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Does America Need a Mission Statement?

June 24, 2011

As we slowly slink away from our adventures in Muslim lands and start to focus on what President Obama called “nation-building here at home,” we probably need to decide what sort of nation we’d like to be. You’d think that 230-plus years after the Declaration of Independence and 40-plus years after Woodstock, we’d already have some idea. But the United States is a perpetual work in progress, and maybe we’d all benefit from the exercise of putting our national mission down on paper. 

Of course, a number of notable Dead White Males have already penned something resembling national mission statements. We can start with Jefferson’s rousing anthem to human rights:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

Stirring words, though I wonder how many of us still believe that the Creator of the universe endowed us with equal gifts, rights or anything else, for that matter. Few of us among the governed have the chance to offer our consent when it comes to making policy. And most of us have never exercised our right to “alter or abolish” our government… though some of us are sorely tempted from time to time.

Lincoln added his own memorable twist with “government of the people, by the people, for the people.” Sounds fitting and proper for a mission statement, but we all know that “the people” have little to do with our government except to choose the well-connected individuals who assume the power to make our laws and dictate our policies.

Doesn’t our Constitution have something to say about our national purpose?

to… establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity…

Well said, gentlemen (those Founding Fathers had a way with words)… but we’re looking at little more than an eloquent boiler-plate formula for a benevolent government.

What makes the United States unique? What sets it apart from other nations with benevolent governments? What national goals and ideals do we aspire to (assuming that a nation smitten with Facebook and the Kardashian sisters is still capable of aspiring to anything so high-minded as national goals and ideals)?

Companies write mission statements all the time.  A good corporate mission statement conveys the spirit and purpose of the organization in a few well-constructed sentences. It clarifies the company’s goals and briefly explains how it plans to go about fulfilling them.

For example, here’s the mission statement for the world’s most beloved entertainment company:

The Walt Disney Company’s objective is to be one of the world’s leading producers and providers of entertainment and information, using its portfolio of brands to differentiate its content, services and consumer products. The company’s primary financial goals are to maximize earnings and cash flow, and to allocate capital profitability toward growth initiatives that will drive long-term shareholder value.

I’m impressed. Negatively. That’s the sort of cold-blooded message that only a diehard, jargon-slinging, suspenders-wearing M.B.A. could love. It’s safe to say that Donald Duck had nothing to do with it, and in fact it chills me to my innards. The historic soul of the company gets lost amid all the blatant bottom-line posturing. 

Now let’s look at the mission statement of the world’s foremost fast-food outfit:

McDonald’s vision is to be the world’s best quick service restaurant experience. Being the best means providing outstanding quality, service, cleanliness, and value, so that we make every customer in every restaurant smile.

That’s an admirably simple and even charming statement, but where’s the beef? Unlike Disney, McDonald’s went the warm-and-fuzzy route, but I think it could use a little more substance.

Now behold the mission statement of America’s favorite big-box hardware store:

The Home Depot is in the home improvement business and our goal is to provide the highest level of service, the broadest selection of products and the most competitive prices. We are a values-driven company and our eight core values include the following:

  1. Excellent customer service
  2. Taking care of our people
  3. Giving back
  4. Doing the “right” thing
  5. Creating shareholder value
  6. Respect for all people
  7. Entrepreneurial spirit
  8. Building strong relationships

That’s more like it. Friendly and upbeat but admirably specific. Just businesslike enough without requiring a translation from Corporatese. I say we use the Home Depot model for America’s mission statement.

There’s one problem, though: America is so splintered as a nation today — politically, culturally and economically — that we’d be more likely to add Mexico as the 51st state than to agree freely among ourselves on a common national purpose.

Here’s how conservatives might write our national mission statement:

The United States consistently aims to maintain its unique and unchallenged position as the Greatest Nation in History by virtue of its reliance on God, guns, low taxes and unregulated free-market capitalism. We assert the sovereignty of the individual over the state, though of course we recognize that some individuals — notably CEOs, investment bankers, professional athletes and tabloid celebrities — will naturally amass the lion’s share of wealth due to their superior ability to amass wealth.

