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Tuesday, August 25, 2015

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 H-1B 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 H-1B 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

20 comments:

Rudyard Kipling said...

Donald Trumps Official Reincarnation as Teddy Roosevelt will begin when he gives a Silicone Valley Exec the same treatment he gave Jorge Ramos. A firm boot up the ass across the border into the Third World and erecting a tariff wall behind him. Let hm do to Google with its 182 subsidiary companiy monopoly what TR did to Standard Oil. Let Silicone Valley try its games with the Chinese Communst Party. Can you say Northwest Gobi Reeducation Camp No. 7?

VIVA TRUMP

Anonymous said...

Daniel, I cannot thank you enough for your thoughtful and spot-on blog today.

112 said...

That's the #1 thing the average joe liberal says, "the right is for the rich and the left is for the poor". By college its "we need the left to fight the corporations, because the right cares about the "military industrial complex".

I don't agree with your point in telling them that they're not right wingers. People don't know, but they know they aren't. They create the problems so the left can say "look what that corporation did, capitalism is the problem". Their existence is right wing though they are left wing. And that's your point about admiring barbarians, it's the right that lets them thrive, which they use to fight for leftism, which calls them the source of all evil.

Anonymous said...

My friend works in Sunnyvale and his company had an intern from the PRC. One day they noticed the corporate outgoing router was getting flooded w/packets from an internal IP address. They tracked it down to an intern from the PRC who trying to send the source code for their product to a remote IP address in the PRC. The intern himself couldn't be found anywhere on site.

Pa. D said...

You're a coward Daniel , America is a disgrace and you know something you know it is but your pride?, left right left right........left right, how about fucking common sense instead of left or right?

Y. Ben-David said...

I must say the truth of what Daniel wrote here can lead one to become pessimistic about the future of America. It certainly explains why the Presidential campaigns of Bush III and Clinton II are sputtering....people are sick of the crony capitalist gang of which these two dynasties are emblematic. The problem is that the maverick candidates who are tapping into authentic frustration by the voters are NOT qualified to be President....the President MUST have extensive political experience (Eisenhower would seem to be an exception, except he was a master politician already when he was Supreme Commander and he proved to be an effective President). Success in the business world is not enough background to be a successful President.
The fear is that the inability of the voter to really change anything will lead to increasing apathy which simply increases the power of the crony capitalists which will further erode the freedom of the American people and the true free-market capitalist/self-reliance/individual intiative philosophy that made the 20th century the "American Century" and the 21st the century of America's decline.

B Fenske said...

Here is my problem with this...
Corporations don't want SPECIFICALLY Mexican workers.
They want to cut labor costs.
Unions and the Government...
That's called a Marxist collective...
Have made the American worker the corporation's greatest expense. Between the wages and the health care and the taxes...
Criminal Invaders can be paid lower wages and under the table and lower the expense of labor.

Now...
Mr Trump wants to raise tarriffs to make American "corporations" more compatible when the problem is the cost of American labor.
Oh...
And labor is also high because of our high cost of living in America...
Much of which is caused by Leftist Government.

So if you want to write a Letter?
Write to Mr. Leftist Big Government and tell him to get the Hell out of the way of the American people.

mobius wolf said...

The kind of candidates we need wouldn't touch the position with a ten foot sjw. What a snake pit.

Brooks Imperial said...

America is tired. Her Constitution has been whipsawed for personal advantage by a million shysters and politicians over two+ centuries. Her ideals remain robust, and that is perhaps all that's left of her. Or maybe that's all she ever was?

RAM said...

Add to this the fact that corporate America has increasing adopted the PC social agenda. This was a great surprise to Indiana Gov. Pence in his recent RFRA fight. Years of liberal elite education have impaired the thought of corporate executives and HR departments. Not to mention that every Al Sharpton or Jesse Jackson type strikes fear into them, prompting an easy shakedown. Trump is not some philosopher king-in-waiting but has clearly seen what resentment the Republican and Democratic establishments, both supported by big business, have created.

Soothsayer said...

Close the borders!

Anonymous said...

Perfection! Perfection! Thank you, Daniel, for your clarity and wit. You are most certainly an erudite scholar and historian. If I were to quote every line that stood out to me, I would cite your entire piece. Well done. While reading the first few paragraphs, I was thinking that the reason we are in this situation is because corporate America ( both the WalMart Right and the Silicon Valley Left) and the Repubs want cheap labor NOW, and the Dems want votes. But that leaves nobody representing the needs of middle-class American citizens. We are the ones footing the bill. We pay increased taxes and subsidize, basically, welfare for the rich and for the poor. So while illegals might be contributing to our economy via their labor, we middle-class taxpayers must subsidize their income via education, medical and other social costs. It is unsustainable. And it must be painfully clear to anyone now that both the Repubs and the Dems are complicit in this conspiracy against the vibrant middle class. (And, unlike what Marx said, the middle-class IS the most vibrant sector of our society.) And also painfully obvious now is that FOX news is not on our side, either. After all, Rupert Murdoch, the owner of FOX, wants more illegals and no borders, too. He is part of the "one-world government" craziness; I suppose, to make business transactions easier. But again, that is only short term. If you look at Gibbon's thesis as to the fall of the Roman Empire, you can see that we are in the midst of our rapid decline now. (I will not digress, but he outlined 6 features in a declining empire. We are experiencing all 6 of these.) We are succumbing to foreign invasion; and, what is worse, to a people for whom democracy, republican ideals, our Constitution, etc., are not part of their culture, history or body politic. And that is not even taking into consideration the arrival of terrorists. Like Rome, we are losing our compunction to defend ourselves. We are losing our values and our virtues. We need another Churchill. This is our last gasp.

