Americanly Yours

Promoting Free Speech, Free Markets, Free Trade, and Freedom!

Response To Comment

Posted by americanlyyours on January 20, 2009

As of yet I have not responded to comments from readers.  I probably wont do so much in the future either, but I received a comment on my Inaugural Costs article that I felt needed a response.  Here was the comment:

“The government can’t help the fact that millions of people are about to flood the streets of DC. Obama’s election was too huge of an event for Americans to even allow a scaled back inauguration, and they will show up in DC regardless of the size of the “party”. It’s necessary to spend large amounts of money for safety reasons when dealing with a crowd that big; it’s not like they’re buying $40 million worth of booze. With so many nonresidents showing up, the crowd could easily become restless and end up costing the gov’t (not to mention the poor people caught in the subsequent panic) even more money than they’ve already spent.

Think about it: do you remember anyone jumping in their car to go see Bush sworn in? Me either, although I do know quite a few people that will be traveling well over a thousand miles this week just to catch a glimpse of history.

Anyhoo – most of the money spent on the actual festivities comes from private donors. Public funds are used mainly for unavoidable security reasons”

Let me start my refuting the 2nd to last sentence.  Most of the money spent on the festivities is NOT coming from private donors.  For one, the Federal government’s costs alone are at least $49 million.  As I said in my previous post, Virginia and Maryland’s combined costs are over $28 million.  Washington D.C.’s costs are at least another $47 million.  The total so far for D.C, Maryland, Virginia, and the Federal government is $124 million, meaning that this is the vast majority of the funds being spent.  If the total costs of the inauguration are $160 million, at least 77.5% of the money will be coming from the government.

Also, I understand that this is a historic event, but my argument was simply that Obama could have tried to tone down the celebration.  I used the example of Jimmy Carter in my article.  President Carter was inaugurated in 1977 after 16 years of failed presidencies, including a long war, corruption, criminal behavior, and an economy that makes today’s economy look great.  Yet, Mr. Carter explicitly asked supporters to tone down the celebrations.  All I was saying was that Obama could have at last asked his supporters to limit the inaugural activities.  People poured into D.C. because Mr. Obama encouraged it.  He could have refrained from encouraging it, given the current economic turmoil our nation is experiencing.  I would have.

Americanly Yours,

Phred Barnet

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Who Is John Galt?

Posted by americanlyyours on January 20, 2009

Who is John Galt?

Americanly Yours,

Phred Barnet

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A Better Blog Host?

Posted by americanlyyours on January 19, 2009

Does anyone know of or use a blog host that they like?  I have used Blogspot and this blog is on WordPress, but I dont really like either of them.  I want a site that is easy to use and that I can put advertisements on.  With Blogspot, I can put up ads, but only their ads.  With WordPress, I have not been able to figure out how to put up any ads.

Can someone help me find a better host?

Americanly Yours,

Phred Barnet

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Become A Fan Of Americanly Yours

Posted by americanlyyours on January 19, 2009

If you are a Facebook user, you can now become a “fan” of Americanly Yours.  When I make new posts, I will send an update through the Facebook page to notify you about my new post.  This way you wont have to keep checking back needlessly.

If you are a Facebook member, click this link and then click “Become A Fan.”  Then click the “Share” button.  Its that simple.

Thanks!!!

Americanly Yours,

Phred Barnet

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Disaster vs. Catastrophy

Posted by americanlyyours on January 18, 2009

I “borrowed” this cartoon from http://balooscartoonblog.blogspot.com/

1bush_obama_disaster_catastrophe_3486151Americanly Yours,

Phred Barnet

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Inaugural Costs

Posted by americanlyyours on January 18, 2009

People are now estimating that Mr. Obama’s inauguration will cost at least $150 million, and possibly over $160 million.  I know that the Democrats are excited to end 8 years of Bush-led Republican rule.  I know that many people in this Nation are also excited that America will be inaugurating our first black president, but I don’t think that spending so much on a president’s inauguration can be justified, especially in this economy.

Lets put things in perspective:

George Bush’s inaugurations each cost around $40 million.

