What if Clint Eastwood Is Wrong?

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"This country can't be knocked out with one punch," Clint Eastwood said during his now viral Chrysler ad during halftime of Sunday's Super Bowl. "We get right back up again, and when we do the world's gonna hear the roar of our engines."

I hope so, but let's be realistic.

This was an ad for Chrysler, the automaker that joined General Motors (NYS: GM) in controversial bailouts not too long ago. In Super Bowl Sunday terms, Chrysler and GM are tight ends Jake Ballard and Travis Beckum -- the two New York Giants that had to leave the game after tearing their ACLs. Chrysler and GM wouldn't be playing if it wasn't for miraculous intervention.

Ford (NYS: F) was the only Michigan automaker fortunate enough to sidestep the actual bailout, but have you seen its pension fund obligations? The relative victor here may not be an absolute winner.

I'm not trying to come off as unpatriotic. I love this country, warts and all. I drive a Ford. I'm a Ford shareholder.

It's just a bit unsettling to see everyone gushing over Eastwood's optimistic rhetoric and assuming that the scripted remarks are in any way reflective of the dire situation that we find ourselves in as a country.

I'll tell you what I'll remember about halftime of this year's Super Bowl.

  • It was too long a lull interrupting the action on the field.
  • A foreigner gave us the finger.
  • We celebrated The Material Girl, born and raised in Michigan before going far away while she was still young enough to dream. Where's she living these days?

Jobs in America
Eastwood's "It's halftime in America" ad may give you goose bumps, but it also gives the Motor City too much credit.

"How do we win," Dirty Harry asks rhetorically. "Detroit's showing us it can be done. And what's true about them is true about all of us."

What did Detroit show us exactly? Two out of three of us will need to get bailed out before filing for bankruptcy?

An eye-opening New York Timesarticle last month details how the contract manufacturing jobs that Apple (NAS: AAPL) has moved offshore are there to stay.

Barack Obama was having dinner in California with Steve Jobs and other tech luminaries last February. The President asked Jobs what it would take to get Apple to start making its products in the U.S. again.

"Those jobs aren't coming back," Jobs reportedly told the President.

It's not just about the cost, which many people may not realize isn't the main reason why most of your electronics are assembled in Asia. The article goes over the shorter lead times and abundant availability of skilled factory workers there.

Oh, we have skilled labor in America, but how many people here would be willing to live in cramped dorms adjacent to a factory in exchange for meager wages the way that the iPhone assemblers at China's Foxconn do?

Foxconn has its critics, but that didn't stop thousands of young people that were lined up for hours last week in the Chinese city of Zhengzhou in hopes of landing a job at a new factory there. Over here young people only line up that long to buy the gadgetry that their Zhengzhou counterparts will be piecing together.

Troubled youth
There are jobs in this country that are so undesirable that we're already unofficially contracting them out. When migrant workers tend to this opportunistic country's fields, slaughterhouses, and motel rooms it's not just because they're hungry enough to work for less.

This country is full of graduating high school students that are ready to assume six-figure debt loads through college loans in the pursuit of high-end jobs that may not exist. They may not want the jobs that many are clamoring to be bought back. They're just too young to realize that they may not have a choice.

How confident are you in the next generation? I've been on Facebook. I've been on Twitter. Today's youth can't contract "you" and "are" correctly. How the heck are they going to contract greatness?

There are certainly pockets of genius here and there. There are moments of unbridled stateside innovation.

Tesla Motors (NAS: TSLA) finally unveiled the Model X yesterday. The American maker of electric cars' third vehicle is a slick plug-in electric crossover. The rear passenger doors open up like falcon wings! How cool is that?

How many drivers will actually be able to afford the Model X when it hits the market in two years? Leave me alone. I want to relish something cool for a change. I too like to suspend reality long enough to dream.

You've got to worry about a country that applauds Eastwood's irrational optimism but comes down hard on the one person -- Tom Brady's wife Gisele Bundchen -- that was telling it like it is on Sunday when she took New England's receivers to task for dropping Brady's passes late in the game.

"It's halftime, America," Eastwood says in closing. "And our second half's about to begin."

Nobody better tell him that the Patriots lost.

Driving ahead
It's not all gloomy out there. There are three American companies set to dominate the world. It's a free report, but you don't want to drop the ball the way that the Patriots did in the final few plays on Sunday. Score the freebie now.

At the time this article was published Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz calls them as he sees them. He does not own shares in any of the stocks in this story except for Ford. Rick is also part of theRule Breakersnewsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early.The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple and Ford Motor.Motley Fool newsletter serviceshave recommended buying shares of Apple, Tesla Motors, General Motors, and Ford Motor.Motley Fool newsletter serviceshave recommended creating a bull call spread position in Apple.Motley Fool newsletter serviceshave recommended creating a synthetic long position in Ford Motor. Try any of our Foolish newsletter servicesfree for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe thatconsidering a diverse range of insightsmakes us better investors. The Motley Fool has adisclosure policy.

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