King Western Man

Anonymous said...

I second Mr. Greenfield's analysis.

Here's the thing in a nutshell -- we of the West are in the midst of a hot culture war. We will need to take it as seriously as our fathers and grandfathers took World War II, and fight with the same vigor and commitment.

The international Left is counting on incrementalism and erosion to win the day: each advance is made to look like a molehill that's "not worth fighting over," thus they deliberately frame the conflict to make it much tougher to fight back.

Rush has been saying that "socialism has never worked" to improve people's lives anywhere it's been tried: but the Leftists don't give a damn about "improving lives": the Purpose of Power is Power (see Orwell's "1984").

Or, if you prefer, Whittaker Chambers' analysis -- We are facing the oldest temptation of all, from the Garden of Eden: "YE SHALL BE AS GODS." (See also Dostoevsky's brilliant short story "The Grand Inquisitor," available online, about the temptations of absolute power and trying to take God's throne.)

Yours in the ranks of life, Gail

Spirit of 76 said...

The corporate culture will have to burn along with the republican party f we are to find renewal. But I expect the republican party to prevail and its foolishness to continue and for SJW notions to continue in their ascendancy. So I collect ammunition and hope I never need it.

Anonymous said...

Daniel, you sound a bit angry. Good. You/we should be. Please keep it up.

G_d bless, SuzyQue.

Godfrey Daniels said...

All the cigar smoking short armed fatties stuffing the benjamins into a senator's pocket to ensure the scam du jour sees another day could be put in their limos back to Foiled Again City easy peasy - were it not for the silent majority getting free stuff. Now when the free stuff runs out, we'll get democracy again. We'll lose the republic, but then hell, it's gone anyway. Welcome to Stupidville, USA - it's right out the window if you're looking. Buy ammo, practice.

Charming Richard said...

"Power is not the same thing as control."

A strikingly correct observation and essential lesson regarding "power."

I wrestled, almost daily, with this issue before retiring from a position of power in a construction union. Can we call it a conundrum? The rampant misuse and abuse of power is epidemic today in all areas of American life.

To the person holding power, balancing the power/control equation with your personal integrity is a walk through the valley of death. Few emerge with their principles, or much else of their former selves, intact.

Power is the most seductive essence of the human experience. Everyone wants it, most will pay any price for it.

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

Pa. D @26/8/15:

Okay, so you don't like left/right distinctions. Fine. But it's easy to be a critic. What distinctions would you offer Mr. Greenfield in their place? We must be able to point to distinctions and contrast in order to argue our points. To hint that we are "above" or "beyond" such differentials, or to say that they "do not apply" reflects a vacant intellect.

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

I have no illusions about the goodness or virtue of business, or commercial interests. I expect business organizations to be practical and pragmatic. The vast majority of businesses work within the rules of the law to find a way to win. What is pernicious is when a few large, well-connected businesses work with legislatures to create laws that carve out business advantages, making their competitive advantage monopolistic.

I do not blame business for the 2008 disaster. I blame the politicians for creating the implicit guarantees to Fannie and Freddie and then looking the other way when the data began showing things were getting out of control... many years before.

Businesses do what they're able to do because they can. The MBS and CDO nightmare was created because bundling mortgages became more lucrative than selling plain old T-bills... and de facto carried the same government guarantee because the bundled mortgages came from Fan/Fred. The CDO insurance model was way over-leveraged because the actuarial models hadn't caught up with the reality of what Wall Street was doing with MBSs.

But crisis all traces back to the government's implicit guarantee, compounded by a policy of "the ownership society" -- inventing the Wall Street banks to trawl for more mortgage debt, and therefore lower credit standards -- that created the monster. And then the implicit became explicit and we all know what happened. And the politicians thumped their chests about evil Wall Street, and collected even more money from them in the next election cycles now that they're now quasi-public utilities. Regulation begs influence.

I have no illusions about what businesses are, but I can choose which ones I patronize based on my values. I cannot do that with the government, and my choices are limited by government interference. Look at the "greedy" auto insurance companies and their mandated coverage requirements state-to-state... you'll find out why some states are exponentially more expensive than others. That's to say nothing of health insurance. All these political posturing and wailings, and in the end insurance is one of the most government-regulated products on the planet. Look at what government hath wrought "for the people" and "in the public interest." Yeesh.

Empress Trudy said...

Corporate America and American politics and power generally resemble the Central and South American padron system more than anything else. Until very recently about 1500 families essentially owned 99% of el Salvador. Bolivia's 'populist' Evo Morales is one of the richest men in the country and is part of an elite that owns almost every acre of land in the country. In Brazil it's routine for campaign workers for the incumbents of governors to openly facilitate free abortions for poor women in exchange for selling their vote back. Corporate America is joined at the hip with whomever serves and supports their interests. Zuckerberg wants every US citizen who works for facebook replaced with an H1B. IBM's Ginni Rometty is running a company that may very well cease to have more than a skeleton crew of employees in the US soon. The CEO of HP just announced that the previously announced 5.5% US employment cuts will likely double. All of Obama's so called shovel ready projects turned out to be imaginary. And the few large capital investments he partook went to foreign owned firms run by Michelle's friends.

Obama and Corporate America's 'America' will in a decade run out of a middle class with any money left to purchase any of their goods and services at all.

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