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December 29, 2003

WHY DOES INDUSTRY EXIST?

Which way does the balance tip for you? Does industry exist to manufacture items efficiently? Or to provide a decent employment?

That is one of the handful of questions that divides Republicans from Democrats. Their may not be right or wrong answers, but there sure are different priorities.

I think manufacturing is close to useless unless it also privdes decent wages, with benefits that can allow an employee to concentrate on his job without daily worry to the "What If? questions.

Obviously as a consumer, I also want reasonable prices.

But for me it's got the point in many cases where low prices aren't enough to sway me. I avoid Wal-Mart. There, prices aren't that low compared to other places. I now avoid Fry's but perhaps should avoid Albertson's ands Safeway's first because what they did to California grocery workers was worse in shutting them out.

In other words, I have respect for the American worker more than I respect the needs and desire of shareholders.

Anytime a company sends masses of jobs to other countries, that is a finger in the face of the American worker. Some jobs are better to have overseas and can be rationalized as spreading the wealth in a market.

Others, farming phone services out for example, is a hard-nosed rim-job to the bottom line.

But if each and every company starts treating it's workers like fodder, what's next? The argument in the grocery worker's strike is that because Wal-Mart does it, so must they follow to stay afloat. Nevermind that the mass grocers in question have posted record profits.

Yes, more and more Americans are shareholders and therefore have a vested interested in seeing that profit margin skyrocket. But it is equally true that the vast majority of Americans live on a dream of a better future and identify themseves as above their economic class.

It's the job of Congress to stay grounded and not allow pie in the sky to be followed by shit on the sole.