I'll highlight a few of my favorite points here, which I'm sure will foster much meaningful discussion.
"On my way over here, I was thinking of all of you and thinking about a letter I recently received from a software engineer. Her name is Myra, and she is in the information technology industry -- she has been for her entire career. Her job is testing software for wireless-systems providers. She wrote, 'I loved my job, and I was good at it.'
"In 2003, her entire department was laid off because their jobs were outsourced. It was a shock to them. To add insult to injury they were told that they had to train their successors, or else they'd lose their severance. You've heard that before - it's a story that we've heard over and over again. In fact I read a report recently that said 36 million jobs were susceptible to outsourcing. What are we doing about it?
"When Myra wrote me, she had already been out of work for a year. She had cashed in her 401(k) and had no health insurance. She wrote: 'If Congress ended tax subsidies to companies that outsourced jobs overseas, I would still have that job that I love.' Democrats promise to end these tax subsidies.
Hate to tell you, kids, but this is the free-market at work. If what you're doing, no matter how good you are at it, can be done as well for less somewhere else, kiss it goodbye. It's sort of the same reason that US automakers are getting killed in the marketplace, and have been for years. Cost of business here vs. cost of business elsewhere.
At the same time, why Myra didn't just suck it up, and find another job doing anything else, rather than sit around and wait for 'another job she loved' to show up, is the bane of my nanny-state hating existence.
"Here in the U.S., when we talk about 'universal service,' we're talking about making sure that everyone has a voice dial tone. We have really fallen down in the list. When the countries that are ahead of us talk about 'universal service,' they're talking about universal broadband deployment. In the last decade, the United States has slipped from leading the world to the 16th in the world. So our agenda guarantees that every American will have affordable access to broadband, and we intend to achieve it in five years.
Lemme know when you dig up the universal right to cheap , fast, intarweb pr0n in the Constitution. Go ahead. I'll wait.
Do I think that it's absurd that wireless/wired high speed service costs what it does here, and that the service is as spotty as it is? Yes.
Do I understand why the telecom companies are more than a little hesitant to sink an obscene amount of money into a new telecom transmission system to span the entire country, which would have to entirely replace the existing copper-wire infrastructure, and force just about everyone to get a new home-phone? Yep.
Do I understand that replacing that sort of infrastructure over the entire country is a task of the sort of magnitude that is the same reason that we'll likely never see nationwide high-speed rail like all those progressive European/Asian countries have? Yep.
Do I think Nancy and the Demos are clueless about this? Yep.
"In order for us to be competitive, it is necessary for us to have energy independence. The technology is there and we intend to achieve energy independence -- it's about our competitiveness, it's about our national security, and we intend to achieve energy independence within ten years. We can do it.
OK. Fine. Let's start by drilling for oil in ANWR, and off the coast of Florida/California. Let's build more nuclear power plants. Wind/Solar/Water power ain't going to cut it.
"Democrats have a proposal for health care for all Americans, and we intend to do so within five years.
Neat. Pay for it with the taxes that are already being collected. Better yet, give me a tax break if I choose to not be a part of your Socialist system. I mean, if I choose to not be a drain on the system, you can stop draining from my wallet.
"We absolutely must pass an increase in the minimum wage. It's been a long time since the last increase, but if you looked at the charts of the purchasing power of minimum wage earners it's going down. There has not been an increase in eight years and you see the income of corporate America's CEOs - it's immoral.
"I was told that an entry level person at Wal-Mart, who works his or her entire career at Wal-Mart, would make as much as the CEO makes in two weeks. A lifetime of work versus two weeks in the executive suite -- this is not America, this is not fairness, this is not the basis of a strong middle class that is essential for our democracy. We must change that in our country.
There's a reason that the CEO makes in two weeks what a minimum wage earner makes in a lifetime. Mostly, it's about effort and choices.
"An important principle that is essential to our competitiveness and ensuring that all Americans participate in the prosperity of our country is the right of all Americans to organize. Fifty-seven million American say they would join a union if they had the chance. But too often, they face harassment, intimidation, and coercion when they try to exercise that right.
"That is why Democrats are fighting to pass the Employee Free Choice Act; Congressman George Miller will be here shortly to talk about that. He's the author of this in the House, along with Ted Kennedy in the Senate. As of today, we have 212 cosponsors in the House. The bill will guarantee that when a majority of workers in a company want a union, they will get a union.
This scares me more than anything. So, say, if out of a 100 employee want a union, for some inexplicable reason, 51 vote for a union. Are all 100 required to join? Can I opt out? Might I be able to remain a *GASP* individual?
"Corruption is writing an energy bill that gives obscene subsidies to oils companies that are making huge profits and raising the prices at the pump and costs on home heating oil for America's families.
Something tells me that Nancy knows the difference between profit and profit-margin, but she knows that if she explains that, these 'record setting profits' will look pretty normal. Oh, and last I checked, business were in the business of making money for their shareholders.
"We must have 100 percent screening of our containers that come into our ports. Hong Kong receives 11 million containers a year, 100 percent of them screened. In America, only 6 percent of containers that come into our ports are screened. So this issue about our ports is not just about operating ports, it's about real security for all Americans.
Hong Kong has an exponentially smaller coastline, with many times fewer ports to patrol, than the US does. Do I think that we should scan everything that comes in? Yep. Do I think we should wait a bit until the technology comes in that will make it more cost-effective to do it? Yep.
Thoughts? Fire away...