Thursday, November 12, 2009

Do it for the family

I just got an email. I was surprised at the sly twist to the message, a bit of propaganda disguised as being patriotic and family-friendly.

A politician said this not too long ago;
"We don't need government intervention to save ourselves as a country.
We need a movement. A unified movement for the people, by the people.
As a member of the greatest nation, we owe it to ourselves and the rest of the world to protect and strengthen our economy.
With the greatest "buying power" of any nation, all that is needed for a national resurrection is for us to give our power back to ourselves.
Support Made In the U.S.A. Support yourself. Support US, so that we may continue supporting others. "

I can't remember his name or where I read it, but it is simple and makes sense. I copied and pasted and it and now use it as my signature for all of my emails. PLEASE do the same!!! If we could spread this message around the country, imagine what we could accomplish!!

Unfortunately, this looks like a clandestine union bit of propaganda.

Yes, America needs jobs. But Fiat bought Chrysler, Ford and GM cars and trucks are assembled in Canada and Mexico, your local Ace Hardware store is a local franchise - of an out of state chain, not that unlike Wal-Mart. Unions commonly portray Wal-Mart as the common, un-American villain, because Wal-Mart employees have refused, time after time, to organize and join labor unions. I note that Toyota, Hyundai, and other manufacturers build lots of cars in America, with Americans filling their jobs, but are disparaged because the unions don't get to collect union dues in most plants.

That means labor unions don't collect dues from Wal-Mart employees. Or car plants hiring Americans that aren't union.

I have a neighbor that adamantly states that belonging to a labor union got him benefits he wouldn't have had if not for the union. I say that unions have prevented employers from providing common employment benefits, to maintain union leverage, union dues, and union membership.

I have never seen a labor union act, or form, in order to preserve and improve profits at a business. There used to be, at one time, craft based unions that established and maintained training and skill standards. Much more common today is reliance on the union to prevent firing employees that cost their employer productivity and expenses. Union work also tends to isolate work from management, interjecting rigid rules and additional paperwork and record keeping, restrictive rules about work, about hiring and firing, etc. Unions often create an adversarial relationship between employer and union labor, which might or might not have existed without the unions.

Buying "American" doesn't do a danged thing to influence the economy or preserve jobs. Protectionism, avoiding or penalizing products from various and sundry countries hurts America and Americans. The only change is who gets richer here in America - the propagandist or the importer. If someone in the world can make a product useful to an American, and ship it to America at such a price and availability to compete in our marketplace - great. Americans bought that item, they sell it to their neighbors for a good markup, often more profit that stuff made in America. Instead of paying Americans to make it, we pay Americans to warehouse, transport, and invest in it. If it is so great, and so cheap to make elsewhere - and Americans are that good at making things - we should be able to compete, if we care to. And if the labor unions and state, federal, and local governments don't legislate and regulate away the ability to make the item and sell it at a profit.

One instance - the hemp plant. Yes, I know some folk get hung up on smoking the flowers. I recall one single argument from my time in California that struck me as compelling. When Marijuana was banned in the 1930s there were 10,000 industrial uses for the hemp plant. Those uses, and those jobs, were pushed overseas. Did you know that some farms around central Iowa and elsewhere in the Midwest were licensed to grow hemp during WWII, to provide fiber for ropes and hawsers for military use?

Raising the minimum wage in the last couple of years sounds good, right? Who doesn't want more money. Yet raising the minimum wage increases the cost of the products people making minimum wage work on, without improving productivity. This increases the cost of burgers and movie popcorn and grocery store produce, among many, many other things - and that raises the price that is charged for those things. Raising the minimum wage has always forced some businesses to cut back on the number of jobs they can pay for, costing people employment.

Now ObamaCare and the upcoming Food Safety Enhancement Act 2009 threaten to dramatically increase regulation and reporting costs, taxes, and especially for anyone producing or transporting food (Farmers markets, gardners, as well as farms and industrial processing plants) increase the cost of food. This all acts against American business, and the ability of the American economy to support jobs.

When the seed Monsanto offers is too expensive for farmers to make a profit off of any field they might plant (some $300 a bag for seed corn next spring), when fuel costs rise another 20%, when costs of servicing and repairing tractors and ag equipment rise another 5% - when banks raise their interest rates 2 or 3% - why would farmers plant crops they *have* to lose money in raising? Who would loan them money they wouldn't be able to repay? What if our supplies of food are dramatically reduced next year, for economic reasons not even counting the likelihood of increasing shortfalls of oil for the currently rising demand, and the much ballyhooed worry about climate change causing droughts and disrupting harvests and growing seasons?

What if countries that we buy cheap clothes and cars and trucks and computers from - are expecting to buy grains and other food from us to feed themselves next year, and we don't have that food?

Unions and governments need to deregulate, drop taxes, reign in unfunded spending. So, yes, return power and authority, independence back to ourselves. But be wary, protectionism and unions have always hurt the economy, and put folks out of work.

But that is just my thought.

Brad Kruse
Ponca City, OK

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