William Thien

Archive for the ‘Economics’ Category

I think Trump is well within his rights as President of The United States to impose sanctions on Chinese imports. Not only is he well within his legal rights, he is well within any social parameters that indicate acceptable behavior on the part of our leadership to act on behalf of the country.

The country’s economic relationship with China is a serious issue, one that previous administrations have refused to confront out of fear for their presidency and party or just plain ignorance of what the average citizen is dealing with.

The problem is not Trump’s sanctions, the problem is that greedy retailers and industrialists here in The US have completely deconstructed our own production complexes in favor of the larger margin products made in China. They have offshored.

In other words, if something costs five dollars to make here in The US and one dollar to make in China, most retailers seeking a larger profit margin will stock their shelves, as they have been doing now for at least a decade, with Chinese made products in order to make four dollars more in profit.

As more factories close here and more people lose their jobs to NAFTA and their jobs are replaced by products made as a result of Clinton giving China most favored nation trading status, many can no longer afford to buy “Made in America” any longer.

China manipulates its currency, uses unfair labor practices, and even has military personnel in many factories to insure production is met. We do not do that here in The US and we will likely never take those measures. China is still a communist country when all is said and done.

Trump is well within his rights to impose whatever regime of tariffs he believes will bring those jobs and profits back to The United States.

Check the label.

Copyright © William Thien 2019

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If you are afraid of socialized medicine, all the country has to do is to start regulating health care correctly once again.

Health care in America was much less socialized prior to Reagan deregulating health care. Ever since health care was deregulated, the socialized systems designed to pay for health care in America, Medicare and Medicaid, have expanded exponentially now that regulations have been dismantled. Prices have soared way beyond what the average citizen can pay out-of-pocket, something that was quite common prior to Reagan deregulating health care.

If you are afraid of seeing a socialized system of health care in America, then we must begin regulating health care correctly again. That’s all that is needed.

All of the rhetoric about socialized medicine coming from both parties is a false narrative designed to steer you away from the subject of a health care system that is properly regulated and both parties are involved in that misdirection.

Copyright © William Thien 2019

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Now that the country’s economy is coming back due to the incredible Trump tax breaks as well as steps taken by previous administrations, I think it is time to take one more measure to ensure that the country’s industrial sector remains strong. It is time to incentivize quality in American industrial production.

Following World War II reconstruction of Japan included sending two men to rebuild Japan and Japanese industry. Those two men were General Douglas MacArthur and W. Edwards Deming.

We all know who Macarthur was. Deming on the other hand was a statistics professor at New York University who believed statistics could be used to improve the quality of industrial production. Without elaborating here on what Deming did for Japanese industry, it is safe to say it worked.

Just look at all of the products of Japanese origin that have displaced American made products, big ticket items no less, cars, motorcycles, electronics, you name it, for one major reason. QUALITY!

Americans are sick of paying for cars that fall apart after driving them off of the lot and they have been voting with their dollars for decades now by purchasing Japanese products. Japanese manufacturers have been so successful selling to Americans who are fed up with poorly made products that Japanese manufacturers now have the largest automotive production facilities in The United States. All of that is because of a quest for quality. All of that coming from a country the size of California, one state, with a population a fraction of The United States. That tells you what the power of quality is to the consumer. It is everything.

What the President and Congress can do now is to provide additional tax incentives for American industrial producers to improve quality measures on our own soil, here in The United States.

Measures taken by US based industries will have to be verifiable and should result in measurable (threshold) quality improvements in order for the tax incentives to be earned.

The tax incentives should be substantial in order to motivate US industrial producers to take action because often it is difficult to change production methodologies which can require changing industrial machinery (no small task) and retraining large numbers of employees (again, no small task).

We know the statistics professor’s efforts in Japan were successful 68 years after Deming visited Japan and the effects are massively visible today on our roads and in our homes.

It is time for The President and Congress to make something approaching Deming’s system of statistical analysis for quality improvement in Japan an achievable goal here in The United States by offering substantial tax incentives, which must be verifiable, to produce quality on a massive scale. Here. Not there. Here.