Bill Clinton’s 1st inauguration cost $33 million and his 2nd cost $23.6 million.

George H.W. Bush’s inauguration cost $30 million.

Obama’s inauguration is set to cost as much as all 5 of these previous inaugurations combined.

Economically speaking, these are not exactly the best of times.  Unemployment is rising and people are having trouble paying their bills.  In a time like this, should the American people really be forced to pay for this event?  After committing trillions of dollars that we do not have to bailouts and “economic stimulus,” our government should be trying to save money wherever possible, not paying for lavish parties.

The District of Columbia has anticipated their costs for the inauguration to be $47 million.  Virginia and Maryland will spend another $16 and $12 million, respectively.  The states are already broke–Virginia just cut $429 million from its public education budget and $418 million from its health care budget.  This is just not the right time for states to have to shell out money for a party when they cant even afford to educate their own children.

In 2005, Bush was criticized for spending $40 million on his 2nd inauguration (even though only $17 million of this money came from the government). Yet, the media is not criticizing Obama even though his inauguration is costing about 4 times what Bush’s cost. If you are interested, this BBC article from 2005 details some of the complaints of Bush’s inauguration, including a request by Democratic Representative Anthony Weiner to cancel the inauguration because he says that the government shouldnt be throwing parties while people are dying in a war. We are still at war, but ill bet that Representative Weiner is not calling for Obama’s inauguration to be cancelled.  Also, I have yet to see an article online criticizing the costs of Obama’s extravagant inauguration (although, I am not surprised).

Mr. Obama fundraising during the previous election was nothing short of amazing.  Why couldn’t he use his network of donors to help fund the costs of his lavish inauguration.  Or, he could take the example of Jimmy Carter who intentionally scaled back his inauguration during a recession, spending only $3.5 million on his inauguration in 1977 to avoid drawing too much attention to himself while so many Americans were hurting.

Is it just me or does the story of an extravagant party for a Nation’s leader while its people suffer sound familiar?  Well at least maybe Obama will let us eat cake.

Americanly Yours,

Phred Barent

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Ain’t No Party Like A Libertarian Party

Posted by americanlyyours on January 14, 2009

I am leaving the Democratic Party to join the Libertarian Party. My fit with the Democratic Party has been less great in recent years, and I have got to the point where I no longer feel comfortable calling myself a Democrat. And, although I voted for John McCain, I cannot consider myself a Republican either. Even though I supported Senator McCain, I actually disagreed with him on more issues than I agreed with him. It wasn’t a “lesser of two evils” thing, it was just that at the time Senator’s McCain’s views were closest to mine.

Since the election, however, a wave of bailouts has swept aside our Capitalist system and has moved us towards a socialist system in which the government owns and directs the economic activities of large corporations. The government’s reaction to the recent economic crisis (which I blame on government intervention in the first place) has hardened my non-interventionist views.

I decided to join the Libertarian Party after these bailouts convinced me that I could not support the Democrats or the Republicans. I began looking at the party platforms for different parties and found that I agreed with most of the Libertarian Party’s platform. Sure, there are major areas where I disagree with them, but I feel great about joining the Libertarian Party.

Why did I join the Libertarian Party you ask? Well…

Who stood up to Republicans and opposed the Patriot Act?

Who stood up to Bush and defended the 4th Amendment to our Constitution after details of Bush’s warrantless wiretap program were revealed?

Who has stood up against the efforts of the Democratic Party to take away the rights given to Americans by the 2nd Amendment?

Who has opposed every government bailout?

Who has opposed the increasing governmental control over every part of your personal life, from how you educate your children, to what types of cars you drive, to what type of energy you use to heat your home?

Who has fought for the right of ailing patients to be allowed to use medicinal marijuana to soothe their pain?

Who has fought for an end to the immoral system of taxing human labor, investment, savings, and entrepreneurial activity?

Who is the only party that defends the Constitution, as written?

Who is the only party that promises to cut the fat from our bloated bureaucracy?

With both parties turning toward bailouts and excessive regulation, who is the only party left still advocating Capitalism?

Which party is a staunch supporter of Free Trade, knowing that it is the best way to create jobs, economic growth, and save consumers the most money?

