Why Jim Webb is A Man of His Times
By Repair Man Jack Posted in Economy | Spotlight Blogs — Comments (43) / Email this page » / Leave a comment »
Right after a year in which four million more jobs were created by Americans than lost, Jim Webb had the following commentary in his response to President Bush’s State of The Union Speech:
“The stock market is at an all-time high, and so are corporate profits. But these benefits are not being fairly shared. When I graduated from college, the average corporate CEO made 20 times what the average worker did; today, it's nearly 400 times. In other words, it takes the average worker more than a year to make the money that his or her boss makes in one day.”
I’m left wondering at this. I make a whole lot more money now than I did when George W. Bush took office. Admittedly, by Donald Trump standards, I still don’t make Jack. You can point out people who make more money in five minutes than I take in all day. That’s humbling, but it raises an important question.
Read on . . .
If I’m better off now, than I was back than, I could truly care less what “The Donald” does with whom on his yacht or on his Leer Jet. I’m pretty sure most people who have a life feel the same way. Donald Trump and Bill Gates both make 10,000 times what I do in a year; once you throw in their investments versus my TSP.
Does it really matter?
Not to me, nor my wife and certainly not to my 7-month old baby.
Therefore, is it an intelligent basis for myself or anyone else to judge the state of our nation, or more importantly, of our lives?
The 3rd Grade kickball game during recess was never really fair. That was a good thing. It taught us what to expect out of life. As long as your best efforts are rewarded and your prudent judgment is sufficient to provide for those you love and care about, screw class envy. It’s mindless brainwashing.
“Wages and salaries for our workers are at all-time lows as a percentage of national wealth, even though the productivity of American workers is the highest in the world. Medical costs have skyrocketed. College tuition rates are off the charts. Our manufacturing base is being dismantled and sent overseas. Good American jobs are being sent along with them. “
So many falsehoods and misconceptions; constrained within such a well-constructed paragraph. Jim Webb earned his best-seller status as a fiction novelist. He truly has a way with slinging the hooey and making it smell like Rosewater.
Again, if a worker’s share of our nation’s wealth is larger and sustains him at a far higher standard of living now, than it did 20 years ago, why care how it looks on a pie graph?
Our manufacturing base is not being dismantled as a result of national policy. Certain American companies and some American labor unions have made disastrously bad and short-sighted decisions in the past. Economic stupidity has always led to disastrous professional and personal failure. That proves Charles Darwin was right; not that Adam Smith was wrong.
Companies such as Microsoft, Apple Computer, Saturn Automobiles and countless large home-building firms are putting hundreds and thousands of people to work. In some cases, these firms didn’t even exist one quarter century ago. Manufacturing and opportunity are not dying.
What we build and how we work has undergone profound and rapid change. An economy hell-bent on packing its productive capacity into boxes and freighting it over to Singapore, Korea and China, could never out-create the resulting job losses by 364,000 new employment positions a month; even if all the boats were loaded by the private sector.
As for good American jobs going overseas; I welcome Senator Webb to the real world. Science Fiction author Robert Heinlein did a former US Congress a major favor when he testified before them on the state of American science in technology. He told them “There is no such thing as American ingenuity.”
He didn’t mean that Americans were not smart or capable, but simply, that the entire rest of the world was both smart and capable as well. He was warning us that Americans were not the only people alive who could develop good ideas into new scientific discoveries.
Someone needs to play Senator Webb and his economic role-model Lou Dobbs, a copy of that testimony. By extension, there is no such thing as a good American job. There are good jobs, and capable Americans – and Mexicans, and Koreans, and Japanese, and etc….
The job gets done in America when the worker, the firm and the consumers of the good, service or product all find it in their best interest to have the work performed here. Our challenge is not to repeal the laws of economics and try to force workers, producers or consumers to accept less than the best, just so a job that’s done better elsewhere stays here.
Our challenge is to do it better, faster and cheaper in America. If we can’t figure out how, we royally deserve to get our butts whipped. It’s not about whether any of it is fair or unfair.
Which brings us to the reason why people, like Jim Webb, who rampantly conflate the fair with the just, so frequently rise to positions of power and address us with falsehoods on important occasions of state. Jim Webb is a true man of our times.
We don’t want the truth. The truth can hurt like a root canal. We want to be told that all of our shortcomings are the fault of George W. Bush. It beats the heck out admitting we’re stupid some days.
So tell us George W. Bush sold all our factories and jobs to the Chinese and subcontracted all our fun and enjoyment in life out to Halliburton. This beats examining why Japanese and Chinese managers and engineers understand and apply Deming to their work, while their American counterparts seem to think he’s geekier than Bobby Fischer on an anti-semantic rant.
We want a fictionalized version of reality. We, as a once great nation, now steeped in sclerotic decline; don’t want to hear the truth. Our senators really should treat us like mushrooms. They should keep us in the dark and keep on feeding us the fertilizer. Who better to do that than a best-selling novelist with a good turn of phrase and a sound ear for his market? Senator Jim Webb is a leader for our times.