Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Special Counsel

Now, I’m just an average guy, but it seems to me that we have known for years, decades even, nigh on a century that the Russians have been meddling in electoral processes around the globe when it was impossible or too obvious for them to act overtly. It has been acknowledged that even though Senator Joseph McCarthy was an unscrupulous grandstander, he was also correct that there were communist sympathizers operating at the highest levels of the U.S. Government. So barely covert Russian meddling in U.S. politics is nothing new.

The view from here is that rather than aid one candidate or another (HRC was a shoo in remember) the goal was simply to undermine American confidence in its public institutions. Or perhaps the Russians have better polling in the U.S. than any of the companies that do that sort of thing. It was said (I said it myself) that it would be impossible for Trump to overcome the built in lead that HRC had in the Electoral College, and the Big Blue Wall across the upper mid-West into Pennsylvania could never be breached. How did the Russians know what no one else knew?

The answer is, it seems to me, that they didn’t care who won. My belief is that they have four years’ worth of damning emails linking Hillary and Bill Clinton to corruption at the Clinton Foundation that would make Hugo Chavez blush. They also knew and still know that the Clinton’s primary motivator is monetary gain, so they knew how to deal with that. Trump is a different story, but compared to Vladimir Putin or the other dictators of the world, he’s a Boy Scout. So, if HRC wins, they can control her with her emails and cash, and if Trump wins they can cripple his presidency with clever manipulation of misleading and fraudulent news stories and promotion of public unrest. There was no way for the Russians to lose.

However, now there’s a special counsel, who has been give broad investigative powers to investigate “the Russian government’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election”. That is a much larger picture than is being focused on, because it includes the hacking and release of the Podesta emails which conceivably contain huge as yet unopened cans of worms. Releases by WikiLeaks, and a whole host of other information sources.

People are seeing “going after the Trump campaign”. What actually turns up may be a bit more interesting.

But that’s just what an average guy thinks.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

A Liberal Book Burning

I would like to take a few moments to call out HBO “comedian” Bill Maher in regards to the fascist mobs that he has rather belatedly referred to as a “liberal book burning”. I’ll include in this all of the other “comedic” types along with pretty nearly all of the on air talent at CNN and MSNBC, and pretty nearly all of the politicians who have let this condition fester over the last few years. Where were they all when this business started?

Now Maher seems to have wakened anew along with a smattering of well-known college professors to complain about the inarguable fascistic behavior of the “anti-fa” movement that aims to silence conservative voices that they don’t agree with. One suspects that most time the black clad goons aren’t even aware of the views they’re fighting against, or that they have the vocabulary, knowledge of history, or intellect to discuss them rationally. One suspects that they are simply taking cues from radically progressive and equally fascistic and totalitarian faculty members. Maher worries that the fascists are trying to shut down open discussion and debate. One wonders where he’s been hiding.
But let’s us take a look for just a moment at the comedy stylings of Bill Maher; John Stewart; John Oliver; Trevor Noah; Stephen Colbert; Samantha Bee; Chelsea Handler; Amy Schumer, and then all of the political “analysts” who are too many in number to remember or name. They have spent the last sixteen years relentlessly mocking every conservative (no need to be a politician) and or traditional or conservative belief, and policy in sight.

Now let’s look at why we mock, and why we participate in mockery. In its most primal form, on the grade school playground, mockery is a form of bullying. It’s a way to ostracize and exclude. It’s a way to have pleasure at the expense of others. It’s a way to shut someone up. You make a funny joke about someone you don’t like and you try to get others to join with you. It's a way to let us feel better about ourselves. It’s why Maher’s studio audience is always full of kindred spirits. If your target won’t or can’t verbally defend themselves or has a smaller, better mannered group of friends than you then you win. You have effectively discounted everything they might have had to say without having to have had a rational thought. You have completely shut them off. You only have to be glib, and loud.

Now how is that different from the black clad fascists spoiling for a fight at Berkeley, or the campus dwellers who prefer to spend their parent’s money on safe spaces in lieu of an education? The goals are exactly the same: to shut off all discussion by any means other than rational debate.

