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Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Dear Corporate America

Dear Corporate America,

I haven't written to you in a while. At least not since my television broke down, my toaster developed a taste for human flesh and my phone company ran away with my phone number to Mexico.

Rachel Maddow says we're both on the right and are really close together. But then again Rachel Maddow also says the Republican Party drinks the blood of small children. So she can be a little factually challenged on occasion.

Still I'm on the right and you're occasionally sort of, but not really, on the right. I support lower taxes. So do you. At least for yourself. I support deregulation. You only support deregulation when it suits your narrow interests, but not when it lets smaller businesses and freelancers compete against you.

What you seem to want is a country with low taxes, your preferred forms of deregulation and the population of Mexico.

These things are not compatible. Mexico is currently governed by the Institutional Revolutionary Party; a member of the Socialist International. It has a multi-generational teachers' union whose members pass on their jobs to their children and whose riots have to be put down by armed force.

When it comes to ease of doing business, the United States is ranked 4th, Mexico is ranked 48th, coming in ahead of Kazakhstan. A Comparmex report showed that companies spend 10% of their revenue on bribes.

Is this what you really want for America?

Your lobbies and associations keep pushing for amnesty for 12 million illegal aliens even while your companies keep fleeing California.

If you don't like doing business in California, which is turning into the American version of Mexico, why do you want to turn the rest of America into California?

You keep talking about how we need "immigration reform" to be more globally competitive. Are there superpower rivals desperately trying to import 12 million people whose great dream is to put their entire families on social welfare? Are there Chinese recruiting agents showing up at the border to urge the DREAMERS clambering over the fence to try Shanghai instead?

I understand why you would rather pay a Pakistani or Chinese programmer on an HB-1 visa half of what you would pay a talented American programmer. And that's your choice. And paying fifty bucks for the full version of that programmer's work, instead of ten times as much on your licensed edition based on a program once created by American programmers but reassembled into an update by HB-1 employees until it has more bugs than features, is mine.

That's how the free market works.

But while those H1-B employees will forward all your confidential information back to Chinese intelligence and occasionally set off bombs while shouting Allah Akbar, they don't threaten your ability to do business.

Sure one of your execs might be flying on the plane that goes down in a burst of exploding underwear and next month a bunch of programs that look suspiciously like yours will come flying out of Zhong Guan Cun undercutting your international market share. And the next time you're negotiating with a Chinese company, they'll just happen to have access to all of your corporation's emails.

But you can live with that. Can you really live with full amnesty and the consequences of destroying the Republican Party as little more than a protest vote in a Socialist International America?

You spent the last election whining about how hard it is to do business in America under the Democratic Party. You hate ObamaCare, despite promoting it, and then you do everything in your power to make Democratic Party rule permanent through amnesty.

I'm not a psychiatrist and it would be hard for me to get all of Corporate America onto a couch for a session, but it seems to me that you're suffering from a severe bout of schizophrenia.

You want workers who will take low pay without complaining about working conditions. And you can get that with illegal aliens who don't speak the language and don't know their rights, until they hook up with community organizations backed by the entire Democratic Party and then you're up to your neck in lawsuits and minimum wage bills.

At which point you'll threaten to move to Mexico or China... to escape a problem that you caused.

Maybe I'm misjudging you, but I don't think you really want an open economy where deregulation cuts out the government bureaucracy and makes it possible for both workers and corporations to do business on better terms.

I think that Mexico is exactly what you want. Sometimes in business you have to take yes for an answer. And I think that in this case yes is the answer.

You want a closed system where there is no competition and cronyism is the only way things get done, where the corporate taxes are a bit lower, but the difference is more than made up by bribes, a society sharply divided between the vast armies of the unprotesting poor who are resigned to their fate and a small wealthy elite that enjoys its superiority in ways that it can't on this side of the border.

You don't really want to build things. You want to keep other people from building them while you enjoy a monopoly on the things that someone innovative built twenty years ago before he was forced to leave the country.

Paul Ryan is your boy and few other politicians represent the complete disconnect between the economic and immigration policies of your kind better than him. Ryan wants to cut social benefits and legalize 12 million illegal immigrants. He wants to cut money for the "takers" and add million more takers to the voting rolls to ensure that any legislative changes he makes will vanish in a wink.

