Red Ink

“So long as people of all countries, especially their leaders, can do away with hostility, estrangement and prejudice, treat each other with sincerity and an open mind, and forge ahead hand in hand, mankind will overcome all difficulties and embrace a brighter and better future.”

Would you care to guess who offered those words of wisdom? Thomas Jefferson? John Adams, maybe? Mother Teresa? Mahatma Ghandi? It was “none of the above”. Nor was that advice given decades ago or centuries ago. Those words were addressed to the UN General Assembly less than a month ago by China’s Premier Wen Jiabao.

In deliberate but diplomatic language Premier Wen criticized the “hostility” and “prejudice” of the world’s elite and stated that his country “is ready to work with other members of the international community to strengthen cooperation, share opportunities, meet challenges and contribute to the harmonious and sustainable development of the world”. The “other members” Premier Wen has in mind are:
• Members of the “coalition of the willing” who are crushing hapless third-world societies;
• Local and international bankers who have pilfered trillions from national economies;
• Elected and appointed officials with unrestricted access to the pocketbooks of taxpayers.

We’ll leave it to others to deal with the first two situations – both being highly-publicized international problems – but the third is an unheralded matter that can and must be handled by the not-so-rich U.S. taxpayers.

Almost every day port officials appeal for taxpayer funding in order to speed up the expansion of U.S. container ports. Harbor channels must be dredged and “high-tech systems” must be installed in order to accommodate the giant megaships that will soon be coming our way through the widened Panama Canal, according to those officials. Study after self-serving study produce astonishing growth figures in support of the appeals for that funding, in spite of the fact that joblessness, bankruptcies and foreclosures have brought U.S. taxpayers to the brink of penury. To put it bluntly, we’re going broke, and because we’re losing our buying power the number of containers being imported is rapidly declining.

Jonathan Gold, an official of the National Retail Federation, said that “Retailers are being careful to import only as much merchandise as they think they can sell,” and Jack Kyser, chief economist for the LA County Economic Development Council pointedly stated that, “If the stores were honest, they would tell you they wish they hadn’t placed a lot of those orders.”

Nevertheless, unsuspecting taxpayers are being asked to foot the bill for the unnecessary port expansions, harbor dredging and infrastructure projects … along with the millions of dollars in annual salaries called for by those unsupervised and devious port officials.

With “sincerity … an open mind … and hand in hand,” Premier Wen? Forget about it.