Good Stuff To Read: Why Americans Don’t Trust Businesses

Fort Buckley is a pro-business, pro-free-enterprise Internet outpost. In our* opinion, Adam Smith’s free hand does a better job of allocating life’s resources and satisfying the people’s needs and desires than a corps of unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats. Having said that…

This article, from National Review’s Jim Geraghty, makes it clear that many Americans are wary—and sometimes downright distrustful—of their own employers in specific, and American business in general:

There’s a thread that ties the Democrats’ arguments on the employer-covered contraceptive coverage mandate and their push to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour: We’re going to make your employer give you something you want.

People rarely turn down things that they’re offered for free.

Before those of us on the Right commence fuming about “makers” and “takers,” we probably ought to think about why swaths of the electorate are so receptive to this message, and so eagerly buy into a narrative where they are the victims of their miserly bosses, and the heroic white knight of Democrat-run big government must come in and give them what they deserve.

(All emphasis is added)

Geraghty lists quite a few reasons why American employees haven’t been happy with how America’s economy and business world have treated them. As Europe rebuilt from World War II and Asia modernized, foreign competition made it harder for American businesses to earn profits. Technology made it easier to offshore jobs. All of this we’ve heard before.

But, Geraghty points out that, often, employers haven’t done much to endear themselves to their employees.

“Chainsaw Al” Dunlap, a corporate executive who built a notorious reputation for mass layoffs at Scott Paper and then Sunbeam, helped create the modern iconic villain of a corporate executive willing to throw away his own workers in pursuit of a higher stock share price. The perception of callous and greedy corporate executives long outlasted Dunlap, who was tossed out at Sunbeam in 1998. American workers feel that their employers aren’t loyal to them, so they feel no need to reciprocate that loyalty.

some of America’s businesses are sitting on piles of cash — $1.64 trillion among U.S. non-financial companies at the end of 2013. If America’s businessmen are worried about the growing atmosphere of resentment, populist anger, demonization of the wealthy, then throwing that money around — whether it’s on higher wages, new hires, new product research and development, or plant expansion — might persuade frustrated, increasingly cynical Americans that the companies that employ them aren’t such bad guys.

Points taken, Jim. However, I can think of a few reasons why employers might think twice about expanding their businesses in today’s American economy. An out-of-control regulatory state, businesses taxes that are much higher than those charged by other countries, the metastasizing menace that is Obamacare…

Having said that, business leaders should reflect on Geraghty’s observations. And, as always, y’all should read the whole thing.

* Me, myself and I

Good Stuff To Read: Does the MSM Care About The IRS Scandal? If Not…Why Not?

How are Obama and the IRS getting away with a blatant coverup? is Kyle Smith’s question in the New York Post today.

Please follow the link to read all of Smith’s opinion piece. But, I’m going to highlight part of that piece—a part where, sadly, Smith answers the question he asked in the headline.

Throughout his opinion piece, Smith compares the current IRS scandal to Watergate, and point out differences he sees in the handling of the two scandals:

And here we come to a third major difference between the IRS’s apparent gross abuse of power and criminal coverup and Watergate: Watergate was a much bigger deal simply because the press was relentless about following up on every detail.

Today the media’s reasoning is roughly as follows: The IRS went after some conservative groups and is engaged in an illegal coverup. We also don’t like these groups, also believe they deserve special scrutiny, and also think there’s something inherently shady about conservatives (but not liberals) who try to buy political influence. If White House staff says they weren’t involved we’ll take their word for it. Pardon us if we’d rather cover something more relevant to American lives today. Like the 82-year-old name of the football team that plays in DC.

Smith might be on to something here.

Over the past week, as we’ve heard story after story about how the IRS just happened to lose Lois Lerner’s emails, and also just happened to destroy ALL the hard drives that stored those e-mails, I found myself asking “How did the IRS think they could EVER get away with that?” More from Kyle Smith:

The thing about dogs eating homework is, it could actually happen. This can’t.

