Manzano So Much More than Navarrette

Where and how does one begin to make sense of what Ruben Navarrette wrote for CNN about Leo Manzano and, by extension, Hispanics/Latinos, be they recent immigrants or descendants from founders of some of the oldest cities in the nation?  To start off, the column Navarrette wrote lambasting the young Olympic runner for raising a Mexican and a U.S. flag to celebrate his silver medal in the 1500-meter race was not about Manzano.  It was about Navarrette.  The object of Navarrette’s anger was not Manzano’s alleged act of disloyalty but something about Navarrette that is not yet settled within his own self.

Navarrette admits as much in the column, which in a way is the most important he has ever written:  “Most Mexican-Americans I know would need a whole team of therapists to sort out their views on culture, national identity, ethnic pride and their relationship with Mother Mexico,” the 55-year-old Navarrette wrote.  And that is the problem.  The problem is not Manzano, who knows who he is and knows what he thinks and who is not going to back down from someone like Navarrette who has not figured himself out at his age and remains incomplete – like many Mexican-Americans and other HispanicLatinos.

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Needed: A New People with a New Plan — Now

Regarding their common – and to many, worrisome – future, neither the country nor HispanicLatinos have a plan.  The much ballyhooed “bridge to the 21st Century” that Bill Clinton talked about in his re-election campaign is no more than a plank walk at the moment.

America – until now – never needed a plan.  In its earliest years, the nation fought great political battles over a national banking system and government involvement in the development of a young country’s infrastructure that included canals, national roads and bridges.  Once settled, these initial disputes opened up a continent to the economic energy thrown off by the Industrial Revolution that ultimately hurled America into the forefront of nations in the 20th century.

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HispanicLatinos: Critical, Strategic Asset Not Yet in Gear

Were population groups merely fungible, the current challenges facing America and HispanicLatinos might be less compelling.  If HispanicLatino households reflected the socioeconomic characteristics of the Anglo household, their growing numbers would be what the nation needs to help balance its budget and invest in its future.  But though HispanicLatinos constitute an important strategic asset in the fiscal future of the country, they are in dire straits.  HispanicLatinos earn little more than as 40 years ago.  In a land that aspires to political and societal equality, the economic inequality among its individual components has taken on ominous implications.

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The Eagle Ford: Hope from the Ground Up

So the story of the Eagle Ford Shale is fairly well known to anyone who reads a newspaper.  The story is rooted mostly in South Texas, a poor and often marginalized region of the country that today carries significant national and geopolitical ramifications for the future.  The story has to do with the discovery of an oil and gas formation that stretches across 30 counties, some the poorest in the country.  Together with new and greater volumes of oil and gas production in Canada, North Dakota, Mexico, Brazil and other areas off the coasts of the continents, the South Texas find is realigning the components of the international energy equation that is essential to the country’s energy security and lessening dependence on the Mideast and its chronic instability.  With activity in the area expected to last for decades especially as new technology maximizes production, the importance of the Eagle Ford and South Texas to the country’s geopolitical interests should be evident. Continue reading

Well-dressed by the Depression

The advertisements for Joseph A. Bank, the men’s clothier with its ubiquitous advertising, scare me.  Buy one suit, get two suits, two shirts and two ties absolutely free.  I do not know what the first suit costs but two additional suits, two shirts and two ties at no charge?  Hardly seems possible, unless we are heading for an economic depression. Continue reading

Eleven Months of Dithering?

So as the new year starts, where do we stand?  It seems like things are poised to stay about the same or get worse.  Nothing on the horizon suggests that the economy will start moving again on its own.  All of the long-term factors and components of a changed structural economy are in place and will remain in place for a long time, mimicking an economy in recession.  What is true this week was true last week.  And with Congress dithering on the payroll tax cut extension and undecided on continuing aid to the long-term unemployed, the signs are not encouraging.  Add to that the presidential campaign that officially starts tomorrow in Iowa and that will not be resolved for another 11 months – tempting businesses in and outside the United States to hold back from investing in their own growth.  Hard to make a new year’s resolution to remain optimistic.  However: Continue reading

A Niche to be Filled

It should be fairly evident by now that HispanicLatino population growth can create new markets for smart business owners who are on top of and can interpret demographic change.   HispanicLatino population growth also creates new ways for corporations and businesses – HispanicLatino and non-HispanicLatino alike – to reach those new markets.

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Seeing Growth in Ourselves

In the midst of the economic recession and the failure of the super committee to begin fixing the federal budget, it is not surprising that households and businesses across the nation harbor doubt and perhaps a defeatist attitude about the future.

But HispanicLatino households of all sizes – and business owners in particular – might do well to consider a contrarian approach, a strategy that nets returns by going against the current grain.  Contrarian thinking requires perceiving the future differently.

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Thinking Beyond the Recession

An unforgiving national unemployment rate of nine percent and stagnant – or declining – wages for the average household for the last ten years dominate the minds of Americans worried about the economy.  As important is the number of business closings, though it seldom gets the same amount of ink.  More than 1.5 million businesses have closed since the start of the current recession. A high unemployment rate and extenuated business closures feed off each other in an economy with little demand. Continue reading