But that’s just what an average guy thinks.

An Inescapable Tragedy

I heard today (again) that the conflict in in North Korea brings us to the brink of World War III. But I wonder. Does North Korea have any allies that would be willing to go to war in order to protect it? China obviously doesn't care that much for Korea, or Koreans as witnessed by the fact that they allow them to wallow in poverty. Russia? It doesn't seem so. Iran perhaps. The two nations, both working on development of nuclear weapons and the ballistic missiles to deliver them with.

The world IS in a precarious position to be sure, having allowed two rogue states to develop these two technologies. North Korea, the ultimate authoritarian thug state and Iran, the world's leading state sponsor of terrorism sworn to the elimination of Israel, and one would presume all of the Jews residing there. An authoritarian theocracy that celebrates the idea of a "final battle" where it will prevail over its enemies. Both nations scofflaws that ignore United Nations resolutions.

At some point we will need to collectively ask ourselves how and why we let this happen, but a more pressing matter is what course of action can we take right now that will have the least tragic consequences. Because no matter what we do now, if we take military action, or if we postpone action until one or both of them marry nuclear weapons to a medium range, or intercontinental delivery system, it will end in tragedy.

But that's just what an average guy thinks.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

More On Comprehensive Immigration Reform

It is a logical position to oppose ANY compromise with progressives on fiscal matters that apply to additional government spending and tax increases. It is also logical to worry about the nation’s $1.x Trillion deficit which is of course the amount of money we spend as a nation each year in excess of what is collected in tax revenue. Each year it gets added to the national debt which now stands above $19 Trillion, which is in turn dwarfed by our unfunded liabilities (promises we have made to pay in the future) which now are approaching or exceed $105 Trillion ( It’s hard to keep up). Additional government spending and taxes simply takes money out of the private sector where it could find its most efficient use and puts it in the hands of government bureaucrats who first take out the government cut and then spend the rest on whatever THEY think would be best. The list of beneficiaries always seems to be topped by the “Friends Of The Party In Power Benevolent Association”. It’s funny how that seems to work, but back to fiscal compromise.

Fiscal compromise is one reason why the world economy is in the shape it’s in. For many decades, the path to success in the U.S. congress was to “go along and get along”. You scratch my back, and I’ll scratch yours. The secret to a long career was to bring home the bacon for your constituents so that when election time rolled around there would be no room for an opponent to criticize. This was done by agreeing to help your colleagues take home their own bacon. We’ve all seen “Mr. Smith Goes To Washington”. We all know how it works, but we also know that there isn’t really a crooked politician out there with the sense of decency to put a gun to his or her head.

But what’s the harm? A Billion dollars here a Billion dollars there. The government spends a Billion dollars every two hours and fifteen minutes. Who’s going to miss another Billion? Only they don’t get spent in single Billions generally. Generally they get spent by the hundreds of Billions and not for one time purchases….. but ongoing programs that now have managers who have a personal interest in continuing and growing the expenditure. Did you ever hear of a federal bureaucrat who advocated for the dissolution of his or her department?

So the spending and debt go up and up and everything seems cool. Everyone seems to be having a good time, and then something unexpected happens: Unexpected, but predictable, AND predicted. A policy of increasingly easy home mortgage financing promoted and then aggressively pushed by the federal government created the “housing bubble” which finally burst and crashed the whole world economy.

Compromise reaches its frenzied climax during the assembly of “Omnibus”, and “Comprehensive” legislation.

Omnibus legislation is just a hodgepodge of measures that legislators didn’t have time to deal with or didn’t want to talk about openly and so they wait until the very end of the session and throw them all into one big “anthology of pork”. Everybody gets something. Sort of like the Christmas party at school, only at this party there isn’t any limit to the amount of money that can be spent. The bills will contain legitimate amendments to existing law and other bureaucratic necessities, but way back in the back, neatly tucked in between substantive matters there will be more fiscal hijinks than you can possibly imagine. All of the things that legislators would be embarrassed to stand and openly argue for, or support are here, and the reason they’re here is because it’s where everyone is allowed a pass for voting in favor of all of their colleague’s corruption. The bills are long, and hard to read. Who’s going to know? And if someone does find out next year, who’s going to care? It’s a win/win.

