That giant sucking sound

As we wait for Dan Rather to officially call the election, I get to eat some proverbial crow.

I must humbly make a correction to my Oct. 28 column, “Flying the business friendly skies.” I erroneously stated that Boeing had outsourced its manufacturing facilities, when in fact, it had outsourced its headquarters.

In my defense, I wrote the column in longhand since my laptop died on me mid-flight, and the correct verbiage got lost in translation. My thanks to those of you who were paying attention and were kind enough to send me letters.

The point of that particular column, however, was that businesses don’t do such things in a vacuum. Business and profits are what drives the economy and creates jobs.

Lest anyone think that’s a bad thing, allow me to introduce to you the 108 federally recognized Indian tribes in California. Many of those tribes have discovered gaming, and their expertise with the business created the giant sucking sound Nevada’s gaming industry has become so familiar with.

Of course, this is of little consequence to the cradle-to-grave support system that liberals subscribe to.

With that in mind, I formally present to you Pine Ridge, S.D. If you haven’t heard of it, that’s OK. It’s probably this country’s best-kept secret.

Pine Ridge is the second-largest Indian reservation in the country. It’s just south of the Badlands and covers an area the size of Rhode Island. It’s home to more than 41,000 Lakota Indians, the direct descendants of Crazy Horse, Red Cloud and Sitting Bull—some of the fiercest warriors ever to roam the Great Plains.

The poorest county in America, as determined by the U.S. Census Bureau, is contained within its borders. Unemployment hovers at 84 percent. The median income is about $2,600. Sixty-nine percent of the residents live below the poverty line. There is no industry on the reservation and very few jobs. Many residents travel 120 miles to Rapid City to seek employment for most of the year. About one-third of the households don’t have electricity or indoor plumbing. The place is supposedly dry, but alcoholism is rampant.

Indian Health Services covers healthcare for Native Americans for free. Even so, the typical Lakota male can only expect to live to the age of 57. Women get about a decade more. In the entire Western Hemisphere, only Haitians fare worse—and Haiti is the AIDS capital of the world.

Through a suffocating combination of government bureaucracy and incompetence, Native Americans have lost control of their lives and culture. However, the problem isn’t that land was stolen from their ancestors; it’s that the government controls most of the land they now live on. Reservation life is governed under the auspices of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, a department created in the 1800s as part of the Department of the Interior, when Native Americans were rounded up and confined to reservations. The government has been taking care of business ever since.

When former president Bill Clinton visited the reservation during his 1999 tour of poverty-stricken areas, he promised more money for the region even though the federal government pumps some $40 million into Pine Ridge annually. Most of the jobs that exist are on the public payroll. A private-sector economy hasn’t thrived in the area since the days of fur trading and buffalo hunts.

So there you have it, ladies and gentleman, a shining example of what happens when the government knows what’s better for you than you do and why 59 million people "got it" on Nov. 2.