And if we left it to the left, we might see a mission statement that looks something like this:

The People of the United States, representing a uniquely diverse and enlightened coalition of communities based on race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, linguistic preference and politically correct belief systems, seek to empower themselves and their communities, particularly at the expense of white heterosexual males. We endorse freedom of speech unless it is deemed offensive to oppressed minorities, and we embrace the struggle to return power to its rightful place among the people, with the exception of churchgoing Christians, pro-lifers, smokers, gun owners and consumers of products using high-fructose corn syrup.

Yes, my inner satirist exaggerates the particulars, but you can see the essential problem: we no longer think like a unified nation. If we’re planning to stay united, we’d better start agreeing on fundamentals.

What are some basic American principles we can all agree on regardless of race, class, sexual affiliation or personal attitude toward body-piercing? It’s safe to say that nearly all Americans appreciate our freedoms, our cultural gusto, our enthusiasm for innovation, and the remarkable fact that exceptional individuals from any background can succeed handsomely here. We probably overvalue big-time success, which tends to generate an undue amount simmering envy and head-shaking cynicism among the reflective portion of the populace. But for better or worse, the United States is an upward-aspiring, positive-thinking nation that dangles the golden carrot perpetually before its citizens and lets them snatch it when they have the moxie to grab it.

We also like to think of ourselves as a humane and morally principled nation. Are we? Of course we don’t always measure up to that ideal in practice, a flaw that leaves us open to accusations of hypocrisy. But I’d rather live in an imperfect nation with high ideals than a perfect nation without any.

Finally, we’re the first truly mongrel nation since the Roman Empire. Yes, Hapsburg Austria might have been a patchwork of nationalities, but it was just that — a patchwork: Hungarians here, Czechs there… Slovaks, Serbs and Slovenes in their own cubicles. The United States absorbed the emigres from dozens of nations, let them mingle freely and produced a vigorous hybrid creature known as an American. We can all take pride in our mongrel heritage.

So how would I write our mission statement — a statement that serves no political or special-interest agenda? How do we offer a unifying code of conduct to a fragmented nation? Here’s how I’d put it into words:

The United States is a union of free citizens in a republic that rewards individuals who achieve through their own merits and meets the needs of those who don’t… that honors those individuals without respect to their background… that places the interests of no group above those of any other group… and whose passion for liberty and decency can illuminate the world by its example.

Among our chief values are:

1. a genial tolerance of individual differences and beliefs

2. respect for individual talents and effort

3. the decency to protect those who stumble

4. freedom to voice honest opinions without fear of recrimination

5. a fine balance between individualism and community spirit

6. self-identification as Americans regardless of our individual backgrounds

7. boundless enthusiasm, humor, neighborliness and good will

Maybe we’re not there yet, but who says we can’t dream? After all, we’re Americans.

Feel free to write your own American mission statement in the comments section, though of course you’re under no obligation. Kudos to my friend Ginny Christensen for wondering aloud (in a silent online sort of way) if America could use a mission statement. She started me thinking…

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24 Comments leave one →
  1. Kent Garshwiler permalink
    June 24, 2011 10:39 am

    Rick,

    Don’t have much to say on this except I don’t like the “giving back” part. In your article you mentioned Home Depot Is “giving back”. What is it they “took” from someone? Do they feel guilty? Is Home Depot fearful that they did something wrong becoming successful? When a corporation makes money are doing something wrong and “took” from society?

    Why can’t a successful corporation just say they are “giving”? Instead of “giving back”.

    Should a athlete “give back” for doing a good job winning a game on their own accord?

    When my kids play with two separate toys. Then one takes the others toy. The parent steps in and says “give back” because it is wrong.

    I have yet to see Home Depot do something wrong growth-wise in its way of being the largest home improvement store.

