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Nattering nabobs spreading negativism

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Nearly 40 years ago, then Vice President Spiro "Ted" Agnew railed against the nattering nabobs of negativism in the press corps.

Agnew was the V.P. in the Nixon administration. It crashed and burned from self-inflicted wounds. In fact, Agnew's acceptance of cash for contracts when he was a governor provided his boss with a safety net. Ted had to go away before Tricky Dick.

What I hear now is an allegedly conservative wing of the press corps complaining about the administration in office and they sound like nattering nay bobs.

Unemployment remains unacceptably high here, more so than elsewhere, and many of us have caught on that the real number of people without jobs, compared to the workforce, is greater than the figures would imply because there are people who've just given up on finding work.

That just doesn't wash with me, at least not in most cases. They've given up on themselves. They will eventually find new motivation or perish.

There's also an old view that 4-5 percent unemployment is really zero unemployment because the statistic is only a snapshot in time and, at any given time, workers are between jobs, taking a breather as they move to a new office, store, factory, plant, field, pasture, barn, whatever.

Still, the most recent figures show that Marshall County's unemployment rate was 12.8 percent in November. That's 1,550 people who would, presumably, rather be working since to continue to qualify for unemployment compensation they must prove that they're looking.

One year earlier, the rate here was 15.7 percent, and the highest it got here was 21.3 percent, back when this county had the highest unemployment rate in the state.

We've all heard that there's to be a resumption of vehicle production at the General Motors plant in Spring Hill. Perhaps you've read that local officials are working to cash in on the anticipated increase in imports and work when the Panama Canal is widened. You may have heard reports from the retail front that Christmas shopping is up this year.

A number of the unionized workers at GM plants elsewhere hope to regain jobs at the plant in Spring Hill. They took advantage of an opportunity in another state, continued to work, and under work-contract rules, many of them ought to be able to return when jobs reopen in Spring Hill.

It's one of the reasons the workforce here is lower. People moved to where they could get a job. It's happened before. It will happen again. It won't please parents who want their sons and daughters working and living nearby, but some haven't been around long enough to savor the advantages of living in a small town.

Sailors know that a battleship can't turn on a dime. That's also true of the American economy. Political scientists say that when conditions aggravate enough people, there's a good chance of revolution.

No wonder the nattering nabobs of negativism are out in force.

There have been several revolutions overseas, but the democratic system provides a safety valve.

Express yourself. Register to vote and vote in March and again in November.

It's your country and your future.

These views are the author's and not necessarily reflective of the Tribune's views.