"A Look Back"
By Capt. Fred Davis
Published: Saturday, January 21, 2012

Our election process has become a boxing match — punch and counterpunch. There is no substance during debates, no concern for issues the electorate is facing, other than “special interest groups.”

I have three simple questions:

1. Why did our Supreme Court in a 2010 vote allow “superPACS” (definition: “independent expenditure-only committee”) unlimited spending power and so much cash to be spent on attack political advertising?

2. Why won’t candidates answer questions asked during debates?

3. Why do moderators of debates allow candidates to continue talking when they are not responding to questions asked?

That said, I have already spent too much time and ink on politics and have accomplished nothing. Researching has allowed me to state the obvious before it is actually announced. I will try to drop the topic until I observe what I believe to be an honest, sincere, trustworthy candidate emerge with a plan to help our country move ahead.

As I see it, enough is enough — let’s consider what is more important to families around the country. Leading the list is jobs and those struggling without one often feel as though they have been short-changed. Workers of the past may have created many of the problems job seekers are faced with now.

Remember when thousands of workers in the Midwest reported to work on assembly lines in the auto plants? Plants often ran three shifts of eight hours each keeping the lines rolling around the clock five or more days a week.

My grandparents worked in the auto plants and were very comfortable financially. They owned homes, a car, took vacations, ate well and as I recall, were quite healthy. My Dad followed a family tradition, worked in auto plants his entire adult life and raised four children. He enjoyed the benefits of health and life insurance, and received bonuses for designing tools and machines to improve operations on the line. When increased production was required to supply demand, he and fellow workers received overtime to add to their earnings.

Many employees working in the plants, my Dad included, also had second, part-time jobs that allowed them to earn extra money to spend for hunting and fishing trips and family vacations. Eventually workers were able to purchase retirement property; my Dad bought lots on Pte. Aux Barques Road in Grindstone and moved the trailer we had vacationed in onto one of them.

Each summer our family vacationed in Port Austin, we enjoyed fishing, swimming and roller skating while Dad worked in the plant all week. He would drive up weekends and spend holidays and his vacation days with us.

I’m sure my description of life growing up is not much different from many families that vacationed in the Thumb. Most of us enjoyed a great life in the city. We lived in what was, at the time, a modern home with a finished basement, and garage filled with all the toys. We drove late model cars — we even had two family dogs. Most average families during those times had few if any needs.

If we wanted extra items such as a camping trailer or boat, we all worked together to save up the funds to make the purchases. My sisters babysat, my Mom had a part-time job and I cut grass, shoveled snow and delivered papers. I believe lifestyles like my families evolved when it became a competition to see who could have the most (keep up with the Joneses).

When families began owning RVs, boats and vacation homes, they wanted to use them. They no longer were satisfied with a two-week vacation and they turned down overtime work to increase their play time, thus restricting the family income.

When we examine the employer’s side, we see an industry that could not meet production demands of the good times. They built more and more factories but had difficulty finding enough new workers to employ and current employees were not eager for the overtime. The answer to resolve the problem was automation. As more and more jobs were replaced by automation, many employees were comfortable to sit back and watch as production lines became totally automated.

Because of the high cost of turning lines into an automated state, employers could not afford the high paid employees of the past. Very lucrative, attractive buy-out packages were offered to long-term employees who eagerly accepted them because they wanted to spend time with the fruits of their labor. A very limited workforce was required to oversee the automated production lines and pay rates were drastically cut back for new hires.

So to some extent, those who worked in the auto industry caused and created some of the problems that led to current lack of jobs. Initially, many workers not bought out were happy to accept a lay-off and draw unemployment. This occurred in a cycle — laid off, collect unemployment, back to work until unemployment ran out and there were no calls to return to work.

During the years of these developments, foreign manufacturers began pushing to introduce their products in our country. Prices for imports were lower than those built in the U.S., so sales were brisk. Oddly, the imports were sold to some of the same people who needed to make their living by working for U.S. automakers.

Soon with all the ripple effect, layoffs and workers’ savings depleted. There was no money for mortgages, and certainly none for vacations and extras. Having enough just for necessities became difficult.

We are a country looking for work and many must admit the action or actions of their parents were part of the current statistics. We must back up, accept lower paying jobs and spend less for other than living expenses. No more electronics the moment a new one is introduced, no bigger and bigger TV screens in every room, no car the minute a kid rolls over the 16 mark. The “new age” folks need to study history and learn to live as we did in the “old age.” We worked together to raise the money to buy what the whole family could enjoy.

Everyone should do their part and take any job offered to help get our country back on its feet. Teach your kids “how to work” if they want that new electronic “toy.” Work will always be the American way!



Return to Home Page of Tipsforboating.com


Copyright © Fred Davis. All rights reserved.