And which party holds the fundamental belief that individual freedom and personal responsibility are natural rights which should not be abridged by government for any reason?

The Libertarian Party.

Do you get the point?  The Libertarian Party is the only American political party which advocates complete economic and political freedom.

Many people say that voting for a “3rd party” candidate is a “wasted vote.”  This is not true.  It is true that the odds of a Libertarian candidate being elected to National office in the next elections is small.

The Democratic and Republican Parties want you to think that your vote only matters if you vote for one of their candidates.  And, this is only true to the degree that you accept their argument.  If you want to vote for a candidate who supports Liberty, but you do not believe that he can win, so you vote for one of the candidates from the two major parties, you are wasting your vote.  You are making the Democrats and Republicans right in their assertion that a 3rd party candidate cannot win.

This is a democracy.  In a democracy, there are no wasted votes.  A vote for any candidate, be he Republican, Democrat, Communist, Libertarian, or a protest write-in vote for yourself is equally valid and is not a wasted vote, as long as you are voting for the candidate that you feel is the one most suited for the job.  A vote is wasted if you compromise your beliefs and vote for a candidate that you do not like over a candidate that you agree with because you assume that the candidate that you agree with has no realistic chance of winning.  Penn Jilette says that if you “keep voting for the lesser of two evils [you will] watch things get more evil.”

Additionally, a vote for a 3rd party candidate should be viewed as an investment in the future.  A candidate may get only 5% of the vote this time, but getting 5% could encourage more people to vote for him.  Maybe in the next election, he gets 10%.  And as this happens, we could see a Libertarian or other 3rd party candidate win. In Georgia in November, a statewide Libertarian candidate for Public Service Commissioner received over 1 million votes and received over 1/3 of the total votes cast for his position, even winning my county by over 37,000 votes. Maybe next time, he can win.

They say that “absolute power corrupts, absolutely.” Well, I say “absolute freedom enlightens, absolutely.”Libertarian

Americanly Yours,

Phred Barnet

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An Old Piece

Posted by americanlyyours on December 24, 2008

Here is an excerpt from a piece I wrote back on September 26th, before Congress passed the $700 billion TARP program.  A lot of things have changed since then, but I still think this is a good and relevant piece.  I did not change this from the way that I wrote it back in September, except to correct a spelling mistake in the last paragraph.

We should, however, worry about our economy now.  The national debt is rapidly marching towards ten trillion dollars ($10,000,000,000,000).  Our unfunded liabilities in Social Security and Medicare now total an additional sixty-seven trillion dollars ($67,000,000,000,000).  By 2012 the Medicare fund will be going into a deficit and we will be forced to spend tax dollars to keep up with Medicare payments.  By 2017, the same thing happens with Social Security.  American families now owe over $15 trillion in household debt.  We have nothing left.  We are witnessing the slow, painful fall of the American Empire.  It hurts me to watch because I love this Nation so much.

For years we threw money at problems without ever trying to really solve them (poverty, drugs, education, health care).  Now we have no money and things are getting worse in all of these areas.

Iconic American companies are being swallowed up by foreign firms at an unprecedented rate.  Budweiser is being bought out by a Dutch firm, Miller is now owned by South Africans, and Coors is owned by Canadians.  Ford, Chrysler, and General Motors are now on the brink of extinction and are closing down American plants to move to other nations.

Sovereign wealth funds (companies owned by foreign governments) have been buying up large stakes in American companies—these sovereign wealth funds now own about 10% of Citigroup, 20% of the NASDAQ stock exchange, 9% of UBS, 10% of Morgan Stanley.  They own 7.5% of the Carlyle Group (which owns major defense contractors, telecommunications and technology companies, CSX railroads’’ domestic container lines, and consumer companies like Baskin-Robbins and Dunkin’ Donuts).  China owns 10% of the Blackstone Group (which owns Hilton Hotels, American textbook publisher Houghton-Mifflin, Universal Studios Parks, and is in the process of purchasing a large stake in The Weather Channel).  These wealth funds also own well over 10% of Merril Lynch (RIP), 2% of Barclays (which controls large portions of the stock of many large companies—go here and put in any symbol and you will see that Barclay’s owns a large stake), 7.5% in Diamler, AG, and several hundred million dollars worth of Visa.

