Friday, July 20, 2012

US Labor Costs Are the Key to More Jobs

We took a small trip to Crater Lake last week. Its a real pretty place. If you are over 62 a lifetime National Park pass is $10 and it covers everyone in the car.

I went to the gift shop and thought the little beaver with a park ranger hat (below right) was neat. I almost didn't buy it, it had a "made in China" tag. Plus it seemed kind of phony as a souvenir from Crater Lake, it was made a half a world away (as was almost everything else in the store). The bag on the left, I picked up later. It's recyclable and made in the USA! WOW!!! Politically correct, but how many college grads does it take to load a roll of paper onto a bag making machine?

As an entrepreneur, you want inexpensive souvenirs to sell to the tourist and China is where you shop. Why make it in the USA, where labor laws and employment taxes eat you alive? How can we blame the retailer for using common sense?

The picture below is also from Crater Lake. It's an outhouse (no longer in use), that kind of reflects how Congress solves our problems. The solution to one problem creates another. Tax the employer and bring in more revenue.

What is the real issue, jobs or the cost of labor? Why employ an American when you can pay someone in China at 1/10th our wages. Remember Ross Perot and the "Giant sucking sound" from our free trade agreements? He lost the election, but he was spot on!

Maybe if the Chinese were saddled with Obamacare instead of us, it would be cheaper to make things here instead of over there. Jobs are all about the cost of doing business. The American public is the ultimate employer. We want it cheap and to hell with employee benefits. How can we expect to create more jobs if we can't compete realistically with China?

We have set the tone for consumption in the US, "Low costs" and that kind of answers the question of, "Where are the good paying jobs?"

Here I sit with my cute little souvenir from Crater Lake made in China and a paper bag made in the USA. It comforting to know that whoever wins the next election is going to provide more jobs for unemployed Americans, Mexicans, Chinese and other third world countries. You'll need a passport to apply, if you're from here.

Copyright 2012 by Jim Brubaker


ATP said...

Hi Jim, not a direct comment on your post... but came across an article by Ken Huber that has summed up my impressions of the current State of the Nation.

"Has America become the land of special interest and home of the double standard?

Lets see: if we lie to the Congress, it's a felony and if the Congress lies to us its just politics; if we dislike a black person, we're racist and if a black person dislikes whites, its their 1st Amendment right; the government spends millions to rehabilitate criminals and they do almost nothing for the victims; in public schools you can teach that homosexuality is OK, but you better not use the word God in the process; you can kill an unborn child, but it is wrong to execute a mass murderer; we don't burn books in America, we now rewrite them; we got rid of communist and socialist threats by renaming them progressive; we are unable to close our border with Mexico, but have no problem protecting the 38th parallel in Korea; if you protest against President Obama's policies you're a terrorist, but if you burned an American flag or George Bush in effigy it was your 1st Amendment right.

You can have pornography on TV or the internet, but you better not put a nativity scene in a public park during Christmas; we have eliminated all criminals in America, they are now called sick people; we can use a human fetus for medical research, but it is wrong to use an animal.

We take money from those who work hard for it and give it to those who don't want to work; we all support the Constitution, but only when it supports our political ideology; we still have freedom of speech, but only if we are being politically correct; parenting has been replaced with Ritalin and video games; the land of opportunity is now the land of hand outs; the similarity between Hurricane Katrina and the gulf oil spill is that neither president did anything to help.

And how do we handle a major crisis today? The government appoints a committee to determine who's at fault, then threatens them, passes a law, raises our taxes; tells us the problem is solved so they can get back to their reelection campaign.

What has happened to the land of the free and home of the brave?"

- Ken Huber
Tawas City

Jim in San Marcos said...


I can't really disagree with what he said, but not everyone envisions Democracy the same light.

I can still remember my "Nuke the Whales," bumper sticker.

I tend to think that if the author had chosen to write about what was "right" about American, he would have had 10 times the material.

If you ever get a chance, read a book called "The Tyranny of Words" written by Stuart Chase. It changed my life profoundly. It was written in the 1940's when Hitler rose to power.

Thank you for the link.

dearieme said...

In the summer of '66 I laboured in a paper and plastics factory in NJ. The smaller plastic bags we made were for taking carbines to Vietnam, the larger ones for bringing bodies back.

I had no idea then that LBJ's decision to expand JFK's little war, and combine it with introducing an expensive welfare state, with neither to be funded honestly by increasing taxes, would eventually lead to the ruin of the USA.

Anonymous said...

To go along with erecting barriers to women's health care, kicking the poor off food stamps, preventing hundreds of thousands from voting, and trying to gut Medicare, Medicaid and privatize Social Security, the Republicans now want to block the Labor Department from trying to reduce black lung disease in coal miners, for fear it would cut profits. Lets deregulate everything...make the world a better place. We see how that worked out in the financial industry.

Jim in San Marcos said...

Hi Dearieme

I was in Viet Nam and can say I wasn't disappointed that I didn't get a body bag. You're not the same person if you made it back.

I tend to agree that this current deficit started with LBJ and snowballed from there.

The problem we have today, is that we as a country didn't save for the rainy day. Its raining and we are broke. Raising taxes isn't going to bring home the bacon, the taxpayers are broke also.

Of course, all of this is a secret, so it's just between you and I. Take care

Jim in San Marcos said...

Hi Anon 6:34

I don't see the evil Republicans running anyone off of welfare or food stamps.

There were 700 black lung deaths last year, and 35,000 people died in car accidents. Your complaint lacks perspective.

I'm middle class and pay about $10K in taxes. Why does some freeloader get the right to feed off of my paycheck? I'm a nice guy, but the free food stamps allow them the cell phone that they couldn't otherwise afford. I don't mind helping the poor, but I have seen a person pay $400 for a wedding cake with food stamps!

And they get irate at the check out stand when they can't buy dog food and come back with a pound of hamburger and say "my dog can eat this."

Go ahead and blame it all on the Republicans. Why work when you don't have to. Thats how the Soviet Union collapsed.

We need to gut Medicare and Social Security. The concept that we can pass it on to the younger generation is ridiculous. They are not going to pay it.

We are bankrupt. The reality, is that things are not going to get better, they are going to get worse. The problem is, who do you want to believe?

Some of the politicians wanting your vote are not promising the moon, and some of what they suggest is very uncomfortable to live with. Reality is a harsh mistress, but a fair one.

Anonymous said...


Before I discovered your blog I happened to enjoy Richard Benson articles a lot. Like you he is a baby boomer facing retirement and his articles are absolutely wonderful.

I am myself an immigrant to Canada from one of the republics of the former Soviet Union. I was looking for an economic prosperity after immigrating here and I got it. My family is a solid middle class now and our joint good income coupled with a frugal upbringing gives us a very comfortable living.

However I can't close my eyes on what is coming and I see that things will only get worse. I even doubt if it makes a good sense to save as much as we do now when instead I could upgrade my quality of life by removating our home and getting nicer things.

The good thing for someone like us is that we can go back to where we came from in an old age and blend in with the locals while enjoying spending the inflated but hopefully still substantial nest egg in the local economy. Unfortunately we are very spoiled now. I can not imagine subjecting myself to the decline of a life quality after being able to live like we do for so much.

Anyway, I am rambling but I wanted to say that I simply love your blog and wholeheartedly agree with everything here.


Anonymous said...

Interesting to read your post, AM.

On the subject of Chinese products, when we shipped manufacturing overseas, I think we failed to realize how much innovation and improvement comes from those who actually create the product. Obama wants innovation to bring us out of this depression. Perhaps the Chinese will help us out. Just sign here.