West Wing
Talking Points

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Trade (And Intellectual) Deficits

Leo argues that Josh is partly right -- the country is losing "old economy" jobs in manufacturing, basically, and is now going to get by on the "new economy," which Josh says is why they want to prop up copyright enforcement. See, we're done making food and clothing and all that old-fashioned crap. Now we're going to make ideas. Which is great, because that will totally solve the problem in your average town in which the closing of a manufacturing plant throws a third of the population out of work. They can all occupy and support themselves as inventors. Shut up, Josh. C.J., who stepped out for a minute, comes back in talking about the highly symbolic tractors, and Jed huffs that globalization is "unstoppable." Hey, like tractors! Well, tractors with big cannons on the sides, maybe. Jed starts throwing a blustering hissy about whether we should have banned ATMs to protect bank tellers and so forth, and Josh cringes, exiting while reinforcing the idea that Jed needs to stop acting like everyone who is reluctant to relinquish his or her career is a backward pain in the ass, and just stick to the idea that there will be better, higher-paying jobs as a result of free trade.

In the hallway, Donna hooks Josh up with Ed and Larry, who tell him that an American company called JCN is looking to move 17,000 computer programming jobs to India, and that this is why India suddenly jumped on the happy free trade bandwagon. Josh looks stunned, because he just arrived in Washington last week on the back of a turnip truck. He's horrified to think that 17,000 American programmers are going to lose their jobs. It was okay, I guess, when it was steel workers and people who make shoes. Hell with steel! Who needs shoes? (Well, other than tasseled loafers.) He heads back to the doorway of the Office of O, where he fetches Leo and tells him that there's news. C.J. and Jed stroll by, still talking about "better, higher-paying jobs." Josh looks unhappy. And potentially disillusioned! I think we have a winner!

Flapping flag.

When we return, Leo is moaning to Josh about the 17,000 programmers. "Those are new economy jobs," Leo says, skillfully picking up the carefully scripted irony. He adds that this will create serious problems with Congress, and Josh emphatically agrees that neither Democrats nor Republicans will love the idea of giving up 17,000 good jobs. Furthermore, Josh explains, the programmers are represented by the Communications Workers of America. "The CWA?" Leo asks, equipping you, in your presumed position as a dumb-ass viewer incapable of understanding letters and numbers or sentences longer than "Hey, you," with the acronym you will need later in order to understand what's going on. Anyway, Josh already has a message from the union on his desk, as it turns out -- that being the note from Parsons that Donna mentioned earlier. Josh and Leo both are surprised that the tech companies that were in on the negotiation wouldn't have told Josh what was going on. Seriously, lobbyists? Not forthcoming? I feel faint. Medic!

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West Wing

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