Tuesday, September 9, 2008

When Falls The Coliseum

Rome shall fall.

My wife was reading aloud to me snippets from a disturbing article she came across online. It was reporting on ten large US corporations (huge might be a better word) that are in trouble and will be laying off staff to stay competitive, cut costs, regain profitability, and basically hold on to their reason for existence.

The corporations in focus are set to lay off tens of thousands of employees -- some numbers nearing hundreds of thousands. I don't remember all of them, but I remember a few; RiteAid, Blockbuster, Merck, IBM, Ford Motor Company.... The list goes on.

IBM? Ford Motor Company? These long-standing pillars of American business are institutions in their own right. And they're crumbling. Case in point: Ford sold only 155,000 units last year. Back in the day, 155,000 units was what they might sell of only one particular model -- out of many. Now it's their total sales.

And what's happening to the combined several hundred thousand jobs that Americans are losing? Well, some are being eliminated completely. Others -- and you knew this was coming -- are being out-sourced to India and Asia.

I have no qualms with anyone, no matter who and where they are, earning a living. But I take the greatest possible exception to big corporations putting countless Americans out of work just so the bean counters can avoid any red ink on the bottom line.

At the risk of sounding nationalistic, I'm a firm believer that American corporations, based in the US, employ Americans. Cheaper labor overseas? Maybe so, but I happen to believe that many Americans would spend a little more for a high quality product made in the USA - and if everyone's working, instead of looking for work, they would be able to afford it.

This is one of the political issues I'm keeping an eye on. At the moment, I'm officially a Swing Voter, but the candidate that can really bring jobs back to this country may just win my vote -- one way is to remove the tax incentives for companies that ship jobs overseas.

There is no Coliseum in the United States, but some of its metaphorical pillars that have stood for a hundred years are toppling and all we seem to be able to do is cover our ears so we don't hear the crash. It's as if the warning flags have been waving for so long that they've become tattered and unrecognizable.

It's time to reclaim our standing in the world before it really is too late. We've been resting on our laurels and now we can no longer see past them. Will we literally out-source ourselves into destitution to the point that we no longer produce anything in this country except overpaid executives? And what about the farther reaching effects of our imploding economy? It's time to take our fingers out of our ears.

And when Rome falls -- the World.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Well said. I think it's time that we start looking in our own yards for the solutions to our ills. Entrpreneurs are up new small buinesses are up. This is what made this country great, not mega corps. It's been great riding the wave, but methinks we are headed for shore...Schotz