The German government owns 35.5% of DHL, 20.3% of Volkswagen, and 32% of T-Mobile.  Through its stake in Renault, the French government owns 6.9% of Nissan.  Any time that you buy a product or a service from one of those companies, you are essentially paying a tax to a foreign government.  For example, if you stay at a Hilton hotel, 10% of the profit made from your visit goes to the Chinese government.  If you buy a new Mercedes, 7.5% of the profits made subsidize the Dubai government.  Do you think that American text books will continue to criticize the policies of Mao, now that China owns 10% of the company that makes our history books?

This is socialism, but at least in traditional socialism, Americans would see some benefit from their dollars going to state-owned enterprises.  In this case however, American dollars are going directly into the hands of foreign governments.  Would foreign nations tolerate the American government coming in and buying up stakes in their countries?  think not.

Do you remember mercantilism from history class?  That is what is happening in this country.  We export food, chemicals, plastic, cigarettes, cotton, and many other raw materials, only to import these goods back into the country later as finished goods: the cotton comes back as clothing, the plastic comes back in the form of goods made in China, and so on.   We produce nothing here.   We consume foreign goods like the world is ending tomorrow.  We now have the import/export profile of a 3rd world nation.

Rome is burning while Congress is playing the fiddle.  Be scared.  You should be.  Your children will know a different America.

Americanly Yours,

Phred Barnet

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What Happened To Personal Responsibility?

Posted by americanlyyours on December 21, 2008

You cant make this up.

Apparently this guy gets really drunk on a United Airlines flight from Japan to America a few years ago.  Then, he goes home and beats his wife.  The beating was so severe that it landed him an 18 month jail sentence.  The couple is now suing United Airlines for over $100,000 because they claim that it is somehow their fault that he beat his wife after drinking on United’s plane.

Are you kiding me?  Why should United Airlines be responsible for the actions of a drunk customer of theirs.  The man, an adult, got drunk on his own and then choose to go home and abuse his wife.  I have been drunk hundreds of times and have never beat up a woman.  United Airlines had no reason to believe that serving this man alcohol would result in him physically abusing his wife, and they should not be forced to pay any damages to this man.  It is his personal responsibility–not the responsibility of United Airlines–to ensure that when he becomes inebriated that he does not abuse his wife.

No rational person could ever abuse his wife and then claim that it is the fault of the airline because the airline served him.  The judge should dismiss this case and the couple should be forced to reimburse the court and the attorneys for United Arilines for the costs of this frivolous case.

We live in a society where our first instinct has become to place blame on others for our own faults and that is a shame.

Americanly Yours,

Phred Barnet

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Bailout Passed

Posted by americanlyyours on December 20, 2008

The American people and Congress may have rejected a bailout for the automakers, but in his infinite wisdom (and apparently infinite power, as I was unaware that a President could circumvent our Constitution and our laws to enact legislation without the consent of Congress), our President has thrown Chrysler and GM a lifeline by giving them $17.4 billion.   Remember, Chrysler is the same company whose owners would not contribute their own billions to save, so clearly this is another smart investment from the Federal Government.  Luckily, Ford has announced that it doesn’t need the money and will not be requesting any.  With this new bailout, the government now has the right to purchase stock in the two companies and place them under governmental supervision.

President Bush, thanks for Socialism!

The government that is supposed to represent you has taken your money through taxes on your hard work and is using this money–without your permission or even your approval–to purchase stock in two failing auto companies.

Do you still think Robin Hood was a great man?

This act completely violates the basic core principles of both Democracy and Capitalism.  The principles of Democracy are violated because the government is acting without the consent of the people, and is in fact acting opposite of the desires of the people.  The principles of Capitalism are violated because the government is taking ownership in two more American companies, placing factors of production directly under its control.

