Sunday, May 01, 2011

More Neuron(ic?) Backfires

Now and then I have random thoughts that fly through and stick. Here are some recent ones:

1. When was it decreed from on high that Americans should always, always have cheaper gasoline than the rest of the world? Where did we get this idea? Europeans have been paying higher prices for years, while we kept buying SUV's and the ever bigger, greater torque, crew cab pickups. In February 2011, when the average cost per gallon here in the US was $4.03/gal, it was $8+/gal in Belgium, France, Italy and the UK; it was $9+/gal in the Netherlands and Germany. While Donald Trump hollers about "Americans not liking paying $5/gal," and yeah, he's right, we don't, it makes me wonder at what point we, who use such a high percentage of the world's resources, decided it was our birthright to have lower gas prices than everyone else.

2. While everyone is upset by GE's ability to make huge profits and pay no taxes, it's just one of many corporations which have really remarkably talented accountants. Meanwhile, every single politician out there starts out with the statement "and we have to create more jobs."<---This seeming to be a self-evident point, I'm curious why the conservatives railing about "people shipping our jobs overseas" don't look at the cause of that and indeed, continue to feel that corporations should somehow be allowed tax breaks on various projects or tax cuts and/or limits on their profits.

I know this will be viewed by many as crazy, but I think we should be doing a head count of those jobs overseas and levee a fine on any corporation who chooses to remove a job to an overseas destination. A hefty fine, say, the difference between the salary they pay to the Indonesian sweat shop worker and what they'd have to pay to an American laborer. If we did that, with an accurate head count of jobs exported, it might make the American manufacturer rethink job removal. Fine them. Per head. For God's sake don't give them tax credits or tax cuts. "Labor costs in America are prohibitive so we take it overseas." Okay then. Don't pay the wages of that American worker whom you expect to buy your product, but do pay a fine for closing the plant that that same American worker was just fired from. Simple formula, way easy for the whizz bang accountants they have: Close the plant, 2500 people out of work (nevermind what happens to the economy of the area they live in, we won't fine them for that). Look at your books from last year, take the figure in Box A (2500 x wages for a year), then compute the wages paid to the 2500 people you hire in (name the country) this year in Box B. Subtract Box B from Box A. That's your fine. Help lower the deficit and maybe rethink your overseas labor plan. Ya know, those fine consumers you try to separate from their money have to have a living wage in order to consume your product. Living wage? Yeah, living wage.

3. Bubble. Burst. Bailout. Bonus. Bogus investment schemes to sell "derivatives." Bet against the derivatives being a good investment. Let's move from B to R. Regulation of this Wall Street nonsense is still non-existent. It could happen again. Ask the folks who put in the regulations in 1930 which were dismantled piecemeal. And we weren't paying attention. Which gives us an F as in Foreclosure. Although I suppose I could forge that report card and turn the F into an A if I sell Adjustable Rate Mortgages to. . . .nevermind, not a good idea, eventually I'll be found out. Nevermind, I have my stock options and my multi-million dollar severance so it's all good. Aren't I lucky that I work in the only industry I can think of that rewards reckless, unethical, and in some cases, criminal behavior. Then I can get hired as a consultant or lobbyist, when I should be put on the town square, have a guy with a sword whack the buttons off my double breasted just before the leg irons go on. Rotten veggies will be provided to the onlooking crowd gratis.

4. Donald Trump. Seriously? If you are serious, or view him as a serious candidate, which apparently some do, can someone please tell me why?

EDIT: 5/1/11
5. Chris Rock has the right idea. Make guns cheap and bullets cost $5000 dollars each. Folks will think twice before popping off a $5K piece of property.

6. So now Bin Laden's dead. Shades of Dillinger, the Dalton gang. Pics of his body will be at a premium. Is that enough? Can we bring our people home now? Or are we such warmongers that we'll let them keep getting brain injuries that the VA doesn't want to pay the medical care for? Postcards of Bin Laden's body on sale at the gift shop. $5.50 a pop. Frame them. Nevertheless, bravo to our folks who did him in (says the person for whom Ghandi is the model to aspire to). Perhaps now we can get some sanity back into our government without the hysteria. My question still remains: Why'd it take so long? And why do most folks think the war on Iraq, which is bankrupting our government, is a reasonable thing to continue?

No comments: