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GENE ROBERTSON: Obama, IBM may share inability to keep promises

Wednesday, September 21, 2011 | 3:45 p.m. CDT; updated 4:37 p.m. CST, Monday, November 21, 2011

President Barack Obama's incredible speeches no longer have the same positive effect.

The first campaign speeches were eloquent enough for many of us to contribute time and significant amounts of insignificant incomes to his campaign.

His promises were inspiring. And he symbolized an achievement that many never expected to be realized in the United States.

We saw in the election of Obama the iconic symbolism of what democracy promises — a man of color being elected president solely on merit. 

Obama's speeches are now reminiscent of the promises made to the city by IBM to obtain concessions for their move to Columbia.

There is a relationship between these two promises for Columbia residents.  We need to be more skeptical of both Obama and IBM. Will either Obama or IBM bring the jobs we need in the way we need them? 

The Obama promise, if achieved, is no more than a shell game that takes resources from one area — such as health care and Social Security — and gives it to another.

Perhaps the shift will result in temporary unemployment relief at the expense of a resource and job loss in other areas.

This appears to be a charade that might look good before a political campaign but fails, as usual, to meet the test of time.

With regard to IBM's promises of local job hires: If legal provisions were not adequate to insure that local hires would not take place within a certain time frame, we may have allowed ourselves to be tricked. The key words are "local qualified residents."

Neither Obama nor IBM appears to be able to keep promises. We need to adopt a  "show me the money” attitude in both cases. 

We must  be skeptical.

Remember this: Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

William E. "Gene" Robertson is a Columbia resident and a professor emeritus at MU.


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Comments

Paul Allaire September 21, 2011 | 11:30 p.m.

So then you feel that Obama is trying to take from your health care? That statement is quite disingenuous. You may be disappointed that the economy is not moving at a faster clip, but remember that the situation is even worse in much of the world. You can also be thankful that we still have GM. I can remember him receiving much criticism over this.

Regarding IBM, you might try waiting for the actual time that those jobs were said to be produced before launching your criticisms.

This appears as if it had been written by a spoiled impatient child.

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking September 22, 2011 | 7:34 a.m.

"Will either Obama or IBM bring the jobs we need in the way we need them?"

IBM - we'll see, but their track record has not been great in other places.

Obama - there's little he can do to generate private sector jobs. The kinds of investments that produced jobs in the past are now more profitable overseas. We may have to live with a higher level of unemployment than we have in the past, and have to deal with it by job sharing and shorter workweeks.

Standard of living isn't all about having more "stuff". Having more time has a lot to recommend it also (even if you don't have as much stuff).

DK

(Report Comment)
Corey Parks September 22, 2011 | 7:55 a.m.

Hard to buy "stuff" you need when inflation takes off even more then it is now. Unless of course your prepared for it which I am guessing most are not.

Wasnt IBM supposed to report at the end of the year? Why is this guy in a hurry. He probably wants to know what the final score of the Supper Bowl is already.

(Report Comment)
Paul Allaire September 22, 2011 | 4:46 p.m.

Speaking of supper bowls, all this reading is making me hungry.

On the bright side, you may have a good buying opportunity today if you trade in stocks and commodities.

Of course, that must have been Obama's fault.

(Report Comment)

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