Gary Digs Tales of the holes I dig, the dirt piles I make, and the holes I fill at the B-Bar-Lazy-B

October 2, 2010

Been a long time…

Filed under: General,Humanity,Politics — gary @ 10:55 am

Well over a year has passed since I’ve written anything here, but according to google analytics somebody still arrives here on occassion. Whether they be lost or found when they arrive is unclear from search terms like “saturn wagon”, “1995 f250”, “shitsu” or “pie transportation”. Maybe on the last item a conclusion can be drawn since there are very few websites that have a “comprehensive pie transportaion solution” featured prominently in their content. A lot has been going on here at the B-Bar-Lazy-B over the past year, and the combination of daily activities and somewhat gainful but draining self-employment have pretty much kept me out of the blogging mood. Suffice it to say that aside from a really rough September which included Huxley the dog’s diagnosis of lymphoma (a topic unto itself into which I am not ready to delve at the present time), things have been going pretty well around here. I wish I would have blogged about all of the bee hive action we had this summer, but at this moment that epic tale is a bit too distant from my thoughts to recount in detail. The short form ends in three hives in the backyard, ~6 gallons of honey harvested, and a bit of a trying time with a swarm, a hive split and one hive of relatively mean honeybees.

Moving forward, after about 3 hours of tossing and turning last night, I decided to give up on sleep and get out of bed at 5am (this is nothing short of absurd, particularly on a saturday, for one who usually stays firmly secured under the covers until about 9 or 10 when possible). As peculiar and impersonal as it may sound, the Washinton State Senatorial Election Race held fast to the foremost thoughts on my mind while NOT sleeping last night. I spun and spun, and then spun some more on the topic, and even now, an hour after I left the warm and comfortable, but angst ridden bed, I can feel a vien bulging near my temple with frustration over how tight this race is polling. One of the pleasures of the past 15 years living in Washington state just outside of Seattle, is that despite a little freakishness on the east side of the Cascades, our politics stay pretty firmly centered just slightly to the left. As such, some pretty fundemental rights are protected from conservative assault and on occassion something progressive might even happen (like the recent domestic partnership laws and the successful defeat of Referendum 71 which sought to undo that progress). Despite my bumper stickers and a flurry of posts leading up to the historic election of 2008, I have kept this blog mostly focused on the activity here on the sprawling eighth of an acre that I like to call the B-Bar-Lazy-B and stayed pretty light on the politics. That may very well be why I haven’t written here for over a year, because I am pretty damn content with what we have going on here, and as such I don’t usually lay awake at night worrying about it (or if I do, it is because something is worthy of that kind of attention). This election on the other hand gets me fired up, angry and, dare I say, passionate about a few things. So, there is a good chance that if this blog is going to be updated, then it will skew a bit more political in the coming weeks and likely into perpetuity. So, let’s get started with the rant, shall we?

In the interests of full disclosure…

let me admit that in the mid-80’s, when I was about 14 or 15 years old, I was momentarily taken in by “Supply-Side Economics” or “Trickle-Down Theory” as it was called then. To a politically naíve teen, the whole thing made perfect sense. Give incentives to big business so that big business can create jobs and the economy will flourish. Let me share a few things I’ve learned in the quarter of century that has passed since then…

First, the only two things a business needs to create jobs are a good, useful, and persistently relevant product (see GMC for an epic failure in this area recently) and people with enough disposable income to buy that product. Even Henry Ford’s warped anti-semetic mind grasped this concept and not only did his high wages (for the period) draw the best possible employees to build the best possible product, but his employees were able to buy the product that he manufactured. What a novel recipe for success, hmmm….how many GM employees could afford the retail price on a Hummer or a Caddillac without going to debtor’s prison shortly after they were laid off because GM totally lacked a forward thinking product development strategy. Yet another topic of great importance directly related to the current recession is the insane idea of being able to afford the thing you are buying, but we’ll save that for another discussion. The haze in which most business owners seem lost, is the idea that Unions are bad for business when in fact Unions are only bad for bad businesses because in the aggregate higher overall wages distributed to employees who actually buy things with their paychecks results in greater consumer demand. Since greater consumer demand is now the pre-eminent backbone of sales and small businesses are the backbone of our economy when companies that can afford it pay higher overall wages the entire economy benefits from those expenditures (usually including the company paying out the higher wages). This is true even for big businesses. If incomes are not sufficient to support air travel, then Boeing doesn’t have much business making planes. While profit margins are higher on business class (which doesn’t imply business travel), they wouldn’t be cramming us into airplanes cheek to cheek if they could profit without us (and BTW, first class travel generally operates at a loss, don’t believe me, check it out: http://www.airport-int.com/article/changes-in-demand-for-air-travel.html). This is a bit of a reprise, but humor me as I am running on about 2.5 hours sleep, WE the people who work for a living ARE the engine of the economy.

