Wednesday, March 04, 2009

518 Hold On, Gordie

518 Hold On, Gordie

Maybe the recession really IS over.  Prime Minister Brown of the United Kingdom is here in the Colonies, urging Congress to "have faith" in the free market.

Kind of an odd sentiment, since (a) faith is confidence based on no evidence and (b) "faith in the free market" is what got us where we are today, and that's the financial version of the weather on Downing St.  Or, to be a bit more British about it, the weather IN Downing St.

Why do we need translation when listening to someone whose native language is English?  Rhetorical question.  But if you read between the lines, what you see is a guy from "the" former world power telling us not to get too protectionist in our trade policies, lets Britain and the whole EU suffer from our economic prowess.

That we HAVE any economic prowess left is easier to see from the London Observatory than it is from the corner of Broad and Wall.  But if Gordie thinks we do, maybe we actually do.

The Obama administration is trying to bring jobs back to America.  And it's moving to stop rewarding American companies that ship jobs overseas.  And if this has Prime Minister Brown in a twist, there must be something to it.

In his visit here, Brown is also playing to the crowd back home, where he's not exactly king of the popularity polls.  He doesn't want his administration sunk in the mire that Tony Blair created when he put on that Chihuahua suit and jumped into George Bush's lap.

Brown is angling for more sensible and accessible banking rules world wide, and a world wide stimulus for economies large and small.  Pretty good idea.  But, to quote the long ago slogan of the Chicago Tribune newspaper, "America First" this time.  

We need to tread a fine line.  We can't fully alienate Europe.  Or Asia, for that matter.  But by the same token, how did we manage to make shipping jobs overseas a fringe benefit for American business.  That's gotta stop.

You have heard or seen in this space many times a call for more smokestacks, farms and mines.  That hasn't changed.  If we're to meet our  own minimum expectations, we have to resurrect ourselves as an industrial monolith.  That's the only way it's going to happen.  Sure, make the 'stacks green.  Green sells.  But make 'em.

Meantime, hold on, Gordie.  We won't let you down.  Just keep that free market bear crap to yourself.


Shrapnel:

--Who is running the Republican Party, the elected chairman or some radio talk show maniac?  The answer:  it doesn't matter.  The party is DOA -- but expect a resurrection, eventually.

--Some Deep Thinker thinks he's come up with a brand new brand for the GOP.  They're calling it "the party of 'no.'"  Earth to Deep Thinker: It's always been the party of "no" and the party of punishment.

--J.P. Morgan Chase got a 25 billion dollar federal bailout.  Here's how that's made them more efficient: for the month of March, the bank delayed distribution of AFTRA pension fund checks, for which it is being handsomely rewarded, and may get to keep part of the float.

I'm Wes Richards.  My opinions are my own, but you're welcome to them.®
©WJR 2009

1 comment:

John said...

So what stops us from building smokestacks? I'll throw out for consideration that we have a lot of methods to invest in the 'market', without caring about what actual 'stocks' are involved.

The return is all that is emphasized, not the actual investment. We don't care if real wealth is created in the rocess.........paper wealth (obligations to pay) are good enough. But me, the aqverage investor, doesn't even think that far. I have no idea if I'm invested in 'plastics', or a mine, or a factory, all I know is I'm 'in the market'. Shouldn't those of us who can shape culture protray those who only know they are 'in the market' as being, well, uh, I can't think of a good word, but let's just say that only having a vague understanding of what you're investing in is a pretty poor use of capital, and perhaps you should lose it after all.

But suppose we did form a new public opinion that people should know precisely where their money was invested. After all, we could be educated about real wealth.....energy, truly durable goods, building necessities that lasted for generations instead of frivolous crap that breaks and needs replaced over and over. And we might even learn about avoiding those that make their living siphoning off wealth through the transaction process......brokers, agents, etc. Perhaps we might be able to generate enough real wealth to 'carry' the deadbeats that truly can't contribute (I speak of the lazy and stupid). But guess what? Even if we were all educated on how an intelligent group of individuals would purchase and invest, there's no guarantee that good long-term investments, smokestacks, wouldn't be burdened to the edge of sustainability, let alone profitability. You can call for smokestacks all you want, it aint going to happen. The underlying attitudes that shape political movement haven't changed. We lost our work ethic. We all want to look big and rich. Our attitudes are a product of a collective self image that has been shaped by some decades of commercial driven TV, print and radio advertisement. Read that as "Buy our product and then you will feel worthy enough to get the girl", or some 'inside your mind' message. Forget commercial advertising, and the 'lowest common denominator' content that seems to go along with it, even public service announcements are a joke given the gravity of the job the media needs to do to really move the masses in a more intelligent way.

So what to say? For one, we no longer value or respect the 'worker', one who just does their job as well as they can. We can only admire, envy, and emulate those that have the big car/house.

Unfortunately we can't go home. There is no 'cultural reset' button. Those in the media might, they just might try to gently force some thinking about what the hell we've become and try to cultivate some sensible behavior, but even the lowly AM radio station sees itself as 'entertainment for profit'. The gatekeepers are too timid to try anything bold, because it's too easy to label something bold as 'radical'. I digress.

Smokestacks? Bitching aqcout their abscece is farting at the beach.......it's dissapated before the ocean breeze gets to the dunes. You gotta make a big stink, and that means take a chance on truly shaking things up.

Get on the f___ing radio and call for the legislature to stop dicking around with whether or not poker machines in bars should be taxed, and fund a string of serious power plants. Turn them over to private owners someday, but CAP PROFITS, and if they're not happy with that tough shit, sell them to somebody else. GIVE, and I mean give, as in GIVE FREE power to industry. GIVE them tax breaks in perpetuity and give un-retractable legally backable assurances that industry is going to remain profitable for a very, long time. The only thing that won't be tolerated is environmental sloppiness. The state needs to write law that is not going to let unions get too strong, yet preserves worker safety. We went too far down the pro-union road. You get my drift? Stop f___ing around and write big forward thinking legislation. And you so-called 'media types' need to lead the way. Stop wasting our time and do the kind of job the founding fathers would fathers endorse.

What else? At the risk of offending, you can stop bitching about needing smokestacks, and I'm sure you know who said this: "either lead, follow, or get out of the way"! Most of you media types talk at someone very near the lowest common denominator, and that doesn't challenge society to achieve anything extraordinary.

John