Does anyone really think that $17.4 billion can save the automakers?  This money is just an excuse for the government to put mor money into the companies in the future to protect their initial investment.  In poker, you are called “pot committed” when you have a large enough amount of money in the pot to justify calling a bet that you know you will lose.  In the investing world, this is called throwing good money after bad money.  I thik the investors have it right this time.

Americanly Yours,

Phred Barnet

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If You Give A Mouse A Cookie…

Posted by americanlyyours on December 18, 2008

When I was young, I read the children’s book If You Give A Mouse A Cookie. You can find the book here, but the book starts off like this: If you give a mouse a cookie, He’s going to ask for a glass of milk. When you give him the milk, he’ll probably ask you for a straw…” The mouse keeps on asking for more and more, using each previous request as the basis for why he should get another favor.

With people saying things like “Well, we bailed out AIG, it isn’t fair for us to not bail out GM,” I have been thinking about this book a lot lately. People have been using flawed logic by saying that because we bailed out one failing company, we ought to bail out the next failing company. It was wrong for us to bailout Bear Stearns, AIG, Citigroup, or any of the hundreds of other businesses that the government has bailed out and taken an ownership stake in. Just because we have committed several wrongs doesn’t mean that we need to abandon what is right and continue doing wrong. Think about someone who is on a diet, but splurges once and eats a piece of cake in a moment of weakness. Should that person then eat a cookie, a cheeseburger, and a plate of delicious Chicken Wings because they have already fallen off the wagon, or should they admit they made a mistake and return to their diet?

Our government made a huge mistake in bailing out Bear Stearns. This led to the government being asked to bail out more and more companies. Using the flawed logic that I described above, the government bailed out more and more companies, not wanting to be “unfair” to any company or industry. In doing so, our President and Congress were unfair to the American people who are to be saddled with the large debts created by the costs of the bailouts which we do not support.

It might not be as good of a children’s book as If You Give A Mouse A Cookie, but here is an excerpt from my new book entitled If You Give Bear Stearns A Bailout:

If you bailout Bear Stearns, they will ask you to bailout AIG. If you bailout AIG, they are going to ask you to bailout the rest of the financial industry. If you bailout the financial industry, they are going to ask you to bailout the auto industry. If you bailout the auto industry, they will ask you to bailout the airlines…

We should have told that “mouse” no.

Americanly Yours,

Phred Barnet

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The American People Don’t Want Bailouts

Posted by americanlyyours on December 15, 2008

The American People do not want the auto industry to be bailed out. According to a poll conducted by CNN, 61% of Americans surveyed are absolutely against any federal bailout of the American auto industry. Additionally, the majority of voters in every single region of the country are opposed to these bailouts, including 53% of people in the Midwest (these are the people most likely to be affected by any auto industry bankruptcies). 70 percent of Democrats, 62 percent of Independents, and 55 percent of Democrats are opposed to these bailouts. Simply put, this is an issue on which there is an overwhelming amount of agreement. The American people do not want to see their money wasted on bailing out failing automakers.

Chrysler is a privately owned company which is 80% owned by Cerberus Capital Management and 20% owned by Diamler AG. Both of these companies have billions of dollars in cash on hand, yet the parent companies of Chrysler have refused to inject more of their own money into their failing subsidiary. If, as the automakers are claiming that they only need money to temporarily get them through an organization process, why wont the owners of these companies temporarily inject the money into the companies? Probably because they know that it is a bad investment and that they are not likely to receive their money back. If the owners of Chrysler are unwilling to put their own money into Chrysler, why should the American people be FORCED AGAINST OUR WILL into spending OUR money on a bailout? Additionally, the Ford family has billions of dollars in personal assets. If they want to save their company, maybe they should use their money.

Speaking of Ford, of the Big 3 Automakers, Ford is the only one not in horrible shape. Since taking over two years ago, CEO Alan Mulally has begun to implement a vast turn around plan called “The Way Forward.” This plan has been relatively successful, and has already resulted in billions of dollars in cost savings, and will continue to help the company. As a result, Ford is the only American automaker not in immediate risk of collapsing. According to company reports, Ford expects to turn a profit in 2011, while GM and Chrysler haven’t bothered to give the American public any timetable for when they will be able to return to profitability. Both GM and Chrysler are said to be within weeks of collapse, and GM has already hired a team of bankruptcy lawyers. By bailing out GM and Chrysler, the government could be hurting Ford’s prospects of recovery.

