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Obama abandons jobless Americans

Ever the internationalist, President Obama took special care to single out the People's Republic of China for praise in the section on innovation in his vacuous State of the Union message last week.

With reverence, Obama noted that China now has the "world's largest private solar research facility and the world's fastest computer." China and India have their kids in school earlier and longer than we, and stress math and science, he claimed. Oh? Which kids?

One can only wonder how far Obama will go to encourage imitation of Red China in his quest to satisfy corporate America, which has shipped our manufacturing jobs over there.

Will he next support a children's "freedom to work" initiative mirroring the Chinese practice of using 12-year-olds to make the miraculous hand-held phone devices that Americans crave? Kids from poor Chinese neighborhoods also enjoy a "freedom from parents" who can't afford to keep them out of the sweatshops.

State-controlled factories there prize children with small hands and eyes not yet damaged by 12- to 15-hour shifts six days a week.

What Obama said and refrained from saying won't hurt his bid to raise $1 billion for his 2012 campaign from global business interests. First he renewed a call for deregulation. Will these be Chinese standards of environmental control, which see headlong industrial expansion polluting the country's air and rivers?

Will the new White House create loopholes for Chinese imports that contain lead, or lead-painted steel, or leach melamine into pet food or baby formulas?

Incidentally, the solar materials research facility Obama cited as an example of the glories of Chinese education and innovation is nothing of the kind. It was designed by Applied Materials of Santa Clara, Calif. It is really a model of American innovation and corporate outsourcing.

What Obama didn't mention in his economic call to arms was China's theft of American intellectual property, its non-tariff barriers to American exports, its currency manipulation, its insistence on owning half of all U.S. enterprises there and the regime's repeated public attacks on the worth of the dollar.

All of these issues, plus -- and one struggles for a suitable word -- the inconstancy of American manufacturers, account for the flight of millions of industrial jobs to Asia, mainly China. They are the reason for our sluggish recovery, and the waves of deficits lapping against the Capitol and dozens of statehouse doors. Add to this the treachery -- there is no polite word for their silence -- of those members of Congress who fail to hold the president's feet to the fire.

Obama elected to not stand up for the nearly 17 percent of American adults, counting discouraged workers, who lack employment, who face eviction, loss of pensions, deprivation of medical care and carfare.

Rust Belt Democrats from Sen. Debbie Stabenow of Michigan to Rep. Louise Slaughter of Fairport struggled to find anything in the speech with real grit. So they centered on Obama's vapid sloganeering about innovation, a tattered banner first raised in the Jimmy Carter days.

Rep. Brian Higgins of Buffalo said construction of a new Peace Bridge could jump-start the economy. Good idea. But that is a state project and Albany will first have to increase the borrowing authority for the job.

Democratic regulars can't criticize this president no matter how badly he lets them down because, as Sen. Charles E. Schumer noted weeks ago, their fortunes are tied to his.

Days before this speech, Obama sent another signal to the jobless that they are on their own. He named Jeff Immelt, chief executive officer of General Electric, as his new jobs and exports czar. Scott Paul, head of the Alliance for American Manufacturing, noted GE has closed 29 stateside plants in the last two years.

e-mail: dturner@buffnews.com

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