Friday, November 17, 2006

Charlie's Column Worth a Read

Most of you have already seen this. Highlights:

The deeper problem for the GOP, according to the polls, was that voters had turned away from them because:

*Republicans failed to deliver on fiscal conservatism
*Republicans failed to be the champion of middle class economics
*Republicans failed to be reformers, particularly on ethical matters
*Republicans became the party of big corporations

When Republicans lost their credibility on taxes and government spending, they were left vulnerabilities to attacks on their motives. "Voters came to believe that we were not solving middle class economic problems like the cost of housing, health care, education, energy and taxes - and they saw not just inaction, but coziness with what they perceive to be the 'villains' of middle class economics -- big corporations."

Gee--only yesterday we posted some other problematic items here. One specific which is common:

This is part of the problem I have talked about for a decade. We can't have the leadership of the party meet in the country club while our voters shop at Fleet Farm. Doesn't happen.

The Pubbie addiction to road-builder dollars (not to mention the FreeTrade silliness) has hurt them again and again with middle-income people and small-business owners. I remain convinced that Michels could have defeated Feingold if he'd simply walked away from some of GWB's globaloney economics positions.

But he didn't and lost. And the 2006 elections are simply a continuation.


Anonymous said...

I'm glad some of the more libertarian in the Republican movement like Sykes are getting it. Yesterday we learned of yet another plant closing, this time in Calumet county. The announcment was put on a bulletin board at the Tecumseh plant. 340 good jobs gone. Add the closing in Menasha about 6 months ago, the announcement at Mercury Marine, and you have a lot of reasons to be concerned about the economic health of the region.

Now we just need the Republicans to care enough to do something about the plant closings.

blamin said...

Hey Dad29, saw one of your comments on another site and had to check out your blog. I like!

I’m not so sure Republicans “became the party of big corporations”. I’m sure you could find a few examples, and it’s certainly the image pushed by the mainstream media. But, almost all pro market or pro supply side economic legislation is labeled as being pro “big” (read - evil) corporations.

M.Z. Forrest,

I don’t know exactly what the Repubs could “do” about the plant closings.

If the businesses can’t compete due to “unfair” advantages practiced by their competitors, then absolutely something can be done. But remember there are many or our industries that get artificial or unfair help.

There may be other reasons the plants weren’t competitive. Were unions involved? Was the workmanship of high quality? I bring up the last two questions because of anecdotal experiences.

I don’t think I have to go into the anti-competition, enthusiasm squashing, attitudes and practices of many unions. (Note, I said many, not all)

When a teenager, I worked in a textile factory. It was our job to take raw material such as cotton and polyester and “weave” into cloth. At a time when our industry was facing intense competition from abroad, 90% of the employees did as little as possible to get by. 90% of management could care less. An example is instead of “tying” off the cloth after coming off the looming machines, most employees would simply wet their fingers and twist the thread. The result was that cloth sent to clothing manufacturers would unravel after our customers made it into final product.

That’s just one example of dozens. The result, our factory shut down because already scarce customers stopped buying. The community blamed the politicians for “not doing enough” to secure the jobs, and many opportunistic politicians took advantage of the blame game. Nobody ever blamed the employees or management. Nobody stopped and thought that if we made a quality product, maybe we could’ve competed.

I’m not saying itt’s the case in the beautiful state of Wisconsin, the plants you mentioned may be a model of efficiency and hard working employees. I’m just pointing out, its hard to be objective, and its easy to blame the “people in charge” when unfortunate things take place.

Dad29 said...

Thanks, blamin.

Your comments, based on reality, are outstanding.

The concerns of the Administration should be 1) the unfair valuation of currencies (e.g. the yuan) and 2) creating a formula for taxing imports which recognizes the cost of US bennies such as healthcare, SocSec., and taxes--plus imposed costs such as Enviro, Safety, etc.

I'm not blind to the problems with unions, nor with stupid management. But as a country, we cannot ignore the differences and expect our industries to survive.

If nothing else, we need them for DoD purposes.

MZ: Tecumseh has chosen NOT to improve its plant-operations (e.g., Lean and/or SixSig) at that facility. Maybe the union was a problem, maybe not--but the plant cannot be competitive under the current operating practices.

Anonymous said...

I have no problem with companies closing in specific. As you acknowledge Dad29, there are secular problems affecting these companies such as currency fluctuation. (Speaking of which, rumors of a hedge fund blow up over the dollar.) The trade deficit is the single largest indicator of our problems.

As for unions, there are poorly managed union companies and properly managed union companies. UPS gets along with its union fine. Union Pacific operates a fine union shop. There are countless competent union operations out there.

As for your textile commentator, I'm sorry, but what a f-- joke! Does he think the Honduran textile shop is a model of efficiency? There is so much graft and waste in foreign operations it isn't even funny. The problem is that we are for all intensive purposes competing against free.

When the plant closed in Menasha they were on the damned news saying how excited a local company was that they were going to be able to get $9.50/hour call center people. These folks being laid off made over $20/hour in some cases. The typical person after a job layoff or firing, blue or white collar, can expect 40% drop in wages. Yet you two casually dismiss this. And you wonder why Republicans can't get a vote in the Valley.

Dad29 said...

Sorry, MZ--you didn't see me "casually dismissing" the wage-reduction problems of the K-C workers.

I don't know why K-C chose to close; whether the market is shrinking for those products, or whether K-C can source the products elsewhere at a better cost...

By the way, UPS' labor peace is at least partially due to the drivers' ownership of UPS stock; they are all rather wealthy at retirement.

The Republicans could win when they are able to project a populism which makes sense.

Even Ron Reagan laid a heavy import-tax on foreign cars--that's why all the Japanese mfgrs. have plants here in the USA

blamin said...

m.z. forrest,

Did I say anything about a Honduran textile shop? (BTW graft and waste drive up cost).

No I simply gave you an example of something that actually happened. And nobody was willing to look in the mirror(or even peak), because it's always easier to blame others.

I also think I went to great pains to state it may not be the case with the plants you were discussing.

Lighten' up snapper head!

BTW exactly how are repubs at fault for the closings, and what are the dems going to do about it?