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Texas : Features : Columns : Letters From North America :

A pit of quicksand

by Peary Perry
Peary Perry
Iím certain there are a huge number of people in this wonderful country of ours that are much smarter than me. We have lots of folks who have PHDís and have studied economics as well as finance , chaos theory and many other concepts to help explain our method of government as well as business.

So, these people must know something I donít know since they keep coming up with schemes and plans which most of us can tell at first glance havenít a snow balls chance in hell of working. Take for instance this rebate check weíre supposed to be getting. $600 for the single people and $1200 and some change for the married folks. How long do you think this is going to last anyone out here in the real world? I bought gas yesterday and it ate up $60 in the blink of an eye. Driving around town, not on vacation is costing me $500 a month. All of the rebate Iíll get will go to gas or to pay for higher prices at the store. How can the folks in Washington think this is going to somehow Ďstimulateí the economy? All this is going to do is allow us to pay some bills that we already owe, not spend it on new stuff. Who can buy any new stuff? Who can afford to buy any new stuff?

I feel as if I am slowing sinking into a pit of quicksand. Instead of life getting better for all of us it seems to be getting worse. I donít see any change on the horizon by either political party. All I see is a repeat of the same stuff over and over which changes from day to day depending on what the polls say. I wish for once we would have a candidate for one party or another that says what they believe in and what they think is best for the country regardless of what their handlers or the polls have to say about it. I donít think that will ever happen. They swing with the current winds of opinion. How sad.

Years ago, when I had a lot of employees we found a strange reality. If someone had to leave the company for one reason or another and went out for unemployment or workers compensation, they would take the amount they made while on unemployment or on compensation and subtract that from what ever we were paying them to work. So, letís just say the difference was $80 a week. If we tried to get these people to return to work at their old rate of pay they would refuse and tell us they could not come back to work for $2.00 an hour. At first we didnít understand what they meant, and then they explained. If they were getting $420 a week for not working, and we wanted them to come back to work for $500 a week for 40 hours of work, then they were (in their minds) working those 40 hours for just $80 or just $2.00 an hour, it wasnít worth their effort. In one state where we had an operation, the prevailing rate for any workers compensation rate was higher than what they earned while they were working. It doesnít take a rocket scientist to guess that a lot of people hurt their backs and went to the doctors who advertised on phone book covers for long term care and rehabilitation. We didnít stay in that state for very long.

Today I heard that there is a move afoot to issue a second round of those $600-$1200 rebate checks since the first ones wonít do much good to jumpstart the economy. Why not just issue one out to every American every month? In fact why not just print enough money, save a million dollars, to give to every AmericanÖ..that should help, shouldnít it?

No, Bunkie, Iím afraid it wonít. Look at what happened to Germany in the late 30ís. People were carrying German marks around in wheelbarrows just to buy a loaf of bread. There is this thing called inflation.

We donít or canít make the economy grow by handing out money to every citizen. We make the economy grow by allowing businesses to expand, develop new products and remain competitive with the rest of the world. We make the economy grow by eliminating waste and fraud in government programs and lowering taxes to people and businesses which results in more dollars available to spend on capital improvements and salaries. Higher taxes and more governmental giveaways puts us on slippery slope to a faltering economy and a less competitive society.

We need to encourage achievement and innovation, not penalize someone because they work hard or think of a new idea or concept. Adopting punitive practices such as excessive taxation and regulation encourages not only capital flight but relocation of human assets necessary to insure a growing economy.

If we want to compete in a global world we need to think about how best to do so before it is too late.
© Peary Perry
Letters From North America

May 1, 2008 column
Syndicated weekly in 80 newspapers
Comments go to pperry@austin.rr.com

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