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There Goes the Neighborhood

Have you looked outside your window? You have a new neighbor. In fact, you have a few new neighbors. Sounds like a block party may be in order so everyone can get to know one another. If you’re one of those hung up on everyone speaking English, you may not want to go. You’re going to be hearing Chinese, Italian and a host of other languages. Those are the languages of your new neighbors and ultimately your landlords.

General Motors, the icon of the dominance of the invincible American auto industry has reached an agreement to sell the Hummer brand to Sichuan Tengzhong Heavy Industrial Machinery Company headquartered in Chengdu, China. Another unassailable American auto giant, Chrysler Corporation, appears to be destined to be owned by Fabbrica Italiana Automobili Torino, a.k.a. FIAT, the Italian auto giant.

You’re looking at just the tip of the iceberg. Airplane manufacturer Hawker Beechcraft, Bentley Pharmaceuticals Corporation, Molson Coors, Consolidated Edison, SkyTel Corporation, Colgate-Palmolive, Great Western Bankcorp, Compressed Air Products Inc., VeriSign Inc., Ricoh Corporation, and Anheuser-Busch join more than 16,000 formerly American companies that are now owned at least in part by foreign companies. American businesses are being sold to foreign investors like carrots at a farmer’s market.

What does this mean? How about additional job losses as they’re moved to other countries. Even if some manufacturing remains in this country, much management and leadership will move abroad. It also means operating profits go to other countries. We’re on our way to becoming a nation of serfs, of 21st century tenant farmers.

Why the demise of American industry? We’ve lived above our means for far too long. We’ve begged, borrowed and stolen the money to live the extravagant lifestyle to which we’ve grown accustomed. Now the bills are coming due and we’ve maxed out our credit cards. We’ve got to pawn some of our jewelry and toys.

As has always been the case when something is pawned, we’ve got to fix our financial house and adjust our lifestyles to be more in line with our ability to produce. If we do, we may be able to save what’s left of our financial house. If we don’t, the onslaught on our infrastructure will continue. We still have a huge segment of our population that believes we deserve to live like royalty and that cheap energy is our birth right. As they continue to join the ranks of the unemployed, maybe the light will go on. Maybe not.

We’ve been irresponsible financially. We cannot continue to live high and tax low. Something has to give. In the meantime, we’re doing the only things we can do to pay the bills – printing money and having a yard sale. We may also want to learn a foreign language. We’ll be better able to speak with our new neighbors and landlords.


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