When I was stopped on the streets of Chicago on an unusually chilly early September Tuesday, and was asked to participate in the inaugural segment of something entitled “Bringing America Back” for ABC World News, how could I refuse?! I was told I would be a featured guest that very evening (Sept. 6); so with camera rolling and microphone at my lips, I seized the opportunity to serve my country in an attempt to help “Bring America Back”!!
I was pointedly asked what our country’s biggest problem currently is, and what we can do to fix it??
Being a political junkie who has also read every book possible (a bit of an exaggeration) regarding world economics, international stock exchanges, personal and institutional investing, currency/capital markets, interest rate trends, and the labor force; I felt instantly ready to take to my unexpected bully pulpit and let loose with a dazzling display of rhetoric for all to witness–after all, millions of Americans would be watching, and counting on me to deliver!! I would, in fact, single-handedly identify the problem(s) and TRY to propose a solution…
Trust me, my friends, I did not disappoint; after all, I was in my wheel-house!!
I waxed knowledgeably about the National Labor Relations Act; the rise of the greatest middle class the world has ever known; Congressional Reconciliation; Quantitative Easing; our current debt crisis (including the tens of trillions we can probably never repay Medicare and Medicaid). I spoke with great confidence, however, about how America was historically the best positioned nation on earth to stage this type of comeback. I warned of the dangers of trying to tax our way out of this quick-sand canyon…keep in mind…no civilization on earth has EVER taxed itself into prosperity (counter to what Ravi Batra suggested in his book The Great Depression of 1990). I pontificated about our need to GROW our economic base and revive our ever shrinking manufacturing sector (a-la Lee Iacocca in Where Have All the Leaders Gone?). I expressed with sadness how–at this moment–we here in America just do not produce the kind of goods that the rest of the world is demanding; and even if we did, the cost to produce them is just too high–when one factors in the costs of Federal/State regulations and labor–to make us competitive on the world stage. I continued on about how we are more of a nation that now provides services–mostly financial services (as predicted in the book Mega-Trends 2000, for example)–via the “trading of paper”, and by creating financial instruments that industry reps themselves do not even understand. Yes, my friends, I was on a ROLL!!!
The camera man gasped; the interviewer stood stunned (‘who is this man-on-the-street?’ he must have been thinking), but managed to get out one additional question: “Well, how do you propose we implement your growth plan??” I answered: “As our President once said in one of his primary debates against Hillary Clinton (on a different issue, admittedly), “Uhhh…, that’s above my pay grade.” !!”
Perhaps that was the answer that sunk me; because after 10 solid minutes of dizzying “tape in the can”, I got an entire 3 seconds on the 6:30 evening news!! Only 9 words, in fact, that were pulled out of context from the middle of one of my sentences: “…we don’t make things the way we used to…”
That was it; and it hardly shook the nation, believe me!! Well: My ego may have been bruised, and my broad knowledge/opinions may have been muzzled; but at least my red scarf looked great on camera!!!!