERICAN PEOPLE! There are far too many millionaire career politicians,how do you think most became millionaires! Not because they were looking out for our best interest. The American people have no representation in Washington. Let’s vote them all out of office,confiscate their ill gained fortunes,and put most of them in jail. If that does’nt happen,the march on Washington by well armed American citizens might open eyes of change!

- Posted by wlb

This is is reply to Dennis Aldis’s comment on the above article, “Castles Built on Sand”.
I quote his main argument: “The CFR Party was founded by JP MORGAN , Paul Warburg (Jew), John D. Rockefeller (Jew), three super wealthy CFR members back in 1921 with the specific goal to control the American people by buying control of all means of communication to control and generate public support to advance the CFR Party agenda”.
Any reasonably intelligent person will immediately spot the reference to ‘Jew’.
I pray that Mr. Aldis never becomes President of the USA.
Anti-semitism has to be challenged immediately and with exact cause, lest the lives of all our brave soldiers who died fighting the Nazis be given in vain.
History is clear, Hitler was not the only mad man to blame the Jews for his lack of financial success. Face it, on top of all of his other crimes, Hitler was a thief. Pograms against the jews since medieval times has always been about their financial success.
We cannot blame NAFTA or any other organization, religous or other wise for our current financial state here in America. We only need to examine ‘Wall Street-The Nature of Greed’ and our selves, to find the real culprits. Greed, unmitigated greed, gorgeous, fantastic, better than sex, good old fashioned greed. That is right.
Take the pharmaceutical industry. They are protected and permitted to make 600% net profit on essential drugs.
They will tell you that they have to pay for the cost of R&D on a given drug. I believe that most unprotected corporations put aside some of their net profit to pay for R&D. Guess what GM’s answer to R&D costs is! Outsource all R&D to China or India third party companies. There go our engineering jobs. GM is one of many.
Yes, the working class or middle class Americans have been “screwed” since the Declaration of Indepedence.
But they have been “screwed” by some very clever, very greedy people, who view us as human cattle. They also believe it is their God given right to govern and fleece us.
I call these people ‘Black Mentalists’ and they have no human soul. They come in all races, religions and political persuasions. They kill us in the name of many different religions, they fleece us like sheep and call it taxation. They might be ‘fallen angels’ or even ‘space aliens’. The good news is, if you really open your ears, eyes and mind, you can see them too.
These are the people stealing the wealth of our country. They are not jews, or republicans, or bankers etc.,
They are very smart and their strongest weapons are fear, hatred and greed.
They are masters of lies and deceit and use the media to divide and conquer us.

- Posted by Julian Schmidt

There is no answer to the conundrum of free trade vs. protectionism. Possibly “fair trade” would help a bit,to slow down the decline.Everything eventually turns to dust. Eventually Americans will be worth no more then Chinese people.

- Posted by stephen morris

Politicians, Bankers, and Executives in large corps. are selfish and incapable of empathy. They should all be stripped of salaries that are not dependent on productivity & paid in a standard ratio to compensation adjustments for workers.
World is changing and America must change with it. NAFTA & Other Trade Treaties are just short term problems – but a necessity for the times.
America should never have given up so easily. Firstly a government must sincerely care about all of its people.
A combination of lower salaries, more automation, and greater productivity is what the Great America should have been capable of performing.
It would also mean that if a factory worker had to take a 60% cut in pay then the executive and also the givernment services sections should also have taken home equal cuts. This didn’t happen and thus today we suffer.
If we support greed and arrogance as leadership – we lose.
As a retiree I left America permanently some years ago because I could no longer afford to stay. Today I live in a country with lower wages and also equally lower executive salaries. Soon they will be ahead of the unplanned Americans.

- Posted by Ron Peterson

Mr. Peterson and others here have found the crux of our misfortunes: greed & power. We ALL are part of the problem it is where we fall on the continuum of desire for “more” that dictates our involvement. Still we all have participated in the failure of our current system.

“power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely”- a well-known & proven-over-time quote that applies to powerful societies dating back through the centuries. Many of the mightiest have fallen to their knees- Chinese dynasties, Roman, Egypt, and so on. Greed is the great destroyer.

We DO need to be intricately involved in our political system from the local to the national level. We DO need to participate in our communities and care about our neighbors. We DO need to develop personal standards of excellence in our work ethic. Caring, concern, compassion- essential elements for lasting success.

This does not mean socialism. I am NOT a proponent of socialism-at all. Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged puts forth many of these ideas. Individualism is absolutely critical. When coupled with high standards, ethics and compassion for others– ALL others- one simply can’t lose. Success doesn’t require the degradation or destruction of “the other guy”.

