Duh … Common Sense Steps to Increase American Competitiveness

Written by William Pauwels on January 29, 2014

The U.S. has some of the highest labor costs in the world. In addition, our employers provide relatively high-cost fringe benefits.

In our expanding, free-trade environment, how can we hope to compete with low cost foreign providers of labor-intensive goods and services?

The only way is to make sure that other cost factors are competitive. For example, energy costs could be considerably lower than at the present time if the U.S. would fully exploit its superabundance of energy in the ground and below the sea. This means developing our coastal energy, reopening the Gulf, exploiting the Alaskan fields, approving the Keystone Pipeline, and developing government owned land. It is reported that the U.S. has more energy in the ground than any area of the world. So why don’t we go get it?

It is unbelievable that the Obama administration cannot make a rational decision on the Keystone Pipeline after five years of environmental analysis. Clearly, presidential leadership is needed here and is missing.

This reminds me of an old saying: “When you don’t know what to do, do nothing.”

Applied to the Keystone Pipeline, it means: Get out of the way and let economic freedom take its natural course.

There is no better example of how government over-regulation and government bureaucracy are strangling economic growth, job development, and balanced trade than this Keystone Pipeline fiasco. This is nothing more than a bunch of leftist government bureaucrats making work for themselves.

In addition, to be competitive, we should lower taxes on industry to an absolute minimum. Corporate taxes are, in fact, passed on to their customers in the form of higher prices. By reducing taxes, we can help American industry compete with foreign competitors.

From page 97 of David Kelley’s 1998 book A Life of One’s Own: Individual Rights and the Welfare State (hat-tip Cafe Hayek) we read:

“In moral terms, welfare programs”[financed by tax dollars]

amount to compulsory Good Samaritanism.  Suppose it were argued that, out of compassion for those in need, every citizen should be compelled to work seven hours per week as a “volunteer” in a hospital, poverty center, or institution for the disabled.  (Seven hours is 17.5 percent of a 40-hour work week and represents about the same proportion of taxable income that goes to support the welfare state.) . . .

More broadly speaking, most working Americans work 3 to 6 months every year to support federal, state and local government programs and personnel.  We are in effect legalized slaves.  And to make matters worse, Obama/Reid/Pelosi and their fellow Democrats want even more of our time and effort and earnings to support what is nothing more than legalized theft.

When America’s Founding Fathers established our nation as a Constitutional Representative Republic, they never intended for this kind of imposed slavery – or the enormous federal, state and local governments that impose their will on the American people. 

However, by gradually incorporating never intended direct-democracy on our election processes, politicians have succeeded in implementing their self-serving enslavement/taxation laws on “We the People.” 

Unfortunately, the slaves are outnumbered by the non-slaves, who keep voting for more and more of our blood, sweat and tears – and the unwitting destruction of the American-Way.  The time may come, according to Ayn Rand in Atlas Shrugged, when the workers and investors will withdraw their support of America’s legalized slavery.

There are, of course, other remedies to the negative balance of trade problem facing our country. One solution is to curtail the GROWTH of imports as summarized in the following document. Frankly, it is a no-brainer solution and one that could be implemented in months rather than years. It would, however, require the United States to modify some trade agreements; but this would be well worth renegotiating to achieve balance of trade and put American workers back to work, producing the goods and services that Americans require.

The absence of economic leadership under the current administration is deplorable. President Obama’s Fabian Socialistic approach doesn’t work and is outdated. Clearly, history has demonstrated that competitive, free-market, constitutional, free-enterprise will produce the highest level of prosperity for the greatest number.

Image: Courtesy of: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jon_marshall/260978898/

William Pauwels
William A. Pauwels, Sr. was born in Jackson Michigan to a Belgian, immigrant, entrepreneurial family. Bill is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame and served in executive and/or leadership positions at Thomson Industries, Inc., Dow Corning, Loctite and Sherwin-Williams. He is currently CIO of Pauwels Private Investment Practice. He's been commenting on matters political/economic/philosophical since 1980.