Reaching Across the Oceans

“The cry in Egypt, America, and in the rest of the world … ‘We want jobs!’ – was how we began Vol. XXVI, Art. 14.

“It’s not just in Egypt,” the noted Professor Sam Hamod wrote, “but in America and around the world, people want jobs. When Egyptians were asked what they wanted most, the vast majority said they wanted jobs – they wanted Hosni Mubarak out so that they could change the economy because many said they had no jobs and no food.

“Most countries have gone into a capitalist system, and with this, came the necessity to having a job at all times in order to pay for shelter, food and other human needs. In Egypt and in many countries in the Middle East, Africa and South America, as well as in America, the unemployment rates are at record highs. For some time, the people were sold on the idea of ‘education’ as the cure-all. But as many Americans have found out, even with MBA, IT, Ph.D. degrees, there just aren’t that many jobs, and many of the jobs that are available do not pay a decent wage, a wage that can help a person pay for shelter and food. Egypt is not alone in this situation, but because it is now at center stage with its revolt against Mubarak, it appears that it is an Egyptian problem …”

Well, it isn’t, and everyone but the present administration knows it. At the first meeting of his “outside economic advisors” the president stated that, “…the U.S. must deal with stubbornly high unemployment even as the recovery from the recession is well under way.”

The recovery is “well under way”, he claims? They’re killing one another in about a dozen or more foreign lands because of unemployment in this ever-deepening “recession”, and the president is still pretending that the global economy is on the mend? What planet is he living on?

“The biggest challenge that we’re seeing right now is that unemployment is way too high,” he told the elite 23-member President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness. Since he delivered his State of The Union Address a few weeks ago, the president has tried to make the case that investments in infrastructure, education and innovation will create more jobs. He repeated that message to the elect members of his panel, saying, “We’re going to have to give up our game in this newly competitive world” – and he told them that he wants them to provide “some concrete deliverables” that will help lower the “9 percent” unemployment rate.

Here’s a man whose biggest and loudest campaign promise was that he would create millions of jobs as president. The whole wide world now knows that those promises were all hot air. He hasn’t done a single thing to stem the nation’s incredible economic slide, so now he’s throwing the ball on to the court of a special panel of “outside economic advisors”.

Would these new advisors be a group from the trenches who’ve been feeling the pain? Who might be sharing the grief of other jobless Americans? Who might have one or two helpful “concrete deliverables” that will create the jobs that the president has failed to produce? Guess again.

That advisory group, in fact, is made up of multi-millionaires like Jeffrey Immelt, the CEO of General Electric Co., Kenneth Chenault, the CEO of American Express Co., Ellen Kullman, the CEO of DuPont Co., Richard D. Parsons, CEO of Citigroup, Inc., Roger Ferguson, CEO of TIAA-CREF (who was also a former vice chairman of the Federal Reserve), Robert Wolf, American CEO of UBS, and other real foot soldiers. You know, folks biting the bullet and trying to make ends meet.

On the following day, Mr. Obama was scheduled to meet at the White House with 14 Democratic governors – including Deval Patrick of Massachusetts, Martin O’Malley of Maryland and Dan Malloy of Connecticut – to discuss ways Washington can work with states to help the “jobless recovery”. None of these fellows have had any problems at all with unemployment in their home states, of course, so naturally, they’ll be able to alleviate our economic woes. Sure they will.

The reason for this meeting of gubernatorial bigwigs is so that Mr. Obama can throw the ball on to their courts as well – just as he did at the meeting of his 23-member “outside economic advisers”, and just as he did during his visit and talk at Cleveland State University on February 22nd.

At that Cleveland gathering the president urged a group of governors to form a group of “regional innovation clusters”. He pointed to the technology industry in Silicon Valley and said governors should reach “across state lines” and form groups of industries and universities to support specific areas of innovation. [Silicon Valley? Where they’ve reached “across the oceans”? Is he serious?]

According to the executive order that created that council of “outside economic advisors”, Mr. Obama was looking for some “nonpartisan advice” on strengthening the U.S. economy and ensuring competitiveness while creating “jobs, opportunity and prosperity for the American people”.

But here’s a sample of the “nonpartisan advice” that the president was hearing. Kenneth Chenault, the above-mentioned CEO of American Express Co., told the president that he was concerned that consumers aren’t spending and using their credit cards because of “uncertainty” in the economy.

“Nonpartisan”? Can you believe that? Every one of those “millionaires” are losers. They’re filthy rich, but they’re losers. Not a one of them is doing the job expected of them. They’re living secluded lives in their own private domains. But those domains are nothing more than glass houses.
Mubarak. Ghadafy, and a few other dictators were untouchables just a few short days ago – and in positions of unbelievable power and wealth – but look at what’s happening to them at this moment.

“Egypt is but a harbinger that is like the canary in the coal mine that warns when the poisonous gases have reached a danger point,” Professor Hamod wrote. “The gases are here and expanding, let us hope that the people in power in the world will awaken in time and find solutions, no matter how radical they seem, before more explosions occur and more people have to suffer.” –

Since Professor Hamod wrote that piece, a number of other explosions have occurred and more people have suffered , but in this country our president is throwing the ball into other courts. Well, so what? “It can’t happen here,” is the common refrain. But we’ll be singing a different tune if we’re wrong. As we warned back in Vol. XXVI, Art. 34 – “And it won’t be pretty”.