One of my favorite memories of Slim Searfoss involved, mid-conversation, his head perking up at the mention of cake. “Cake?!” he said, with eyes as round as cupcakes. I’m not sure why that fancies me, but it still makes me smile. Yes, cake.

Really, that story has nothing to do with this post.

I’m tired of hearing the politician commercials. I have yet to hear one that really demonstrates that the candidate is any different from his/her opponent by citing actual examples of success. Though I do kind-of enjoy the Christine Whoever from some-other-state clip where she adamantly insists “I am not a witch.” Perhaps because none of the other candidates clearly described their lack of witching she might get a leg up.

But back to cake.

Other than the lack of proven success examples in the commercials, another common theme seems to be finger pointing about jobs. It seems that everyone’s opponent sent jobs overseas in their time serving Ohio. Now, being in the staffing industry, I can attest to the drop off in jobs over the past 2 years. Heck, if you have a neighbor within a 10 mile radius you can probably tell a story of woe concerning job loss. We’ve all felt it. I’m not convinced that any industry was immune to the effects.

However, though we all like to point as many fingers as we can, I think “we the people” need to put on our big-kid pants and take a little ownership of our problem.

We don’t like that our jobs are going overseas, but we also don’t like to pay a steep price for our everyday goods. For example, I love me some Old Navy clothes. Particularly I’ve got a thing for coats lately (oh, the ruffles. Or toggle buttons. Could I get away with orange?), and at 50% off, average price $30-45, who doesn’t? Now, one reason I enjoy the Old Navy shopping experience is because I can typically find something delightful – and that I can afford with the gift card my mother gave me. But one way that ON keeps my pocketbook happy is the fact that the clothing is typically made by a Guatermelon or tyke in another 3rd world country (whole different post about fair trade issues and ethics associated). Though we (ha! I suddenly became a part of the team! Do I get an employee discount?) do employ some corporate folk in Ohio, I’m guessing the payroll numbers largely span the globe. Why? Because clothing creation involves factory-setting, tedious work. Lots of cutting and stitching and general tasks that breaks nails and causes blisters. And in the US, for someone to be willing to do that work, the price will be at least $8/hr plus benefits. When you start adding up the number of ON across the country, multiply that by the number of garments and then divide by the number of people needed to stitch them up and then multiply that by $8/hr, the price of my new coat will have rapidly increased. All of a sudden Old Navy is Banana Republic. (Now, wait a second…).

Same can be said about any general staple item that we purchase on a daily basis that comes from overseas.

Now, let me offer a possible solution: rather than cutting costs at the bottom (the lowest wage earners), I suppose we could cut costs at the top of the pyramid. If ol’ Les were to take a bit less in wage, perhaps there would be more to pay the workers AND keep prices at a relative minimum. But that’s not the American way. The American way is to get as rich as you possibly can. Aided by buying inexpensive coats.

And then blame the politicans for the loss of jobs and a tanking economy.

I know, I know, there are tons of holes to my theory (including “the right to earn as much as you can” and spend as little of it possible on coats). Alls I’m saying is, if we want our cake of jobs, we might have to pay a price before we’re able to eat it, too.

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