I know, I know…we really haven’t quit making stuff, but sometimes it damn sure seems that way, especially when you listen to the blowhards…er…politicians talking about the state of the economy, and when you look at what they do trying to fix it.
Other than bailing out GM and Chrysler (to appease unions, not because they were “too big to fail”) and keeping those companies production lines moving and union workers drawing a paycheck, every time you look at some “stimulus” spending it is money spent to actually DO nothing.
$150,000 to study the feud between the Hatfield’s and the McCoys.
$167,000 to study the breeding habits of Japanese quail.
$1.3 million to study sex life of the woodchuck.
And my favorite…
$219,000 to teach college students to watch TV.
The private sector does no better at “making stuff”.
The United States has been the breadbasket of the world for years, producing more agricultural products than any other country…until 2009. It seems that now the Chinese like playing in the dirt and squeezing cow teats more than we do, and thanks to UHT pasteurization (ultra high temperature) a lot of their dairy products can be shipped all over the world economically, allowing them to destroy our health, our economy, and our agricultural heritage, all at the same time.
Reports show Wall Street recovering well from the economic crisis while Main Street flounders…and Wall Street makes NOTHING, except money. It trades paper. Futures, derivatives, short sells, et al…all fluff no stuff. Some trader somewhere will bet some dollars that oil will sell for X dollars at some point in the future without investing in the actual discovery or recovery of actual oil. (I’m not even going to start on short selling…betting that a company you invest money in is going to fail…wassup with that?)
I suppose it’s to be expected that “cubicle cowards” don’t want to get outside their cubicles trading paper and only having to use bits and bytes to do so…those weigh a lot less than the things we used to have to manhandle around to make “stuff”. You know…lumber and steel, tractors and chainsaws, welders and cranes.
“Oh no…I can’t do that…it’s dangerous. I might get a hangnail.”
All hail the wussified workforce…who come closest to REAL work watching a Discovery Channel special on the world’s largest drilling rig being built.
Parents of baby boomer age wanted to give their kids a better life, but instead gave them a soft, overprotected, easy one. They failed to be parents, instead choosing to be their kid’s best friend.
That is one part of us not “making stuff”. The other critical component is the damn government not getting out of the way.
Can you imagine Henry Ford coming up with the mass production automobile under the watchful eye of the National Highway, Traffic, and Safety Administration and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, not to mention the United Auto Workers work rules?
What about planes? Would Orville and Wilbur ever have gone to Kitty Hawk if the Federal Aviation Administration had been around?
We’d still be riding horses to the store and using ships only to cross the oceans.
I personally think that we have gone so far down the path of economic self-destruction that within 12-18 months the Great Depression is going to look like a cakewalk and the skills of the 1850’s will make a comeback…and I think that will be a good thing, long term. Darwin’s “Survival of the fittest” will clear out the chaff…the cubicle cowards…and we’ll get back to being producers as well as consumers. Ol’ Ralph waxes eloquent about nostalgia for the 50’s and 60’s. I do too, but I think he has the wrong century. What do y’all think?