Although it’s been three decades, I can still remember that phone conversation as if it was yesterday. I called to surprise an old high school friend, we were back in town. The voice on the other end was slightly hurried and nervous, “Oh what timing! I’m glad you called when you did. The phone is going to be shut off at any minute. We’re losing our house too.”
We had hoped to settle down and reap the benefits of the GI Bill. Problem was we went home to Decatur Illinois; a factory town and home to Archers Daniel Midland (ADM), Tate and Lyle, and Caterpillar (CAT).
Entire neighborhoods were up for sale, as factory workers were being laid off and plants shut down. It was the days of double digit interest, gasoline lines and inflation. You could say Jimmy Carter let a good crisis go to waste.
While this administration could never be accused of squandering a crisis, Jim Cramer, host of CNBC’s Mad Money, told Chris Matthews, on MSNBC’s Hardball his ideas on how the administration could create jobs. Obama needs to wave his “magic wand” of power and create hundreds of thousands of jobs.
Cramer’s advice to President Obama:
“Wave the magic wand…He can use his power to say, you know what, I’m getting a check from Bank of America, and that money which we lent to that company to save it is now going to be given to you the jobless to go to work. And we’re going to do it by building bridges and tunnels and sewers. That’s what those business people all said today…”
Call me cynical, but I find that hard to believe. Is he saying that all the business people just put a stamp of approval on the administration’s plan for creating (temporary) jobs by building infrastructure?
Then Cramer had a glimmer of lucid thought and dropped the White House line:
“If you want to create jobs in this country…you gotta make it feel more hospitable to business.”
“We have CEOs on Mad Money all the time. You know what they say in the green room? They say, “You know what? We love to hire here, but it’s so much better to hire over there.”
Of course, Matthews asserted it was so they can be free to do what corporations do best–pollute.
Cramer didn’t take the bait and explained:
“…They have more clarity in every other country than this. A lot of the people I speak to are very worried about what’s going to happen. They’re very worried about congress. They’re much less worried about Obama by the way. They’re worried about what crazy thing congress is going to come up with so that they should have put that job in Brazil; which is like what the United States used to be in the fifties.”
My memory only goes back as far as the seventies. Illinois, then and now is a prime example of where Obama is leading the country. Roads and bridges are in a constant state of repair, while the towns that line those roads crumble with vacant offices, abandoned stores and faltering schools.
Once the government has private business in its grasp, it’s like the child who accidentally mauls his baby Easter bunny to death, and can’t understand why it died in its hands.