William Thien

Archive for the ‘Outsourcing and Tax Breaks’ Category

Decades long (Greenspan to Yellen) monetary policy aimed at continually diminishing the strength of the currency for the regular population is in and of itself justification enough to respond.

I believe Washington has chosen monetary policy that forces the public to work longer hours for less income with the desire of increasing productivity at the expense of American working classes and their quality of life.

It has nothing to do with the general economy. The labor statistics coming out of Washington are false.  We’ve all known that for many years. The statistics don’t include the perpetually unemployed or the unaccounted for in industrially blighted urban areas. Therefor, the numbers are unreliable. So why the constant attempt to weaken the dollar?

Is it about selling more American made goods overseas? Somewhat, yes. But in my opinion it is more about squeezing the American working classes to get them to work harder for less, increasing the speed of the treadmill so to speak through weakening the dollar, thereby increasing productivity.

Again, if you weaken the dollar, if you systematically do so while steadily increasing inflation, a person needs to work harder and/or longer hours to get what they want or need or they must borrow more. A weaker dollar buys less and it buys less everywhere you use it even at home, not just overseas when you travel. The thing of it is, it’s not a function of the economy, it’s not happening on its own. It’s policy!

That’s what the FED has been up to starting with Greenspan, what the parties have been up to starting with Clinton, NAFTA and MFN for China, and the dollar.

You are getting squeezed by the FED/Washington establishment and the same people you elected. If money is speech as the Supreme Court determined, by weakening the dollar your voice is also being muffled. Directly.

The dollar isn’t too strong. Rather, Washington may be too powerful, too disingenuous.

I heard a debate on the radio this morning on the way to work. During the broadcast they were talking about a Constitutional Convention. Maybe it’s not such a bad idea.

I myself say, “What do you mean I don’t sound like a conservative? You are full of it. You can be a conservative and still be a working stiff! Conservatism isn’t just for the very wealthy. That’s something else altogether. That’s the monetary policy we have now.”

Copyright © William Thien 2017

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A debate should be had about claims of “Made in America” of globally sourced components. If a manufacturer can assemble something in The US that is made up of globally sourced components, should the manufacturer be allowed to put The American Flag on their product?

Many think not and I’m inclined to agree with them. Often all it takes is for one part of the “globally sourced” components to fail and then the product is useless.

It’s better to simply just buy foreign products from a county of your choosing in that case as you are not being misled in a sense by the big display of The American flag with the small print “of globally sourced components.”

If a manufacturer wants to put The American flag on their product that is assembled of globally sourced products, maybe they should be required to put all of the flags of the countries from where their product’s components originate and put those flags right next to the American flag since many people can no longer read.

Copyright © William Thien 2017

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Today while watching Face the Nation the point came up that the current administration’s deportation and immigration policies were resulting in the deportation of “good hombres,” and not just “bad hombres.”

The object of that discussion and others I’ve heard like it is in my opinion to change the subject from the original reason for the aggressive implementation of border policy in the first place.

Please see note following this observation. I’ve tried to come up with a solution to this problem of immigration from countries at close proximity to the United States for some time as other have as well.

Americans want stricter immigration policy not so much to get rid of the “bad hombres,” which is of course significant in and of itself, but to prevent the undermining of the American middle classes and working people.

It’s not just bad hombres that have undermined the working classes in America, it is immigrants of all types, good hombres too that are coming to America in huge numbers and willing to work for pennies on the dollar under the table while at the same time there has been no enforcement of immigration policy of any measure coming from previous administrations for decades. There has been little or no enforcement of immigration policy even though the tax payer has been paying for it to the tune of many billions of dollars a year.

The result has been lower wages for the American worker and fewer jobs. Large corporations have applied for H-1B visas to replace their American workers and those same corporations are giving their American employees severance packages predicated on the fact that the American workers have to train their foreign H-1B visa workers who replace them. In other words, if you don’t train your foreign replacements, you don’t get your severance package. AND CONGRESS HAS BEEN THE ENABLER ALL ALONG!

Immigrants are coming here and taking American jobs and huge US-based multi-national corporations have lobbied congress to be allowed to take American jobs south of the border through the implementation of NAFTA. It’s an untenable situation for the American worker.