    Note: “Giving Back” is politically-correct. Left-wing. anti-Corporation jargon to the “please we mean not to offend” people. I would like to see the politicians “give back”. My freedoms, money, and dignity.

    • June 25, 2011 12:38 pm

      Kent: I don’t see “giving back” as apologetic or PC, though I see how you could interpret it that way. To me, it means that the company wants to show its gratitude for its success. Granted, such a positive attitude will help Home Depot win good will, which will eventually benefit its bottom line, but I’m willing to suspend my cynicism and accept their gesture at face value.

      • Priscilla permalink
        June 27, 2011 8:26 am

        I think that “giving back” is a PC term. I agree with Kent that simply “giving” works just as well, and does not carry the implication that success somehow comes at the expense of society. On the contrary, when Home Depot is successful at providing goods and services that we all want and need, the company creates jobs and wealth…..far better than the “shovel ready projects” promised by Obama that turned out, in his words, to be “not as shovel ready as we thought.” If profits are good, and the company is charitable, then it is wonderful if they choose to contribute to a cause. But not out of gratitude, out of generosity.

      • Kent Garshwiler permalink
        July 6, 2011 5:06 am

        Rick,

        “Giving back” is a term being used by Philanthropists as a way to express their gratitude for their success back to their communities to inspire new philanthropists.

        “Giving back” is interpreted by grammar as taking what you have and by guilt handing it to the next person. It is “Giving” that means sharing. “Giving back” is carries a “negative” undertone that something or someone is wronged. “Giving” is just an action.

        Poor people in ignorance of this simple “grammar” assume that the “rich Philanthropists” must “Give Back”. In many ignorant minds “Giving Back” assumes that they “stole” something and they must hand the things back to someone that it originated from the start.

        Giveback.org is a Philanthropist website to “give” time and other things to (back) to the community from which the person or persons originated.

        Ignorant people don’t understand the grammar and assume the owning of what the rich person has as wrong when in fact the person just worked very hard at something while others sat on their rear ends. “Tax the rich…they all stole our money!….come on people…Wake up!

        Government controls who has the money. The Government can take it by force and can throw you in jail for stealing.

        If someone is “Rich” and “stolen the money” from the “Poor” then the government is either in on the stealing or knows there are a lot of ignorant people out their who don’t know some people worked to get their money.

        It is nice to see Philanthropists “give” their time to (back) less fortunate people, but using “Giving Back” together as a statement creates the notion that your success should come with a cost even if no one helped you. Many great people had no help in their success and others have had help.

        I am going to assume that some people stuck on this “giving back” notion believe that the entries in a book thanking people for their help in writing a book is “giving back” rather than “giving” credit to those they respect.

    • September 2, 2011 12:36 pm

      Wow. I never interpreted “giving back” as having negative connotations. I never thought it implied that a company “stole” anything. I thought it just implied an acknowledgment that the company doesn’t live in a vacuum, that part of its success might lie in the talent of local workers, support of the community (perhaps through tax breaks), and/or the customers who recognize the quality of their product or services and pass the word. I thought it implied a symbiotic relationship, a genial cycle of passing on value and wealth. You give, you give back, you give….

  2. June 24, 2011 11:50 pm

    The preamble to the declaration of independence is fine. It covers everything of merit in your statement and ignores the rest.

    Or,

    “Give me your tired, your poor,
    Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free”

    This nation is exceptional – contrary to the belief of its current president, not because of an abundance of resources, some blessing of god, or the munificence or might of our government. It is exceptional because of its people. This is the land of opportunity, where people come to breath free.

    All government power even the power to do good is paid for in freedom.

    • June 25, 2011 12:41 pm

      dhlii: I’d be willing to bet that a lot of unemployed Americans would be willing to sacrifce the eight extra hours of freedom they currently enjoy each day for the chance to find meaningful work, even if Uncle Sam is the employer.

