June 14, 2012

You will notice my blogs, just about always, deal with education and technology.  I am very comfortable with these subjects and certainly enjoy writing about R&D and technological developments affecting our daily lives.   I actually know a little about these having been there, done that, got the “T” shirt.  I stay away from “hot button” topics such as abortion, contraception, gay marriage, etc. because I feel these subject are extremely personal and, quite frankly, why would you want my opinion?   Politically, I’m a registered Independent.  I vote for the person and not the party.  Definitely conservative when it comes to all matters financial.  I do not have a “base”.  My hero, Sir Winston said: “If you aren’t a liberal by the time you’re 20 you don’t have a heart.  If you aren’t a conservative by the time you’re 40, you don’t have a head”.  (His words not mine.)   There is a great deal of truth to that statement.

I’m going to “break ranks” right now and voice an opinion relative to a statement made the other day by President Obama.

“The private sector is doing just fine”

Again, his words—not mine.  Ladies and gentlemen the private sector is NOT fine, not fine at all.  I do consulting work for a company that has two manufacturing locations in the same southern city and travel between them two or three times per day; checking on robotic processes for a critical assembly.   I have been amazed over the last three months to see men and women canvassing the roadways for discarded cans, setting up “flea market” locations in their yards and just walking the streets going door to door seeking one day odd jobs.  Two days ago I was headed to “plant two” and noticed my gas tank was nearing empty.  I stopped for fuel and while filling up, a gentleman came up to the island and started looking through the trash cans.  Now this guy did not look to be homeless.  He was dressed in a fairly nice fashion; was wearing a knit pullover Polo shirt; had on a pair of kaki pants AND shoes.   I ask him if he was OK.  “Just looking for scrap metal I can sell to get a little money.  I was laid off several months ago.  My wife and I are scratching to keep things together.”   I offered to give him five dollars but, much to my surprise, he said no—not after handouts. 

 I have a buddy who has been out of work for eight months and is now selling his household belongings on eBay.  He holds a BS in accounting from a four year university.  Fifty-eight years old and been around the block more than once—definitely not a rookie.  Make no mistake, in this economy; you’re behind the “8-ball” if you are over fifty and looking for a job.   I have another friend who is a machinist by trade.  A remarkably talented individual, forty-eight years old with twenty-nine years of experience.  He has been out of work for eleven months.  The company he worded for relocated to Mexico.  OK, one more example and I’m done.  Another friend of mine owns a metal fabricating operation in Chattanooga.  They specialize in fabricating stainless steel piping and stainless steel assemblies for power utilities and the pulp and paper industries.  Two years ago, he employed fifty-seven people and worked two shifts.    Today, he has a crew of twelve people and desperately tries to give them five days per week. 

I don’t want to be mean about this, but I feel what President Obama really meant was,  he is just fine, Congress is just fine, the lobbyist are just fine, the Wall Street types are just fine, investment bankers are just fine, but the private sector—I don’t think so!

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