So what does Paul Ryan really want? Does he want to cut spending more or does he want amnesty more? He's willing to sacrifice his budgets for amnesty, but not amnesty for his budgets.

Ryan may spout nonsense about how this generation of "family-oriented" illegal aliens will start lots of business and keep social security afloat, and how they, in a complete reversal of history, will be all for cutting social spending and voting Republican. But I doubt that he or McCain or anyone else is stupid enough to believe that nonsense.

Given a choice between America, the Republican Party and Amnesty, they're willing to sacrifice America and the Republican Party, not to mention Conservatism, on the altar of Amnesty.

The real question is why. Not why Ryan is choosing such a course, but why his backers who claim to want legislative reforms and economic freedom are pursuing an aggressive and well-funded course that will ensure that America will never have any more economic freedom than can be bought by a bribe or a family connection? Why are the people who claim to be concerned about our debt and our unsustainable spending determined to take both up to eleven?

Maybe we're all part of the problem. Maybe as a society we're no longer capable of producing leaders capable of thinking in terms of long term consequences. We want what we want and we want it now.

Corporate America has decided that it needs cheap labor now and the tens of millions of unemployed and unskilled Americans don't do. In the long run, amnesty will make America all but impossible to do business in for any company that doesn't have General Electric, Duke Energy or Tesla in its name. But in the long run, the sun may go nova. That's how people like that think.

Maybe it's as simple as pumping and dumping America, cashing in on a few years of cheap labor and then heading somewhere else and profiting from selling the last remnants of the collapsing economy to Qatar or Saudi Arabia. It appears to be happening in Europe. Why not America?

Don't get me wrong, I'm all for capitalism in the same way that I'm for democracy. As Churchill said, it's the worst possible system except for all the alternatives.

Capitalism, like Democracy or Wikipedia, isn't innately good, it's just better because it's decentralized and that allows people to pursue their own dreams, agendas and anything else they like. The sum total of this crowdsourced wonderland is sometimes good, sometimes bad, often in-between, but on average better than any tyranny of politics, economics or articles on breeds of armadillo would be.

Democracy gave us Barack Obama. Capitalism gave us GE. Wikipedia lists a blue armadillo that doesn't exist in nature. All these flaws remind us that crowdsourcing is imperfect. It doesn't give us good results. It gives us better results.

But dear Corporate America, despite what Rachel Maddow says, I kind of like you. You make decent toasters. Or at least you design decent toasters that China makes. And if you ever decided to dump the Green energy labels, the abstract art and the million dollar donations to gay rights groups and turn into the monstrous cryptofascist conspiracy that liberals claim you are, we might get somewhere.

But we both know that's not going to happen.

You're not conservative. You're certainly not right-wing. There are exceptions, but they're not the rule. Like most of our elites, you're liberal. At best you're occasionally libertarian, but in a limited way. You're all for opening up the borders, but you're all for requiring businesses to get permits if they're in a competing line of work. And you feel guilty, about ice caps, black kids in the inner city and all the other stuff that comes in your mail.

But don't feel too bad, Corporate America. You're not uniquely awful. You're just part of a society whose best and brightest have lost their way and whose proud and prosperous have spent too much time listening to them.

In a decaying society, you have learned to grab what you can without believing that the society and the nation are worth protecting as more than sources of loot. In your comfort zone, the transnational idea has come to seem plausible and the world and its many nations seem infinitely redundant to you. If America doesn't work out, try China or Mexico or Qatar or Singapore.

That comfort zone in which you can thrive on transnational fantasies while still vacationing on Martha's Vineyard is brought to you by a Pax Americana. The peace of the American mercantile empire that your forebears put into place with sailing ships and armed men enables you to sell and buy across the globe, to jump in a jet plane and pop from airport to airport and from luxury hotel to luxury hotel.

All this is not the fulfillment of some Tom Friedmanesque fantasy about the inevitablity of globalism and the flattening of the world. It's not a new era of history. It's the last days of a peaceful empire that  made your wealth and power possible. And that you are destroying the same way that the Romans destroyed theirs.

