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The definition of the word mull.
Mullings by Rich Galen
A Political Cyber-Column By Rich Galen
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    We'll Call it, Modestly:The Mullings Plan
    Monday, September 10, 2001

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    • Friday's unemployment numbers caused a shock of seismic proportions in its effect on long-term thinking in Washington.

    • First of all, an unemployment rate of 4.9 percent means that more than 95 percent of everyone who WANTS a job in the United States HAS a job. And, that total includes tens of thousands of people who, six years ago, were on welfare and are now in the work force.

    • Another way of looking at it was the lead by reporter George Avalos, from Saturday's editions of the Contra Costa Times: "Nearly one in every 20 Americans who wanted a job was out of work during August."

    • Fair enough, but it could just as easily have been written: "Nearly 19 out of every 20 Americans who wanted a job, had one during August."

    • The Democrats have been blaming all this on the Bush tax cut by comparing it to the Reagan plan of the early 1980's. They gleefully point out that the cause and effect was: Reagan tax cut/huge deficits.

    • In light of this past Friday's unemployment numbers let us also remember that on Friday, October 29, 1982 - four days before the 1982 mid-term elections - the unemployment rate hit TEN percent.

    • On that Friday, Republicans had 192 seats in the U.S. House. Five days later, on Wednesday morning, the GOP's numbers were down to 166. House Democrats went into the 98th Congress with a massive 93 seat majority.

    • Congressional Democrats, the remaining Republicans, and the Reagan Administration fell over each other looking for ways to spend federal money which would kick-start the economy.

    • It was a government-wide panic over double-digit unemployment which led to the enormous deficit spending of the 1980's. Not the tax cut.

    • Ok. Now that THAT's off my chest, what to do now for those people who have lost their jobs?

    • The angels-on-the-head-of-a-pin argument regarding the so-called Social Security surplus is the kind of argument a family has when there's plenty of money: Should we buy the blue boat or the green boat?

    • When the family is one of the five percent unemployed - or fears it MIGHT become part of that five percent - the boat argument becomes suddenly, and completely very simple: There will be no boat.

    • So, here's The Mullings Plan for Global Economic Recovery:
      1. Domestic:

      Because this downturn was led by a collapse in the high-tech and telecommunications sectors, the Federal Government should immediately begin a large-scale plan to provide capital funds for completing the high-tech infrastructure.

      Just as the government paid for the interstate highway system in the 50s, 60s, and 70s which connected major cities with small and medium-sized towns nationwide, it should now pay to provide very high speed access from the major markets to those which are small and medium-sized.

      This will have the joint effect of re-vitalizing the fiber-optic companies, construction companies, switching companies, and software providers - as well as guaranteeing high-speed internet access to the smallest communities which will have the effect of allowing technically-oriented companies to flourish in smaller communities thus taking the pressure off urban sprawl.

      Many of the workers involved in the process may find they LIKE these small and medium sized towns, will settle there, and provide a core of skilled high-tech workers.

      2. Overseas:

      The focus of U.S. foreign aid should be sharply limited to three areas: Food and food production; medicine and medical supplies; and high tech infrastructure.

      Most of American foreign aid is not hard cash; it is US products and services. In the high-tech area we can help underdeveloped nations leap frog into the 21st century by providing the same types of infra-structure services in which we will be investing domestically. Most third-world countries do not need - indeed can't use - the latest, highest-tech switches, computers, and software. This will allow US corporations to utilize warehouses full of last-generation equipment for a very good purpose, and further help the high-speed access, computer manufacturing, and telecommunications companies put people back to work.

      As underdeveloped nations become, in effect, web enabled, the level of education of their populations will improve, the level of their economies will improve, and their desire for a much wider range of American goods and services will improve.

      3. Marketing:

      The relatively minor and relatively short-term deficit spending involved in this plan will be called: Global Capital Investment - GCI.

    • Thus, another triumph for the only good thing with the word "liberal" attached: A liberal arts education.

      -- END --
      Copyright © 2001 Richard A. Galen


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