Remember the Debt?

Why Not?

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I have often said that the USA needs to be run like a business, and lawyer-politicians are the wrong people to become Administrators and Commanders-in-Chief. Now that we have a businessman running for office, and my vision has been achieved I am beginning to run scared. The problem stems from the fact that We the People have been conditioned over many years to listen to the rhetoric of polished lawyers who are honed in wordmanship, and debate. Donald Trump the current Republican front runner has none of these qualities, but instead he is a street fighter. He has no problem attacking his opponent without regard  to the etiquette of debate. A smash at an opponents character or his standing in the polls takes precedence over logical argument of the issues. The end result is a debate that resembles a street brawl rather than polite argument of ideas.

Our media does not help the matter  because they love the brawling. It gives them fodder for sound bites and analysis that keeps people listening and customers paying for commercial air time. The First Amendment of the Constitution allows freedom of speech for the purpose of giving the press the ability to ask tough questions of candidates and to dig for answers and the truth. Modern day media outlets avoid spending money on digging for answers. Instead many of them create answers or avoid answers by sticking to analyzing the brawls and poll numbers.

People ask me If I will vote for Trump. My answer is that I like Trump because he has upset the established organization of politicians and is redefining the rules of running for office. He continues to poke his finger into the eyes of the establishment and We the People are loving it. Why? We the People are sick and tired of the elected establishment ignoring our voices. They pander and say what they have to say to get our votes, then forget about us until the next election. They become the elites who don’t work very hard, have eons of time off, and plenty of money to spend when they are vacationing. In the meantime our country suffers from massive numbers of people unemployed or under-employed without a single ounce of effort being expended to change things.

What scares me about Trump is his fix for leveling the playing field with China. He continues to spew rhetoric about installing tariffs to make China pay. A friend reminded me of a former business man president who did much the same thing. He installed tariffs on countries getting the benefit of our market and they in turn installed tariffs on our products coming into their country. The resulting trade war only exacerbated the Great Depression. The president’s name is Herbert Hoover. It frightens me to hear a businessman spewing such nonsensical rhetoric about tariffs. I agree that China should be more grateful for the gift we gave them beginning in the seventies when Richard Nixon visited and opened the doors of trade. Ever since the USA has rushed to send all of its manufacturing jobs and machines to them. The Chinese should be kissing our butt for opening that door for them. Instead, they celebrate having more billionaires than the USA.

Capitalism survives by making profit. Without profit companies die. In order to make profit, companies must continuously cut their costs. Cost cutting is necessary to compete in a world market. China can out compete with US companies because they play low wages. Their starving people are very happy to make a dollar a day or hour because it is more money than they have ever seen in their wretched lives. Suddenly these dirt poor farmers have cash to live on. They can afford to go to the market to buy a cat for Sunday dinner rather than have to search the neighborhood for strays.

Cheap labor comes from poor people who are starving and will do anything for money. They don’t care about minimum wages, they care about having a few dollars to spend on food for their kids. They are willing to work for those few dollars and avoid protesting for more. They just work. Where do these poor people come from? They are immigrants. That is why the governments across the world are now competing for immigrants. The US economy needs immigrants willing to do the work our native born people won’t do. Why won’t our natives do the work? Most of them are too highly educated to get their hands dirty. We have brain washed our kids to go to school and get smart so they don’t have to work hard. The end result is we have bred generations of kids who don’t know what physical work is, nor do they know the value of physical work.

I taught my kids that they should be willing to work at  many jobs. That way they will understand the value of going to school. They will understand what kind of education they need to earn a living. All of my kids have done that. They all began working when they were fifteen. My oldest son worked on a maintenance crew for a manufacturing pant. His summers consisted of painting a cyclone fence with a brush; he is now an engineer. My daughter found work in a nursing home changing diapers and feeding patients, she became a nurse, my youngest son worked in a video store as a clerk then promoted himself to become burger flipper at the Golden Arches, He is now a computer scientist. My grand children are being taught similar values. Work be it physical, or mundane repetitive tasks is good experience for life.

So why does Donald Trump scare me? He isn’t talking about making America competitive with the world market. He wants to make America Great again, but he hasn’t showed me how he is going to do it. Perhaps it is his campaigning technique to not show his hand sooner than needed, but right now his brawling ways are his strongest suite. He needs to show us how he is going to stimulate the economy to resurrect the 93,000,000 jobs that disappeared from our country.

