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So I was walking the woods last week with my friend, a Midwest-based power company executive. His company has laid off 10% of its work force over the past two years and isn’t in the rehiring mode. His firm is into “clean coal”, not wind or solar. While we were hiking basically in the middle of nowhere in upstate New York, he was constantly checking his blackberry for company missives and Yankee news updates, even though we passed through numerous coverage dead zones. We were talking about the economy and my friend was telling me about how the nation’s standard of living was continuing to get better and that job opportunities and wages were increasing.

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