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With jobs leaving, U.S. will face a day of reckoning

Re: Global trends suggest U.S. is a bit cocky, Jan. 28.

Robert Trigaux's column was right on the money. The United States is unbelievably cocky (and shortsighted), and we had better wake up because the trend toward outsourcing of jobs will ultimately be the undoing of the middle class in this country.

As I'm sure you know, it's not just manufacturing or tech jobs being outsourced anymore. It's quickly becoming anything that doesn't require the physical presence of an employee, from customer service to tax preparation and everything in between. If you're not flipping a burger or pushing a broom, your job can easily be sent abroad.

Indeed, the number of college-educated people in countries like China and India could easily exceed the entire U.S. population, and this doesn't bode well for the American worker since globalization has rendered irrelevant the distance and geographic borders between nations.

For now, companies are thrilled to be benefiting from the outsourcing trend, padding their profits with the savings gained by employing cheap overseas labor. Eventually though, when Americans can no longer obtain jobs that pay well enough to afford the products and services these companies offer, the companies will reap what they sow.

Maybe there is a way to solve this problem, and maybe there isn't. It seems to me, one thing is certain: America's day of reckoning is coming. When that day comes, I have no doubt that corporate executives, as always, will find a way to maintain their obscene levels of compensation.

The rest of us are in for a rude awakening.

Joseph Moran, St. Petersburg

An American ideal seems to be dying

Years ago, I was introduced to the "all boats rise" principle. According to the theory, explained a professor, in an abundant and growing economy the conditions of everyone will improve over time. "As the rich get richer," he lectured, "the poor get richer _ theoretically."

Yet, not all boats are apparently rising in an America where 30-million of us make less than $8.70 an hour (the official U.S. poverty level for a family of four). Indeed, many boats seem to be falling.

Approximately 30 percent of working America will work in low-wage positions by the end of the decade. And it is important to note that, in a nation that prides itself on upward mobility, statistics bear out the fact that less than half of those caught in low-paying jobs are going rise above the poverty line.

But what does this mean to the majority of us who need not be concerned about confronting the self-perpetuating abyss of poverty?

It means that a fundamentally American ideal seems to be dying _ the idea that hard work, even hard labor, should pay off in the form of a humane living standard. It means that we cannot tell our children that all will be well if they "work hard and play by the rules." It means that those of us blessed with the good fortune to occupy the customer side of the service economy counter are looking the other way while the America that our grandparents fought for disappears in the wake of gluttony unbecoming our abundant inheritance.

Scotty Campbell, St. Petersburg

Economic engine is faltering

In the Jan. 28. Business section, it was reported that Kraft will cut 6,000 jobs, Citigroup 847 jobs, IBM 300 jobs and Merck, having cut 3,300 jobs, will complete the cuts with another 1,100 job cut.

So much for President Bush's misdirected tax cut, which was planned to increase the economic engine. Some engine. It looks like someone is putting sand in the gas tank and the "economic engine" is faltering.

The voters, including Independents, have to look elsewhere for a fair deal leadership to bring more American jobs to the American people. Only through economic viability can we progress to solve our other major problems, health care, education, environment, social justice, etc.

Dom Cabriele, Brooksville

What it takes to create jobs

Re: Bush's unemployment blame-shift, by Gordon Lafer, Jan. 29.

After reading Mr. Lafer's article, I wonder if he should be better employed doing TV commentary. He sure does not understand what it takes to create jobs.

First, the president does not create jobs. Second, raising the minimum wage will not make employers want to hire more people. They will then do what Mr. Lafer thinks is bad. They will go overseas to get lower labor prices, so that the American public will be more able to afford his products.

It is a basic fact of business life that even if you have a good product, the public must be able to afford it. If they can't, they will not buy it. Therefore more people will be laid off.

As far as promoting unions, the same thing is true. Their main issue is raising labor rates for their members. I ask: What happened to the unions that held out for higher wages when the economy was soft? Answer: The companies folded and went elsewhere and the union members lost their jobs.

James Bardsley, Madeira Beach

President has failed in job creation

Re: Bush's unemployment blame-shift, by Jan. 29.

Gordon Lafer hit the nail on the head when he said that the records show that job training is not going to help give jobs to the American people. All studies prove this point, as he explains.

As people from all job markets are finding out, no new jobs are being created and worse yet, most jobs are being sent to low paying countries by the thousands on a daily basis.