The American working classes are at a point where if something isn’t done about it, the middle classes will finally collapse under debt load and the lack of opportunity that the influx of immigrants, illegal or otherwise, coupled with NAFTA creates. Everyone knows this. Congress knows this. The current administration knows this. And the voter who elected Trump is keenly aware.

I don’t know anyone that wanted things to turn out this way but let’s not change the subject. Everyone in the country knew this day would come. It’s not what side of the tracks you live on or where you live, it’s not what car you drive, it is simply about citizenship and the right to work in The United States and it’s a totally valid position to take.

From what I can tell what the voter is saying, what the American worker is saying is that America has come to the point where regardless of whether they are good hombres, bad hombres, or whatever kind of hombres they are, if they aren’t “American hombres,” they have to go and that’s all there is to it.

Copyright © William Thien 2017

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Note: See my writings in the past about forming The North American Union, not unlike The European Union, a possible solution to the problems we are facing today. With NAFTA in place we already have the economic framework. Of course the problem with that is like Germany and other more industrial European countries, The United States would probably find itself bailing out other countries such as Mexico and those further south. So, it probably wouldn’t work just as The EU seems to be fracturing but that doesn’t mean there might not be some possible solution or alternative.

 

 

 

 

A friend recently said to me, “you know you favor a candidate that does not favor labor.” The Clintons, they said in so many words, are pro-labor.

I had to laugh. The first Clinton, ole Billy Clinton himself, ratified NAFTA and granted China most favored nation trading status, or MFN after Bush 1, Reagan, and Nixon wouldn’t even do so and they were not even considered pro-labor presidents.

You couldn’t have done more to demolish the position of labor in The U.S. than to facilitate the transfer of jobs outside of The United States through the implementation of NAFTA and Chinese MFN.

The Clintons favor labor? That’s a joke, I said, a joke upon U.S. labor.

Now that could change. But up until now, it hasn’t and she hasn’t said anything that would indicate a reversal to his executive signature.

Copyright © William Thien 2016

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A so-called conservative radio pundit recently referenced Trump’s belief that we need to scrap all of these international trade treaties such as NAFTA and TPP. The pundit suggested in his commentary that it was a bad idea to curtail international trade by ending such trade deals.

The the problem is though that the pundit mistakenly confused NAFTA and TPP as well as China’s Most Favored Nation Trading status with “off-shoring.” The aforementioned treaties are indeed trade treaties.

With respect to this observation trade or “international trade” involves the trade of products manufactured in another country and branded with the trademark or name of the company that was founded in that country.

The other type of trade, or “off-shoring” to which this observation refers, which is not really trade at all, involves a company here in The United States closing up shop and production here in The United States and off-shoring production to another country all the while stamping its name or trademark on the same products of a foreign origin and advertising at the same time that the consumer needs to “buy American.” From what I can discern, this latter example is what Trump is referencing in his commentary. Trump is referencing the sweetheart tax deals that benefit those U.S. companies involved in off-shoring American jobs and thereby putting Americans out of work and receiving a tax break at the same time.

There is a massive distinction between open trade and offering tax deals to offshore American jobs.

In my opinion, Trump has it right on this issue.

Copyright © William Thien 2016

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I was looking for a particular shop tool last night and located something ideal but when I checked the label I was disappointed to find out it was manufactured in Asia. It is well made and receives good reviews and there is nothing wrong with Asia by the way except it is my opinion a disproportionately large amount of industrial production has migrated there due often to unfair trade practices and currency manipulation that doesn’t favor The US and to which The US does little to prevent. You’ve heard this from me before, of course, for quite some time, long before this election cycle, long before some interloper picked up what we’ve been discussing here, Notes from The Silent Majority, and used it for their own.

It is a local company that offshored production, so I want to make the purchase because it is a local company, but while deliberating on the purchase a question occurred to me.

Obviously the reason companies are off shoring is because it pays. Sales margins improve dramatically in many cases when production is offshored to Asia and some other areas and there are other more indirect benefits we don’t hear about. But the incredible damage all of the offshoring has done to the US economy will have to be reversed.

So the question occurred to me: What will it take to bring industry back? Nobody seems to be asking that very question. There is a lot of talk about the damage offshoring primarily to Asia has done but nobody really seems to be quantifying and qualifying what would be required to bring industry back. Americans may never work for the wages offered overseas in many areas but in many of those areas wages are rising to become somewhat comparable and American wages are stagnant or trending downward when considering inflation.

