Letters to the editor for March 9, 2012

Standard of living

To the Editor:

The standard of living is falling, or in better words, the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.

The reasons for this:

1. Exporting good paying industrial and computer positions, etc.

2. Importing high-tech, dirt cheap, unskilled or semi-skilled labor jobs, which our poor people could use in America. Charity begins first at home, as our poor need a helping hand, not a hand out, trust me. There isn’t enough public charity to share with undocumented citizens.

The demise or destruction of the labor movement which, historically, has set the standard in the private and public sector regarding wages, benefits and human rights in the work place. If the labor laws were strong enough and made for the common good, you would not need labor unions.

Dream on, right! I ask you, what would take their place? The wise and benevolent rich! It is true that there would be a very small minority that would do the right thing.

The majority, the bad 1 percent have bought the politicians with campaign contributions for their own narrow gain, not the country’s.

I don’t know about you, but I am sick and tired of voting for the lesser of two evils.

The Occupy Wall Street movement is another phase of the industrial technology revolution. Yes, we had a mini revolution of sorts in the labor movement. We were lucky it didn’t turn into evolution not revolution, like Russia.

LeRoy T Schaffer
St. Francis

 

Perfect example

To the Editor:

I would like to thank Marge Miller for her letter to the editor on Feb. 18 titled “School board caves in”.

Your letter is a perfect example of why the district’s bullying policy was rewritten.

Your letter was full of hate for homosexuals and prejudice/racism against minorities; exactly what the new policy is supposed to put a stop to.

It is because of close minded thinking like yours that our children are harassed and bullied. How can an adult in our community be so set on blaming the victim? I can only hope that someday you will be able to reread what you have written and feel remorse.

If my comments have

offended you, I offer the same advice that you wrote to our bullied minorities and homosexuals: you asked for it, be quiet, and don’t “run and report someone or something that offended” you.

David Evensen
Coon Rapids

 

Business and jobs

To the Editor:

I have to take issue with the big section in the opinion page written by Mr. Johnson Jan. 6 about the connection between businesses and jobs. Mr. Johnson is right that businesses need customer demand to grow and if they grow enough, they will typically add jobs.

He is wrong though when he says that businesses do not hire unless there is demand. If that were true, companies would rarely go bankrupt. In fact, companies hire people long before a single order is placed. They spend money on lawyers and tax accountants to comply with the endless maze of confusing and conflicting laws and regulations that those who want to concentrate the power in government produce every year.

Companies hire marketing and engineering people to figure out what products and services would create demand. They invest in plant, equipment and the people to get plants ready for production…all before a single product is ordered.

Companies take a risk that all this work will pay off with demand for their new products. In fact, a significant part of their time is convincing investors and bankers that they will be successful, pay off their debts and provide a return on investment for their stockholders.

Many times they are wrong. The free market has more failures than successes. Even when successful, failure is just around the corner. While consultants may suggest otherwise, free market activity is a lot of trial and error no matter how well written the business plan is or insightful the charts and graphs are.

It is always amazing to me how easy it is to have a successful business when described by folks like Mr. Johnson. The number of failures suggests the opposite is true.

Let’s talk about customer demand. Businesses play a large role in the creation of demand. For example, there are about 17 million cars and trucks sold annually in the automotive industry. What will be the demand next year? Unless something dramatic happens, sales will probably be up or down 2 or 3 percent.

What if there were a breakthrough in engine technology that allowed any car or truck, big or small, to get over 200 miles to the gallon for only a small price premium. Almost certainly there will be a surge in vehicles purchased regardless of the condition of our current vehicles.

Here is a twist to that scenario. What if we can just replace the engine and keep our vehicle? That scenario would produce a very different demand. What if we can just put an additive into the gas tank…the additive would be in hot demand. The point is that demand to lower our energy cost can be fulfilled in many different ways or more likely, by a combination of new products and services. Like many of our needs, the need is general, but the product or service to address that need is very specific.

Another example of a general need is the need to be physically safe. Who would have thought 20 years ago that giving teenagers cell phones was part of general need for safety for our families?

