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Jim Hightower
Jim Hightower
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Let's Get Real on Jobs


You know what's wrong with the American economy, Bucko? You, that's what.

Yeah, yeah, it's true that the reckless global gambling schemes of Wall Street bankers are what wrecked our economy — and, yes, Congress and the Federal Reserve have used trillions of our public dollars to bail out miscreant bankers, while ignoring the plight of people like you whose jobs, businesses, homes and middle-class incomes have been devastated by banker greed. And, sure, it's also true that corporations are hoarding $2 trillion in cash and getting billions of dollars a year in subsidies from taxpayers like you, yet refusing to hire Americans or to make job-creating investments in our country.

But blah-blah-blah, Bucko, this does not excuse your refusal to do your duty as an American consumer. CEOs say that they won't start hiring until you consumer slugs get out there and spend, spend, spend.

And don't use the whiney excuse that you're out of work or mired in debt — Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke says that he has looked at macro economic statistics and concluded that you're just being irrationally negative about the health of our economy. "Households seem exceptionally cautious," declared the perplexed Fed chairman recently, suggesting that your lack of confidence in the economy is a psychosis that's fueling a larger depression. Yes, chimed in another Federal Reserve banker, "it's hard to have a robust recovery when Americans are so dispirited."

So, hey — perk up, America! Stop waiting on Wall Street, Washington and corporate chieftains to do something. Forget economic reality — just pull out your credit cards, put on a smile, and march to the mall.

Wow, I can't tell you how much more confidence I have in our economic future knowing that America's corporate and political leaders are so insightful and in-touch. How about you?

By the way, President Obama has also joined the perky posse of national leaders who're urging Americans to be more upbeat about the economic doldrums we're in.

"Shake off all the naysaying and the anxiety and the hand-wringing," he recently told us, sounding a lot like a football coach telling a player to shake off a concussion and get back in the game.

The president's pep talk came the day after he made his "bold" jobs proposal to Congress. But Obama's plan is more Walter Mittyish than Rooseveltian. While it does include some useful provisions to help stem the loss of still more jobs (especially those teachers, firefighters and other public employees being offed by Republican governors), it essentially consists of more corporate tax breaks — a form of bribery to induce enormously rich corporations to hire American workers.

This is the same old same old that Washington keeps throwing at the problem and — hello, Washington — it's not working. Sure enough, corporate chieftains say they'll gladly take the latest handout, but we should not expect them to go on a big hiring spree. Mostly, they'll use the money to cover the few people they were going to hire anyway — and pocket the rest.

Nontheless, Obama is now barnstorming the country, rallying crowds to demand that Congress "stop the political circus and actually do something to help the economy" by passing his plan. Fine ... but what about the corporate circus? And the Wall Street circus?

It's time to stop coddling these gluttonous narcissists. America is in crisis, sinking toward depression. The president should really get bold by calling out and shaming corporate executives who suck up America's wealth, then turn their backs on us, as though the only loyalty they owe is to their own avarice — none to their country. Likewise, he should kick the bailed-out bankers right in their ample butts and insist publicly that they start making loans to America's smaller business that do want to create good jobs in our country.

Let's stop begging and start demanding.

To find out more about Jim Hightower, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate web page at



4 Comments | Post Comment
When rich corporations refuse to hire people (in the midst of what really looks, from my angle, like a depression), and have to be given even more money as an "incentive" ... isn't that, finally, an admission that corporations operate without a shred of social conscience or patriotism? If, as Mitt Romney said, "Corporations are people, my friend!", then they're not very friendly people. More like avaricious sociopaths.
Comment: #1
Posted by: Steven Doyle
Wed Sep 14, 2011 6:16 AM
When the President of the United States offers a monetary incentive to corporations in the midst of mounting government debt, isn't that, finally, an admission that the POTUS is operating without a shred of social conscience or patriotism? Corporations may behave like avaricious sociopaths, but this administration certainly behaves like avaricious sociopaths. This bunch is foaming at the mouth to raise taxes. This could be called avarice on their part. To do so in the face of 9% unemployment, probably more like 16% in reality, might be called sociopathic. Corporate narcissism allows for personal financial decision making: In the future I would not mortgage a home purchase with B of A. Government narcissism allows for no such breathing room. The solar panel company that just went down with $550 million in taxpayer's money, for example. May I now choose to not pay taxes to a government so vain it attempts to pick winners and losers in the free market? QE2 had no real effect, and so Obama comes up with a new wolf in "jobs" clothing. Narcisstic. Avaracious. Sociopathic. Up to their eyeballs in it.