This is “the dog ate my hard drive, broke into another building, ate the backup of the hard drive, then broke into six other top officials’ offices and ate their hard drives also.”

Whatever makes the IRS think they can get away with the lame explanations they’re using to explain where Lois Lerner’s e-mails went?

Well, if you know that the people who ask the questions and do the investigations on behalf of the American people—-entities like the Washington Post and Los Angeles Tribune—are sympathetic to you, you tend to think you can get away with an awful lot.

Friends (the MSM) don’t let friends (the IRS) get in too much trouble, do they?

Good Stuff To Read: Don’t Irritate The People With Power

The Federalist is an excellent online magazine.  I highly recommend it.  On Thursday, Ben Domenech posted this article. It’s primarily an article on the Redskin s naming controversy. (HTTR!) But, that’s not why I’m linking and recommending it.

Domenech makes some excellent points about a larger lesson behind the PR bashing the Redskins are taking. A lesson that contains a warning for everyone, not just football fans:

the trendlines of politics are such that I expect a name change to be inevitable in my lifetime because of where the team is located and the pressure exerted by our ruling elite. One of the big lessons of life in the Obama era is that it’s important to avoid the attention of the ruling class – lest you be audited, harassed, or generally become a hot topic of media conversation as a proxy for some other battle.

There’s a reason this is happening to the Washington Redskins and not the Cleveland Indians or the Chicago Blackhawks or the Florida State Seminoles. If you live within the consciousness of a critical mass of people in power for whom all life is politicized, you will be made to bend to their will, by whatever means necessary. The last thing in the world you ought to want is for President Obama to be asked his opinion about your enterprise, and then have those around him work to make that opinion a reality.

That’s why it’s important to learn how not to be seen. We are a country now where perceptive people develop skills to go unnoticed by the imperial center. Survival now means avoiding having DC and its cohorts notice you at all costs. In this town, they understand that freedom of speech sounds like a good idea, after all, right up until the point where someone’s feelings are hurt. So in retrospect, if the Redskins wanted to remain the Redskins, they should have just left town. The Richmond Redskins would have done just fine. Either that or draft Michael Sam.

Honest opponents of the name would concede that it wasn’t a historical epithet; concede that the polling shows overwhelmingly Native Americans don’t think it’s an epithet today; concede that it’s not the same as the N-word and no one thinks it is lest everyone with an R shirt be a giant racist. They would concede they’re just opposed to it because it’s the 15 minute PC hate. What Bob Costas, Keith Olbermann, Mike Wise understand, as people who have personally experienced the hardships of abiding racism in their lives, is that the only way you can demonstrate you’re not a racist in the post-Obama era is to find new racists to attack.

(All emphasis is added).

Do you want to live in a country where the only way to be happy is to keep your head down and your mouth shut? Yeah…me neither.

Do Ben Domenech and the other good writers at The Federalist a favor. Go read all of Ben’s article, and then check out the good work they do. (If you want an online author to love you, give them as many page views as you can!)

A Test for the MSM, as Iraq Descends Into Chaos

The Obama Administration has gone on record, again and again, claiming that (a) Iraq was a safe and stable place when they withdrew US military forces and (b) Iraq was a success story for the Obama Administration. There are many, many, many examples of Obama Administration officials bragging about the successes of their Iraq policy.

Doesn’t look too successful now, does it?

Let’s see how the MSM covers this story…or fails to.

If I were the MSM, I’d think long and hard about the record that they will leave behind.

Years from now, when people review the history and saw what Iraq topics journalists chose to cover, versus what they ignored or soft-pedaled, what will they think about our MSM, its objectivity and its professionalism? Will they see a journalist corps that aggressively pursued how the Obama Administration handled Iraq? Or, will it give the whole subject cursory coverage? We’ll soon see.

The Internet never forgets.