The president has the worst job creation record to date, and while he is skirting around the real issue of loss of jobs in this country, he should be convincing corporate America that it is selling the people of this country down the river to where the Third World countries reside.

I sure wish he would stop taking our intelligence for granted and admit he is a failure in the worst way when it comes to creating jobs.

Joyce Zanone, Treasure Island

Americans want cheap goods

Having seen articles and some commentary bemoaning the fact that companies are taking jobs overseas, let me remind readers that for the most part their lamentation over "everything" being made overseas is due to their insistent cry for "better, cheaper, more."

They lust for possessions. How many of them have so many clothes, shoes, CDs, DVDs, electronic appliances, etc., that their garages or attics or closets are repositories for boxes of these things? We certainly don't lack garage sales, do we? It is their desire for profit (as investors) or their propensity to buy "cheap" that forces companies to do what they do.

But to look in the mirror and blame themselves is anathema for hypocrites like them. They'd rather blame a corporation, those "evil" capitalists.

I'll even jump to the other side and pretend I am a kind-hearted, warm, loving individual who pours out empathy and caring by saying this: For all who insist companies stay in the United States, would you force those who are less fortunate than you to pay higher prices for goods? Because that's what would happen. The poor would be even poorer as everything would be more expensive for them: the mother trying to buy clothes for her school kids, the father needing a good car to get to work, etc.

Vilmar Tavares, Spring Hill

A most unfair tax

After reading your Jan. 22 editorial An unkind cut, regarding Gov. Jeb Bush's proposed cut in Florida's intangibles tax, you mentioned that, "The appropriate remedy for tax evasion is to put a stop to it."

I agree, and the most logical and equitable way to put a stop to this so-called tax evasion, i.e. loopholes, is to completely eliminate the Florida intangibles tax. This is the most punitive, unfair tax on this planet.

The intangibles tax discriminates against people who have a propensity to save and invest their money. This country was built on the backs of people who save and invest their money. I am tired of hearing that it's the poor people in this state who bear the brunt of the taxes. Maybe the reason they are poor is that they don't save and invest _ and why should they, because the intangibles tax is a penalty tax for saving and investing money, therefore they may end up paying the intangibles tax if they save and invest their money instead of spending it.

In order to make the intangibles tax fair, the Florida Legislature should require the people to place a value on all the toys, trinkets and junk that end up on the garage floors and storage facilities across this state and tax the value on all that consumer waste. Does that not have value?

The liberal spin of this paper continues to fascinate me. God bless Gov. Bush.

Peter Bugbee, Safety Harbor

A warped sense of wealth

Re: An unkind cut, editorial, Jan. 22.

Every time I read one of your editorials about an intangibles tax on "the wealthy," it has an adverse effect on my blood pressure.

You play fast and loose with the word "wealthy." After 47 years of diligent labor and savings, my wife and I receive approximately 25-30 percent of our retirement income from stock dividends. Another 25 percent comes from Social Security, which one of your favorite presidents, Bill Clinton, saw fit to tax, and the balance from other investments.

While we meet our obligations and have a relatively comfortable retirement, by no stretch of the imagination could our status be regarded as "wealthy," yet we pay an intangibles tax.

Stop it already with your crusade on the intangibles tax! You people don't do enough research on who it might affect _ unless your definition of "the rich" applies to anyone who earns more than $50,000 a year!

John Hungerford, Palm Harbor

Corporate bias hard to swallow

Oops, our president's corporate bias is showing. It's okay to outsource American jobs abroad for corporations to save on costs, but it's a no-no for Joe Citizen to out-source his medicine purchases abroad to save on costs? Seems to me what is good for the goose ought to be good for the gander.

Elizabeth Noone, St. Petersburg

Students should do the preparing

The headline in the Jan. 29 edition, Colleges need to prepare for Hispanics better is reversed. It should read Hispanics need to prepare for college better. Colleges are fine just the way they are.

Douglas Gardner, St Petersburg

Cadets can do guard duty

Re: Private guards to protect West Point, Jan. 22.

Fifty years ago I spent three years in the U.S. Army (1951-1954). From basic training onward, we were taught the importance of guard duty, its regulations and protocol. Today it seems the cadets at West Point cannot perform the functions of guard duty and must hire a civilian staff. What is their excuse?

I was assigned in the Army as a research chemist and still had to "pull guard duty" when called upon over the three years I was in service. I'm sure the cadets at West Point can do the same and even profit from the experience.

Peter Hlinka, St. Petersburg