But it should not stop there. Statistics are not the only way to improve quality in industrial production. If a company can demonstrate that it has made changes to improve quality, capital investments, training regimens, whatever it takes, that should be incentivized as well.

The President and Congress should waste no time installing such tax incentives.

Now that the economy has become a global one for good, things can change overnight. The one thing industrial producers can do here in America is to ensure the global consumer has faith in US made products. The best way to do that is to constantly improve quality.

It is better to take such measures now, when the country’s economy is strong than when the country faces some form of economic depression such as following one of the several bubbles the country has faced in the last two decades. Then, companies are in a different mode, often downsizing, selling off capital, just to make ends meet.

Again, The President and Congress should waste no time installing such tax incentives to improve the production of quality in The United States.

This is not about a tax break for corporations, it is about an industrial movement, it is about ensuring a new age in American economic prosperity.

cc: The President of The United States

Congressman James Sensenbrenner

Copyright © William Thien 2018

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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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I am always a bit puzzled (not entirely, just a bit) when I hear our country’s leadership say things like “the dollar is too strong” or “we need to make the dollar more attractive in the foreign currency markets.”

What they are saying essentially is that American made products aren’t as attractive in overseas markets if the dollar is strong because the American products become too expensive or less attractive price-wise for foreign consumers.

But a weaker or weakened dollar also means that I have to spend more of my dollars to get what I want. If you don’t make that many dollars or as many as you’d like, if you are in the lower to lower middle income brackets, the argument that the dollar is too strong is a somewhat punitive statement and it means that action to bring down the value of the dollar will have a direct impact on your buying power, decreasing your buying power.

Few would disagree that America needs to sell more products in foreign markets but you would hope that our country’s leadership would find other ways to make sure such sales increase such as instituting quality controls on production or some other method rather than simply selling everything on the cheap and making everything more expensive for the American consumer, punishing the American consumer, which is what they are doing.

Manipulating currency may be easy on American producers but it is also hard on American consumers as it is the same as taxing their dollars so they have less or simply reaching into their pocketbooks and taking the money right out by decreasing their buying power.

Have you seen the price of a new car or house lately? Maybe the dollar is weak enough already.

Copyright © William Thien 2017

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This country was founded on the desire to avoid paying unreasonable taxes with the call, “Taxation without representation!” Careful scrutiny of taxes and tax law is in the DNA of every true American.

Anyone of us can make the argument that there are times we don’t see a fair distribution or proper use of our taxes.

The tax code is written with lobbied, legislated loopholes and for businesses and business people not to utilize those loopholes would be foolish financial practice. We all use whatever deduction we can use when we do our taxes. Why shouldn’t someone in business do the same? Why shouldn’t Donald Trump do the same?

Most programs used on home computers to do your taxes compute those deductions for us. If we go to an accountant or tax attorney, they do the same.

Trump isn’t really doing anything wrong in that regard. It’s a non-issue.

What I will say, though, is that the circumstances at hand are to me the best reason for a flat tax, in that not only will everyone pay their fair share when there is a flat tax, we would all be equally invested in seeing that the tax rate is kept under control. As it is now, the tax code only treats some favorably or fairly. All you have to do is read my essay America’s Unfair Tax Code and The Brown Headed Cowbird to know that.

Trump not paying any income taxes for years is the best reason for a flat tax.

Copyright © William Thien 2016

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Profits are profits until the method used to achieve and generate those profits is no longer a valid method of profit generation and instead becomes a generator of future liabilities, turning profits into false prophets, ahem, false profits.

We know that ultra low interest rates, something we have been seeing for over a decade, have resulted in incredible surges in stock market strength and gargantuan growth in the real estate market. Yet, we also know that even slight upticks or the mere talk of increases in lending rates can result in sizable market corrections. We have seen this phenomenon during the last year and a half during public discussions by the FED to increase interest rates, causing the FED to abandon all such plans time and time again as the market plummets over several days. Just the mere whisper of an increase in rates causes panic.

Therefore, has the method of keeping interest rates so low for so long actually created an environment where today’s profits are actually future liabilities? If so, then they are false prophets, ahem, false profits.

Copyright © William Thien 2016

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