A Further Perspective

Who’s Lazy?

Not all Americans are, and they're returning home to prove it.

By 11.17.11

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The other day in Honolulu, President Obama told the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit that "we" have gotten "a little lazy." His specific example was that "we" have not been working hard enough to attract foreign investments.

He didn't suggest that "we" included his administration so, presumably, he meant the whole nation. This fits comments to other audiences recently when he said we seemed to have lost our initiative and, earlier, that we'd gotten a little "soft."  Was he referring to the working men and women of the nation, the unemployed trying to find jobs, or the small, medium and large businesses that are the engine of the economy? If so, he was off-key.

The people these words fit are the louts, layabouts and loose screws who have been inhabiting campgrounds on city streets called "Occupy Wall Street." Under the guise of exercising their right of free speech, these people have been showing us for weeks now what it looks like when self-discipline, self-reliance and social civility are replaced by a sense of entitlement stoked by resentment (or, in the case of Oakland, goaded by organized anarchists).

Timid and fearful mayors and city councils let these islands of barbarity fester until recent days when the defection, urination, rape, suicide, trash and disregard for the rights of neighbors and local businesses finally become too much. Now, at last, Mayor Bloomberg has had the police uproot the Obamaville in Manhattan’s Zuccotti Park and half a dozen other cities across the country have done the same. At last, local ordinances are being enforced. That enforcement will have to continue until the louts begin to peel away. Cold weather will help.

The OWS "movement" has never coalesced around an objective, unless one considers that  taking money from productive Americans and giving it to unproductive ones is an objective. What it may be is a portent of the future if we pursue Obama's apparent goal of creating an ever-larger portion of society dependent upon the government.  

One thing the OWS crowd seems to agree on: Problems in our economy are all the fault of greedy somebody-or-others, not the government. This is not incompatible with Obama's belief that only government is capable of creating jobs and prosperity. 

The sympathetic statements about the OWS people by Obama, Pelosi, certain union leaders and other Democrats suggest that they see these urban mobs as emblematic of a large number of Americans; something they can harness in an election through their old friend, the message of class warfare. 

Some media commentators have even compared the OWS free-for-alls with the Tea Party Movement. There is no comparison. The Tea Party consisted -- and does to this day -- of people with the stated goal of reducing government spending and deficits and the size of government. Whether one agrees with these objectives or not, they are clear objectives. Tea Party demonstrations large and small have been orderly, not unruly, and have not broken laws.

What Obama & Co. don't seem to understand, is that, with the exception of anarchists and thugs, Americans want an orderly society. To the extent possible, they want certainty so they can plan their daily lives and they expect to live within their means. They also have hopes, dreams and ambitions and many like the idea of bettering their lives through initiative and innovation.

Cutting against the downbeat statements of Mr. Obama and Democrat sympathy for the urban mobs is the little noticed news that some American companies are bringing jobs home to America.

Two recent examples: Caterpillar, the world's largest earth-moving equipment company, has announced plans to move from Japan to the U.S. its production of small construction machinery. This will involve 1,000 jobs. It will build a new plant for this. At the same time,  it announced plans to expand production of giant-haul trucks and large bulldozers at two Illinois plants. Meanwhile, Otis Elevators will move production from a plant in Nogales, Mexico to a new one in Florence, South Carolina. This will involve 360 jobs.

Ford and General Electric earlier announced they have been moving some jobs back home that had earlier been sent overseas. Not yet a job tsunami, this movement is nevertheless gaining momentum. It is called "reshoring."

These initiatives reflect the American spirit. The anything-goes mess that is the OWS movement reflects what happens when you strip away the layers of civilization.

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About the Author
Peter Hannaford was closely associated with the late President Reagan for a number of years. He is a member of the board of the Committee on the Present Danger. His latest book is “Presidential Retreats.”