      • Priscilla permalink
        June 27, 2011 8:38 am

        True, Rick, but those “gubmint” jobs come at a great cost to all of us. If they are not truly necessary, then they are just additions to the bloated and corrupt system that we are trying to reform. Why not have Uncle Sam focus on reviving the private sector, by removing unecessary regulations and red tape, streamlining the corporate tax code, so that loopholes are removed, every corporation pays their fair share (i.e. even favored companies like GE), and reining in big unions, so that they cannot prevent companies like Boeing from creating thousands of jobs in right-to-work states like South Carolina……….

      • R.H. permalink
        June 27, 2011 9:02 pm

        I have to agree with that, Rick. I’ll do anything to work and feel like I’m doing something, rather than spend 8 hours, on top of the 16 other free hours worrying about how I’m going to dust myself off and get back in the workforce.

        As far as the “giving back”, I view it differently. It’s not PC. It’s called giving back to the community that directly or indirectly gave you the tools, guidance, and opportunity to be successful. If being charitable is considered PC, then we shouldn’t be caring for our own families, neighbors, and individuals.

        We might as well be Russia, circa 1920.

      • June 30, 2011 12:01 pm

        Priscilla: I agree with you about the need for corporate tax reforms and restrictions on the power of unions, but until the private sector starts seriously hiring again — in THIS country, as opposed to overseas — we’ll need temporary FDR-style public programs to provide jobs for the unemployed. We can’t wait any longer. Too many people have been out of work for too long; we can’t afford to be purists about capitalism at this point (at least moderates and the unemployed can’t). The work programs would certainly be more productive and less wasteful than welfare, food stamps or unemployment checks.

      • June 30, 2011 12:10 pm

        R.H.: Agreed… It’s a sad commentary on business in America when a noble sentiment emanating from the private sector should be considered suspect (or PC) by fellow capitalists. In fact, there’s a grassroots movement among “progressive” businesses (yes, I’m sure all the stereotypes apply: picture a cafe in Burlington, Vermont run by Birkenstock-wearing NPR listeners) to be good citizens in the course of making profits. They call themselves “B” corporations (as an alternative to the “A” corporations, I guess). And I say more power to them!

        Good luck with your own job prospects, too.

  3. Priscilla permalink
    June 28, 2011 12:01 am

    Generosity….it is something to be encouraged and , and was once considered integral to the American character. True charity is not rooted in guilt or social justice – it comes from a genuine – and free – impulse to share and to help others in the community, whether or not they gave any “tools, guidance or opportunity to be successful.”

    In other words, it is not charity if you are told that you “owe” something to your community and are expected to “give back” what you owe. It is PC to frame it as an expectation or entitlement.

    I don’t think that anyone stated in previous comments that “being charitable is considered PC.” I think that what was termed PC was the assumption that every successful business has achieved its profits by “taking” from the community,and therefore must “give back.” That type of thinking, in my opinion, is more consistent with Russia circa 1920.

    • June 30, 2011 12:15 pm

      Priscilla: Sorry, I should have read this comment before replying to your other comment. Anyway, I don’t think there’s any implication that “giving back” is mandatory or even vaguely obligatory. It’s just a nice thing to do, and I accept that niceness at face value. I do suspect that the company is trying to pat itself on the back for its noble impulses, but hey… if that impulse translates into actual behavior, I’m all for it.

  4. valdobiade permalink
    June 28, 2011 12:43 pm

    “Giving back” is an expression I was not familiarized with. After a few researches I found out that it can be “stretched” from personal area to business.
    In the personal area I can give this example: A mother or father expects that their son(s) and/or daughter(s) to take care of them when they are older. The progenitors should “give back”… or not.

    Another example, that is not personal nor businesslike, is a teacher. After you get educated, you get a job and pay taxes from which a teacher continues to live.