So what can be done to bring those jobs back? Is there something the government can do to facilitate the return of those jobs that it is not doing? I know certain tax breaks are available for offshoring in some respects. Must we completely obliterate those tax breaks? Can we offer better tax breaks to bring the jobs back to American soil? Should we restrict sales of products manufactured by US concerns overseas to only be sold overseas? What is it going to take?

I think this is where the discussion in the current presidential campaign needs to focus.

The media will have to participate with the repatriation of jobs of course for after all, it is the media that has misled the public to the purchase.

Women are complaining that they are paid a fraction of what men make, which I think is rather unlikely since all they have to do is file a discrimination complaint (and they do). But maybe if those jobs were to return to the US, women would see comparable pay or something approaching that.

I think it is time to start a national discussion on what must be done to bring offshored jobs and “specifically offshored jobs,” jobs that were once located on American soil back to The United States?

Copyright © William Thien 2016

 

Someone I know and respect asked me to write something about the difficulty of finding a job these days on behalf of one of their loved ones and so here it is. This could very easily be about myself, though, or you.

Could it be that one of the reasons it is so difficult to get a job these days is because those who have the jobs make it so difficult to get the jobs in the first place? Or do they really have that many jobs to begin with? Are all of these numbers the government is always throwing around and employers are touting for real? Do they really have that many jobs or is there something else going on?

The reason I ask is that when I was younger, often getting a job meant asking someone, “Hey, I’m looking for work. Do you have anything right now?” If they had work and thought you could do it, they would put you right to work.

If you were still there at the end of the day, they would have you fill out an application which consisted of your name and address and where you’d worked previously and some contact information for those employers. You completed a tax statement regarding withholding from your check and that was it. Sometimes it was a little more complicated than that, sometimes less. But you were paid for that day’s work and hired if they asked you to come back. Not these days.

Today when you apply, many corporations make you complete an online application that frequently takes several hours of your time and requires that a rather intrusive, personal questionnaire to be answered. Many companies make you enact the actual job you will be doing by using role-playing software online that requires you to role play in the job of the potential employee. By the time you are finished with the application, often you have spent three or four hours, sometimes more of your time and still don’t have any response from the employer. You are working and not getting paid. I’m talking about the larger corporate employers of course, but many if not most have something similar involved nowadays. Is there a need for all of this pre-screening? To be sure, it has value, value in more ways than one of course as well shall see.

The reasoning behind it all is that employers believe they can acquire employees that are more suitable for the particular position and protect themselves from potential liability at the same time. And those are good reasons! But just as often employers are merely acquiring data on the person who wants to work there because the applicant also patronizes the place of business. People are known to apply to work at places they like to visit. In other words employers are telling applicants they have a job but instead what they are doing is testing the applicant in a marketing sense and acquiring extremely valuable data about your likes, interests, and financial position, in order to be more competitive.

To acquire that data by collecting it in another fashion, legitimately that is, they would have to pay an agency a lot of money. By having you answer some questions during the application process, they can essentially force you to provide the data to them for free. Employers are known to take a resume that you have sent to them in an email, populate it into a database, and then send you targeted advertisements based on the information, such as your hobbies and travel interests that you list in your resume, when you simply thought you were applying for a job. Employers are also known to accumulate information from all of the resumes they receive and create a picture of the potential customer by melding and merging information from all of the resumes. Not a bad idea in a business sense really, just a little bit unscrupulous, that’s all.

What’s really frightening is that the entire process dramatically increases your vulnerability to identity theft as your information is traded from one interested party to another. Your file is enlarged as more information is added along the way. Soon, someone, a corporation or a political party perhaps, is bound to have everything about you that they need to do whatever they want to you when all you were doing at the onset was looking for a job.

Let me add that I am a conservative and believe business needs to be able to function in the most unrestricted manner possible.

Yet I think the type of behavior I describe here should be regulated. At a time when many Americans are desperately looking for a “decent” job, many employers are taking advantage of the circumstances and doing just what I describe. I know others who have had to endure the same process over and over again never to hear from the potential employer once they jump through all the hoops. Kind of tells you something, doesn’t it?

