More Opinion by The Springboard

THE UPRISING OF THE AMERICAN PARTY "Clearly the voters are engaged right now, at least for sure on the republican side, and what they have concluded is that the republican party has not done their job. Thus, Donald Trump gets their vote."

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Steel and Aluminum Tariffs Right For Jobs

CALL ME A PROTECTIONIST IF YOU LIKE. I am actually okay with that. The truth, if you have kept up with me at all in the past, is that I side more with the idea of free trade than anything. That aside, I strongly support the American worker, and have long held that what we know to be free trade today really isn't free trade at all if those other countries we are competing with are not playing by the same set of rules.

What, in part, leads me to believe the way I do? For one, I think we had the best and the strongest economic times when we were leaders in manufacturing. It used to be that the largest companies were all manufacturers, and those factories employed many millions of workers and provided jobs that paid family supporting wages and offered family supporting benefits as well.

Granted, many of these manufacturing companies WERE unionized, and I am also strongly against unions—but that is for another day.

Nowadays it seems the largest employer in the United States is Walmart. Not that I have anything at all against Walmart, but let's face it. They don't offer the same kinds of job opportunities, wages, and benefits that the large manufacturing firms of the past offered. And many of those jobs aren't even full time.

I want to talk a bit about the recent announcement by the Trump administration that tariffs would be placed on imported steel and aluminum.

The fact is that over the years, and actually over several decades, we have lost untold numbers of jobs due to steel and aluminum imports, the bulk of which has come from China. The other industries notwithstanding, what has been left for the American worker are the REAL CRUMBS Nancy Pelosi
and her democrat cohorts should be talking about.

Taco Bell, McDonald's, convenience stores and the like are the largest employers in this country if you take away small business. And none of them pay a living wage, and I would argue offer little in the way of a career path either. Let's not forget that MANY of those small businesses are actually restaurants which also do not pay high wages.

One of the things Trump talked about during his campaign were the stagnant wages this country has suffered for a very long time, and the plight of the people in jobs that just don't do anything to help lift them up out of the doldrums and off the dole. While protesters marched in the streets demanding $15 an hour jobs flipping hamburgers, then candidate Trump promised the American people that he would fix some of the wrongs over many decades that left American workers no real choice but to trade in their steel toed boots for spatulas. He wanted to put America first, put the American worker first, and bring back manufacturing...

The heart, bread, AND butter that made for a vibrant and robust American middle class.

I have long argued as well that part of the issues that plague the inner cities can be directly tied to the loss of manufacturing jobs—and even probably contributed in a big way to the entire breakdown of those inner cities.

NOT EVERYONE IS COLLEGE BOUND, NOR SHOULD THEY BE.

And that is not to suggest that I think that black people, because I just mentioned the inner cities which have large black populations, are less capable of getting a college degree. But manufacturing was indeed a sector that provided for very strong earnings for people of all colors and all walks of life to get out of high school and go out and make wages that would one day afford them the opportunity to join the ranks of the middle class.

Think of the economy sort of like the ecosystem. Remove one food source and something else dies as a result. When you took out manufacturing from the economy, many people were impacted by this—and it is not necessarily a question of simply getting different jobs. It's a question of what quality of jobs were left in manufacturing's stead.

When you have family supporting wages, and when you feel good about the opportunities and direction in your life, you tend to be more rooted—and thus family values are stronger. The inner cities in particular, and in large part, lost a part of that opportunity and one can easily see the path it has lead us on.

Back in the early days of this country, especially as our economy began to become more and more dominant, of course the people of this country were doing well. When an economy is doing well, the cost of labor rises. Lesser economically developed countries could naturally have an advantage over the American worker since it would have the ability to produce certain goods cheaper by default.

HOW DO YOU FIX THAT?

Tariffs. Duties assigned to imported goods to bring those imported goods on par with domestic goods.

And by the way, to me that's real free trade. Competition. Not only that, but FAIR competition. Let's compete on the quality of the product, not the price. Why should a Chinese manufacturer have an advantage JUST BECAUSE they happen to be able to make the product for less even if, for argument's sake, the two products are exactly the same?

The steel and aluminum coming out of the United States is no different than the steel and aluminum coming out of China. The only difference happens to be the price. And the question I have is, if that is the only difference, why should the American steel worker or aluminum smelter have to suffer and lose his job just because China can make the same product cheaper? Why should that worker be forced to say, take a job at Walmart because not only has the steel and aluminum industry been winked out—but the automakers and the oven makers, and other manufacturers have also left town?