Comprehensive legislation at least has a stated purpose which is to take a large general problem which is the sum of several, or many related problems and solve them all in one fell swoop. A problem with comprehensive legislation is that it requires a fair measure of arrogance to believe that one fully understands all of the moving parts of a situation and how they interact with one another. Yesterday’s comprehensive legislation was the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The Congress is now digging its way out from under that pile of rubble, and will be for a long time. Another problem with this sort of legislation is that it allows the executive authority the option of allowing the passage of complex legislation and then non-enforcement of parts of the law it deems unnecessary.

They are beginning again to speak of comprehensive “Immigration Reform”, which is only one of the three major problems that it purports to solve, the other two being border security, and what to do with the 12 to 14 million immigrants who are already here illegally. Tied together, these three separate but interacting problems will generate another 1500 page monstrosity of a bill, the exact contents of which no one will know until the provisions begin to be selectively administered. Its stated purpose will be the solution, in one package, of three pressing national problems. 1) Border security and control. 2) Reform of an antiquated visa system. 3) Dealing with the many many millions of immigrants currently living in the United States illegally.

The attempt to combine the solutions to these problems in one piece of legislation will result in at least one, and perhaps all three of the problems going unsolved and perhaps made even worse. And there will be the requisite lies. If you liked “If you like your plan, you can keep your plan” you’ll LOVE “this bill does not give blanket amnesty to 14 Million illegals”.

The solution to the immigration problem is simple and can be accomplished by separate actions. First) Secure the border. Everyone else does it, including all of those industrialized nations progressives like to trot out when speaking about nationalized health care. Securing the borders is not a small thing, but we landed a man on the moon in 1969. We can secure the borders. And those attempting border violation need to be immediately deported to the country that they just came from, not given a bus ticket to the U.S. city of their choice, and released on their own recognizance pending a hearing in six months. Simple. Except smugglers of course. They can stay. In prison, and THEN deported.

Next) While the borders are being secured, we can be reforming the immigration system to efficiently handle the volumes of applicants expected, and establish a status for guest workers who have no intention or desire to becoming Americans. We, as a nation, have a right, and responsibility to know who is coming to and leaving our country.

And Finally) Deal with the 12 to 14 Million “extralegals” already in the country. Separately, the issue is just as simple as the other two. With the borders secure the problem practically solves itself. People live their lives and eventually die. People move away. If no more illegals arrive then the number present will decrease all by itself. In the mean time some legal status needs to be provided with no voting rights, and no social safety net. No logistically minded serious person suggests the involuntary deportation of 12 Million people. It won’t be necessary to talk about, or establish a special PATHWAY to citizenship. Immigrants can apply for permanent resident status and then for citizenship, just as they always could have, and once they have satisfied the requirements they can stand in front of a judge, raise their right hand, and recite the pledge of allegiance.

In separate pieces of legislation these three steps are straight forward and simple to execute. Trying to connect them would create a sort of Rube Goldberg contraption with so many moving parts that it would from the outset become impossible to operate or maintain. Our continuing experience with should have red flags going up on every pole.

Comprehensive legislation of ANY kind is the enemy of average Americans.

But that’s just what an average guy thinks.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

A Surge In Hate

It was in the headlines again today. The “surge in hate” that the President’s election has unleashed. The increase in anti-Semitic crime, the increase in anti-black race related hate crime, the misogyny, the xenophobia, the Islamophobia, the homophobia, the transphobia.

I’m sorry, but I don’t see it. It’s like one of those confounding computerized prints where they say you can see the rocket ship if you look at it just right. If you turn your head just a little and squint your eyes just so. All of your friends can see it. Look. No. I won’t waste my time. I’ve seen a picture of a rocket ship, and this isn’t one.

What I see is Michael Brown trying to disarm and kill a police officer and the narrative becoming that of a brutal cop and a street execution. “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” echoed through the culture with enough frequency and volume that by the time the local investigation (backed up by the federal investigation) was complete the facts of the case didn’t matter anymore. News anchors, professional athletes, and even elected representatives in the halls of our government parroted the lie.