Congress, President Bush, and President-Elect Obama should respect the wishes of the American People and allow these automakers to fail—or succeed on their own.

Americanly yours,

Phred Barnet

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TARP Investments Have Already Lost 37% of Value

Posted by americanlyyours on December 3, 2008

I just saw a report on CNBC that the TARP program (the government bailout of banks that resulted in government ownership of banks) has already lost the government 37% of its investment.  Remember, this was the program that was supposed to be profitable for the government and it was said that this program would return nice profits to the taxpayers.  Instead, the government has lost 37% of the money that it has invested so far.  I am not surprised.  The government (against the wishes of the public) invested money it didn’t have in companies that are failing—can anyone really be surprised that the loss is already so large?

On another note, I am very very very busy studying for finals and writing massive essays for grad school.  I will not be able to regularly update this site until December 15th.  Expect regular updates after that.

Americanly Yours,

Phred Barnet

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Are You Smarter Than A Politician?

Posted by americanlyyours on November 24, 2008

I came across this piece of news yesterday.  The Intercollegiate Studies Institute put together a quiz and tested the American public and elected officials.  The quiz covers basic American history, economics, and civics.  The American public scored an appalling 49% on the 33 question quiz.  That seemed really bad, until I learned that the average score of an elected official was a 44% (5 points lower than the National average)!  The conclusion here is simple:  Americans are dumb, but our government is even dumber.

I got all 33 questions correct.  What about you?

http://www.americancivicliteracy.org/resources/quiz.aspx

If you havent taken the quiz yet, don’t read on.  If you have, then check out these examples of the stupidity of our elected officials (taken from the quiz’s website).  I think the first one is the most shocking!

In each of the following areas, for example, officeholders do more poorly than non-officeholders:

  • Seventy-nine percent of those who have been elected to government office do not know the Bill of Rights expressly prohibits establishing an official religion for the U.S.
  • Thirty percent do not know that “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” are the inalienable rights referred to in the Declaration of Independence.
  • Twenty-seven percent cannot name even one right or freedom guaranteed by the First Amendment.
  • Forty-three percent do not know what the Electoral College does. One in five thinks it either “trains those aspiring for higher political office” or “was established to supervise the first televised presidential debates.”
  • Fifty-four percent do not know the Constitution gives Congress the power to declare war. Thirty-nine percent think that power belongs to the president, and 10% think it belongs to the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
  • Only 32% can properly define the free enterprise system, and only 41% can identify business profit as “revenue minus expenses.”

Americany Yours,

Phred Barnet

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Want A Bailout Of The Automakers That Is Guaranteed To Succeed? Bailout Toyota!

Posted by americanlyyours on November 21, 2008

There has been lots of talk about an auto industry bailout. Apparently GM and Chrysler are both in imminent danger of collapse, while Ford has enough money to last through 2009, and claims that it will be profitable in 2010. Quite a few members of Congress have been floating several plans to bailout the “Big 3” US automakers, including a plan that would have the government take ownership stakes in the 3 companies (which is interesting because the combined market value of the 3 companies is less than the $25 billion that the government wants to inject into the companies) and appoint a “czar” to run them.

Sure, we could bailout these 3 large, iconic American companies. The rationale behind the bailout is that it could save a lot of American jobs. Yet, with the possible exception of Ford, I see little chance that any of the 3 companies will be able to completely turn around in the future. Instead, I see continued plant closings and lay-offs in the US along with continued losses. I think that bailing out GM, Chrysler, and Ford will just prolong the bleeding. The truth is that even if the bailout is a huge success and the companies survive, the Big 3 automakers will still close down all (or nearly all) of their American plants. The proponents of the bailout argue that the bailout is necessary to save American manufacturing jobs, but in the end, this will still result in the job losses that the proponents of the bailout are seeking to avoid. True, if the bailout works these cuts will come over the next 5-10 years, rather than all at once, but nevertheless they will still come. It seems to me that this type of bailout will end up subsidizing companies for cutting American jobs, rather than creating jobs.