    “Giving back” in business is… business. A movie star, for example, is giving charity to an hospital… that’s nice! What you cannot see is that it may be still business. The movie star deducts the charity from income and when the movie star needs medical treatment… she/he will get a royal treatment at the hospital the star gave charity. Of course, the hospital will be only for rich…

    • June 30, 2011 12:21 pm

      Valdo: Said with true Eastern European cynicism, and of course you’re right. I do believe that some people are still genuinely charitable with no expectation of favors… but even in those cases there’s still a reward: being charitable makes us feel good.

      • valdobiade permalink
        June 30, 2011 1:45 pm

        Rick wrote: …there’s still a reward: being charitable makes us feel good.
        —————

        “Feeling good” regarding charity or “giving back” is so relative…
        A lot of people buy a lot of junk because the products are in “50%-70% sale!!” or because “they like the product at the buying moment”… until they fill up their garages, closets, etc. Then they feel guilty for all that junk and became “charitable”. Poor people buy cheap crap, rich people buy expensive crap, but in the end everybody “feels good” when they “give back”… mind you, nobody gives money as “give back”.

        Maybe in business the product stocks are over capacity of storage, then there comes the “charitable act”… “SALE!!” (Another form of “giving back”)

        Recently, Obama opened the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to bring down the inflated gas price. The fat cats of oils screamed that Obama is preparing his face for reelection. The fat cats seem to say “we are charitable enough for not rising the gas price over $10 – 20 per gallon”… Everybody should feel like they are taking advantage even if gas price would be $6-7 per gallon… the fat cats are “feeling good”… they are successful and “taking care” of the masses. The masses should feel good too.

        … as I said: “feeling good” is so relative…

  5. Priscilla permalink
    July 1, 2011 8:42 am

    Rick, you appear far more cynical about entrepreneurs and big business (mind you, I’m not talking about Wall Street here) than you are about big government. 😉 I’ve been essentially unemployed now, for almost 2 years…..I worked for one of the largest international corporations in the world, one that consistently tops the lists of Best companies to work for,” “Most socially responsible companies,” “Best companies for working mothers,” Best companies for minorities,” etc., etc. You get the picture. Why did this wonderful corporation choose to shut down its biggest manufacturing location and move it to Brazil, thus eliminating 1200 manufacturing jobs and another 500 managerial and administrative jobs, including mine? Two main reasons: the EPA had imposed crushing and ridiculous regulations on the manufacturing process – and I am not talking here about very reasonable regulations that protect the environment and the health of workers, I am talking about outrageously picayune and expensive requirements. The other reason? The union refused to accept concessions that would have kept the plant stateside. What were these concessions? Well, to name a few, that the starting wage for unskilled workers drop from $17 p/hr to $10 p/hr (this would only affect new hires), that the union eliminate certain work rules, such as birthdays off with pay, double time if a worker temporarily covered another job ( i.e being moved from one line to another), that union employees contribute 2% toward their top-of-the line cadillac health insurance, and so on. After years of the company threatening to reluctantly close down the plant, years that the company’s products lost more than 50% of their market share due to pricing, years that saw 2 fruitless and destructive union strikes…..the inevitable finally happened. Not, as you suggest, because the company was a selfish and evil corporate entity, run by fat cats who did not care about their employees, but because they could no longer be competitive in the marketplace.

    If the government simply taxes and spends and regulates more, in order to try and make work for all of the folks who have been put out of work because of a bad business environment (largely caused by the governement!), how does that help get the economy back on its feet? Is there not a tipping point when that becomes unsustainable?

    • July 1, 2011 1:00 pm

      Priscilla: I don’t place 100% of the blame on the corporations. (Maybe around 62%.) For me, the fundamental problem is this: American companies are no longer hiring American workers in sufficient numbers to avoid a massive social crisis. Who’s to blame isn’t the issue at this point; what matters is to put unemployed and underemployed people back to work at jobs that provide a sustainable income. I’m afraid we can’t wait for new policies to be passed and take effect; we need to avert the crisis right now.

