03/21/2007: "Herb Meyer On Keeshan's Column: "Outsourcing""
I agree with Ron Keeshan that we're long overdue for a national look at the issue of outsourcing . But I'm not so sure that when we take that look, we'll reach the conclusion that Ron already has reached: namely, that outsourcing has destroyed the middle class.
Since the mid-1980s, we've lost 40 million jobs in the US. But during these same years, we've created more than 85 million new jobs, for a net gain of more than 45 million new jobs. (I realize that not all jobs are equal, but we simply don't have 45 million hamburger-flippers at work in the US.) This is more than ten times the number of new jobs created during these years in all of Western Europe, whose population is larger than ours. Also during these same years, we've created more than 23 million new businesses, while household cash savings have risen by an unprecedented 10-fold to reach $5.2 trillion.
I'm not suggested that those of us who comprise the middle class have it easy; the financial pressures are enormous. (By the way, Ron, President Bush -- whom you despise -- has cut taxes for the middle class while our county commissioners -- whom I gather you worship -- keep raising our taxes. Figuring out who's helping the middle class and who's destroying the middle class -- to borrow your phrase -- doesn't take a rocket scientist.)
In short, it simply isn't true to suggest, as Ron suggests, that the middle class has been destroyed. It's never been so vibrant and so financially successful. Just stand outside a Circuit City or a Best Buy store some Saturday afternoon and watch all the customers streaming out with their nifty new 42-inch flat-screen television sets. We just don't have that many millionaires in, say, Burlington and Bellingham.
There's one thing Ron and I agree about: Alaska Airlines is a disgrace. The clowns who run it should be fired. If Ron wants to lead the charge, I'll happily follow him.
San Juan Island