The Stark Effect

While my guitar gently weeps

By now you are probably aware of last Friday’s announcement that employers stopped hiring in August. While this comes as no surprise to any unemployed or under-employed person who still holds out hope for change, I believe it did catch our elected leaders off guard. It hasn’t been confirmed, but I heard the news caused Obama to bogey number 9 at Mink Meadows on Martha’s Vineyard. Bummer.

What makes this report so untimely is that it comes after the president wrapped up his Brother Love’s Travelling Salvation Show tour.

You know, the one where he visited several Midwestern states in a $1 million custom bus that was purchased by American taxpayers and made in Canada, all to tout his job creation efforts.

Hey, don’t be too hard on him; stimulating the economy is hard work, especially if it’s a foreign one that doesn’t use the same form of currency. Think of all the jobs that were created in converting $1 million American into Canadian dollars.

You’re right, I couldn’t think of any either.

Regardless, the president is aware of the state of the economy; that is why he asked for a joint session of Congress, so he could give a speech on the issue. How was he to know it would have been the same night as a GOP presidential debate? After all, the debate had only been scheduled for two months when the president chose the date for his speech.

Can he really be held accountable for knowing when the rival political party is holding its nationally televised presidential debates?

Instead, on Labor Day the president visited Detroit (motto: Built by Capitalists, Destroyed by Unions) to call “for Congress to ‘get on board’ with more infrastructure spending and a new round of middle-class tax cuts.” By “on board,” was he referring to the bus that wasn’t imported from Detroit?

Monday’s address served as a preview for his now-scheduled-for-Thursday speech. This upcoming talk will likely expand on the Labor Day address, calling for more infrastructure spending (such as construction), opening new markets for manufacturers to sell their products and cutting taxes for middle-class families.

I wonder, is Madagascar one of the “new markets” Obama plans to mention in his speech? According to the CEO of Gibson Guitar, the answer is “yes.”

Two weeks ago, and for the second time, federal agents raided three of Gibson Guitar’s Tennessee factories; the first raid was in 2009.

Both raids were for the same reason- the U.S. government alleges that Gibson is “illegally importing protected hardwoods from rapidly dwindling rain forests to make” their guitars. For the record, the 2009 raid has yet to lead to any charges.

Gibson is an American manufacturer that employs American workers. It uses wood legally imported from Madagascar, according to the government of Madagascar, to make its guitars. So why the raid? Speculations abound, but federal agents told the CEO that his problems would “go away” if he moved his manufacturing to Madagascar. How is would moving Gibson to Africa create or maintain American jobs?

It sounds to me that Eric “Power from the People” Holder took his cue from Sacha Baron Cohen’s character in the movie Madagascar. He and the president decided that that Gibson had to Move it, move it.

Gibson has been in business for 117 years and employs about 2,000 people.

The two raids have cost the company “in the neighborhood of $2 million to $3 million” in lost labor and confiscated materials. I know the president wants to announce the next big thing in jobs creation, but I believe our economy will return to sustained growth quicker if we don’t hinder the ability of proven companies to do business.

Gibson may be a small company, but some of the greatest guitarists have used their instruments.

Where would the music industry be without Chuck Berry, Jimi Hendrix, Les Paul, Eric Clapton, Paul McCartney or Elvis Presley?

Where would liberals be without the protest anthems of Arlo and Woody Guthrie, Neil Young, Jerry Garcia or Billie Joe Armstrong (Green Day)?

All these musicians play, or played, Gibson guitars. Yet the president wants to move the business overseas and thus eliminate U.S. jobs, while calling for Congress to stimulate the economy.

I’ll try to understand why, while my guitar gently weeps.

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