Sunday, September 7, 2008

By-Products - 1/3/08

[Would that eight more months have made the ideas here more prevalent. But people still don't understand that American companies have no manifest desire to create American jobs.]

I produce sweat, carbon dioxide, urine, feces. That production is a biological imperative; I can control when I eat, when I drink, when I sleep (within certain limits), but it is difficult to control the output of waste products.

However, it would be quite a stretch to claim that production of waste is my purpose in life. Even if the proverbial man from Mars were to observe me and make that claim, it would not be true. (What my purpose in life is is unclear - maybe that's another day's post.)

Businesses exist to make money. They generate revenues through economic activity, incur necessary expenses, and this results in profits. These profits may be put to any number of uses (enriching executives), but the very survival of the enterprise depends on the creation of profit.

There are a lot of institutional structures in our system that support and assist business, especially big business. Our tax code, our bankruptcy laws, grants, TIFs, and on and on, all designed to help and protect business. United Airlines, perhaps the worst-run major company in the history of the U.S., can lay off employees, stiff shareholders, obliterate their pension obligations, all under the auspices of kindly bankruptcy courts, and return to disappointing customers and making their executive talent (?!) wealthy.

Why does business get treatment under our laws that the individual can only dream of? We have to assume it comes from the belief that companies create jobs in a way that the average person does not, that the synergy that comes from assembling a number of people in one place is worth the sweetheart deals.

But here's the flaw in the argument. Just as I do not exist to produce waste products, neither does a company exist to create jobs. The days when a CEO would look proudly at the company's employees, toiling away to create products and profits, are gone, replaced by resentment over how many resources those employees are using.

Companies do not want to create jobs, and public policies that devote tax dollars to assisting companies are reckless and wasteful. We who pay taxes to support this madness should insist that it stop.


Anonymous said...

nothing has changed. CEO's look on useful employees proudly, as pieces of the production puzzle. it's a labor market where industrial needs are met through the sale of labor, in exchange for compensation. when has it not had contours of hostility? when has it not been governed both by a spendthrift mindset among employers, and by ambitions of great rewards among employees?

companies have never wanted to create jobs so much as profit. it still ends up happening, a result of the market for their goods or services. would you prefer they added cruft, and padded a few salaries of the common Joe, as some sort of contractual duty to you or a grateful nation?

the bottom line really hasn't changed much. CEO's always think about lowering costs. that's how capitalism has provided unprecidented wealth to unprecidented numbers.

Androcass said...

For the most part, you have restated what I said. Where I take issue is in your second paragraph, where you again impute to me things I didn't write.

Where did I say anything close to preferring the addition of cruft, or padding salaries? It's just not there.

What I was doing was pointing out something that may be obvious to you, but not to others, and that is that we do not need to give breaks to companies because they say they will create jobs. If you want to take issue with someone's writing on this topic, criticize the press releases that claim such things.

Anonymous said...

I try not to bother with bad journalism. today i bought the Investor's Business Daily. For $3, I'm not impressed.

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