Friday morning was spent drying out my laptop after I slopped coffee across the keyboard while listening to comments from Illinois’ governor, Chicago’s mayor, and President Obama in support of Chicago’s Olympics bid. The wisdom of dumping this undertaking on a financially strapped city in a state that just months before had threatened an income tax hike and social service cuts during acrimonious budget negotiations was deluded, at best.
I was amused by Joe Wilson’s outburst during the president’s recent address on health care reform. The absurdity of one politician calling another a liar is, after all, rather comical. My amusement turned to irritation when I realized that once reform has been voted down, the only truth that will come out of the process is that the American people have been betrayed once again.
Two weeks ago I shipped a crate across the country. The crate weighed nearly 1,000 lbs., and was destined for the East Coast. I placed the crate in the care of a nationally-known delivery service, watched the truck pull away, and went back to work, secure in the knowledge that my shipment was safely on its way.
The launch of Sputnik I on October 4, 1957, caught America by surprise. In the face of President Eisenhower’s support of the Vanguard proposal, the Soviet Union’s unexpected milestone shocked us into accelerating our aerospace program, led to the creation of NASA, and ultimately delivered three astronauts to the moon on July 20, 1969.1
While Sputnik provided the impetus for the research and development efforts that led to Apollo 11, we were uniquely poised to accept the Soviet challenge because of technological advances necessitated by World War II and the ensuing Cold War.
Part I: The Employment Picture
We have accepted for decades that the decline of U.S. manufacturing is inevitable, with lengthy analyses since the 1970s dedicated to finding a root cause for the inexorable deterioration of this vital sector of our economy.
Manufacturing employment peaked in 19791. Past economic downturns have precipitated significant drops in manufacturing employment, notably the recession of 2001, which cost us 17% of our manufacturing positions.
In response to the barrage of negative publicity surrounding health care reform, the president is aggressively defending his initiative. In the event that you have not collected any offending hoax emails to turn over to your government as a show of support, Healthreform.gov includes a form that can be filled out by anyone over the age of 13 to affirm that “I support health reform this year.” Presumably, you also support the government’s privacy policies, because the form asks the supporter to divulge their name, address, phone number, and email address.
Two emails were forwarded to me last week, the messages insisting that the revelations they contained be sent to absolutely everyone I know. One message cited numerous provisions of H.R. 3200, the Affordable Health Care Choices Act, purporting to reveal aspects of the legislation that had somehow passed under the country’s collective radar. The other email claimed that provisions of the bill provided pro-suicide counseling for those of us unfortunate enough to have turned 65.
The haste to impose government health care has led to wild speculation as to whether proponents will extend benefits to illegal immigrants. Section 246 of House Bill H.R. 3200, “No Federal Payment for Undocumented Aliens,” blocks affordability credits to those residing within our borders illegally. However, these individuals were included in the figure of 46 million uninsured that was used in the PR rush to promote this legislation, raising questions as to whether the intent is to exclude illegals, or to only appear to exclude them for the sake of garnering public opinion and forcing the reform bill through Congress.