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Home Posts, Updates Wrong direction


Wrong direction

Well, I was going to complain about my job, but I decided to do that someplace else.

So I’m going to talk politics for a minute. If that distresses you, sorry. Feel free to ignore the rest of this post. But reconsider a moment: Politics are pervasive in our society. From the Coven where one upmanship is common to the workplace where it’s not what you know but who, to the State and National political scene who make laws that we then have to obey. It’s one of the all consuming human nature things that I watch with a mixture of disgust and awe.

This time, however, I am going to talk about National Politics. Specifically about the Democratic party and their direction.

Anyone who has read ANY of my site probably knows that I’m pretty much a Democrat right now. I don’t agree with a lot of the platform for the rest of the political parties, and there is not an equivelant of the UU for politics. Even the Independant Party is getting codified in a wierd way. So I align myself mostly with the Dems simply because I agree with most of their platform.

Please note, I say “MOST of their platform”, not all. There are aspects that I disagree with. Like this gem:


Whatever happened to good corporate citizenship?

In America today, a business you might know pays such poor wages its workers have to turn to taxpayers to pay for their health care. The same firm has made China, a totalitarian dictatorship that holds wages down by outlawing unions, its supplier of choice — the source of 70 percent of its inventory.

And the family that owns this company and has become wildly wealthy? They make sure to invest their money in the Republican Party — where they know their investment will pay off with tax cuts for the richest few.

What company is this? Wal-Mart — the largest, richest corporation in the world.


Why would I get upset you may ask? After all, I’m all for keeping jobs in America, right?

Yes, I am for keeping American Jobs here. The problem with this is that it calls for some sort of punishment for Wal-Mart as a response to this. That we need to punish them for being a successful company.

Let me say that again; This email is calling for the Democratic party to punish a corporation for being successful.

That’s what this is. The Wal-Mart corporate structure made money. Thus the corporation wants to keep that money. They have a couple ways to do this, they can either raise prices to get more money coming in, or they can shop around for the best deal on their products so they can make more off the individual unit.

For those of you who did not take Economics, let me illustrate:

We have a widget. It’s a nice widget and it costs the company who sells it $.50 each. They have two ways of making money off this. They can sell each widget for $2.00 which will make them about $1.50 in profit which can be reinvested. In this scenario, selling it for $2.00 is a good thing. But company X across the street is selling THEIR wigets for $1.49, which means that our widget is more expensive. Those that don’t have a lot of money will probably get their widget from across the street. Not good for us.

So let’s sell our widget for $1.30, means less profit, but hey, we are less expensive now. We make money, not as much as before, but we are selling again.

Solutions to this problem? Raise our price and buy out Company X across the street, drive them out of business by underpricing them terribly (say putting our widgets at $.90. We sill make a profit, but not nearly as much, and company X won’t stand a chance) or by lowering our cost of making the widgets. So we look at every aspect of the production of the widget, and discover that if we move our factory to another state, we can save $.15 per widget on the cost of production. And if we buy the materials to make the widget from another company, we can save another $.10 per widget. See that, we halved our cost to make the widgets. That means that we make an extra $.25 in profit.

Combine that with the $.90 price we have now, that’s $.65 in profit from every widget. (A good rule of thumb for any company is to price your wares at x3 your cost, which will let you have the money you invested back, have half of what is left to put back into the company, and let you have what is remaining in your pocket.) So, at $.90 we now have the x3 rule covered, plus another $.15 to add to our personal profit. Not bad. Add that to the volume we are selling since we are down from the $2.00 we had (and that looks like a MASSIVE savings) but we are also really underpricing the competition and soon we will be the only people with widgets in the area, and we can put our price back to $2.00 soon, and retain ALL the $1.75 profit at that point. Hehehehehe

This is how Wal-Mart has set up their corporate structure. And it works. It works in areas they move into through massive undercutting of prices, fast grab profits, buying from countries that pay $.15 a day to their workers, and so on. The thing is, this is good business practices.

Yes, these practices have been in effect since the start of commerse. Go back into medevial times, I bet you find alchemists who shopped around for the best deal on the mercury they needed, and in any commerse driven society you are going to find these practices. Hell, I do it in my business, since I want to make money too.

What does this mean? We are punishing those who win. That’s the wrong message to send.

Import tarrifs, retention of jobs in America, tax breaks ONLY if buying from American suppliers, giving teeth to trade sanctions and embargos, and punishing the companies who violate those, THAT is the way to do this.

Not with saying “BAD Wal-Mart! You send jobs away, you buy from cheep distributers, No taxbreak for you!”

But this also means that we as a country have to rethink our identity. Yes, I could have spent the $100 I spent on my wife’s pen on a $10 pen, and pocketed the other $90. She could have gotten me a $15 hat instead of the $35 one that she got. Why was it more expensive? QUALITY. That is what that extra money is for, the construction, the precision, the way of manufacturing.

Unfortunately in this country, quality costs money, lots of it. I would love to get my leather for $1.00 a square foot, but that’s not going to happen unless I go to India or something, and then I get what I pay for. But I ask something like $100 for my wares, and that is about $33 in materials, $33 for my work, and $34 for my pocket. And it does cost me about $33 to make one. If I could drop that down to $10 or so, that would be wonderful, and I’d sell it then for about $40, but that’s a pipe dream.

But I see copies of what I make in various places and I know that in order to sell it for $20, they must be using super thin leather, non-metal parts, thrown together in about 20 minutes, and as such it’s going to fall apart in a week.

But now they are proposing to punish those that sell their products and make money. While vicerally I want that to happen, intellectually, I can’t.

America stands for ideas. One by one those ideas have been betrayed by the Government, and now they want to betray the last one that stands. The ideal of a free market where anyone can make it and live a better life. Every emigrant who stepped off the boat has wanted to live a better life in America, most of them providing for their families and many making a success of themselves and their company out of it.

Now the Democtrats wish to make it so that if you DO make it, against all odds, you are punished for it. Sorry, wrong way.

Pay for quality. Vote with your dollar. Go to corporations that don’t have human rights violations in their record and buy from them. Make your own. All those are ways to punish Wal-Mart for sending jobs overseas. But you have to do it, one person at a time. The real grassroots campaign. One person at a time convinced that enough is enough. I rarely buy from Wal-Mart, but I do get my gas at Sam’s. I get some of my bulk items from them too. But I also buy my beads from the lady down the street instead of cheeper online at some of the places I know. Why? She’s a good lady and deserves to be able to make a living. Just as I do. Just as Wal-Mart does.

No, I don’t agree with their way of doing business. Just as I don’t agree with Microsoft’s way of doing business. But punishing the victors is the incorrect way to do things. Changing how and why we buy is much better.

Some want to know what that “BuyBlue” icon on the left is. It’s a way to put money back into the businesses who have good practices and away from places like Wal-Mart. A “Blue” orginization is one that contributes to the Democratic Party, has a good track record with it’s employees, takes care of it’s customers, and so on. Check them out, and start buying from those companies listed.

And if you want to vote in the poll the Democrats set up, go to http://www.democracyforamerica.com/walmartvote

First posted on May 12, 2005 @ 12:27

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