For the record I oppose bailouts, but if there has to be a bailout, I have a better idea. Rather than subsidize 3 large automakers who have done nothing but cut American jobs and hemorrhage money for the past decade, we could subsidize 3 profitable automakers who in the past decade have greatly expanded their employment of American workers while earning large profits. I am talking of course about Toyota, Honda and Nissan.

You can argue that these companies are not “American” companies. This is true, these companies are headquartered in Japan, yet they do employ many American workers. Ford is headquartered in America, but I often wonder if there is anything besides that which makes it an American company. For example, I drive a Ford Fusion (which I love). My car was designed by Japanese engineers and built in Mexico with Chinese parts. I don’t really know what makes it an American car. If you buy a new Toyota Camry you will find that it was built in Kentucky. Japanese automakers also increasingly use American made auto parts in their cars. From 2000 to 2006, Japanese automakers’ purchases of American parts increased 53% to over $48 billion. And while the American Big 3 has been racing to close down its plants and produce its cars outside of the US, 63% of Japanese cars purchased in the United States in 2007 were manufactured in America.

Between 2004 and 2006, Toyota, Honda, and Nissan have created 4,715 jobs, increasing their employment of American workers by over 8% to over 63,000 workers, while Ford, Chrysler, and GM’s American workforce was cut by 23,264 jobs—cutting over 12% of their American workforce. [[Note, these figures were really hard to find, and the American Big 3 cut an additional 30,000 employees in 2007, bringing the total down to just over 129,000, however I could not find any statistics for the Japanese Big 3 for 2007.]] In that same time span, Ford, Chrysler, and GM have lost billions of dollars, while Toyota, Honda, and Nissan have made billions of dollars. Simply put, the Japanese Big 3 has produced much better results. The Big 3 Japanese companies clearly have better business models, and they have created thousands of jobs while Detroit’s Big 3 has cut thousands of jobs. Loaning the bailout money to the Japanese companies rather than to the American Big 3 will create necessary jobs which will most likely be filled by the highly skilled workers who will lose their jobs when the American Big 3 collapses.

Also, which Big 3 do you think ahs a better chance of paying back a $25 billion loan, bloody Detroit, or profitable Japan? And, if the government has to take an ownership stake in 3 automakers, I would rather it take ownership stakes in Toyota, Honda, and Nissan than GM, Ford, and Chrysler.

Besides producing technological innovations, Japan’s Big 3 is also the industry leader in producing environmentally friendly cars. The Toyota Prius and the Honda Civic Hybrid are great examples of popular hybrid vehicles which Detroit just cannot produce.

It is not just American automakers who are in “need” of a bailout. European automakers have asked their governments for a $40 billion Euro ($50 billion) bailout. Even China is now in the process of bailing out their automakers. The Japanese automakers are the only automakers in the world that are not in need of a bailout. Why fight against the inevitable? The whole world knows that Japanese car companies can make cars better and more profitable than any other group of automakers on the planet. Rather than extending the miserable lives of failing car companies, we should euthanize them and embrace the success of the Japanese Big 3. When companies can efficiently produce a great product and sell it an inexpensive price, we all win, regardless of where the companies are headquartered.

Obviously, these companies are so well run that they don’t need a bailout. The auto industry in America is still strong; it just so happens that the strong producers of cars in America happen to be Japanese. So what? America is a Nation of immigrants. Maybe giving Honda, Toyota, and Nissan low interest loans to expand American factories could convince them to immigrate to America and move their headquarters to Detroit.

We should reward innovation and punish sluggishness. Thanks to Honda’s innovations, a Honda factory in East Liberty, Ohio can switch from manufacturing Honda Civics to making Honda CR-V’s in only 5 minutes. However, a Ford SUV factory in Michigan is switching its production from SUV’s to small cars, but because of a lack of innovation at Ford, the factory is shutting down for 13 months to retool, which is costing the company $75 million.