What I see is a petty criminal drug dealer in Baltimore who died as the result of an accident while in police custody sparking weeks of civil unrest and rioting in a minority community that could scarcely afford it. The arrest and trial of six police officers (three of whom were black) by a black prosecutor in front of a black judge without a single conviction.

What I see are activists who use already distorted news headlines and statistics, bereft of context or thoughtful analysis to emotionally energize mobs and promoting (intentionally I believe) the murder of police officers. Charles Manson has to be laughing in his demented dreams of Helter Skelter.

What I see are college campuses where free speech which is guaranteed by the Constitution is limited to special zones. And where students, administrators and faculty alike support limiting and even banning speech. Campuses where even on Constitution Day it is prohibited to distribute copies of the Constitution. I see campuses where professors of all subjects give political indoctrination lectures.

What I see is Christianophobia. Christians mercilessly mocked for no particular reason while the adherents of other religions are treated with deference. Piss Christ is heralded as high art while the president of the United States proclaims that “the future must not belong to those who would slander the profit of Islam”. Christian charitable organizations are now told that they must not only tolerate the existence of behaviors condemned by their teachings (which they always have), they must now take it inside themselves and participate in it.

What I see is a news media with a complete lack of credibility. They were caught colluding against Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump and have openly chosen sides. It, however, does have to be admitted that it is perhaps no more true now than it ever was that you can’t believe anything you read.

What I see is a particular news commentator stating her opinion that if Trump won, Hillary supporters and democrats would be sad but accepting, but that if Hillary won Trump supporters would be violent. It will never be known how Trump supporters would have reacted to a loss, but sad and accepting can hardly be said to describe Hillary supporters and democrats. Progressive activists proudly take to the interview circuit to boast of training other activists in physical confrontation with the police.

What I see is a reported rise in white nationalist “hate crime” and at least a number of democrat activists arrested for “hate crime” hoaxes calling into question the whole surge in hate narrative. If progressive activists and students are willing to riot and burn their own campuses to prevent constitutionally protected rights, what else might they be motivated to do from the privacy of their own homes, and under cover of quiet darkness? Bomb threats? Grave desecration? Is it really a stretch of the imagination to think it just possible that those who claim that the ends justify the means would commit such crimes?

No, the surge of hate and intolerance I see is not from the right.

But that’s just what an average guy thinks

Saturday, February 25, 2017


So I'm making my way back to seat 16A a bit earlier today... obliquely sidestepping as I went..... trying not to bump the disinterested isle sitting "sooners" who were already seated and uncomfortably buckled into their seats, and this whole fairness thing came crashing down on my head like a carry on from an overhead bin that has shifted during in-flight turbulence.

It isn't FAIR that I have to A) Wait until everyone else is on the airplane to board; B) Wade through a sea of humanity, stopping to wait as half of them try to fit bags that they know are oversized into the tiny overhead bins, trying to be careful not to bump the "sooners" who are obviously making a conscious effort not to look me in the eye as I pass (just like high school all over again); and C) Wait until EVERYONE else is off the plane and the forgetful sooner teens have come against the flow of traffic to retrieve their forgotten copies of Tiger Beat.... until I can get off. I'm perfectly willing to pull my share of the load here, but I shouldn't have to suffer ALL of the indignity when there are so many there to go around.

How much more efficient and less stressful would it be to board the seats farthest from the front cabin door first, and then, of course, deplane those seats closest to the door first? The current method is like trying to fill a glass of water from the brim to the bottom.

And where are all the former nun flight attendants who should keep people in their seats until the people in front of them have gathered their things and are on their way up the aisle? Where are all the bossy big sisters? This business of everyone leaping to their feet as soon as the plane stops as if their haste will make the slightest difference in the amount of time it takes for them to get off the plane is simply madness, and must be stopped.

