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Sunday, January 22, 2012

For America, it's 'Make Stuff or Die'

I'm not really a fan of Apple, but I do understand why their products are manufactured and assembled in China. We, as a nation, have allowed religion to trump science in our nation's schools. God has become more important than advancing the human condition. As long as we allow that to continue, we will always ride backseat to China. 

Going back to the mid-80s, I've watched the US become a services-based economy. Services feed the need for domestic consumers, but largely aren't exportable - diners from Beijing, Tokyo, and Munich aren't coming to Wichita or Macon or Sioux Falls to eat dinner. They're not coming from Sao Paolo to get a tan in Ithaca. We don't export enough services to bring in foreign dollars.

Maybe the problem is that we're too busy entertaining ourselves, or perhaps distracting ourselves, to focus even momentarily on the issues that are tanking our nation. Even if we manage to pull out of the current economic morass, our economy will remain fragile until we begin to build and export. A nation's economy depends not on domestic consumption of goods and services but rather on how much money it can earn from other nations.

Take this analogy:  Suppose you have 4 teams of 3 people each. Each person has $10, so each team has $30 available to it. Let's say that Team A's people, Members 1, 2, and 3, each have to eat, but Team A doesn't produce food, it provides services, but only to one another, not to other teams. So they have to go to Team B, which produces food, and buy their groceries. Assume that those groceries cost 1/3 of Team A's funds, so it ran them $10. Now Team A only has $20 while Team B now has $40. Now imagine that Team A is the United States and Team B is China. See where this is headed? 

Pretty soon, the Team (nation) that has the most PRODUCTS that other Teams (nations) need has the most money. (Yes, you can export some services, but it's much easier for another nation to step in and underbid you, taking your clients). Remember who we've been borrowing money from? China. Which makes things. We provides services, they provide THINGS. 

We need to rebuild our heavy manufacturing base; ships, planes, heavy mining and earth moving equipment, trucks, cars...THINGS! Some economists have been warning us since the early-80s that what has happened would happen. Obviously they were right. And we're still not doing anything about it. In fact, we're digging a deeper hole by propping up the house of cards that collapsed, the financial sector, causing the Great Recession. 

Our great hope just might be green technology, but if we're going to export better, more efficient, cheaper products than other nations, we MUST get the ball rolling. We MUST focus on manufacturing exportable, durable goods. We MUST!

Failing that, the future doesn't look so bright.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Make employers pay their own way or tax the shit out of them if they move overseas

Maybe it's time that employers ponied up and spent some money on training the people they need rather than profiteering on taxpayers. Corporations pick and choose locations based on how little it will cost them to operate there. Politicians give them the store - tax breaks, donated land or buildings or both, immunity from prosecution for violating environmental laws - and the moment they find themselves needing something, in this case trained workers, they get ready to close shop and move on to the next highest bidder.

Fuck 'em! Let them pay to train the people they need. If we got tough with corporations rather than caving to their whims, we would tell them, "Move your operations offshore and we will tax your imports to the US equal to the value of your products". See how they like having the world's largest economy essentially off limits to their products by virtue of not being able to compete. See how long it takes 'em to get the message. (Hint: Until the first stockbrokers meeting where they see how much money they've lost)

Stock markets = economic leeches

The world's economy has been trashed because people who contribute NOTHING shift money from buyer to seller, raising the cost of virtually everything that those who DO AND MAKE THINGS must buy in order to live.

The stock market is a pariah, a leech, a vampire. It sucks the blood and life out of our lives. Life's necessities especially - food, shelter, clothing - should NEVER be subject to speculation. The leeches have ruined our economy and then rewarded themselves and their cronies for a job poorly the tune of tens and hundreds of millions of dollars.

When are we going to stop this? Why AREN'T we stopping this? Occupy was a step in the right direction, but what we really need is ACTION, not talk. A day will come when we are forced to evict the leeches and that day will be the Second American Revolution. Like the first one, this one will necessarily involve force, and it will be led by men and women blooded by 2 unnecessary wars. Men and women who went and fought so that the stockbrokers could sit back and laugh that they had it so easy while someone else's kid went to give his life or lose her limbs. This will not be allowed to continue.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

I Finally Understand Capitalism, Wall Street, Government, and Their Relationships

Let's see if I understand this correctly.

A) Wall Street is the bastion of capitalism.
B) Government is evil.
C) Public companies whose stock trades on Wall Street, ergo capitalists, believe that the private sector does a better job at virtually everything than the 'inept' evil government does.
D) Wall Street's actual ineptitude and real felonious behaviors led to the stock market crash which tanked our national economy and threatens other economies worldwide.
E) The 'inept' government or as we prefer to call it, We The People, rode to the rescue of the private sector and Wall Street, but for only those who made enough money to actually afford to play the market, leaving our nation with a debt which will take over a decade to pay off.
F) Publicly traded companies whose stock is traded on Wall Street reward actually inept and truly felonious CEOs with, in some cases, money that belongs to We The People,  while simultaneously decrying the ineptitude of the evil government.
G) Wall Street is still considered the bastion of capitalism.

Huh! Well I'll be damned, I figured it out. And by 'figured it out', I mean, 'understand that capitalism is the real evil'.

Got it.