Contract bridge

October 15, 2008

This is stunningly dunderheaded:

Today, when Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama returns to Toledo, The Blade, on its front page, asks Mr. Obama a simple question: Do all Americans who want to work have the right to a job where they live?

John Robinson Block, co-publisher and editor-in-chief of the newspaper, said the answer to that question is important to all Toledoans and to all Americans.

‘The late, great governor of Ohio, James A. Rhodes, used to say there is nothing wrong with Ohio that more jobs won’t solve,’ Mr. Block said. ‘And 64 years ago, President Roosevelt said every American has the right to a job. We wonder if Senator Obama thinks having a job is a right today.’

Not just a right to a job, mind you, but a right to a job where you live! Who provides these jobs, and who orders them provided? Would there be a national job czar who tells factories in Arizona that half of them must move to Michigan and Ohio to balance out the nationwide job availability picture? I don’t expect newspaper people to be economic geniuses — lord knows I’m not — but do they have to be so embarrassingly dumb? I doubt if even Obama would promise people the right to jobs where they live.

Oh, well. The piece also quotes, approvingly, Democratic U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, who contributes this gem:  “The social contract in this country has always been if you worked hard, took care of your family, went to work, and played by the rules, you would be rewarded,” Mr. Brown said. “We have moved away from that, and the social contract is not what it used to be in this country.”

Well, no. It might be a good idea or fair or just to reward those who play by the rules, but what does that have to do with the social contract, which is the theory of how we move from a state of nature to the rule of government by giving up certain liberties in order to secure order and safety? The “social contract” is indeed not what it used to be.

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