      Do I advocate another spending spree to create these federally sponsored jobs? Nope, I advocate moving government money away from unproductive areas: unwinnable foreign wars, foreign aid for countries that hate us (and even those that don’t), absurdly plush benefits for federal workers, too many entitlements for the poor that discourage personal motivation, and yes, tax breaks for the rich. (It’s unconscionable that people like us are taxed at a higher rate than billionaire hedge fund managers, who get away with paying a measly capital gains tax.)

      I don’t think corporations should be taxed and regulated to death, and I’ve never really been a fan of unions. (Yes, they were vital 100 years ago, but most of them are simply selfish and coercive now.) But corporate America has to reform itself from within — so that profitability isn’t a company’s only concern. For too long now, companies have been kowtowing to the whims of fickle investors who will drop them if they fail to blow away Wall Street expectations. This is a classic example of the tail wagging the dog, and it will eventually lead to our ruin. A company that thinks only about boosting its bottom line will naturally hire cheap foreign labor… will send entire operations overseas or shut them down (as your company did).

      Now, I never advanced beyond Economics 101, but let me ask you this (and I’m genuinely interested in the answer): What difference does it make to a publicly-traded company if its share price drops (except for those executives who get stock options)? Once a company goes public, its shares are simply traded among investors. It’s not as if the company has less capital to work with when the share price declines. Maybe more of us should try to make money the old-fashioned way instead of gambling on the future of America’s corporations and holding them hostage to our inflated expectations. Then those companies could focus on creating good products and hiring the people to make them. Just sayin’…

    • valdobiade permalink
      July 1, 2011 1:20 pm

      Priscilla, I can see your point a lot better because you gave a personal example. I also gave a personal example, but in my example I was blaming the corporation. Maybe not all corporations are the same. Corporations are considered a legal “person” and … no persons are alike 🙂 I do remember big money I did, comparatively to other small companies where I worked. I remember big parties, BBQ, bonuses etc. while other small companies were folding… A small company where I was working was bought by this corporation, then I was hired by the corporation, then mass laid-off for it moved in Taiwan. Now I work at small company again hoping that our company won’t be bought again by those “nice” corporations.

      What I still wonder, is about this “competitiveness”. If corporations outsource “en masse” American jobs, and Americans cannot afford to buy products even at “competitive” price because they have no jobs, who is actually winning? Corporations still won’t make money even if they outsource American jobs to countries where safety and salary regulation don’t exist… they can hire minors like Nike and other corporation did… Maybe later, in these countries where jobs are outsourced, it would happen what happened before Romania turned communism: Nationalization… I know what that means.

      This outsourcing of jobs looks more like corporations saying “in your face” to the government because corporations cannot whatever they want to become “successful”… well now, you may think that I am going to turn socialist-communist. Far from it, what I am saying is that should be a solution. The US has not a Socialist government as corporations start to spread terror ideas. The US is still under corporate power, but being egotistical persons…

  6. Priscilla permalink
    July 3, 2011 10:51 pm

    Rick, I think who – or what – is to blame is precisely the issue, because, unless we want to become a European-style socialist economy (and I recognize that not everyone thinks that that is a bad thing), we are going to have to accept the fact that the continual taxing (and double and triple taxing) of capital is killing off companies and jobs. Which, in turn, is creating a loss of revenue to the government at a time when government spending is exploding by the trillions.

    Anyway, just as people need air to breathe, businesses need capital to grow… Saying that a company shouldn’t consider profitability as its main priority is like saying a person should not consider his health to be his main priority. That’s not to say that there aren’t other priorities in life and in business, but first things first. A dead man can’t experience love and career….and a bankrupt corporation cannot create new products, services or jobs.

    As for your question about stocks, couple of points…. I agree with you that Wall Street greed ( along with the feckless SEC and currency speculators like George Soros) has been responsible for enormous financial destruction. And we also agree that corporatism in government has strangled the free market. But why punish corporations for that? Falling share prices hurt a corporation’s ability to borrow and expand, and, more importantly, when stock prices fall, small investors and savers (think money markets and CD’s) are hurt and public and private pension plans are unable to fund their obligations. Uncle Sam can’t make up that shortfall, no matter how much he taxes and borrows.

