Saturday, March 14, 2009

Making Things

I listened to President Obama yesterday talking about "the parts of our economy that are still sound" and expressing confidence that, um, whatever. "We'll get through this," whatever that means. Don't get me wrong, I believe Obama is closer to getting this thing right than any of his detractors with their idiotic "spending freezes" and tax cuts, but...

For one thing, if you have a gigantic, malignant brain tumor which is turning your brain into porridge the "parts of your body which are still sound" are not going to do you much good, are they? And I'd like to do something more definitive than "get through this." I'd like to, I don't know, maybe eat and have a roof over my head while I'm doing so. I will have those things, but there are people without that assurance, and I'm not hearing any assurance in that "we'll get through this." Easy for you to say from your perch with not only food and a roof, but servants and personal bodyguards.

He talks about what we need to do to restore our economy to soundness, and what's glaringly missing from the list is that we need to return to making the things we use. His list restores finances and financial manipulators and it provides some short term jobs building infrastructure. Good plan, but what happens to those jobs when the bridges are finished or when the government funding runs out? Does he seriously think we can rebuild a long term economy while still importing manufactured goods on a wholesale basis from another economy, consuming here to support manufacturing jobs somewhere else? I have listened very carefully, and not he or any of his financial administration has ever once said a single word about rebuilding the manufacturing sector, other than automobiles.

We can't afford to lose the auto industry, but apparently we don't need to manufacture anything else.

He's trying to restore confidence and "restart the flow of credit" so that people will start buying things again to get the economy moving. Buying things with borrowed money. Buying things and increasing debt. Buying things and using things. Buying things and using things and filling landfills with discarded toys.

But we won't recover until we regain our greatness at making things.

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