China Wages War on the USA

Who knew what the unintended outcome would be when President Richard Nixon visited China in the nineteen seventies. Originally, he went there on a goodwill mission, and because China, with its population of over one billion, represented an enormous opportunity for trade. Nixon’s two legacies are his visit to China and the Watergate Scandal. U.S. businesses flocked to China after that visit. He opened the door for trade. The first unintended consequence of his successful trip became the export of every major U.S. manufacturing job. The U.S.A. went from being the manufacturing center of the world to the importers of U.S. designed products manufactured in China. The company I worked for was no different, although they did hold off until the end of the migration. Our first step into the Chinese market was through Singapore, and ultimately into China.

China is thirsty for jobs and they take anything we send them. Their people are hungry and work for minimal wages. Anything over a dollar a day was a big buck job for them. U.S. companies saw the labor cost as a distinct advantage. At home our people demanded ten, fifteen, twenty dollars an hour. Our workers saw that wage difference not as a way for an U.S. company to make a profit, but rather as a theft of their own livelihood. American workers were comfortable with high wage mundane jobs. They could not see the wisdom of re-educating themselves to become marketable in another industry. Those who did see the light did stay employed. The final outcome is that the U.S.A. still struggles with how to create jobs for its people.

The most recent unintended consequence of Nixon’s visit is what I call a Chinese invasion of the U.S. mainland. The amazing thing is that they have done it without a single military brigade, or firing a single shot. They did it with a bug.

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The Emerald Ash Borer

Since 2002, when Naturalists discovered the Emerald Ash Borer in Michigan forests, the invasion is proceeding across the country. The borer count is fifteen states and spreading. The cost of the bug in dead tree removal will come to billions of dollars.  Estimates for the Ash tree population in the U.S.A.  hover at around two billion trees. The latest dead-tree count is in the hundreds of thousands, and there is no plan for how to stop the incursion. There are a few University mitigation methods, but they are costly and do not carry a high success rate.

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The reason for this high cost and mortality rate is because there are no known predators for the Emerald Ash Borer. No bird, no predator insect, no pathogen exists today.

So how did the Chinese pull off this highly successful invasion? One theory is that the bug entered the country via some ash boards used to stabilize loads on container ships. Once out of the wood in North America the borer went to town breeding and eating. Some say they also came inside wooden pallets which ship around the country. Whatever the reason, the borer is costing us a fortune in beautiful trees.

On my walk this morning, I counted the number of affected trees in a 500 foot stretch. We in Frankfort are proud of our old tree stands, and of the many neighborhoods with tree-lined streets. The neighborhood I live in now is twenty years old and the trees planted at that time are just beginning to give real shade and a lovely appearance. I counted nine affected ash trees in that 500 foot stretch.

The Village of Frankfort’s plan is to cut down these trees and to replant them with saplings of different species that are resistant to the borer. So far, my street not seen the axe, but it will be near me sooner than I wish.

Coincidentally, I noticed a very tall and dead Cottonwood tree at the back of my property which will cross the roof of my house if it happens to fall over in the direction it is leaning. Most trees do fall that way. I had an Arborist confirm its status and give me an estimate for removal.  I’m still in sticker shock, the estimate is $1300.

Let us just say that it will cost $500 to remove each dead ash tree in America. The money spent is staggering. ($500 x 1 billion trees = $500 billion) That is a lot of money to clean up the devastation caused by a tiny bug.  Add to that the cost of buying and replacing the dead ash trees with new saplings and another 15o billion dollars gets added for a total of 650 billions dollars. And we are upset because the Iraq and Afghanistan wars cost us a trillion dollars. This one bug will cost us more than half of that.

What is sad is that the Chinese haven’t fired a single bullet, or lost a single soldier in this one-sided war. The Pentagon should learn from this. What kind of bug can we export to the mid-east to cost them a fortune to exterminate?

 