Yes, for a time you will have your estates in Gaul and compliant barbarians who will clean your floors and look after your kids at cut rate prices. The wine will be plentiful and the circuses shocking. And one day you will wake up and discover that your grandchildren have become barbarians, that the civilization you knew is gone and the virtues that made your way of life possible are gone with it.

I won't preach to you about sacrifice.I'll leave that to Elizabeth Warren and her ilk who will bleed you for every cent you have unless you pay her off first. I will tell you that actions have consequences and not just of the class action lawsuit kind. Power is not the same thing as control. That's not only a lesson that Obama must learn. It's a lesson that you must learn as well.

To build a thing, you must know what it is you are building, you must test the structure, practice with the tools and make it real. Destroying a thing is easier. All you have to do is tear down what works and replace it with a slipshod structure made out of poor materials and tools you don't know how to use as cheaply as possible.

That's what your amnesty push will do to America. And when it's done, when America is California and California is Mexico and organized crime is indistinguishable from government and the only way to do business is with a handful of bribes, then you really will have built that.

On that day, there will be no Tea Party to save you and no Republican Party left to defend you.

You will flee to Singapore or China or Africa, only to realize that you are no longer a wealthy American, but the citizen of a fallen empire without protection in a world where the old rules made by the Pax Americana no longer apply. When the last bribes have been squeezed out of you and your company has been taken over and looted by the son of some government official, perhaps you will finally come to know the worth of the civilization you so foolishly destroyed.

Oh, and I'm pretty sure my DVD player no longer works.

best

Daniel

34 comments:

mindRider said...

Once more a shocking painting in words, translating the analysis of contemporary historic development like you see it into a frightening scene from Goya or a scream from Munch.
Many of your readers and probably you too, feel ourselves evermore transfered into the ridiculous figure of a Don Quichot, fighting the windmills of absurdity that surround and enclose us. To what avail? Surely other all the other fallen empires contained some that saw what was going to happen but like the ever fewer good people of our time, where incapable of halting or reversing the enormous inert mass of the already tumbling society.

Anonymous said...

Everyone knows the difference between a corporation and a business. Anyone who says that corporations act "rationally" forget that the officers have their own agendas. A business develops capital, a corporation grinds it down to benefit one generation of corporate officers (who most often are not of the class that built it up).

Businesses, become proficient in their sector and adapt their core technologies and capabilities to meet more market needs. Corporations loot their core businesses to go into media driven businesses (which seem to have unlimited margin) only to suddenly "find out" that you actually need 100's of businesses that actually produce something to actually buy the advertising. Luckily media company officers are well paid.

Businesses have employees from wide and varied backgrounds who have proven they can do the job. Corporations have only college grads whose talent seems to be to get along socially the way they did in college. What they actually are achieving is left murky on purpose.

You can go on and on but another noticeable difference is that businesses have people who give their money directly to the religious organizations to which they belong. Corporate types are usually agnostic and like to be part of causes which mean public sector money for a cause.

Daniel Greenfield @ the Sultan Knish blog said...

all very good points

ericcs said...

Thank you for writing this. Corporations, especially huge financial institutions in this country have run amok. Our Dear Leader has given his immaculate blessing to an unholy mix of corporatism at the top, and socialism at the bottom. Now let me see, wasn't there another name for that, sometime in the 1930's?

I would propose that conservatism (as opposed to right liberalism) is based on traditionalism and decentralism, and as such, any conservative would be just as suspicious of big business as they are of big government.

Anonymous said...

Daniel,

Thanks so much for writing this; it's superb.

Anonymous said...

I never thought anyone would write something like this....Thankfully, Daniel has. You nailed it once again. Thank you.

IgorR said...

Are Sharon Adelson and the Koch brothers totally oblivious to what they are trying to achieve? Do they really need more money? Maybe Sharon Adelson really does believe that the Mexicans are just like the Jewish refugees during WWII, and the Koch brothers are just archetypical libertarians. Or maybe they feel like they need to make another billion or two before they die. I don't know.

By the way, it's H-1B, not HB-1. Maybe you can change it.

Daniel Greenfield @ the Sultan Knish blog said...