Finally, what will be the by-product of this great improvement? Companies will have lowered the cost of energy, a general need that we all have and as a result, we will all be wealthier. Wealthier? Yes, we will have more money in our pocket despite no increase in our earnings.

It is easy to see how lowering our energy cost makes us wealthier as a nation allowing more investment in people, products and services.

I’m not sure who thought that businesses existed to create jobs, but that was a concern that Mr. Johnson spent a lot of time on. Jobs are a by-product of providing a product or service that customers are willing to pay for.

It should not be news to anyone that companies try to balance their workforce with the current needs of their customers plus the workforce needed to develop future products and services, comply with regulations, support tax compliance and calculate taxes owed.

Would Mr. Johnson hire tree trimmers (create demand) if they wanted a $1,000 for a $500 job? At a $1,000, there is no work and trees are not trimmed unless Mr. Johnson does it himself. What if he receives a $500 tax credit for hiring tree trimmers? Many folks think a tax credit for hiring people is a good idea, but that idea was fairly well debunked by Mr. Johnson himself.

By the way, when Mr. Johnson takes the credit and pays no taxes, this “loophole” is the reason. The unintended consequence of providing tree trimmers subsidized work is that the employer, Mr. Johnson in this case, and GE in 2010, pay no taxes.

By the way, Mr. Johnson casually mentioned that companies would cut corners on safety if regulations were relaxed. Perhaps, but it is not cost effective to injure your employees.  If one of those tree trimmers gets hurt on Mr. Johnson’s property, it might not be good for his pocketbook either.  It is bad business and anyone cutting safety corners is like an accident waiting to happen.

This seems part of a theme for Mr. Johnson. He portrays people as powerless and with little or no market value without the government. That is a negative and very destructive attitude. The dependency movement by Democrats has done very little and by many measures, hurt the very people that they were trying to help over the past 40 years. Attitude is everything and this is a bad way to think if one wants to have a successful life.

Regarding lobbying, Mr. Johnson and I probably at least partially agree that big corporations, big banks, big unions and big interests groups like the ABA have too much influence and lead to big government.

If there is one idea that the left and the right should come together on, it should be that we do not want to concentrate the power of force in the hands of the few. For all the concern about powerful corporations, if they ruin their reputation, they become weaker. No matter the millions they spend convincing me, I can always say no to their products.

On the other hand, a government that has a terrible reputation, but with the power of force, becomes more powerful and respected not for who they are, but for the power they can wield. Any of us could name 10 countries that fit that scenario. In the U.S., as long as power is concentrated in the hands of the few, lobbying is more cost effective and corruption is more likely.

Campaign laws that restrict free speech have unintended consequences.  Money and influence will find a way to the powerful few and some will succumb to the pressure.

In terms of civil discourse, Mr. Johnson has employed President Obama’s favorite technique for making an argument. That is to use a straw man argument to suggest that anyone concerned about too much regulation is really advocating for no regulation. Even the New York Times is tired of this approach.

Tax reform is a big topic all by itself…but here is a nugget for your consideration. Companies pay nearly the same amount complying with taxes as they do paying taxes. That may be good for lawyers and tax accountants (GE’s tax return was estimated to be 57,000 pages long), but just think of the mental horsepower wasted by this country (not to mention the dysfunctional way our tax policy allocates capital). Some lawyers and accountants are very smart and could be trained to be engineers or scientists…skills that we all benefit from.

GE’s tax return reflects its effort to game the system married up with willing bureaucrats and politicians, mostly liberal, who think they can be the puppeteers of our economy.  They are often reckless with our rights, naïve as to how the economy works and/or narcissistic, drugged by the power they wield.

We can do better. The mission of the North Metro Tea Party Patriots is to restore and uphold three core values supporting founding principles of the United States of America: fiscal responsibility, constitutionally limited government, and free markets.

Some people characterize the Tea Party as extreme. If this is extreme, count me in.

Ben Riechers
Coon Rapids

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