Oct 30, 2010

The Inherent Decency of the Right

Abigail and Dolley readers it occurred to me today that the inherent decency of the Right has been on full display this election season as personified in Democratic Senate Candidate from SC, Alvin Greene.  If you have missed Alvin Greene on the national stage you can attribute that largely in part to the hands off approach people on the right have taken toward this candidate.  Watching or listening to Alvin Greene brings to mind the admonition of my Mother, "Do not stare or make fun of retarded people."  For those of you who haven't had the pleasure, here is an Alvin Greene video.

Let's just pretend for a moment that this guy was a Conservative.  Can you imagine Stewart, Olberman, Matthews, Maddow, Rhodes, Schultz, and all the other viscous liberal attack hyenas would do to him?  Can you imagine if Alvin Green was a CGLB (Conservative, Good Looking, Brunette)?

The man won the SC primary largely because people thought he was the blues and gospel singer, Al Green.  That is just pathetic.  Ironically, I think Alvin Greene was the Lord's way of blessing Jim DeMint and honoring this great man for his service.

I am in the Charlotte Metropolitan area and thus, Alvin Greene is local politics in my media market.  To a person, every conservative commentator and interviewer has refrained from destroying this guy.  Mark Levin, who can be quite the ranter, was as polite as possible to him.  The interviewers are embarrassed for him and Keith Larson of WBT has even tried to help him during exchanges.  It is actually quite painful.

The Left would show no mercy if this guy was a Conservative.

The Toughest Women on the Planet - Conservative, Good Looking, Brunette Politicians

Abigail and Dolley readers I must confess and it is indeed a sad day.  I have determined I can never run for political office.  You see I am a conservative, good looking, brunette (CGLB) and they are not allowed to run for public office any longer.  While technically not illegal (yet) Bachmann, Palin, and O'Donnell serve as a stern and sobering warning for any CGLB who is considering public office.  You better be ready, Sister, because you will be attacked with the ferocity of conflagration.   

I have the added handicap of being nice and think of a good come back about an hour after someone insults me.  My Southern Accent used when inconveniently speaking my mind and telling the truth would be fresh meat to the slobbering hyenas of the Mocking Stream Media.  I would undoubtedly be destroyed.  I am an Evangelical Christian, who happens to believe in a CREATOR.  That immediately brands me a troglodyte.  My pastor preaches the unvarnished truth of the Gospel and says a lot of Politically incorrect things like Sin, Redemption, and Hell.  I am a believer in individual liberty and against violence towards children and women in all forms, which makes me an enemy of the "I want to kill your baby crowd".  I went to a (gasp) State school where I got B's, so I am obviously an idiot and not worthy to grace the halls of Congress with my superiors.  I am "in trade" as the English Aristocrats used to say while holding their noses.  I have not lived a perfect life. My biggest offense though, is that I am cute.

Oct 26, 2010

How Much Does Government Regulation Cost You?

Abigail and Dolley readers for every product you buy, what do you think it costs you to pay for government regulation in that item?  I think the price would astound you.  Some costs may not be directly rolled into the price of the product but definitely reduce the amount of net income that goes back to a companies bottom line.  Let me give you a couple of examples that I have noted recently.

I am working on a plan to move one of my branches to a new location.  I found out today that I have to install an entirely new bathroom in the facility to comply with new county code related to the Americans with Disabilities Act.  Now, there are a handicap stalls in the existing facilities, but they don't conform to the new regulations.  This new bathroom will eliminate the janitor's closet and will add an additional $15,000 onto the construction costs for the build out.  I lost about 2 hours of my day today reworking the plan and we will get absolutely no value out of this expense.  I have been in my industry for 20 years now and have never once worked with anyone in a wheelchair, nor do I believe I have ever even had a visitor in one.  What is wrong with the existing facilities?  They are 3" too small.  Will we roll this into the cost of our product, no, it just increases my overhead.

The next one relates to transportation costs and I would like to specifically point out the air freight market.  International or Domestic, Import or Export - it does not matter, if you are flying something to meet a critical deadline you are paying out the nose for security fees.  Right after 9/11 the airlines started charging a War Risk Surcharge - $0.15/kg on every shipment and this past August due to 100% screening requirements we added another $0.15/kg for screening fees.  Right off the top we have 0.30/kg for every shipment, then there are all the documents and paperwork needed to comply with security regulations and you add another $50/shipment.  This might seem nominal at first glance but it adds up.  Theoretically if you figure 2 million kgs of airfreight moving everyday the cost of security regulatory compliance is roughly about $220 Million dollars a year.  That is added directly on to the price you pay for everything you buy. (My estimates)

There is nothing of intrinsic value that is added in either of the above instances, they are merely costs associated with complying with an ever increasing Nanny State that seeks to regulate business out of existence.