Yes thanks.

Sure they need more money. If they didn't need more money, they wouldn't have more money. I have no idea what they believe, but at that level people tend to believe what the rest of the elites believe. And one of those beliefs is that transnationalism is a good and that globalism is inevitable and only self-destructive fools would resist it.

ericcs said...

Another minor point...
The number of illegal aliens is probably more like 30 million, not 12.. that latter figure is simply a lowball attempt by TPTB to dupe the rest of us.

Also, I've personally seen it in other countries: when a society is not predicated on meritocracy, the next logical choice for those not already rich to better themselves is bribery. Each little job or position becomes an opportunity to set up a little sideline for yourself, and meanwhile you're fully aware that everybody else is simultaneously doing it to you, too.
With the combined joys of vibrancy, affirmative action, pc and multiculturalism, whatever meritocracy the US used to enjoy is quickly slipping away.

Welcome to the third world, everyone.

Anonymous said...

We seem to have left behind a country that elected representatives for a country that elects leaders and a country that was built by free enterprise to a country defined by capitalism (which is a form of collectivist free enterprise).

The differences are telling. We are a country of people expecting to be led and a country of people expecting to be employees. A free people lead themselves and employ themselves.

Brad Ervin

meema said...

Dear Daniel,

Thank you for your interesting letter. You certainly are passionate, that’s clear. We feel compelled to point out, however, that you have greatly misunderstood us and our goal. You have misrepresented us as scoundrels when, in fact, we are actually godlike in our mission to redesign the structure of the current conditions of humanity. You see, we know better than you what is best for you–our amassed wealth proves that. By ‘you’ we mean collectively the little people, the unwashed masses.

In your diatribe you did not mention the great philanthropic works we do, so much of which confirms our good intentions regardless of the beneficial tax shelters. We do much good you know, and we feel very good about that.

If nothing else, what about our contributions to redefining education so as to shape the future workforce? Will the workplace not be better if there is less useless knowledge? Can’t you see that Utopia is only possible when those, who know best, are completely in charge of everyone else? Think how much better the world will be when the pesky concept of the individual has finally been exterminated?

Well, we can’t expect you to understand that we are right and you are wrong. But we must say you have hurt our feelings. We expect an apology and then you can check yourself into the nearest rehab.

Regards,
Corporate America

Anonymous said...

Corporations are not vacuous entities. Their policies and operations are determined by the quality of the individuals who are leading them and making the decisions. If those people are honest and have integrity then they will act accordingly, but in a world such as ours where morality and ethics are scoffed at, is it surprising that these companies reflect these debased values.

De Toqueville, who had great admiration for America understood that this country would remain "good" and viable only as long as her citizens retained their moral compass. Unfortunately he knew what he was talking about.

AG said...

I'm sorry, I still do not buy the corporation narratives. The actions of many corporations, like you describe, is just to irrational to be driven by political dogma. I don't believe corporations want to support policies that is going to lead them to the end you describe, but I think they have to. Corporations in America are not currently paying bribes to politicians here, they are shacken-down by the politicians, and the corporations pay them just to stay alive. When the economy collapsed, we saw bailouts. Some were labelled "Too Big to Fail" and others like Lehman and Bear & Stearns who were equally as big were allowed to fall into the dustbin of history.

The Left thinks that Corporations run our Government. I learned from you, Daniel, over the years that this is just not even possible. How would a multi-Billion dollar corporation or even a multi-Billion dollar industry exert control over a multi-TRILLION dollar industry (The US Government)? Why would an organization that can decide who is or is not "Too Big to Fail" or create the environment to make them fail ever take orders from Corporations they could legislate and or regulate our of business?

So when we see a corporation backing something as irrational as amnesty, or industry regulations, it is just the monkey dancing for the organ grinder. When we see GE keeping a station no onw watches on the air that does nothing but pushes the Liberal Government's agenda, we can then realize that their favorable tax rates are rewards. If MSDNC ever wises up and starts broadcasting shows people would actually watch, then maybe they would be forced to pay taxes again.

But the Government has no use for small businesses. They realize that there would be too many they would need to control and that would be a logistics nightmare. So they control the big ones that they can and either demolish the ones they can't or scare them out of the country.

