Japanese Having Last Laugh?

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As they saw the GM bankruptcy proceedings, the Japanese were smiling. You could see the happiness: as if to say, Yes, we lost the war but we have won the economic war. Japanese Having Last Laugh?

[Policing Wall Street]

In 1960 my father owned a small printing factory in Chinatown. There was a skid with a board that was not properly nailed. As usual a hammer could not be found.

So, the floor worker, a youth of 18 and fresh out of high school, went out and purchased a hammer. He came back with a hammer. One of the workers, a veteran of World War II, placed the nail into the skid.

He then raised the hammer and bore down on the nail. Whack!

And something went flying. It was the hammer!

What had occurred, everyone wondered. So they gathered around. On the steel head was imprinted the word: “Breakable.”

The young floor worker said: Breakable, what’s that? The pressman said: It means it breaks. What do they teach you in school? My father, another World War II veteran said: What kind of hammer is one that breaks?

That was then.

Yesterday morning I walked past the Federal Bankruptcy Courthouse where General Motors was filing for bankruptcy. GM, which during World War II suspended production of cars to produce tanks that defeated the Japanese, succumbed to the Japanese economic onslaught of Toyota and Honda.

Standing outside were two Japanese newscasters and a film crew. They were smiling. You could see the happiness, Yes, we lost the war but we have won the economic war.

Here for all to see was the downfall of America. And it all started many years ago. Not with the hammer. But with the young high school graduate, an American, who did not know the meaning of the word, "breakable."



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