22 January 2005

We Want To Work!!

On Thursday of this week, President George W. Bush re-affirmed his oath of office for the next four year term. Now, I will say that I'm not a 100% supporter of the President. I believe that the GOP should return to it's roots and become protectionist. The Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) will further ship manufacturing jobs out to countries with lower standards of living, dangerous working conditions, and environmental irresponsibly. Thus continuing the downturn of quality jobs in the manufacturing sector of the United States. As it is, we are becoming a service oriented economy. But who are we going to service? No one will be able to afford to pay for any services. So what happens then? Depression.
Once, we were taught in school that a "Third World Country" was one that exported raw materials and imported finished product. Hmm, let me see, what is happening in our country? We are exporting our raw materials (ideas) and importing finished products made by low paid or in some cases slave laborers. Why is this happening?
At one time we imposed duty on everything entering the country as to make foreign products more expensive to buy. The reason, to keep the companies who make goods here in the United States. Doing this made our products cheaper for our consumers and goods made in other countries more expensive. This is exactly what happens to our goods entering other countries. Import duties, safety inspections, and other tactics by our "global economic partners", are making goods made in the USA less attractive to foreign consumers.
At the moment the US Dollar is weak and our products are actually becoming cheaper for Europeans to buy. But they can't be bought if they are never made. Our industries are burdened by taxes, high utility costs, as well as higher employment costs. I'm not advocating that anyone take a pay-cut. Our workers deserve to make a livable wage. Unfortunately the jobs being created in this country are becoming less paying in recent years. This is because our industries have to compete with foreign rivals for the same market. And to do this, more and more of them are cutting wages and benefits. Or outright moving operations to other countries where labor is cheaper due to a lesser standard of living. These countries also have less stringent work place safety requirements and environmental regulations.
Now I'm going to borrow an idea that I got from one of my favorite novelists. Tom Clancy wrote in a couple of his books, about our government passing and implementing a law by which, the United States would treat imported products with the same restrictions, duties, and safety regulations that the exporting country imposes on our goods sold in their markets. I thought that was a great idea. Many countries have protectionist practices that are designed to make their products more competitive in their markets. Thereby making our products more expensive for their citizens to buy. So their industries thrive, and ours go down the toilet. Recently more and more companies are forced to re-locate manufacturing operations to countries that have reduced labor costs and taxation. So why won't we pass a law like that? Why must we try so hard to be everyone's friend? Why must the working stiffs of this country face layoffs and plant closings just because we have a need all of a sudden to be "partners" with the world.
It is a fact that items produced in the US are superior. Our goods are more durable and function with better performance. Next time you buy a widget, look at the tag or packaging to see where it was made. Chances are, if it says Made in the USA, it was actually "made" in China or Korea and "assembled" in USA. Do you know how much assembly jobs pay? Not much more than Federal Minimum Wage, if at all more.
There is a company in my area which makes those click starters for gas grills. You know the ones. The red button that you press, it goes click and lights your grill. Well, the employees of that company spend more time in a year laid off than working. On top of that, the vast majority of the people who work there actually work for a staffing agency. They make less than $8.00 per hour to make those starters. How would you like it if you only worked 25 out of 52 weeks this year? How would you like it if your employer said that you could only work 37.5 hours per week and was only going to pay you $6.50 per hour? Figure it out. That's less than $6,100.00 per year. Can you live on that? No one can.
Prior to the income tax, the government's revenue came from import and export duties. This protected our industry and financed the essential operations of the government. I'm not advocating the end of tax on personal income. Quite the opposite. The more people we have working and paying taxes, the less it would cost the individual taxpayer. Business should be encouraged to keep our jobs here. How do we do this? I may not be a world renown economist, but I can figure this simple problem out. We need to stop cow-tailing to other governments. We need to give our companies incentive to keep the jobs here. We need to make sure that the products sold in this country live up to high quality standards. We need to encourage our consumers to buy "American Made" not just "American Assembled". We need to discourage the United States government from involving our country in FTAA. We need to make certain that companies stay here and thrive here.
The answer isn't tax abatements. No, try lower rates. Which is more, 28% of $1,000,000.oo or 11% of $100,000,000.00? Tax abatements expire. Then companies face harsh realities when their operating costs increase. Then jobs are lost.
I must warn anyone who reads this that I am in favor of a flat tax. Why? I'll tell you. Those who have control over their income, employ other people. If you have control over your income, why should you try to make more than you need to live comfortably and provide for your future if you are going to pay a larger percentage to the government? I'd be angry too if I had to pay 38 cents out of every dollar I made to the Federal Government for income taxes alone. And that doesn't count, self-employment, state, and local income taxes. And all this on top of whatever employment taxes for employees, personal property taxes on items your business owns, commercial utility rates that are through the roof, real estate taxes on land that your business is on, health insurance for your employees, worker's compensation insurance, property insurance, and a multitude of local and state imposed taxes and fees on businesses. This has to be relaxed. It just has too. So where do we make up the shortcomings if we relax these tax burdens on business? Import duty. Why should Tom Clancy's idea be limited to a work of fiction. Our businesses face real problems and we need realistic solutions. We should have real laws to protect them. Not to mention protecting the consumer from cheaply produced unsafe products made with inferior raw materials and poor craftsmanship. Bring our jobs home and keep them here. It's a win win/win situation for us. Screw the rest of the world.
I blog for Bush http://www.blogsforbush.com

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