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Letters: tire tariffs, Kenya, combat pay

Kai Ryssdal Oct 6, 2009

Letters: tire tariffs, Kenya, combat pay

Kai Ryssdal Oct 6, 2009


Kai Ryssdal: We’re going to jump right into letters this week by talking about the good ‘ol U.S. of A. A couple of weeks ago commentator Dan Drezner had some unkind things to say about the Obama administration’s trade policies.

Specifically those 35 percent tire tariffs the president imposed on China late on a Friday night. Dan said that’s no way to build an economic recovery. Protectionism, he called it.

That struck a chord with Larry Tagrin from Montgomery County, Md.

LARRY TAGRIN: I also shout protectionism but in my case I shout for protectionism. What’s wrong with protecting American companies, American workers and America’s industrial base?

Commentator and former venture capitalist Andy Kessler weighed in on how to write new rules for Wall Street. What he said, actually, was that Wall Street is a dangerous place, where you can lose your job in the blink of an eye and so the salaries there are basically like combat pay.

Navy veteran Ralph Staples from San Diego, Calif., has a different perspective.

RALPH STAPLES: I find any comparison between bonuses and combat pay to be completely misplaced. In the risk versus reward tradeoff, on Wall Street if I don’t perform, I may not get a bonus or be fired. In combat the risk is much, much higher. It is your life, loss of limbs or mental and emotional stability at stake.

Last week, Jennifer Collins brought back a story about how corruption in Kenya is making the drought there far worse. That prompted a lot of you to write, including Joshua Thuku, a Kenyan living here in the United States.

JOSHUA THUKU: Corruption is the key ingredient to the overall problem though lack of rainfall for prolonged periods of time does not help the situation. No one in power seems to care about this souls. My heart goes to them. These are my brothers and sisters we are talking about, literally.

There was a lot of interest in how to help some of the people profiled in that story. We’ve got some links on our Web site, if you are interested.

Finally, last week we had Jim Davis on, from the talent management firm DDI, about his company’s survey on job satisfaction. A lot of people apparently said their careers are stuck in a rut. But, at the same time, some admitted to playing hooky and surfing the Web instead of, well, working harder and trying new things.

Davis said he was surprised by that in a recession.

Emma Stockwell from Sunnyvale, Calif., wonders why the surprise.

EMMA STOCKWELL: I think that people are truly depressed about the future. Why try when you know you’ll be next on the chopping block? Why try when you have to take on even more work (when already overworked) from laid-off colleagues? The job market, when added to everything else, is enough to make people give up.

A lot of the letters we get are about the music on the program. We’ve got a list of all the day’s songs, and a feature called Recession Rocks, music to liven up your downturn.

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