Delivering the Goods

The United States rose up from a handful of rebellious colonies to become the richest and most powerful nation in the world. Why? Because we led the world in production. For 200 years, America delivered the goods.

But, in the 1970’s, all that suddenly changed. For the first time in history, the U.S. started having trade deficits. That means our net consumption exceeded our net production. And, every single year since 1975, our nation has consistently consumed more than it produced. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that’s not sustainable.

The depressing truth is America is no longer a world leader in production. We are trailing the pack. We are now a debtor nation, and our biggest creditor is China. — What the hell happened? And how will we ever recover? And, the more disturbing question is, what will happen to America if we don’t?

If we ever want to restore America to its proper place in the world, the first thing we need to understand is why we no longer have a productive economy. It’s pretty simple, really. — Because we no longer produce. Why not? – If we take a good hard look at the nature of production, maybe we can figure that out. The three key elements of production are capital, labor, and raw materials.

First, you need capital for research and development. To develop a new product that meets a real need in the marketplace takes a lot of research. It may take many years to develop. Research and development is extremely expensive, and there’s no guarantee of success. There has to be an enormous potential return on investment to justify that kind of risk.

That kind of return on investment is what our current administration refers to as “excessive profits.” And they have this notion that “excessive profits” should be punitively taxed. When government puts a lid on the potential for return on investment, what happens? The investors take their capital and invest it someplace else, — someplace that welcomes production, and wants to build up their economy and provide employment for their population. (Unlike the United States, it would seem.)

The second thing you need for production is raw materials. No matter what you want to produce, you need some combination of raw materials to produce it, whether wood, paper, metal, glass, fiber, or petroleum products. All raw materials come from the earth; they don’t come out of the air, or some genius’ imagination, or the printing presses at the Federal Reserve. They all come out of the ground, either through timber, mining, or agriculture.

Here, in Southern Oregon, we live in one of the richest areas in the country, in terms of natural resources. We’re rich in timber. We’re rich in minerals. But, if this part of the country is so rich, why is it so poor? Why is unemployment so high? Because we’re not allowed to use the natural resources with which we’re abundantly blessed. Overregulation, and the endless environmental litigation it has spawned, has all but curtailed the timber and mining industries, — the very industries that provide raw materials for every sort of production on which our economy relies. And the overregulation doesn’t stop there. It’s hobbling the manufacturing industries, too.

The third thing required for production is labor. We’ve actually got a surplus of that. Look at our unemployment numbers, nationwide. Private sector jobs are steadily declining because our industries are stymied by excessive regulation and punitive taxation. So how does our government address that issue? It tries to replace the jobs lost due to declining production by creating new jobs in the public sector.

The trouble is those jobs do nothing to restore our national productivity. Public sector jobs and service jobs don’t create any new wealth. They just swirl money around in the economy. And, as that money swirls around, more and more of it leaks out to other countries, as we buy foreign-made products because we can’t or don’t produce enough at home.

As the real wealth leaks out of our economy, the Fed prints up more and more new money, which only dilutes the value of the money we already have in circulation, leading to higher and higher inflation. As long as we consume more than we produce, there is no way to add real value back into our economy, and our currency will continue to lose whatever value it has. We must restore production to have a sustainable economy.

This country was founded on the sacred principles of liberty and freedom. Not just individual freedom, but economic freedom. America became a world leader because America delivered the goods. That’s what it’s all about. That’s what it’s always been about. We have to stay solvent to preserve our liberty. If our economy fails, we’ll lose our freedom. Stifling production smothers the economy. And that’s what our government is doing.

Contact your Congressmen and Senators and tell them we want our economy back. Government can’t solve this problem. Government is the problem.


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Looting the Economy

Even in the midst of the deepest and most far-reaching economic crisis since the Great Depression, Americans are still pretty comfortable. The poorest of the poor in this country would be considered wealthy by the standards of most of the world’s population, taking for granted “luxuries” like plumbing, elecricity, and medical care.

The reason we’re so comparatively wealthy in this country, even during this worldwide economic crisis, is because this country has had a historically strong economy, built up over decades of productivity, of leading the world in industrial and technological innovation that has not only generated wealth for the entrepreneurs and investors who made it possible, but has created abundant opportunities for people who were willing to learn a marketable skill, and work hard at it, to earn their way out of poverty and into the middle class.

People like to go on about the “shrinking middle class,” but neglect to consider that the “poor” in this country today have, on average, a higher standard of living than the “middle class” had a couple of generations ago. It isn’t that there’s more actual poverty today, it’s that the bar keeps being raised on what we consider “poor.”

A rising tide lifts all boats, and that has been the case with our economy, up until recently. The standard of living bar has been continuously raised for everybody, generation after generation. This is not because the government provides for us all, but because the productive members of society generate not just money, but value, not just wealth, but opportunity, providing goods and services that continually improve the quality of life for all, while creating jobs and providing the foundation for a sound and healthy economy.

When you hamper or discourage productivity (or drive it offshore) through excessive regulations and punitive taxation, for the dubious benefit of the unproductive members of society, the economy as a whole must suffer. If a rising tide lifts all boats, what happens when the tide recedes? The overall standard of living goes down. We are standing at that inflection point today.

Years ago, we shifted from a production economy to a “credit economy.” Where our economy used to be based on goods delivered, now it’s based on promises, and many of those promises are turning out to be undeliverable. So what do we do now?

The solution is not to keep expanding our dependency on government, while sinking our nation ever deeper into debt, relying more and more on the government to provide what the producers no longer can because the government has tied their hands or driven them offshore. That course of action can only dig us deeper into the hole we’re in right now. The way to recover is to return to a production economy, where you only get rewards for what you produce. If you want something, you have to pay for it. To pay for it, you have to produce something for which somebody else is willing to pay you.

We need to restore productivity, not just have government hire more people and create more bureaucracies to employ them. We need to create value, not pump more money into the economy, which only serves to devalue the money already in circulation. We cannot borrow our way out of debt, nor spend our way into solvency. We need to return to the basic foundations on which this once-great nation was built: hard work, self-reliance, entrepreneurship, industry, and personal responsibility. It’s not rocket science. It’s common sense.

So why are our legislators doing just the opposite of what clearly needs to be done to regenerate our economy? Why are they jamming the accelerator to the floor as the economy heads over the cliff? Because the impending disaster that has been building up for years is now imminent, and they believe it to be inevitable. They’ve given up all hope of salvaging the economy, and figure they may as well grab what they can while there’s still something left to grab. They’re in a feeding frenzy of earmarks, stuffing every bill with as much pork as they can cram in. They are literally looting the economy, justifying their reckless plunder because they figure it’s all going down anyway.

So they pour more money into the economy, mortgaging our country to foreign interests, indenturing future generations of taxpayers, while they and their buddies rake theirs off the top. And the rest of us sit watching in dumb horror (or blind hope) as the value of the money in our bank accounts gets diluted by the flood of new dollars being pumped into the system, and the stock market plummets day after day.

And what happens when it all bottoms out and there’s nothing left to loot? In one scenario, we start over from scratch, the way our forefathers did, and struggle to rebuild a stable economy based once again on real productivity. In a more nefarious scenario, there’s somebody waiting in the wings with other plans for our nation…


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