Ultimately the responsibility for this nonsense can be laid directly at the feet of those with money to pay for the more expensive seats in the front and the airlines themselves. After all, there has to be some perk to give worth to the extra cost. And how much perkier can you get than getting to "go first". Good Lord, what is this? Kindergarten? Does it matter that it takes longer and makes EVERYONE more uncomfortable? Apparently not, but it makes us "feel" better when we get to be first. It's a bit like the capital gains tax: It makes us feel good to sock it to the rich even if it means we actually get less money from the tax. It's the fairness that counts........ or raising the minimum wage: It makes us feel good that we're doing something for the poor even though the result will be that fewer poor people will actually have ANY job..... let alone one at the newer, fairer, wage.

But other than that it was a GREAT flight...... except when I realized..... somewhere high over Oklahoma that I should have taken a moment for myself back in Houston. It makes me suspect that sardines are actually packaged live and it's the trip all smooshed up in that tiny can that kills them.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

An Old Soul


THIS JUST IN: A California citizen who identifies as a biological male has petitioned the California State Department of Vital Statistics and has been granted the right to change his date of birth as it appears on his birth certificate.

Jake Donner (not his real name) was physically born on February 2, 1982 relates to the Gnu News that for as long as he can remember his parents, all their friends , all of his extended family, all of his acquaintances, and all of his psychological counselors over the years have always commented that he “has an old soul”.

He poignantly recalled several experiences that he has had over the last few years that draw his situation into sharp focus. He constantly misplaces his keys; he can no longer remember his bank PIN from day to day; he is constantly fatigued; his joints cause him enough paint that he is required to take over the counter analgesics; he rarely sleeps clear through the night; he has difficulty maintain a steady urine stream; his hearing is diminished; he experiences special orientation issues that make it dangerous for him to climb ladders and steps; he is becoming increasingly crabby during discussions of current events; his relatives are starting to avoid him, and he is unable to maintain an erection.

And so ninety days after the application for change is received in Sacramento he will receive in the mail a certified copy of his new birth record, Social Security card, California driver’s license, and voter registration card listing his official date of birth as February 2, 1942. He will then be eligible to apply for Social Security benefits and the Senior Citizen discount at the Golden Corral.

Asked if there was anything he’d like to say to Gnu News readers he hesitated for a moment and then said slowly and with a voice made raspy by a half century of tobacco use: “Don’t judge me until you’ve lived a few decades in my shoes”.

But that's just what an average guy thinks

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

The Ministry Of Health

He woke to the sound of heels striking the floor in lockstep approaching down the corridor. He had been taken into custody……. before. He had no recollection of how long it had been. An hour, a day, he had no idea. He wore the only clue he had on his face. It had been days. Why he had been arrested was a total mystery. What had he done? What had he said? What had he thought of saying? He had no idea. The sound of the approaching men in the corridor stopped directly outside of the heavy door. A long silent moment passed and then door opened suddenly and he reflexively flinched when it noisily slammed against its stops. The two black clad officers entered the room, grabbed him by either arm, jerked him to his feet and drug him into the corridor before he could find his feet and then away.

He was led to a large open room filled with other citizens. Men, women and teenagers, all standing, feet together, on spots painted on the floor, facing what must have been the front. He thought that it looked like it could be a gymnasium and that this could be some sort of exercise class except for the terrified expression on every face. He was lead to an empty spot. He seemed to know instinctively what was expected and he faced forward with his feet together without having to be told.

It was only then that he noticed. All of the people were swaying in unison, left to right and at the limit of their motion saying tick…… tock….. tick, tock…. tick tock. He thought to himself that this was rather odd and quite outside of his experience but that it really shouldn’t be too hard to do if that was what was required. And so he bent to the right and silently muttered “tick”. But when he returned to the upright position and tried to bend to his left he found that he could not. He thought it must have been some stiffness from his time lying on the floor that would pass and so when it was time, he again bent to the right and said, with more confidence this time, “tick”. But again he was unable to bend to the left. He wanted to bend to the left. He wanted to be like the others and was terrified at the prospect of drawing attention to himself. He wanted for the room to be uniform. But whenever it came to bending to the left he just physically couldn’t force his body to do it. It was like the dream he had often had as a child where there were unseen monsters chasing him but he couldn’t force his legs to move. The most he could do was to bend to the right and say “tick”.