Oct 20, 2010

The Evil Rich Guy

Abigail and Dolley readers I have been on the road for the last few weeks visiting customers.  The life blood of my branches with this new company is small and medium sized clients.  All of these customers are "small business people".  Their desks are cluttered with paper, they have care lines etched upon their faces, they are living on coffee and cigarettes, and they are trying to keep their employees employed and their doors opened.

One of the clients was a couple of High School buddies who got an idea for a product and launched a firm.  One of the clients was a third generation in a family business that started out as his grandfather's general store.  Another was a man who had worked in corporate America for years and started his own firm.  All of them are hanging on, all of them are frustrated with the new environment in this country, and all of them said they would like to source in the USA but can't find anyone to manufacture their products.

We have to get out of these people's way.  We have to stop punishing their success with punitive taxes and adding to the cost of doing business.  We have to stop blaming these people for their success and we have to reward them for who they are and what they do.

Oct 10, 2010

Chinese Manufacturing and Why the USA Should NOT be Behind

I recently had a very interesting opportunity to learn about Chinese Manufacturing from a gentlemen I met from Qingdao (pronounced Ching-Dow).  We were picking on him for all of the Chinese Holidays and he explained why this was so.  80% of all workers in China are what we would refer to as long term commuters.  Meaning that they leave their families at home in the countryside and come to the city for work.  Only during the two week or one month holidays do they get to go home to see their families.

Guangzhou Train Station

Now from an American mindset, we would get in the car and drive home.  Not so in China, they have to try and get a bus or train ticket.  Eager workers can wait up to a week to try and buy a ticket, many will not be successful.  Traffic jams in and out of the cities can last a week.  Many workers once they finally make it home, will not return to the factories.  Instead they take the money they have saved and open grocery stores and the like in their own villages.  Thus, the highly skilled workers needed for complex manufacturing are always turning over.

Beijing Traffic Jam
This is where the American Manufacturing, workforce, and culture SHOULD be able to kick the Chinese collective butts.  We have an educated, stable, and motivated workforce who can go home every night to their families.  We also are the primary consumers of many of the products the world makes so shipping costs remain constant and are not subject to the massive fluctuations we have seen in International Freight.

So why are we loosing this battle?  I contend we have two problems - Government and Unions.  Both of which are represented as the "answer" to the current economic catastrophe we are in by the party in power.  The Democrats represent bigger and more powerful entities that are in my opinion the most significant impediment to recovery and world competitiveness.

Government suppresses American Manufacturing in a number of ways but primarily with punitive taxes and regulations.  Once again, the Democrats class warfare on the "evil rich" and their penchant for "safety" regulations render it virtually impossible to put out a competitive product.

Unions strangle the ability for businesses to adapt, change, and maximize a skilled work force by ridiculous rules and wages that far outpace the market.  Pensions, lavish healthcare plans, and inflexibility also make it much more difficult to compete.

As I listened to the Chinese gentleman describing the real situation in the Chinese firms, I couldn't help but think that the Democrats actually admire China and if they had their way, we would be just like them.  The American spirit will never be subjected like this though, they have forgotten who they are in their quest for control and power, but the American people have not forgotten.

We will begin to throw off the bonds of regulation, government, and communist unions.  We will begin to rise again and we will not loose our place in the world, no matter what the Democrats would like.  We The People will never submit.

Oct 3, 2010

Human Nature and the Progressive Tax System

Abigail and Dolley readers the below is not original material, but it so aptly illustrates the human nature at play in the culture wars that I had to copy and paste.  The credit goes to C. Howell, although I am not sure if Howell is the original author.

Philosophy/Economic lesson 101:

Suppose that every day, ten men go out for beer and the bill for all ten comes to $100. If they paid their bill the way we pay our taxes, it would go something like this:

Random Picture from the Internet
The first four men (the poorest) would ...pay nothing.
The fifth would pay $1.
The sixth would pay $3.
The seventh would pay $7.
The eighth would pay $12.
The ninth would pay $18.
The tenth man (the richest) would pay $59.

So, that's what they decided to do. The ten men drank in the bar every day and seemed quite happy with the arrangement, until one day, the owner threw them a curve. "Since you are all such good customers," he said, "I'm going to reduce the cost of your daily beer by $20." Drinks for the ten now cost just $80.

The group still wanted to pay their bill the way we pay our taxes so the first four men were unaffected. They would still drink for free. But what about the other six men - the paying customers? How could they divide the $20 windfall so that everyone would get his 'fair share?'

They realized that $20 divided by six is $3.33. But if they subtracted that from everybody's share, then the fifth man and the sixth man would each end up being paid to drink his beer. So, the bar owner suggested that it would be fair to reduce each man's
bill by roughly the same amount, and he proceeded to work out the amounts each should pay.

And so: The fifth man, like the first four, now paid nothing (100% savings).
The sixth now paid $2 instead of $3 (33%savings).
The seventh now paid $5 instead of $7 (28%savings).
The eighth now paid $9 instead of $12 (25% savings).
The ninth now paid $14 instead of $18 (22% savings).
The tenth now paid $49 instead of $59 (16% savings).

