Aug. 12-- Ever since Sen. John Kerry identified manufacturers that outsource parts and components overseas as "Benedict Arnold companies," droves of supplier and automaker employees have been seeking psychotherapy.
A growing number of men and women who work for one of those companies just can't take it any more.
The condition is technically known as hyper-extended import-export-trade-balance-guiltophobia syndrome and it's reaching epidemic proportions in some Midwest communities that have a strong middle-class work ethic.
The epidemic is affecting productivity at some plants. Nurses at a couple of factories have had to call for backup help from grief counselors and aromatherapists.
One quick-thinking manager even hired a clown from the local McDonald's to come in with burgers, fries and a jug of orange soda pop to improve morale.
It's been rough for those afflicted. Their neighbors give them the silent treatment. Their kids don't want to play catch with them after supper. Sometimes even the family pet avoids them.
But there is hope. If you're one of those poor souls shuffling along with a hangdog expression on your face, take heart: China has lost more manufacturing jobs than the United States.
That's right. China.
In case you were off moping and missed it, the not-for-profit Conference Board reports that China, which some say is sucking jobs out of western Europe and North America at a record clip, lost 15 million manufacturing jobs from 1995 to 2002. During the same period the United States lost 2 million manufacturing jobs.
How can this be?
The biggest reason is that China's industrial productivity improved at a 17 percent annual rate during that period.
And get this: China is losing jobs in the same sectors we are, including those that supply automotive operations.
Why? Because as the industrial reforms spread and the Chinese economy matures, it is becoming more of a service economy, according to the report by Robert McGuckin, the Conference Board's research director.
You see, it's all part of the global jobs food chain.
So if you find yourself feeling a little sullen or under the weather, remember that hyper-extended import-export-trade-balance-guiltophobia syndrome is all in your head.