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by Ken Mahal, NSC President
Originally published on  September  08, 2005 - reprinted with permission

   I don’t know about you but at age 62 when I officially retired (some 22 years ago) I have never once looked back and wished that I had kept earning a paycheck. Now that doesn’t say I shouldn’t have done so because you can always use extra cash. In our case we have 3 grandkids in college who can always use a new computer or something else expensive like even help with tuition. And the fourth grandson is in his second year of high school wishing he were 32 — so he can also always use a few bucks. In fact in his German International School the students have been supporting a group of students in Ethiopia; taking them from wood shacks to a couple of concrete block school buildings with running water and toilets. Now they want to raise money to help educate a few people as teachers where they qualify them to teach with even a few weeks of learning not years of it like we do in the US. Maybe we should do something like that in Las Vegas.

What has happened to this country where we once had a third of the labor force unionized and now are around 10% which should tell us something is wrong. Not that I think unions saved the country but at least they were strongest when we had a large industrial base in the business of manufacturing widgets not paper shufflers as seems to be the growing force in the 21st century. Nothing could have been better when after WWII sixty or seventy percent of the people worked in some kind of industrial job and now it seems the widget making is done in China — what a sad situation. Many people are just better suited to work in the widget making business. Now we think everyone should have a college degree except for those who don’t learn the language, they seem to able to get a journeyman’s rating for a few bucks not years of vocational training as used to be the case. In our part of the country what is the demand for college educated men and women? Certainly it is not needed to clean bath rooms, park cars, trim the shrubbery etc.

We hear a lot of talk about out-sourcing of services in this country such as computer expertise that seems to get most of us upset because we can’t understand their English.

So what’s next? In India there is a push to keep their doctors home and to become the next center of medical treatment in the world. It seems to be their intent to create first class medical centers providing surgical procedures at one third the cost in their country and encourage us with others in the world to go there. They also seem to want to entice people to do rehab in fine first class resorts by the sea again at a third our costs.

So why not give it a shot? This is how change takes place when some one else takes a little risk to provide a service of quality when they see others no longer being competitive.

How can we take our manufacturing base back is a tough call. It would take a lot of cooperation from various governments on down. This includes government as well as the companies, needing the trainees, to see a need and fill it. For years in the Twin Cities of Minnesota the companies in manufacturing provided the teaching skills for the vocational school as well as help with student schooling costs and on the job training after the young finished school. I remember my first on-the-job training at 25 cents an hour that I earned and loved it. That was pounding nails. They still need someone to do it only now it is with an electric power driven nailing machine. Oh how things change.

I see the head of RTC, Mr. Jacob Snow, wants to experiment with many types of transportation including a so called fixed guide-way system from Henderson to downtown which costs a lot and has plenty of headaches to go with it. One of these fancy trains in the Midwest gets the right of way over the auto traffic so can’t you just see yourself waiting in line for this train to pass like the old fashioned freight train while at the same time you will be helping pay for it. To get to the fixed rail one will be required to somehow get from home to the train and the same at night. We call this “mass transit” which we quit using 60 years ago and replaced it with “individual transit” called the automobile. Recently many automobile companies are providing more choices called “commuter cars” that are small, inexpensive with good mileage at a reasonable cost. There is a system that could use these small commuter cars on platforms that you simply drive onto and would be transported by computer control to your nearest point to drive of.

Why is government thinking of spending money on shelters for the homeless when all they need is a few tents set up from time to time in the areas where it is needed? Keep it cheap and mobile. As soon as the shelters are brick and mortar it takes government people on pay roll for oversight and we don’t need any more of that. In fact why provide much of anything for the homeless who are not asking for anything anyway?

Again some silliness that ought to be stopped before it starts. Why give them this convenience which will start in one place then be needed in two places, three places and so on. Again a way to spend money so let’s stop it before it starts. The more we encourage these things the more people will come across the borders and know exactly where to head to look for a job. I find this very dangerous to begin with. Where do you think the new outbreaks in tuberculosis and the likes are coming from? What we should have been doing is starting some kind of college kid’s “day work program” sponsored by the colleges, universities or even Home Depot, Lowe’s and the likes. In fact one of my grandsons studying Architecture started his own college young men’s landscape business and is always busy each summer moving dirt, laying rock, setting block walls and planting landscape material. Wouldn’t all of you rather hire such young people rather than who knows who these people are standing on the street corners? We have plenty of American youth who need day work. Think America First.


At 84 I think some of my window glass is foggy most of the time.