Good Stuff To Read

One of the reasons I started this blog, was to share good stuff to read.  There are LOTS of excellent writers out there.  Almost obsessively, I read National Review, Weekly Standard and a whole slew of blogs maintained by some of the best political, economic, legal and national security writers out there.

Daily, I read incisive, informative articles or posts and say to myself “Boy, I wish MORE people could read this.”  But, not everyone is an online junkie.  So…

One of the regular features of this blog will be “Good Stuff To Read.”  When I find good stuff, I’ll link it here.  So, if you don’t feel like scouring the blogosphere yourself, let me do some of the legwork for you.

On this edition of Good Stuff To Read—

  • “Crony capitalism”—when businesses profit from having a very, very close tie to the governments that regulate them—rears its ugly head again. General Motors SURE recalled a lot of cars AFTER the federal government sold its shares in the company by Sean Davis in The Federalist last month.
  • According to recent reports, GM just recalled another 2.4 million vehicles this week, bringing the total number of recalled GM vehicles this year to a record 13.6 million. USA Today got right to the point when it asked, “Are there any GM cars that haven’t been recalled?”

    And the recalls aren’t over ticky-tack problems like a sticky chair recliner button or a window that doesn’t always roll down. Many of the malfunctions are deadly serious. In over 1,400 recalled 2015 Cadillac Escalades, poor welding resulted in a passenger side air bag that might not fully deploy in the event of a crash. Then there’s the infamous faulty ignition switch, which led to the recall of 2.6 million Chevrolet Cobalts. That faulty part has now been linked by GM to 13 deaths.

    That’s all terrible, you might say, but at least GM acted as soon as it knew there was a problem. Because it’s not like the company would sit on the information and do nothing about it, right? Right?

    Not so much.

    GM knew about serious problems with the ignition switch for years, going back to at least 2007. At that time, GM had hard data from multiple crashes showing that some of its ignition switches had failed to function properly. The U.S. government officially bailed out the automaker in December of 2008. Throughout the five-year period of U.S. government ownership, nothing was done to address the deadly switch.

    Taxpayers, drivers, and investors who assumed the government would never fail to disclose rampant safety problems in a company it owned can rest easy, though. Instead of investigating fatally flawed GM components while the U.S. government was the company’s largest single owner, the NHTSA was busy harassing Toyota — one of GM’s top competitors — for an alleged malfunction that led to “unintended acceleration” in Toyota vehicles. Toyota was fined and eventually bullied into recalling 8 million vehicles over the issue.

    And what was the final result of the NHTSA investigation [of Toyota}?

    “Many drivers may have confused the gas and brake pedals a problem that may account for ‘the vast majority’ of the unintended acceleration incidents the agency investigated, NHTSA deputy administrator Ron Medford said at Tuesday’s NHTSA press briefing.”

    “’What mostly happened was pedal misapplication where the driver stepped on the gas instead of the brake or in addition to the brake,’ Medford said.”

    (Emphasis and information in brackets added by me).

    Crony capitalism leads to distorted markets. Some businesses can only make money with extensive government subsidies (cough cough solar panel makers cough cough), or if the government harasses their competitors (cough cough Toyota and Gibson Guitars cough).

    “Pay to play” isn’t a winning philosophy for a healthy economy. Unless you’re a crony, that is.

    Greetings! Fort Buckley’s flag is flying again.

    Howdy.  For both of my past readers who remember me, I wrote the “Fort Buckley” blog on TucsonCitizen.com. (Back when there WAS a TucsonCitizen.com, that is).  

    After the electoral Pearl Harbor that is otherwise known as the 2012 election, it was time to take a break from blogging.  Both sides had their say, the electorate had spoken. It was time to accept the consequences of the election.

    Well, we have another election in a few months.  An opportunity to remedy, or affirm, the choices made two years ago. Hence, Fort Buckley’s flag flies again.

    Stay tuned over the coming months…