I believe if we think on these concepts as a whole, then take appropriate action on all levels starting with ourselves, get involved in our communities & participate in our government, we might have a chance to survive the apparent demise of our country.

Take your anger & channel it into something positive. Its wonderful energy- use it to the country’s advantage.
Our country is truly in trouble. We need each other now more than ever.

- Posted by cedar

Sure does make for some very dismal reading, everbody blaming everybody else.

There is only one person that each individual can blame, and thats YOURSELF. You, the American nation, has been living the “dream” for many decades, and hopefully some of you have finally woke up from fairyland. The USA as a great nation is finished, on the edge of bankruptcy, with unfunded liablities of well over $100 trillion, huge trade deficits, huge budget deficits, yet all you can say is, reduce taxes, reduce taxes, so whos going to pay the bill, for sure the Chinese arent, and no other nation across the world is so stupid as to lend the USA any more money.

- Posted by George

“George” Hit the nail on the head.

- Posted by Julian Schmidt

Ricardo T

Yes Ricardo many of us see this. I am unalterably opposed to the swindle of “Free Trade”. All we’ve heard from The USG over the last 35 years is “Free Trade is good for everyone”. It’s been a disaster for everyone and is leading to the ruination of our republic. It is time for the people of those countries that have been devastated by the swindle of “Free Trade” to take to the streets and force those governments to repudiate this policy. IMO people in the USA have been duped into a stupified subservience by the establishment’s pushing of pro-sports entertainment, celebrity, reality TeeVee and the latest time wasting electronic whizz gizmo. Jobs aren’t coming back to the USA until “Free Trade” ends, manufacturing returns and once again we make want we nee – afterall we we must beg for the necessities of daily life from our enemy we become his slave.

- Posted by Mugged

Education (and much public education does not qualify) is the only answer.

Stop NAFTA and Free Trade and there will not only be fewer jobs in America, but fewer companies as well. Not to mention fewer products of lower quality and higher cost.

Keep in mind that manufacturing is as strong today as it ever has been. It is manufacturing labor that has disappeared. Manual labor has been replaced by robotics; it’s better, cheaper, more reliable, more consistent, more adaptable and it doesn’t go on strike.

- Posted by Matt O

non-believing jew guy here. An engineer; i fix machines with my own hands.

i’d like to introduce that fellow who’s blaming the jews for this mess, to my sister. she’s a hospital tech who dodged the collapse (went through several repetitions of layoff-find-another-job) of the hospital industry for a few years. Eventually, the collapse became stronger than her fairly decent employee-attractiveness. Been out of work for almost a year now. I think my (future) inheritance from my ma, is quietly being spent to keep my sis from becoming homeless. I chose not to complain about that.

The Rockefeller family isn’t jewish, by the way.

- Posted by al

as i’ve said elsewhere…its pretty simple: in america you have two choices, governance by corporations or governance by ‘government’.

now ask yourselves: do you want private corporations, answerable to no one (even the u.s. senate), making the laws and controlling everything? it would be no different from n. korea or burma or the middle ages in europe! you’d have a few rich individuals on top and the rest would be serfs. its already like that in small town u.s.a. out in the heart (or hinter) lands. hell, you might say the whole country is run by the few and the privileged, since they seem to be able play congress like a fiddle. you might say that all this talk is already too late!

now, i don’t know about you, but it seems pretty simple to me; that if you’re going to let the corporations get their snouts into everything from health care to education, you’d better have a public dole and free medical for when they throw everybody out of work during technological expansions and out-sourcings.

but, if you insist on ‘working’ for a living rather than taxing the corporations and the rich into providing you a ‘living’ for sucking up our natural resources and polluting up our land and air and water and minds; then you better have a government able to provide you with ‘make work’ when you’re out of corporate work.

government created ‘make work’ is the only overnite solution! you can’t pull out of nafta or the wto overnight! you can’t rebuild all of the rust factories overnight! and you certainly can’t staff up factories you can’t rebuild overnite, overnight!!

nope, folks! corps aren’t going to do anything that’s not in their self-interest, and the repubs are the party of the white corporate upper classes. (after all, the white upper classes have their own clubs–you can’t get into (unless you’re serving)–why shouldn’t they have their own political party?) so you can count the repubs out of a recovery that doesn’t have you standing in a soup line like the poor folks in haiti!

you want to live like haiti after the earthquake? just keep voting republican!

our only hope is to clean-up of the democratic party by kicking out the dlc and blue dogs and going hard left! if we had a real party fighting to nationalize the corporations and banks, then at least we’d have a party on the road to recovery.

otherwise, you’re just on ‘the road’! (see the film, you’ll know what i mean. you’ll also see your future…’we eat, therefore we hunt’)

- Posted by jborrow

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