Burt Prelutsky

I admit I am not an economist. The truth is, I have trouble balancing my checkbook. Having said that, I can’t figure out how we can compete in a global economy. When China uses slave labor and other countries pay their workers a few dollars a day, it seems to me that we’re trying to fight with one arm tied behind us and a small dog biting our ankles.

I know even less about cars than I do about economics, so I have no way of knowing if American cars are as good as those produced by the Germans and the Japanese. But I did hear recently that when pensions and benefits are factored in, a UAW union member makes about $78-an-hour. That works out to about $156,000-a-year. I’m not suggesting that an American factory worker isn’t worth it, but how can the company paying out that kind of money possibly sell a car at a competitive price?

I don’t have answers, you understand, I’m just asking questions. Another question that comes to mind relates to George W. Bush. One of my readers took me to task for suggesting that the President didn’t do anything to ward off the financial crisis. He claimed that Cal Thomas, among others, had written about Bush’s attempts to do something about Fannie Mae before the crisis hit. My response is that it’s not the job of Mr. Thomas to carry the President’s message to America. The presidency is not supposed to be a covert operation. The President is the man with the bully pulpit, and if he isn’t prepared to use it, he probably shouldn’t have it. And I’m not referring to those dog-and-pony press conferences. I don’t need to see Helen Thomas hogging camera time, but I do need to hear what the president thinks and why he thinks it. Which is why I hope Obama makes it a practice to give weekly or bi-weekly reports, and I don’t need to see the first lady, the first kids or even the first dog while he’s doing it.

Next, I don’t ever want to hear a Democrat claim, as I believe Joe Biden did, that paying taxes is patriotic. Paying taxes is about as patriotic as going to the bathroom. In other words, at times, it’s necessary, but it’s always compulsive. I believe that for a thing to be patriotic, it has to be done on a voluntary basis. I suppose a case could be made that if a person paid more than he owed, he was being patriotic. So, as an example to the rest of us, I would love to see such tax-loving liberals as George Soros, Mr. and Mrs. John Kerry and all the various Kennedys, pay at the rate they would if most of their income didn’t come to them in the low-taxed form of trusts and off-shore accounts.