Big business is capitalism, they know this. They don't want to back these things, they have to.

Daniel Greenfield @ the Sultan Knish blog said...

AG,

for the lazy and incompetent, crony capitalism is much more profitable than the alternative

and once that becomes a default position, that is where the competition goes

Daniel Greenfield @ the Sultan Knish blog said...

Meema, nice

Brad, " a country that was built by free enterprise to a country defined by capitalism (which is a form of collectivist free enterprise)."

Excellent point

Eric, and tie that into a massive government bureaucracy and the system becomes immovable

Anonymous said...

Yes, yes, yes. The corporations used to pay the toll to government, to have the free run of the sandbox. The worm has turned. Now the corporations pay the toll to the government, just to have access to the sandbox at all. Now the tolls will keep rising, until the son of the politician mysteriously happens to take over the enterprise. Definitely a dressed up version of third world economics in action.

Dutch

Margaret Ball said...

I don't think it's entirely accurate to posit a divide between "businesses" and "corporations." Incorporation is an economic device that allows many people who don't know each other that well to put their capital in a common pool for a shared objective, and it has been an extremely useful tool for economic growth over the last few centuries.

I think the real problem is that once businesses reach a certain size, they find it more profitable to cosy up to the government and trade favors - "donations" in return for regulations that make smaller businesses less able to compete - than to continue innovating and improving. Ultimately this is their death knell because they become dinosaurs unable to adapt to change; unfortunately this doesn't happen nearly fast enough.

Daniel Greenfield @ the Sultan Knish blog said...

I think the family business vs an entity with public ownership is an important distinction

Margaret Ball said...

It is, but not all entities with public ownership are anti-free markets; and one of my uncles ran a family business that was as vicious as any corporation at cutting out the competition.

A slightly less corrupt government might be a start, but I don't know how to get there. It seems all we do is vote one set of bastards out so the other set can have their turn with the corporate goodie bags.

Anonymous said...

Terrific parody regarding the unbelievably dangerous Amnesty crusade. I believe very much as Dan does that if not stopped this Amnesty will finish off the USA!

Daniel Greenfield @ the Sultan Knish blog said...

businesses naturally try to shut down competition

the bigger problem is the lack of long term thinking and accountability in the modern corp

Anonymous said...

Amazing. Some of the best replies are posted from the anonymous.
- BarbaCat

Anonymous said...

THere is nothing wrong with Corporations! they are Miracles of Capitalism!! you Communist bastards!

Greg Thomas said...

It’s more like 25 million illegal invaders currently squatting on US soils demanding amnesty. Our open border traitors have been using the “11-12” million figure for the last 10 years. The number never fluctuates. Since these bastards are always lying, you can bet the number is at least double. This does not take into consideration millions more who will come via chain migration. Amnesty for 25 million corrupt and entitled mexicans will be the death blow to this country.

Moreover, what we have in this country is no longer capitalism, but cronyism. Work place raids have been replaced with "audits" which are announced in advance, giving companies plenty of time to get their books in order. This government does not want a single illegal invader deported and neither does corporate America.

Inane Rambler said...

The US has a very deregulated economy, maybe regulation at the top (meaning the large conglomerates) would be a very good idea.

Daniel Greenfield @ the Sultan Knish blog said...

The large conglomerates welcome competition through regulation. It's why we have the insane lobbying infrastructure we do.

Unknown said...

So Daniel, you know for a fact that the great dream of all 12 million undocumented aliens is to put their entire families on social welfare. How? You've got your ear to the ground in the Latino community? Do you know what xenophobia is; 'cause you've got it.

All the undocumented aliens I've met are working their butts off at low-paying jobs to support their families. They came here looking for the same American dream your ancestors and mine did--many of them also "illegally". They just didn't want to wait for a lousy immigration system to get fixed. Fyi, many of our ancestors did the same thing and prospered because it wasn't "illegal" to work back then; it was only relatively recently that having an SSN or I-9 was required for work.

RobertW said...