When this whole thing got started, and this is not a new argument for me either, the fact that we could get goods cheaper was a novelty. In the beginning people were still going to work everyday making a Ford, or making a Frigidaire, and it was neat that they could walk into a Kmart and buy something for less, stretching their already good wages even farther.

What actually happened is those Ford jobs went to Mexico, and those Frigidaire jobs went to China, and when they walked into a Kmart store to buy cheaper goods it was not because it was neat. It was because it was all they could afford. Because after the good jobs left, as they stood in line waiting to check out at Kmart, they found themselves in a position to also ask for a job application.

Do I like the fact that because of the tariffs the price of goods containing steel and aluminum will likely be higher? Of course not. At the same time, I do think we are long overdue in this country to get away from the bulk of American jobs being reduced to retail and fast food—if we can get Americans back to work in factories, making better wages, I think we all benefit from that. Even the companies we work for. I think the world benefits from it as well because honestly there will never be a time when there will not be a need for, nor a demand for imported goods. If Americans have better jobs, and make better money, that just means Americans will also buy more goods.

NO MATTER WHAT, WE ARE STILL A CONSUMER DRIVEN SOCIETY.
Sunfood
What the real outcome of this global market has been is to slow down what is the real potential of the American consumer to consume at the rate that they might otherwise consume. What is even worse, and again is for another day, is that we have also created an enormous problem in this country with consumer debt which now surpasses $1 trillion. It is safe to say that with all of that debt out there, and if we continued on the path of low paying service economy jobs—a huge portion of that $1 trillion debt might be subject to default.

THINK BACK TO THE SUBPRIME CRASH. THIS COULD VERY WELL HAPPEN TO THE ENTIRE CREDIT CARD INDUSTRY.

You can take an old adage here into account, if you will indulge me, that you cannot get blood out of a stone. If American workers are not making money to buy goods and services, and ring up huge debts just trying to keep up, there will be no money for anyone at the end of the day to collect. And what's more, the amounts you can collect will become smaller, and smaller, and smaller.

Part of the reason we have come to a place that even welfare rolls are so high is because people have been left with less choices to find meaningful jobs. Letting the Mexicans and the Chinese, and whoever else, to win just leaves everyone behind, including the Mexicans and the Chinese.

Let me get to one last point here. One thing Trump is proving is that America can compete. What has largely held us back, besides all of the initiatives of past presidents to allow for things like NAFTA and MFN status—and unions by the way—are regulations stacked on regulations and high corporate taxes. Those things, even more than wages I contest, have more to do with why American workers lost out, and continue to lose out to foreign competition in the jobs market.

WHAT'S MORE, it is also a large part of the reason many of those foreign manufacturers even have not operated in the United States. Taxes and regulations.

If Trump can continue to succeed in getting rid of burdensome regulation, can continue to exceed in lowering the corporate tax rates, and can continue to succeed in boosting the American economy as a whole, it will only make sense that Chinese and Mexican companies may decide to start building more things in the homeland.

Like Foxconn, for example, which is starting up a massive operation in Wisconsin.

What we need in this country is a return the good old days of old where the middle class is vibrant and abundant. We need to return to a time when people have money to spend and have money to save.

When you live in the most economically rich and successful country in the world, half the population should not simply be left to have to get by. The people of the country should have the opportunity to get ahead.

There are over 300 million people in this country, and that number continues to grow. Based on just simple math as to what that relates to in terms of consumption rates, the truth is that there is, and will be plenty of money to go around—you can support both strong American labor forces and you will still need plenty of imports just to keep up.

We have to right this ship. We have to restore manufacturing. We have to restore wages. We will have less people on the dole, and the government will actually take in more money, and so will the rest of the world as a whole.

The tariffs on steel and aluminum are a great place to start. Personally I want to see more of this. I want to see more deals renegotiated when it comes to trade. I want a level playing field. I want more Americans to have more choices when they decide what they want to do when they enter the work force. I want to see less Americans relying on the government and more American workers making family supporting wages. I want to see family values return. And even some of that may be possible if we can get back to a time when a single income household was more than enough and children had solid support and role models to guide their future lives, which only made the country better and stronger, and safer for that matter.

In the end it won't matter if my can of beer might cost a few cents more. I'll be making dollars more that will more than make up the difference and pick up the tab.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Shit In One Hand

IS IT WRONG OF ME TO JUST COME RIGHT OUT AND SAY IT? I WANT TO BE FILTHY RICH. I mean, is there anyone in their right mind who would deny having millions of dollars in their bank account if they could help it?

I think even the most liberal among us, who despise rich people to the hilt, would not turn down an opportunity to line their bank accounts if they could seize upon any possible chance to do so.