You Vill Pay Up and Love It

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Imagine a terrible stink in your house. What would you do to get rid of it? If it were my house I would open the windows and turn on a fan to move the stinky air out. When I get into my car, which has sat in the hot sun, I always open the windows and the sun roof to get the hot air out. What do you do when there is pollution in the atmosphere of your town? You pray for a rain storm or a strong wind to blow the pollution away. What do you do if you are asthmatic? If you own your own home and have the money, you install a filter to clean the air in the house. What happens if you are asthmatic, have a very good air-filter and leave the windows open? You suffer because there is no filter available that will clean the air coming into your house fast enough to keep it pure.
Our president drinks the cool-aid provided him by the EPA and his Liberal clean air gurus that the way to clear the air in America is to eliminate coal-burning power plants by taxing them out of business. There is one huge fault in their logic: America is not a closed system like a house. Our boundaries do not keep people from crossing into our country nor do they keep dirty air from entering. There is no bubble surrounding America to keep our pure air contained.
North America is just a tiny fraction of the surface area of Planet Earth. The layer of air between Earth and the stratosphere moves constantly within the country, and the jet stream moves it out.
The brainless scientists who promote the carbon tax scheme to clean the air of America and the world are nothing more than charlatans who are anxious to reach into our pockets to steal money. Even if we eliminate coal-burning power plants over-night and convert our transportation to solar-powered cars, trucks, buses, trains, boats, and airplanes, our air will never be very pure. Why? Because the jet stream will move our pure air to another continent and dirty air from China or India will move in. We will be taxing our power plants unfairly to clear the air of the entire planet. In the mean time, countries like China and India, who are more worried about feeding billions of people, will continue to use dirty coal, and any other form of cheap energy to run their factories. Those factories will pollute the air (as we see in photos of China where people wear face masks to avoid breathing the foul air) while the jet stream moves their crappy air over the Pacific to North America. Our EPA will measure the dirty air and continue to blame it on our power plants and cars.
There is no EPA in China to regulate the socialist government into bankruptcy like we have in America. The citizens of China have no voice in the way things run, the government tells them how to run their lives. At this point, the people in China are happy to eat and improve their condition with food, electronics and cars, and are not concerned by the purity of their air. The government is more concerned with providing jobs to the hundreds of thousands of people coming to town for work than they are about regulating their industry. It will be decades before these undeveloped countries are ready for pure air, but our EPA will continue to harass us to get cleaner to compensate.
Be happy Liberals and cough up the money for all that clean energy you will buy to power your phones, cars, and air-conditioners.

Buy American, Stimulate the Economy

It was my practice to acknowledge contributors, but since the NSA is collecting our every keystroke and spying on us, I cannot tell you that this funny came from my cousin Sharon in California. Did ya get that NSA?

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Sometime this year, we taxpayers will again receive another ‘EconomicStimulus’ payment.

 This is indeed a very exciting program, and I’ll explain it by using a Q & A format:

 Q. What is an ‘Economic Stimulus’ payment ?

 A. It is money that the federal government will send to taxpayers.

 Q.. Where will the government get this money ?

 A. From taxpayers.

 Q. So the government is giving me back my own money ?

 A. Only a smidgen of it.

 Q. What is the purpose of this payment ?

 A. The plan is for you to use the money to purchase a high-definition TV set, thus stimulating the economy.

 Q. But isn’t that stimulating the economy of China ?

 A. Shut up.

 Below is some helpful advice on how to best help the U.S. Economy by spending your stimulus check wisely:

 * If you spend the stimulus money at Wal-Mart, the money will go to China or Sri Lanka .

 * If you spend it on gasoline, your money will go to the Arabs.

 * If you purchase a computer, it will go to India , Taiwan or China .

 * If you purchase fruit and vegetables, it will go to Mexico ,Honduras and Guatemala ..

 * If you buy an efficient car, it will go to Japan or Korea .

 * If you purchase useless stuff, it will go to Taiwan .

 * If you pay your credit cards off, or buy stock, it will go to management bonuses and they will hide it offshore.

 Instead, keep the money in America by:

 1) Spending it at yard sales, or

 2) Going to ball games, or

 3) Spending it on prostitutes,

 4) Beer or

 5) Tattoos.

 (These are the only American businesses still operating in the U.S. )

 Conclusion:

Go to a ball game with a tattooed prostitute that you met at a yard sale and drink beer all day !

No need to thank me, I’m just glad I could be of help.

 

Me the People

One word jumped out and slapped me in the face during the debate on foreign policy last Monday, “me.”

President Obama was making a point about his position on a nuclear Iran when he said this:

“They can take the diplomatic route and end their nuclear program or they will have to face a united world and a United States president, me, who said we’re not going to take any options off the table.”

Did he really need remind us that he is the president?  Doesn’t the office speak for itself? That one word slipped into the sentence, a word not needed exposed the true character of this man. His ego is as large as China. It is baffling why the addition of the word “me” into his argument made it any stronger. Except, that he was trying to demean us with his power as president. Maybe he was trying to insinuate to the Iranians that he got Bin Laden and he will get them too. It is a mystery.  Perhaps someone will be nice enough to help me figure it out.

