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Igniting a fire with gas while Washington fiddles

Some days you can turn on "Morning Joe" and just conclude there's no connection between our so-called grand political debate and the real slow drip-drip-drip that is killing the American economy -- and our kids' future in the process. Some days the slow drip is from gasoline:

Sunoco Inc., the Philadelphia-based oil company, says it's paying EquaTerra Inc., a Houston consulting firm, to recommend whether Sunoco should "outsource" information technology, accounting, personnel, and procurement jobs from its Center City headquarters, home to 750 of Sunoco's 10,000 employees.

"We have hired EquaTerra to advise us as we explore potentially outsourcing some functions," Sunoco spokesman Thomas Golembeski told me yesterday. Workers learned Friday of the possible job moves. EquaTerra didn't return calls for comment late yesterday.

Sunoco expects EquaTerra to report later this year on which jobs could be profitably outsourced to cheap labor markets in Asia or elsewhere. If Sunoco decides to outsource these jobs, it will seek proposals from contractors, Golembeski said.

First of all...uh, Sunoco, could you please explain to me what you've been doing with the wads of extra cash that I've been forced to dole out at your service stations these last few years? Surely you didn't lose that much on those discount cards from the Acme. And so now this is your gratitude for sevcral years of record profits -- inflicting a hurting on the Philadelphia economy, and not just the people who'll lose their office jobs in Center City but the guy who sold them coffee in the morning, and, yes, the service station owner who use to fuel up their morning commute to a job that's about to disappear forever.

Second of all, isn't this the real problem in America today, and one that no one in Washington -- or anywhere else -- has a clue on how to solve? Free-market solutions? Give me a break -- this is the free market in action. There's not a Republican tax break in the world that would stop Sunoco from shipping those jobs to India or China or wherever, given the huge disparity in wages. We could shut off the Internet -- we did pay for this microphone, after all -- and go back to a non-flat-world economy like we had in the prosperous 1950s, but that seems counterproductive and unpractical, doesn't it. I still think the best alternative would be to invest both more and more wisely in education as well as infrastructure -- what China is doing,

But the inevitable return of conservatives to power, at least until they screw things up for the fourth time in my lifetime, is probably going to lead to a new world order of ill-targeted austerity (money for tanks instead of classrooms) that will destroy my children's future in the name of saving it. God bless America.