That is why I believe the application process should be limited to merely asking the necessary questions to determine if the person is eligible to work in the particular environment in question and then a process should take effect whereby the applicant is promised reciprocal progress from the potential employer in some regard. In other words, there should be steps involved that require the employer to first check for potential employability for that particular position and then the employer requests that the potential employee carry on with the application process with certain promises involved.

Instead, what is happening is that many, many employers are doing what in the statistics business is called “Harvesting Data,” and they are abusing a population desperately in need of decent employment by testing them, poking and prodding them as they apply for work with no real ability or intent to employ each and every one who completes the surveys, questionnaires, the intrusive psychological batteries of questions that so many people looking for work must complete.

But it doesn’t stop there. Oh no! Once you complete all of that, many employers will make you take a drug screen, too, a drug screen often merely to earn minimum wage, after all of that other rigmarole.

They want to know about your driving record, have you ever been arrested, can they check your credit score, do you Facebook, do you have any debts, single, married, military service, education level, and the list goes on and on today. They don’t want to know if you can do the job and do it well, they want primarily to know “ABOUT” you. Employers buy and sell the information they receive from massive numbers of resumes after the information has been put in to databases. Yes! They do. It’s a source of profit.

They are not looking for a reason to hire you anymore; the entire process is backwards. They instead are looking for a reason NOT to hire you these days. It’s called screening. It’s always been done of course but now it is has become an intrusive, predatory, profitable practice. You could be the most competent, the most capable candidate for the job but perhaps your credit score is a little low. Maybe there is a picture of you on a web site at a party living it up. Maybe they hired some firm to check you out. You are out of contention! But you know what, they still have all of your information, don’t they? Yes, they do. And they will use it. You can bet on that. They don’t purge it.

How could they make any money off of your information if they purged it? In statistics you are now what is called a “case.” You have an electronic file at that corporation. When you were filling out that app, you know what they did? They left a “cookie” on your hard drive. If you didn’t remove it, now they know where you surf the internet. Now your file grows and grows. They know all about you. They may even find something interesting about you in your resume and begin searching for information about you on the internet and build that file so they can test you. Oh, yes. They do that. Make no mistake. You have to be careful when you apply at a corporation these days. Ever look at a corporation when you are driving by and ask you yourself, “I wonder what they make there?” Maybe they are making YOU! Why don’t you send them your resume?

So, no wonder it is so difficult to get a job. The actual process of getting a job is often working against you and it is in fact designed to work against you.

It wasn’t like that when I was younger. I can’t believe that somehow all Americans have become monsters that would destroy a corporation in a way that the application process indicates they all are. Maybe it is the other way around. Maybe the reason people are having trouble getting jobs these days is because employers are making the task of getting a job simply too difficult and instead profiting from the process at the same time in what some might say is a predatory fashion. Yes, maybe that’s what is happening. Or maybe there is no “maybe” about it. By the time you complete the entire process, some “holier than thou” person you never meet has found some selection you have made online in the application process they didn’t like or you don’t match “the profile,” when instead all they really are doing is “harvesting data” only to use it against you in a sales pitch perhaps to profit from your need to work.

You might ask, well if the unemployed aren’t working, they don’t have any money, why would they want to market to them in the first place? Quite the opposite. Marketers focus intently on the unemployed because many of the unemployed are receiving weekly benefits and not working. They have leisure time, time to spend their benefit money. Marketers also focus on single women having children out-of-wedlock who receive government benefits. Last year over forty percent of children were born to single mothers, nearly half. It’s a huge market. HUGE! It’s a science.

You often hear employers clamoring that they can’t get enough trained people in the US and they want to hire from outside the US. They want the State Department to increase US work visas for foreign nationals. Why? They claim that there are not enough US applicants. Why? Because the system of hiring has screened any potential US citizens out! The US produces more thoroughly trained applicants than any other place in the world and does it well. It’s just that the hiring process precludes many of them from working in The US. And the employers want a tax break for hiring foreign nationals, too! Go figure.

Some might say, “Bill, stop it. You are killing us. We are trying to do business here.” My response, “It’s a flawed business model. You don’t treat your customers that way. That’s not how you treat the American public.”

It’s time to regulate the job application process.

Copyright © William Thien 2014

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