    Which brings me to valdo’s question about competitiveness….The US now has the highest corporate tax rate of any nation in the world. We have a government that subsidizes favored corporations based on political contributions and lobbying, refuses to rein in big unions, and overregulates businesses to the point of destroying them. The question isn’t why are so many jobs going overseas, the question is why aren’t they ALL going?

  7. July 4, 2011 5:39 pm

    Priscilla: I agree (honest!) that we should do something about our corporate tax rate while eliminating convenient loopholes for favored corporations. (That’s a whole ‘nother matter; I think we should criminalize any exchange of favors between corporate lobbyists — ANY lobbyists, for that matter — and elected representatives.) But we don’t have time to wait for new tax rates to be approved, let alone trickle down in the form of new jobs. I guess I see the current unemployment problem as more of a crisis than you do… a crisis that demands action now through the emergency creation of job programs.

    As for currency speculators like Soros, there should be a special ring of torment in Dante’s Inferno set aside for these guys. Imagine making a fortune by shorting a nation’s currency! There’s something fundamentally wrong with a system that allows the rich to undermine something so critical. Don’t get me started!

    I think part of the problem behind corporate America’s obsession with profits has to do with forecasting. It’s like sports betting now: all that matters is beating the spread. But even that’s not enough. I’ve owned stocks that have fallen on solid quarterly results, even when beating forecasts. They apparently didn’t blow away the forecasts… or they beat forecasts but expressed caution about the upcoming year.

    Frankly, all this nitpicking has to make corporations so jumpy that they’d rather shoot themselves in the foot by eliminating a division than risk seeing their share price drop. Much ado… I wish the analysts would just stop forecasting, so we can judge a company on the honest merits of its business.

    But yes, the short answer is that we need a emergency job creation programs until conditions improve. A few years down the road, when new corporate tax rates take effect and companies decide to hire American workers, we can dispense with those programs.

  8. Priscilla permalink
    July 5, 2011 10:45 pm

    We totally agree that unemployment is at a crisis stage, and that something has to be done now. Trust me, I would love to believe that the government could create a job for me – or you! But I guess I’m stymied by that….what the heck would someone like me do for the government? Wear a hard hat and work on building a high speed rail line? And, once jobs were created, how would people be hired – civil service tests, affirmative action? Who would get priority? Would the government pay minimum wage, provide health benefits, workers comp, etc? And how long would the jobs last, how would the programs end ( I am reminded of Reagan’s famous quote:”a government program is the closest thing we’ll ever see to eternity”)? We are light years away from FDR’s world, in terms of employment law…..thinking about the logistics of such a program is mind boggling in today’s world.

    I guess I believe that a package of incentives that would spur rapid job growth in the private sector – corporate tax reform, right-to-work laws, regulatory reform, low interest business loans – would be quicker in the short term, and would begin the process of a real recovery.

    By the way, this article was in the WSJ today – I thought it was interesting in that it addressed the whole competitiveness issue from an interesting, albeit depressing, viewpoint:
    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304584004576416202937808330.html

  9. joy permalink
    September 7, 2011 6:23 pm

    This was a beautiful article. I personally love articles that make me think and articles that tie into history! But i do agree that we need a missions statement for our nation, because i do see a lot of hate left in this country. And there’s no reason for this hate at all! we should respect every race, sexual orientation, gender and ethnicity. We should treat everyone equal, because that was one of our founding fathers rules, equality. Truly inspiring, thank you for posting!

  10. September 7, 2011 11:24 pm

    Glad you liked my article, Joy. (I have to confess it was one of my own favorites, too.) Sadly, there are plenty of reasons for all this lingering hate in America… it’s just that most of them are BAD reasons! A lot of people tend to cling to their prejudices in uncertain times like these; it makes them feel more secure, I think. More’s the pity. Thanks for writing!

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