Comment: #2
Posted by: Tom
Wed Sep 14, 2011 8:58 AM

It's the mean guy again. We last met when you stepped up to "shoot the messenger" because one of your partners coudn't deal with my request for clarification about his labeling something "morally bankrupt". You know... the old Frank Luntz loaded words trick. Besides using loaded words... you seem to have a problem in the proper grammatical use of words too. So... perhaps you could help me out with this...

How is it possible for the people in the administration... trying to "make the country work"... (in part) by increasing taxes... possibly be labeled "Narcisstic (sic). Avaracious (sic). Sociopathic."? Although you've intermixed individual people with "the administration" throughout your bizarre treatise... by your last "sentence"... it's clear you're talking about the administration. Do you know the definitions of the (loaded word) labels you've applied to your government?

First... how can a government be narcissistic? I mean... what does that look like? How does that word fit what you see?

Do you think the members of the administration are avariciously going to increase taxes and put the money into their own personal pockets? Exactly how are they going to pull that off?

Do you really believe that "sociopathic" is an accurate description of the "behavior" of the administration? You're saying that your perception of the administration's behavior is... by definition... "characterized by amorality and lack of affect; capable of violent acts without guilt feelings". That's what you see? My-oh-my... what horrors you must have experienced that would lead you to see it that way.

You said: "When the President of the United States offers a monetary incentive to corporations in the midst of mounting government debt, isn't that, finally, an admission that the POTUS is operating without a shred of social conscience or patriotism?"

Let me "succinctify" what you wrote: "When [President Obama] offers a monetary incentive to corporations... ... ...isn't [President Obama finally admitting that he] is operating without a shred of social conscience or patriotism?"

Do you really think that President Obama has no social conscience? Do you really believe that President Obama is unpatriotic? Or perhaps you're just getting through this life behind the defense mechanism of psychological projection.

Now... really(!!!)... would you ever say the same thing about the current crop of republicans that are clearly willing to totally trash our economy... and personally enrich themselves?

Here's an interesting experiment. Let's take your words and substitute "republicans" where you wrote "The President of the United States... or POTUS... or administration Świth the understanding that in this useŚ "republicans" means "the current crop of republican elected representatives". Here's what you get...

"When the republicans offer a monetary incentive to corporations in the midst of mounting government debt, isn't that, finally, an admission that the republicans [are] operating without a shred of social conscience or patriotism?"

See how that works? Projection in action. It's textbook!

The republicans have been... and continue to be... successfully demanding tax cuts, loopholes and subsidies... at the expense of economic stability and well-being... to YOU. How is this not "a monetary incentive to corporations"... to put money into their own personal "campaign coffers". "I can save you a billion for the low, low price of $100,000". Here... we've got elected republican officials... bribing corporations with YOUR money to get "shareholder" money into THEIR personal pocket. Now this is where you could use those label "Narcisstic (sic). Avaracious (sic). Sociopathic." Clearly... once the spelling is corrected... your labels fit. Like a glove.

I find it absolutely bizarre that reality doesn't seem to bother you. You're a bit different from Mr. Smarty Pants... but only in presentation. Oh well... as weak as it was... I suppose you'll still get a few bucks for this one.
Comment: #3
Posted by: Vito Caputo
Thu Sep 15, 2011 10:21 AM
Great posts here. I always read Hightower's stuff since he is inspiring. I do watch Beck to see what he is saying, and sometimes he's ok and mostly sincere, I believe. So I get both sides. Dennis Miller, whom I also like although I was not a fan of SNL after 1976 (but all of Miller's movies are good, rare for a Hollywood celeb). Miller on Oreilly glibly stated that progressives were against what 50% of Americans believe. I would guess that Miller's cohorts make up perhaps 20% of citizens, those earning more than $6000 a month, in good marriages, fully loaded 401ks, good insurance, paid vacations, children's college funds ready, houses more than half paid for. Sounds like a fairy tale land, eh? But if US population is 300 million and half are adults, then of 150 million in this wealthy nation, maybe thirty million have the good life, well, that's what freedom of speach and voting is all about. The biggest lie they are currently spreading is their take on FDR, a great man and great patriot. Someone should tell Beck, if I am not mistaken, that Reagan's middle name was Wilson.
Comment: #4
Posted by: Mike Hayne
Sat Sep 17, 2011 10:43 AM
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