Exactly! For years I've been hearing conservatives say "they want us to become like Europe". And all along I've been saying its much worse than that. They want us to become like Mexico: a small, wealthy, entitled over class with a docile, obedient underclass. That underclass has zero upward mobility which is why they all come here. Ironically they try to reproduce what they just escaped as soon as they arrive but that is another story.

Anonymous said...

Have you ever been to China? There is something they must be doing it right.

Anonymous said...

I have a close relative in the UK who has made a fortune of about $250m through fleecing the british government time after time after time. And they keep awarding him contracts again and again, at prices he couldn't dream of getting in the private sector. He laughs about being a crony capitalist.

OTKUGOTT said...

Daniel, you really hit the bullseye with this passage: "When the last bribes have been squeezed out of you and your company has been taken over and looted by the son of some government official, perhaps you will finally come to know the worth of the civilization you so foolishly destroyed."

Would that we could wake up these businessmen, but in the end we just can't count on them. They're philosophical pragmatists, which means they can't be reached by abstract arguments. Somehow we have to win our fight without them, even though no one would benefit more than they from our victory.

FCW said...

So I can disregard any laws that were not in existence when my ancestors came over from Europe? Cool. (Or can one only do that if he's worked his butt off in low-paying jobs? Also cool; I've done that, too.) So you'll have my back if I choose to flout any law that I consider "lousy", and don't feel like waiting around for it to be "fixed" (that is, changed to my liking and advantage)? Excellent.

See, there's the problem, Mr. Unknown. When you start tolerating (and in your case, advocating for) a "nation of men, not laws", honest actors eventually get fed up with being played for chumps. (Like, say, being taxed to fund racist crap like "La Raza". I'm sure your "Latino community" will be down with me on that.) The pool of honest actors that was the broad, deep middle of the populace evaporates. Goodbye, centuries worth of built-up social capital that is necessary for the functional, high-trust, prosperous society that was the U.S. Also, when a nation doesn't exercise the most basic level of prudence in its immigration and related social policies, such that the newcomers by force of numbers are not assimilated into the functional culture but rather simply recreate the dysfunctional one they thought they left behind (and are actively encouraged to do so by the meddling government of Mexico)...well, hello Mexico!

But of course that can't possibly happen, because you personally know some nice, decent Mexicans illegals! Hey, so do I! Somehow, unlike in your case, this didn't turn off my ability for large-view, longer-term, dispassionate analysis. So I can see that my Mexican friend's indisputable decency doesn't change the fact that his cohort imposes huge costs with its disproportionate use of services, that taxpayers are essentially providing subsidies to employers of all that "cheap" labor, and that a mass influx of immigrants into a mindlessly "multiculturalist", pathologically anti-assimilationist social environment (manned by high-emo, low-information actors who love throwing around words like "xenophobe" and "community" in place of actual thought), in a country well past its frontier days and facing new problems of high, chronic, structural unemployment, is not going to end well.

ericcs said...

FCW, excellent response to low-information, non-analytical Unknown. In addition, those such as Mr./Ms./Its. inevitably maintain the unstated assumption that this country is so rich that it can be bled forever by leftist feelgood policies without the society suffering any deleterious long-term consequences. They have their heads firmly up their emotional @$$es, they are marinated in their immaculate memes, narratives, and fantasies, and they absolutely refuse to acknowledge the reality of cultural and economic chaos that tens of millions of illegal aliens exact. I guess when they were growing up their two queer fathers never read them the story of killing the goose that laid the golden eggs.

Sharpshooter said...

A generation or so ago, corporate CEOs were chosen by their ability to build long term growth into a corporation. Today, they're chosen for political connections. In addition, the Anderson Act in the 1970s made hostile takeovers much more difficult, its purpose to insulate CEOs from being bounced without "Golden Parachutes".

Tom Peters (who DID make up a lot of BS about his research) DID point out that when Eisenhower wanted to get business running better, got on Air Force One and visited corporate executives. JFK, on the other hand, expected CEOs to come to him "hat-in-hand".

Unfortunately there is a wide berth between entrepreneurship and our modern "Management Elite".

And finally, there are some phenomenal business LEADERS, (and no, Bill Gates was a parasitic putz who rode IBM coattails), such as the late Steve Jobs, T.J. Rodgers, etc.

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