10 Feb

I have been hearing a lot about the state of the United States economy.  Most of the news is not good.  The unemployment rate is hovering around 8.5% with certain demographic segments of the country suffering with much higher numbers.  The outcry has been to develop more jobs and bring back many of the jobs that have been sent to foreign lands. 

First let’s look at the jobs that have left.  Many of those jobs are manufacturing which at one time made up a majority of the high paying blue collar jobs in America.  We had better understand from this day on one thing. “Those jobs are not coming back.”   Some of those jobs have been made obsolete by technology and the increased productivity of the current workers.

Next, many of the lost jobs are now entrenched in foreign lands and they are not coming back to America.  Unless the Federal government can give enough incentives to companies to bring those jobs back which may include lower corporate taxes, those jobs are lost forever.  Another contributing factor is that Americans have lost their competitive edge.  We are lagging behind in education and training.  Also the Federal government needs to get out of the way by not over regulating.  We need to let the American ingenuity and creativity come to the forefront to raise us up to where we once stood in the world economy.

You may wonder why this post is entitled, “Jinx.”  Well, let’s get to that.  Jinx was my father, formally named Jesse Smith.  Your next question may be, what does he have to do with jobs and the American economy?  He had everything to do with it.  My father was a coal miner from the 1950’s until his retirement in the mid 1980’s.   He had his first coal mining job in Carolina, WV at a Bethlehem Mines Corporation site.  I remember him telling me that at that time they were still hand loading coal.  He eventually went to work at Bethlehem Mine #41 at Barrackville where he and I both were raised.  He worked there until the late 60’s and went to Loveridge Mine in Fairview, WV.  Locals refer to the area where this mine was located as Sugar Run.  He worked there until retirement and while  there studied and received his Mine Foremen’s Certification. 

My father did what many Americans today must do.  He became an entrepreneur.  My father did not have a lot of education.  But what he did have was a very strong body and a willing mind.  He worked harder than any man I have ever known.  He always kept an old pick-up truck and some tools.  He would haul old furniture away, help people move their residences and  perform any other manual labor job to make extra money on the side. At one time he even had a garbage service and charged his customers $1 per month.  My friends and I worked with him and he did not even have to pay us.  He would stop us at a local ice cream shop after the route was completed.  I have unstopped sanitary sewers with him, patch roofs, built block walls, removed trees and even hauled chicken manure for use on vegetable gardens.  Jinx did whatever it took to make it.  He epitomized the old saying, ‘an honest days work for an honest days pay”.  All us of must go back to this hard work ethic that was demonstrated by our forefathers.  Many of the corporate jobs will not come back, but we all can find something we can do on our own to sustain us and our families. 




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