And then what he had feared became real. It started with some unseen commotion in the back of the room, but soon enough there were three men standing in front of him. Two burly officers dressed in black, just as the men that had brought him here and a third, smaller man. He wore a black leather top coat over his black uniform and spectacles with wire frames. From his demeanor and his clothing it was clear that he was in a position of some authority and accustomed to having his way.

After an awkward time the smaller man spoke. “So” he said with more menace than you might imagine would fit into one syllable, “what seems to be the problem here?”. He could think of nothing but an apology. “I’m sorry” he said, "I just can't make myself do it". “I’m not sure what you mean”, the small man said very earnestly. “You must bend to the left”. He replied “I’m sorry. I’ve tried. I’m trying still…. I just can’t”. “It’s not that I don’t want to. I do. I just can’t make myself do it”. “I don’t mean to be a problem. I just can’t do it”.

It was at this point that the little man said something that sent chills down his spine. Pushing his glasses up on his nose and leaning close to the point where their faces were only inches apart and his foul breath caused him to take his own in short bits, he said ……. “Don’t concern yourself” “Vee haf vays of makink you tock”.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Evil and Greedy

So I found myself in a discussion the other day about how companies don’t have any loyalty to their employees any longer and how they would simply toss them out if they found it necessary. I, of course, countered. What I mentioned was that as far in the mist shrouded past as thirty years ago I sat in on a college course where students were coached to prepare an “immediate plan”, a “five year plan”, a “ten year plan”, and an ultimate goal for their careers. In those five and ten year plan, there was a lot of job hopping from company to company built in. Almost as if employees had no loyalty for their employers the way they used to. This met with the “chicken and the egg” defense, which I think is at least somewhat valid, and an admission that market conditions were much more stable in the past, and of course this is undeniable, but the kettle of “greedy, non-caring bastards” broth still simmers.

Mentioned as well, as it often is, was the fact that people can no longer get out of school and go to work for a company for forty years at the same location and then retire. Of course this isn’t universally true, but widely. It occurred to me that people say they would like that, but they really wouldn’t. They don’t want to live in the same tiny house that they could barely afford the down payment to buy for forty years. The one with no off street parking and no basement. They don’t want to go to work and have to wait for the people that were already there to die or retire so that they can get a promotion, more responsibility, more authority, and more pay. We don’t want to wait any more. We want it NOW. It’s why we have credit cards and mountains of consumer debt.

Also mentioned, tangentially, in our discussion was the “global” economy and of course that’s had some effect. The American steel and auto industries were overtaken and sometimes absorbed by foreign competition, but why was that. Was it only the Snidely Whiplash of the American middle class worker “Cheap Labor”? Or did high corporate taxes, union work rules, and environmental and corporate regulation have roles to play as well? Of course you need to be a Wall Street banker or a well-connected Congressman to know the ins and outs of the whole story but allow me to think that poor old Snidely carries the burden for a LOT of unseen and unsuspected economic villains.

But the discussion got me to thinking about how unfair it is to tar CEOs with the “Evil, Greedy” moniker. Take a mass layoff as an example. Say company XYZ Inc. is to lay off some of its twenty thousand employees, and two thousand people will lose their jobs… on Christmas Eve….. in the worst snow storm in recorded history. It would be ordered by the CEO. Now why would he or she do a thing like that? Well, it was because they looked at the profit and loss sheets and understood what they said. Market share had dropped, productivity was down, raw material costs were up, energy, physical plant, regulations, taxes, the new union collective bargaining agreement or a combination of all of those things plus they didn’t get any sex last night on their birthday and they’re understandably cranky. And so they lay off two thousand people.