Okay. Okay. Liberals do jump at the chance. Although most of the time they have more nefarious means when it comes to getting at the money. But that's for another day. You should have known I could not totally refrain from my politics here.

The question becomes how the fuck do you do this? I mean, how do you truly reap the riches you could have coming your way?

Well, one thing is certainly something I have advocated and practiced for years, and that is to simply make as much money as you can doing what you can, and living below your means, investing wisely what you make beyond your means.

It does work by the way, and I should know. While I am not filthy rich, by any measure I could be considered very well off. And I have no business I own, and have never stepped foot into a college other than to visit it.

Well, I do actually own businesses. Those are the companies I invest my hard earned dollars into and earn a piece of the profits from after doing my due diligence of course.

More than that I think it is as simple as tapping into your own personal talents and seeing if you can make a profit from it. Even if that profit happens to be small. I write, I compose music, and when I am on the job in sales, I try to be the best I can be, offer the best possible outcome to the customer, and hopefully they like what I do, what I offer, and give me a return for that.

Sometimes it works, and sometimes it does not. But I never give up trying.

I want to be filthy rich.

I want that Ford F-150 Platinum in my driveway. In fact, I want that driveway to roll up to a big and beautiful house. I want to be able to travel when I want to, to where I want to, and I want to be able to decide when I cook in and when I take out, or eat out. And when I cook in, I don't want to just toss some chicken on the grill because it is the cheapest thing in the store. If I want a ribeye, dang it all I want a ribeye.

At the end of the day the one thing I know I have to do is to be extremely confident in who I am, and be equally confident that I can achieve it. Failure is not an option, but failure is inevitable, and the best course I can take is so strive not to fail, but if I do fail, make sure I have walked away from it with a lesson.

Just like a stock decline is only a loss on paper unless you cash in, if you cash in on the idea that you have failed and take nothing else away from that...

THAT LOSS HAS BEEN REALIZED AND YOU WILL NEVER GET IT BACK!

I cannot remember who said it to me, or even where I may have heard it if it was not said to me directly, but it was said that, "Your entire life is defined by who you want to be, who you are, and what effort you put into both of those things."

It goes hand in hand with something else said to me, "Never let anyone in your life define who you are or what you want to be."

I don't think it is any secret that there have been countless people you have encountered, and so have I, who were more than discouraging when it comes to anything you want to achieve. You come across a lot of naysayers in this world.

You will never be Elvis Presley. You will never be Tom Brady. You will never be Stephen King. You will never be president of the United States.

And yet we had an Elvis Presley, a Tom Brady, a Stephen King, and a select few in our population have become the most powerful man in the world. A lot of them achieved this despite great odds and against great challenges/

Do you know that Stephen King tossed "Carrie" into the garbage can and damn near decided to give up his aspirations as a writer? His wife, Tabitha, found the manuscript in the trash can and read it and went back to Stephen and said, "I think you should finish this one." He did, and the rest is history.

Dreams are something you want, something you feel, something you wish could be true. Dreams are fine. There is nothing wrong with dreaming. But dreamers only achieve success when they take action and take the steps necessary to bring those dreams to life.

Wish in one hand, shit in the other. See which one fills up first.

That is something my mother used to tell me when I was a kid. It seemed harsh at the time. But later in life it makes perfect sense to me. If you have time enough to dream, you should have time to wake up an achieve. It's not my brilliance that came up with that. That's a motivational poster I saw on a wall in one of the companies I worked for. Bit it does make perfect sense.

If all I do is dream, and all I do is wish, how the hell do I achieve? And when do I wake up to the realization that wishing and dreaming is a passive thing that achieves nothing unless I act ?

Becoming filthy rich is something that can be achieved. And it is also something that may be beyond reach. That's life. That's reality. That's the way this thing works. You can put in every single effort, act upon every wish and dream. At the end of the day you may die with a tale to tell of an adventure, many plights, and never have actually met up with what you expected. But one thing that is true no matter the outcome is that you did everything you could to the end to fail, having failed trying not to.

Or you can just have your wishes and dreams having tried nothing to make them real.




Thursday, February 15, 2018

Nikolas Cruz: Another American Tragedy

IT IS NO SECRET THAT I AM NOT A MAN OF FAITH. I am not necessarily a true atheist in the purest sense of the word. I am simply one who does not proclaim to have the answer. But when we have an incident like the Las Vegas shooting, and the most recent school shooting in Florida, and untold numbers of multiple shootings that have occurred in the past, it always begs one lingering question for me.