Each of the six was better off than before. And the first four continued to drink for free. But once outside the restaurant, the men began to compare their savings.

"I only got a dollar out of the $20,"declared the sixth man. He pointed to the tenth man," but he got $10!"

"Yeah, that's right," exclaimed the fifth man. "I only saved a dollar, too. It's unfair that he got ten times more than I got"

"That's true!!" shouted the seventh man. "Why should he get $10 back when I got only two? The wealthy get all the breaks!"

"Wait a minute," yelled the first four men in unison. "We didn't get anything at all. The system exploits the poor!"

The nine men surrounded the tenth man and beat the hell out of him...

The next night the tenth man didn't show up for drinks so the nine sat down and had beers without him. But when it came time to pay the bill, they discovered something important. They didn't have enough money between all of them for even half of the bill!

And that, ladies and gentlemen, journalists, politicians and college professors, is how our tax system works. The people who pay the highest taxes get the most benefit from a tax reduction. Tax them too much, attack them for being wealthy, and they just may not show up anymore. In fact, they might start drinking overseas where the atmosphere is somewhat friendlier...and who could blame them? 
For those who understand, no explanation is needed. For those who do not understand, no explanation is possible.

Oct 2, 2010

Ulysses S. Grant - We Have Been Lied To!

Abigail and Dolley readers until yesterday, if you had asked me about Ulysses S Grant, I would have told you that he was a Union General that was elected President.  I would have said he was a drunk and presided over a very corrupt Presidency.  He was a failure in business and died broke.  I suspect that you, my kind reader would have said something similar.

What would you say if I told you that portrayal is a lie?  What would you say if I revealed to you that Ulysses S Grant was one of the greatest Americans to ever hold the office of President?  What would you say if I told you that he was not a drunk?  You are probably as shocked as I was to find out that we have indeed been so completely deceived in our recollection of this man, that the injustice of it is nothing short of a crime against history.

Ulysses S Grant - Photo by Matthew Brady
 It was this picture that caught my attention.  Most pictures of Civil War soldiers do not appeal to the modern eye.  I can't recall ever looking at one and thinking, "Wow, he's handsome!"  Thus, when I saw this yesterday, I had to find out who it was.  I was shocked to discover it was Grant.  The article was about how he was much maligned and how revisionist historians had painted such a false picture of this great American hero.  I had to find out for myself.

Ten hours later, I could weep from the injustice.  Ulysses S Grant was none of the things that I had previously thought except for the fact that he was a trusting man who was swindled out of his modest life savings and did indeed die broke.  Even the story of his death speaks to a man of unwavering integrity and honor.  In the throes of a painful death from throat cancer, Grant tirelessly composed and dictated his memoirs.  The proceeds from their sale were intended to rescue his families fortunes and he did not succumb to death until they were completed.

Widely regarded as the most successful Presidential Memoir in history, they are still in print and reveal a genius of wit and insight.  Mark Twain said of his memoirs that a thousand writers could not have tendered such a well-turned book where few if any sentences required revision and the simplistic language conveyed and imparted greater meaning than most anyone he'd ever read.

This was not the work of a lifelong alcoholic on his deathbed.  By all personal accounts and writings of those who knew him, Ulysses S Grant was a man of honor, temperance, and modesty.  He was a champion of civil rights, fierce protector of the Confederate Officers in peacetime, forged a humane and generous policy toward the American Indians, and crushed the domestic terrorism of the KKK.  He was a fierce lover of his family, devoted to his wife, and indulgent and affectionate toward his children.

He was an artist, a writer, and perhaps the greatest horseman to ever hold the office of President.  Grant was kind to animals and is said to have only been seen in a temper over a Teamster mistreating a horse.  He had an incredible memory and 20 years after the fact recognized a soldier with whom he had shared rations with at the Battle of Shiloh.  He recalled in great detail many aspects of battles, movements, and army life.  He was disciplined in his manner and speech.  He was humble and was always uncomfortable with the public adoration and praise that he received.

In all my research, I can find no contemporary of his who describes him as a drunk.  There is no indication of this in any accounts written during his lifetime or after in dozens of interviews.  The only allusion I could find of it was from WW Smith, who was a cousin and lifelong companion who indicated that Grant would occasionally not make himself available to people during the holidays while his children were home in favor of spending time with his family.  On one such occasion, it was written of Grant that he was drunk when in fact he had been spending time with his children.

Alas, he was a Republican and continued Lincoln's legacy to honor and protect the Black man and to heal the nation of the wounds of Civil War.  He was a brilliant General and an American Hero.  He was revered and well loved.  I suspect that liberal historians choose not to discuss this about him since it did not fit their purposes.  Shame on them.

For citations and further edification, please visit:  Ulysses S. Grant Homepage