This is a tragic thing. I’ve had two different startups fall out, and the rug yanked out from under me a couple of times and it’s no fun. It can, quite literally, turn your life upside down. But what was the alternative? What was the other choice the CEO could have made that would have been better? The company’s numbers aren’t secret. Everybody knows when a company starts to lose market share and they need to make a correction. If they fail to make that correction then the stock price will start to drop. People will start to look for other places to invest their savings or 401k contributions. This means less capital for new machines and raises. This means lower production and a further erosion of the stock price. There’s no stopping the spiral. It’s like the inevitable collapse of a breached damn or levee. One thing will lead to another until the CEO is replaced by the “Evil Greedy” board of directors that hired them. And of course they were elected by the major stock holders. So the “Evil Greedy” chain stretches all the way back to middle class man on the street who happens to own some XYZ Inc. stock. And finally if someone doesn’t become sufficiently ruthless to fire those two thousand workers, eventually, the enterprise will be driven out of business and all twenty thousand people who work for XYZ Inc. will be laid off and the facilities will close their doors.

How much more compassionate is that than laying off the original two thousand?

But that’s just what an average guy thinks.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017


I’d like to take a crack at explaining the way I see something and see if anyone can offer an alternative explanation. Just kidding. I don’t believe there is one, but I’m told that I at least need to feign humility.

The issue currently on the table is the off-shoring of manufacturing jobs. Many people believe that corporate managers do this out of greed and the desire to increase profits so that they can line their own pockets. They believe these things because they have no understanding of, or desire for the understanding of economics, or business management, and because they’ve been taught to believe it by a news media hungry to push heart breaking human interest stories and politicians eager to advance their own careers by pushing the narrative of income inequality and class envy.

To illustrate the situation, I’ve created a model. In the model there are four companies. The companies operate in the United States, Mexico, China, and India. They all buy the same raw material from a global market, and they all sell the same product into a global market.

It’s easy to see from the countries involved that the US might be at a competitive disadvantage due to cost of labor, but at the beginning of the model, the playing field is dead even with the higher wages of US workers being compensated for by a much more highly skilled labor force and more modern facilities and the US is able to dominate the market and hold a higher market share. Also, because of its market share dominance, the US also attracts disproportionate share of the investment capital.

However, the situation is not static and over time things change. The work force in the off-shore facilities becomes more skilled. Their US educated business managers and engineers return home with new ideas and ways to innovate. The foreign governments see a benefit to their economies to keep their corporate tax rates low. At the same time the corporate tax rate in the US remains the highest of any major manufacturing country, union contracts increase wages and benefits incrementally, and the government continues to impose increasing amounts of regulation. As this happens, the US company starts to see it’s costs of production increase relative to those of its competitors and it starts to lose market share and the profit to pay dividends to stock holders decreases which results in a reduction of investment capital. This reduction in investment capital results in a reduced ability to replace and update worn out machinery and processes, again resulting in reductions of efficiency. It’s costs of production increase again, and again the foreign companies increase their market share.

It is a slippery slope that manufacturing firms operate on. The model shows a company caught in an ever tightening spin. They know that they have the superior process, and the knowledge of how to run it, but given costs and regulation they simply cannot. So at one point they will have to choose. They have already pushed the unions for all the concessions that there are to give, and their lobbyists have gotten every break from the government that there is to get. There was one last hope, and that was the large donation to the Clinton Foundation, but they watched that dribble away like sands through the hour glass the evening of November the 8th, 2016.

Now there are only two choices; move all, or a significant part of the manufacturing operation off shore, perhaps maintain design and R&D in the States, or watch the company continue to lose market share until finally there is nothing left to do but shut company down completely.

If a company is unable to compete in its market, it will fail. What was the bit of dialog after the Titanic had hit the berg and was taking on water? J. Bruce Ismay, who was the managing director of the White Star Line, is said to have commented to Thomas Andrews who was the head of the drafting department at Harland and Wolf (the firm that built the Titanic) “But this ship can't sink”! to which Andrews replied, “She's made of iron, sir! I assure you, she can... and she will. It is a mathematical certainty”.

So it can be seen from this marvelously simple model, that if a company is not allowed to compete in its own best interests that it will fail and there’s no action, no amount of government intervention that can prevent it. What the government CAN do is to help companies hold down their costs of production by keeping corporate taxes low enough to be internationally competitive and by eliminating cumbersome regulation.

But that’s just what an average guy thinks.