Bailing out Detroit will subsidize bad behavior, similar to giving a juvenile delinquent child a raise in allowance in the hopes that it will somehow change his behavior (if you think that will work, ask my parents). The government should reward good behavior, not bad behavior. Rather than raising the allowance of the bad kid, why not reward the good child? Wouldn’t this be a valuable lesson, not only to the “children” involved, but also to all the other children out there (airlines). “Bailing out” the Japanese Big 3 will lead to the creation of American jobs, increased research, and increased profits for these companies. Bailing out Detroit will only extend the pain and slow bleeding.

Americanly Yours,

Phred Barnet

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The Road To Socialism

Posted by americanlyyours on November 13, 2008

In the election that just ended, Barack Obama was called a socialist by his opponents.  To anyone who understands the true definition of socialism, Obama could not be considered a socialist (maybe a collectivist, but definitely not a socialist).  Socialism by definition is a system in which the government owns and controls the factors of production in the name of the common good.

Well, in the past 24 hours, Obama has announced his plan to help the Big 3 American automakers. His plan includes a $50 billion loan to the automakers. But, the plan doesn’t end there. In a similar manner to the bank bailout plan recently passed against the wishes of the American people, this plan also requires the federal government to take ownership stakes in Ford, Chrysler, and General Motors. Additionally, Obama wants to appoint an “Oversight Czar” to “oversee the companies” thereby giving the federal government both ownership and control of three massive American corporations. Of course all of this is being done in the name of the “common good.”

The $50 billion price tag is most likely a large underestimate of the amount of money it will take to save these automakers. The government doesn’t exactly have the best history of predicting the total costs necessary in an intervention. Some recent examples: the $152 billion stimulus package passed earlier this year which was supposed to save us from a recession, the $250 billion bailout plan which quickly ballooned into a $700 billion bailout package, and of course the $85 bailout for AIG in September which has already cost $143.7 and could cost much more. When $50 billion turns out not be enough for the automakers, the government will surely throw more money at the problem to “protect” its investment as it did with AIG. And, the automakers will need more money too. In 2010, several state-owned Chinese car companies intend to start marketing very inexpensive Chinese cars in America.

This will not stop with the automakers either. If there is one industry in this country worse off than the automakers, it is the airline industry. The airlines have been hemorrhaging money for years and now that the economy is bad, companies are laying off workers and cutting corporate travel, while regular Americans are also cutting back on flying. The airline industry will be the next to go and its lobbyists will swarm on Congress and demand the same favors that were given to the financial industry and the automakers. Then, the government will also own our airlines in addition to our banks and our automakers.

To me, that is a definite. The only maybe is how far this will go. When no new airplanes are being built due to the collapse of the airline industry, what will become of Boeing? Their bottom line will be hurt, and considering that they are a major defense contractor, would the government deem them to be too important to fail? If the automakers and airlines are suffering then of course the steel industry suffers. Will the government then take control of our steel giants like US Steel and Nucor in order to “protect” them from domestic problems and foreign competition?

Now, I am not opposed to helping the automakers. If a loan is absolutely needed, and if the government believes that there is a reasonable chance that it can get its money back, then the government definitely should help the automakers, but under no circumstances should it buy the automakers and take control of them.

This isn’t all about business either. The Democratic Congress is considering passing laws to reinstate the “Fairness Doctrine” to the radio. The Fairness Rule was established in the late 1940’s to guarantee that time would be given to both sides of an issue on the radio. The courts gradually struck down more and more of this doctrine until 1986 when it was completely abolished. Democrats, lead by New Mexico Senator Jeff Bingaman want to reinstate the rule which would effectively force conservative radio stations to place just as many hours of liberal talk radio on their stations as conservative talk radio (to me this is like requiring Christian radio stations to broadcast Jewish or Muslim programming). Of course, there are no Democratic Senators currently pushing legislation that would require CNN, MSNBC, NBC, and CBS time to conservatives or to require FOX News to give time to liberals.

We as a People voted for change last week. Change can be good, yet this is not the change that we need. We must not abandon the free market and free thinking ideals which brought us from a small, weak country of 13 states into a great Nation. If we are to continue to be a great Nation and a leader among other nations, we must not walk down this road.

Americanly Yours,

Phred Barnet

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