HOW COULD A GOD WHO IS SUPPOSED TO BE LOVING ALLOW HIS "CHILDREN" TO BE TAKEN IN SUCH A VIOLENT WAY?

I understand the argument that many Christians make about free will, and the forces of evil which drive madmen to construct and employ their mayhem. But I am still left with the thought that somehow, in some way, a God would intervene before innocent life is so violently left for dead.

Whenever something like this happens I am both saddened and sickened by it. It just seems so pointless to me. And it seems that there will always be a story to be retold time and time again.

Truly unfortunate in the course of these events as well is how many people, especially on the left, will immediately come out to proclaim that we need more gun control. Those of us who rely on logic to drive our thoughts and decision making know all too well that gun control is not the issue any more than the lack of it is the issue.

The simple truth is that what we need more of are responsible gun owners with concealed and open carry who can be welcomed into our everyday environments who could be armed and ready when the need arises.

You may not stop all deaths. But certainly someone with a gun can stop a madman with a gun much more quickly. The entire concept of a "gun free zone" has always been silly to me, at best. How does a rule or a sign stop a gun-toting maniac from entering a gun free zone with a gun? The travesty is that there may be responsible gun owners in the very classrooms being shot up who are hunkered under their desks while their guns are safely stowed in their cars in the parking lot.

What we also know about gun control in general is that when you put laws in place to make purchasing guns more difficult it only stops the responsible gun owner who will never shoot a soul. The criminals intent on creating mayhem will get their guns one way or the other. And let's bear in mind that the black market that gets created is also a very violent place.

Think back to the days of prohibition.

What else is truly sad here is that while so many on the left will make the discussion about the guns, what gets lost is the cause. We need to be open about what is happening in our society that causes people to do this sort of thing. Can you stop even that? Maybe not. But at least if there is a discussion on the issue, it's going to be a much more honest and productive one.

Whatever the case, all one can do is feel for the families who are dealing with, yet again, terrible tragedy and loss.



Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Quick Shout: Hollywood Just Needs to Can It About Russia

WHEN WILL IT END, I WONDER? I am to the breaking point when it comes to this continuing narrative by the MSM and some of these idiots in Hollywood that the Russians essentially stole the election from Hillary Clinton. The thing is that we all know all too well that the facts just DO NOT BEAR OUT. They are beating a dead horse. And it's just making them look even more foolish than we already knew they were.

YES, it has been acknowledged that the Russians did pay for some ads. But what influence would that ultimately have? I mean think about it. What influence did the fucking polls have on swaying republican voters that Donald Trump had no chance of becoming president to stay home?

This is just becoming tiring and stupid. Puerile is a word that also comes to mind.






Sunday, February 11, 2018

Welcome to the "Quick Shout" Segment

THE SPRINGBOARD WAS ALWAYS INTENDED TO BE AN OPINION DRIVEN RESPONSE. Thus, as the title suggests, a good many of the posts found here spring from something happening or something said, and The Springboard essentially is responding to that. It's never been intended to be journalistic, and never was intended to serve as a news source even if to some extent a good bit of the content is news driven.

There are already enough sites and blogs out there that intend to deliver news. Here, this blog responds to it. Over the years of my doing this blog that really has not changed.

One of my aims entering 2018, however, was to begin the process of increasing the content here, and make posts quite a bit more frequent. There are several ways I have begun to do this. And one of those ways is the introduction of a new "segment" of the blog I am calling Quick Shout.

As I have increased my participation on Twitter one frustration has always been that sometimes I'd like to have the opportunity to expand more in response to something that has been tweeted. While Twitter has obviously relaxed its character allowances among other things, it still can be rather limited.

Quick Shout allows me to respond directly to a Tweet, or some other thing, do it in a more expanded manner, but still keep it short and sweet.

It is not intended to become the blog. Regular posts will still be written as they were before. It is simply an addition to the blog content presented here. Most of the Quick Shout content will be geared to, and tied to Twitter. Why? Because its a great source for engaging discussions, and even retorts. And it offers a great source of material from which to springboard from and further those discussions in a more detailed, and lengthier fashion.

Why have I decided to incorporate Quick Shouts into the regular blog? To me, it seems one can become bogged down trying to manage too many blogs, and because the nature and general format of this new segment are quite in line with the purpose and intent of The Springboard, it just seems fitting to me to keep it here.

What I'd love to see with it is more engagement from my readers in the form of comments. One area that has been lacking here for whatever reason. The Springboard gets an enormous amount of activity. But for whatever reason has never driven comments.

I think it should be an interesting new area of the blog, and hopefully you'll agree. We'll see where it leads us—and perhaps over time, as most things do, it may even evolve a little bit.