Second, the last thing a big business will do with additional profits gained from government incentives is add employees (excepton the rare occassion where they only receive the incentive by hiring, at which point they will hire just long enough to benefit from the incentive and then lay people off and celebrate at length the shrewd cost cutting maneuver they just performed). Particularly not in a recession when the old standby techniques of squeezing blood out of a turnip are so effectively plied against your captive workforce in a tight labor market. Also, there are a bevy of other things big businesses like to spend money on and most of them don’t create jobs either. Executive bonuses and raises and dividends to investors to recognize and celebrate these great windfall profits without regard for the fact that they originated in government incentives rate high on the list. These bonuses, raises, and dividends are then reinvested either in gigantic slot machines labeled NYSE where billions of dollars can vanish into thin air in a few hours or to exotic eccentricities and luxurious delights like fried baby seal testicles flown directly from Palin-land that create approximately 0 opportunities for long term employment. For the large investors, the dividends are similarly frittered away into the ether and for the small investors that actually hold a long-term interest in their investment through retirement accounts, education accounts and the like, these dividends are usually reinvested in the same portfolio from whence they came only to be wiped out entirely by the next Lehman-Goldman-AIG-Housing Bubble debacle that inevitably lays just around the corner (for more information on how this keeps happening see “Citibank – countries don’t go bankrupt viz a viz the 1970s”, “Neil Bush (son of George Sr) -Savings and Loan deregulation and disaster viz a viz the 1980’s”, “Orange County Municipal Bonds – Municipalities don’t go bankrupt viz a viz the 1990’s”, and of course “Dot Com Bubble + Enron fraud viz a viz the turn of this century” in addition to our current dilema.

Third, and this is really important, but very difficult to unpack. At some point between the 111th session of Congress in 2010 and the drafting of the Declaration of Independence and the US Constiution with their lofty goals of “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness” and to “establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity” we managed to conflate Freedom and Property into a single conceptual quagmire of confusion. I say this largely in response to the Republican’s claims that they desire “small government” while simultaneously attempting to control every womb in the country, tell us who we can or can not marry, where mosques should be built, which religions should be preferentially honored by government institutions, take away our right to collectively bargain wages and benefits, consider torture ok now and again, exponentially increase defense spending by engaging in foreign misadventures like Iraq, and continue to grasp desperately to the notion that state sanctioned murder is honorable (afterall look at the other great freedom loving countries that still do it, like Saudi Arabia, China, North Korea and Iran). The contradictions boggle the mind. You can’t make Social Security and Medicare big enough to overshadow the size of a government interested in doing all that to our personal freedom and well-being. And yet you have this band of crazies trying to align themselves with the original revolution carrying signs that say “Don’t steal from Medicare to Support Socialized Medicine” … WTF?

 

Dont Be So Efn Crazy

Don't Be So Ef'n Crazy

…and while we’re on the topic of crazy, how about guys against Patty Murray because she proposes legislation that makes it more difficult to purchase a Mail Order Bride: http://www.the-spearhead.com/2010/08/18/patty-murray-facing-serious-challenge/

…and those are the kinds of things that get me spinning in such a way that I just can’t pull out of the no sleep nose dive I was in last night.

Which brings us to…

this year’s senatorial election here in Washington state.

Context Note: at this moment Maya woke up and we started listening to the radio together and discussing my spinning and not sleeping last night, so more angst and anguish over the senate race will have to come later…

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