Mark: One thing that caught my attention in the President’s Roswell address
was this: “We’ve got people doing jobs in America that Americans won’t do.
And that’s helpful to our economy. It’s helpful that there are some people
that are willing to the do the work that others won’t do.”
This business about “jobs Americans won’t do” is crass economic illiteracy,
of course. For the right wages, you or I would pick fruit. For the right
wages, Warren Buffett would pick fruit.
I have an additional objection to it, though: I think it’s offensive. To
be exact, it offends my image of what America is, and what Americans are.
This, to my way of thinking, is the can-do nation, the nation of pioneers
and homesteaders, of barn-raisers and swamp-drainers and kids tinkering with
their autos on a Saturday morning, the nation of Longfellow’s “Let us, then,
be up and doing.”
Few things in American life trouble me more than what a year or so ago I
I recall P.J. O’Rourke covering the first Gulf War, telling us that the
journalists had opened a book on who would be the first to see a Saudi lift
anything heavier than his billfold. I laughed at the time, but that was 13
years ago. I’m not sure I’d laugh now.