From a highway somewhere in America

“. . .  and certainly not Me the People.”

We Need Good Paying Factory Jobs

Lathe operator machining parts for transport p...

Lathe operator machining parts for transport planes at the Consolidated Aircraft Corporation plant, Fort Worth, USA (1942). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The fashionable  rhetoric today involves a lot of BS about bringing high paying jobs back to America. This seems like just another ploy to feed the masses with what they want to hear. Libs love unions and unions like high paying factory jobs. The problem is that the unions have driven high paying jobs out of the country. Where did they go and why? Talk to Government Motors and they will tell you it is the unfair practices of their competitors who do not have to pay union benefits. They claim that benefits add $1500 of cost to each car. The UAW argues the high cost resulted from stupid business practice by the management. Meanwhile the American car makers go bankrupt and foreign car makers build factories in the USA. Hello! Is there a message here? The foreign companies settle in states with right to work laws, and away from large metropolitan areas teeming with anxious workers ready to unionize at first chance.

During my career as an engineer, I saw many factories. They made things like construction equipment, farm equipment, heavy presses for the auto industry, mining equipment, thermostats, airplanes, and electrical components. Yes, there were many good jobs in these industries. All of them suffered from the same malady, high labor costs. One of my jobs was to calculate the cost of a machine. It was a rigorous analysis dealing with making parts, applying the time to complete an operation and to multiply the time by an appropriate labor cost. When I finished, the cost went to the accountants and they began adding administrative costs, benefits, sales, inventory, and whole slew of other things which I didn’t really understand. Finally, they added profit. The machine I was so proud of turned into something no one could afford.

Cutting cost became my mantra. Each penny I could cut from a part meant the product may become salable.

After a number of jobs in heavy equipment, I settled in the electrical component industry. Over the course of forty years, my job was to cut the cost of an electrical component. The owner began by hiring people to run molding machines. He designed and made small molds to keep his investment low. As sales grew, he made bigger molds and bought larger molding machines, but they were still operated manually.

During the nineteen eighties the government  reduced capital gains taxes and the fun began. We couldn’t buy machinery fast enough to expand the business. Another thing happened. The owner shared his vision of a totally automated factory with us. It became my job to help him build a “lights-out” factory. That is a factory where there are no people just machines making product in the dark.

When I began work at this company, there were people running molding machines, handling product, inspectors examined the product for defects, people put product into plastic bags, they sealed the  plastic bags, applied labels, put the bags into shipping boxes, taped the boxes, and moved them to the shipping department. There were people tripping over themselves in a very busy and noisy environment.

In the beginning, the company had two competitors, one in the USA and one in England. When I left the company, the number of competitors was over two hundred, and most of them were in the far east. On one visit to China, my boss visited a competitor’s factory. He examined the part and could not differentiate the competitor’s from our own. The Chinese factory owner told him “we copy you because you have the best product.” The man ran a factory in a two-story building. He lived on the second floor above his factory. His molds were simple low cavitation tools. He did not use any machinery other than a molding machine, but he did use many workers. He paid them about a dollar an hour,, which was good pay in their country.

When I finally retired, I left an automated factory that was just a few operations short of  lights-out. The investment cost required to produce a single part cost between $500,000-750,000. The man in China invested $50,000 and used dollar an hour labor to do the rest.

When you here the politicians and unions demanding high paying jobs think about this: What kind of job is a high paying factory job today? What kind of people do we have ready to work? Do they have the credentials to work in a high paying jobs factory? Will those factories compete with Chinese labor?

Here are some videos to show you the difference between high paying factory jobs. The first one is an Apple factory in China, the second is a stamping plant in China (our stamping plants were never as crude or unsafe as this one), and finally a modern car manufacturer in Germany. When you watch the third video pay attention to the number of high paying workers assembling the cars.

1. Apple Factory ( a little long, but worth watching.)

2. Chinese stamping plant. Notice the six guys sitting around the die and ducking heads when the press comes down. During my 55 years of visiting factories I have never seen anything as crude or unsafe as the operation in this video in any US plant.

3. German car maker. The kind of jobs we envision when we talk about high paying union jobs.

The high paying jobs in the German factory involve skilled tradesmen far beyond the education level of the people we hope to use in our factories.

The USA is capable of matching the level of automation in the VW video above, I know, I worked to make such a process. We have the tool making, electronic, and engineering skills needed. What we don’t have are enough people who know how to read, and do simple math well enough to work on a complicated factory floor.

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