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Wake Up !!


Toastmaster Speech 3 – Get To The Point


In 1875 a committee was formed in the US House of Representatives to study the impact that the Horseless Carriage would have on the country. The committee was labeled the Horseless Carriage Committee. The committee report can be found in the Congressional Record. Here is an excerpt from the report.


 “Horseless Carriages propelled by gasoline might attain speeds of 14 or even 20 miles per hour. The menace to our people of vehicles of this type hurtling through our streets will call for prompt legislative action. The cost of producing gasoline is far beyond the financial capacity of private industry and the development of this new power may displace the use of horses which would wreck our agriculture.”


It is obvious that many of the US Political leaders of that time were out of touch with what was happening in their world.


I believe that is happening again. Our political leaders are focused on the wrong issues and are unable to see how the world is changing.


The goal of my speech tonight is to “Get to the Point”. My point is that our political leaders need to — WAKE UP!!


I hope to persuade you to agree with me that the political conversation from both our political parties needs to first focus on recognizing today’s global realities and secondly to lead us in finding ways to enhance our countries natural advantages.


In getting to my point and persuading you to my way of thinking I will discuss how our political leaders see the world differently than CEOs. I will discuss how as Tom Friedman of the NY Times states, average is over, and that our country is well positioned to take advantage of this new world paradigm.


Think about what a politician sees when he or she looks at a map. They see states that contain voters. They want to be popular in each state regardless of the reason. Now think about what a CEO of a premier company that makes great products sees when he or she looks at a world map. They see places where their products can be made and sold. Michael Dell is always reminding people that 96 percent of his potential new customers live outside theUS– the rest of the world. He points out that it is helpful to make at least some parts of the products he wants to sell in the countries where he wants to sell them. Many companies consider themselves to be global companies and citizens of the world. They have offices and factories and design teams located all over the place. The do not view things in terms of exports and imports. Tom Friedman writes that these CEOs rarely talk about outsourcing. The topic of Outsourcing is so 10 years ago. Their world is integrated. There is not an out or an in anymore. Many of their products might be designed/ imagined in theUS, manufactured in theChina, marketed inFranceand orchestrated by people here in theUS. So the old phrase Made inAmericaor Made inJapanare outdated. Most things are Made in the World. So our political leaders need to recognize this fact and quit acting like this is the 1970’s. They need to lead us in making policies that won’t attempt to fight the trend like the Horseless Carriage Committee but to take advantage of the trend.


Now let’s talk realistically about jobs. In the past here in our country people with average skills, doing an average job, could earn an average lifestyle. But as Friedman says – average is over. Adam Davidson writes in The Atlantic magazine that in the 10 years ending in 2009USfactories shed workers so fast that they erased almost all the job gains of the previous 70 years. Companies now have access to technology, software and automation not to mention access to cheaper labor in other parts of the world. These companies are not going to look the other way and pay US workers for jobs they don’t need to fill. Now our political leaders of the day blame the loss of jobs on political policies – taxes being too high or too low or greed or some other reason that is an easy scapegoat. Or they change the subject entirely i.e. birth control. But one of the main reasons we have lost jobs and are seeing higher unemployment is that the world economic paradigm has changed. Of course this is a hard pill for the American worker to swallow. I’m sure all the horse owners and horseshoe makers, not to mention the horses, got pretty upset too when the car starting putting them out of business. The point is to adapt to the trend. Instead of placing blame our political leaders need to be leading the charge in empowering our people to adapt and thrive in this new world.


The last point I want to make is that this is not bad news. Think about it. What country has historically welcomed talented people / immigrants from all over the world more than theUS? What country has the best capital markets that are safe and credible? Our currency is strong and our stock exchanges are stable. TheUSis a great place to register for patents. And in our country .we have benefited by government funding of research and innovation that has led to huge gains in space research, bioscience and clean energy. There will be plenty of jobs for our citizens to design and market products and to manufacture and retail high end products. And of course all aspects of these products need to be shipped places and that shipping will continue to be a growing industry.


So our political leaders need to learn a lesson from the Horseless Carriage Committee. They need to change the political conversation and focus on today’s global realities and help lead our citizens to compete in a global interconnected economy where products are Made in the World, where average skills can no longer support an average life. Our political leaders should not fall back on petty placing of blame for the changes we are experiencing but instead embrace the changes and help to empower us to thrive. So to get to the point – our political leaders need to Wake Up!


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