published Sunday, December 19th, 2010

The Carolers

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about Clay Bennett...

The son of a career army officer, Bennett led a nomadic life, attending ten different schools before graduating in 1980 from the University of North Alabama with degrees in Art and History. After brief stints as a staff artist at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and the Fayetteville (NC) Times, he went on to serve as the editorial cartoonist for the St. Petersburg Times (1981-1994) and The Christian Science Monitor (1997-2007), before joining the staff of the ...

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erobersonII said...

Seems to me that this particular cartoon should be American students lagging in memorization. Carolling has nothing to do with mathmatical skill. C'mon, Clay, make your cartoons relevant.

December 19, 2010 at 1:04 a.m.
wallyworld said...

I really don't think Bennett's cartoons should be allowed to be read by the mentally impaired, but I see some take the challenge.

December 19, 2010 at 5:05 a.m.
moonpie said...

er..... Counting is math. It's a counting song.

Of course, not recognizing basic math could be a problem.... Perhaps that's one reason we're number 32!

OECD also said our kids ranked 24th in reading, (above the UK, Germany, France and Italy to name a few).

The study showed a lot of overlap in performance between countries like the U.S. and the top countries; however, the main difference was that the top countries (China, Finland, Korea and Canada had their best students reading and doing math at higher levels.)

As our businesses become more global, these are the people our students with for the top jobs.

Of course some jobs can never really go global. A lot of local work will never be outsourced. Building roads, carpentry, sheet rock, electrical work... these jobs require boots on the ground and can't be shipped overseas.

I would hope that people would take a look at what some other countries are doing to improve their math and reading proficiencies. Too often, we as Americans, are too busy chanting "We're number 1" to actually take a look around.

So yes, Liz Cheney, our freedoms make make America exceptional... but our culture is not exactly doing the same for our students.

December 19, 2010 at 7:59 a.m.
moonpie said...

moonpie wrote: "As our businesses become more global, these are the people our students with for the top jobs."

No, no, no... that's not right. Try this:

As our businesses become more global, these are the people with whom our students will compete for the top jobs.

December 19, 2010 at 8:19 a.m.
fairmon said...

No reason to prepare or compete. The government provides all that is needed. Freedom is what made America great. A chance to work hard, be successful and get rich, in fact to possibly become very wealthy. Greed, envy and the attitude that the hard working and successful have an obligation to provide for those that failed to prepare and plan for their future kills the incentive to be successful. It is being eroded by the confiscation of wealth by governments in response to the demands of voters that put and keep them in power.

The tactic is for the greedy and elected elite to point to the small number that achieved success in unscrupulous ways then accuse all achievers of being dishonest and greedy. The prevailing attitude is "how else could they have become so successful". It is evident the elected elite use the system and sentiment to enable the success of those they select and those they look to for financial support to retain their position. This is applicable to both political parties. What other reason could there be for over 11,000 pages of confusing IRS regulations?

The masses are bewildered that the wealth creating businesses, the life blood of any country, are leaving and accuse them of greed and having a profit motive. They fail to accept it may be due to the highest "fools tax" (corporate taxes) in the world plus other legislatively imposed cost. It is easier to blame the wage rates than it is to compare the 35%+ U.S. impact than to zero in other countries.

Why is it we are able to retain the financial sector and services, the tourist and entertainment industries but not the manufacturing businesses where people willing to work can be successful?

The cartoon message is provide the opportunity for people to prepare and provide for their self and not become dependent on the government. However, there must be opportunity in the form of work in wealth creating industries.

December 19, 2010 at 9:42 a.m.
Yano said...

Progressive government policies have led to America's wealth and progress.

Labor rights won by unions, reducing child labor, cutting the work week, and raising incomes allowed working people to move into the middle class and have time for education and personal and intellectual improvement. Educated middle class people created the knowledge economy that made America the wealthiest country in the world.

Universal free education lifted millions out of ignorance, raising the literacy rate in this country to 99%, providing trained and talented workers and entrepreneurs for our historic economic growth.

All of the wealthiest countries in the world have large and involved governments, because the rule of law, public investment in infrastructure, improvement of quality of life, and even the social safety net are all part of the package when in comes to economic growth.

Governments should not waste money, should not spend more than the economy can afford, and should not encourage dependency. But active, smart, healthy government is not the bane of economic growth - it is a prerequisite.

In this country we still have work to do. People should not fear financial ruin because of illness (just as they should not fear financial ruin because of excessive taxation). Our education system needs more investment and more cultural support from the public. Investment in science must continue (it was government investment in the sciences in this country that led to the invention of the Internet for example).

Only with appropriate government support will we be able to meet the challenges of the 21st Century and beyond.

December 19, 2010 at 11:18 a.m.
Francis said...

harp is 100% correct. ease up on corporate taxes and institute the flat tax. stop punishing success.

I wonder how public school teachers are held accountable in other countries as compared to the u.s.? you can bet if they don't produce they get canned... the nea is about politics and looking out for number one rather than putting the student first. reading and math are issues in public schools not in private schools or with home schoolers and their supplemental schools.

December 19, 2010 at 11:45 a.m.
Yano said...

harp3339 said: "Why is it we are able to retain the financial sector and services, the tourist and entertainment industries but not the manufacturing businesses where people willing to work can be successful?"

I thought you believed in market economics!

A very wealthy country should not be in the business of manufacturing trinkets. Turning $7.95 worth of parts into an $8 toaster does not generate a lot of wealth.

If that toaster were made in the US, the activity would generate enough income to pay the workers much less than minimum wage. Or, if the price of the toaster were increased to support higher pay for the workers, the toaster would cost $50, and no one would buy it. Or, if we raised tariffs to force consumers to buy $50 American toasters, every consumer would be that much poorer. Ditto for everything else we buy.

Bemoaning the fact that we don't make our own toasters is like bemoaning the fact that each household doesn't grow its own food. It wouldn't be economically sensible.

Our standard of living demands that we engage in high-value added activities, requiring resources that we have more of than our economic competitors do, like top universities, a high-end science infrastructure, a culture that encourages creativity and innovation, etc. It's what we have specialized in and it's what allows us to have richer lives than the Chinese, the Vietnamese, and so on. We make more money inventing I-pods than the Chinese do assembling them for us.

There are manufacturing activities that are high-value, like automobiles, jets, nuclear power equipment, and other high-tech stuff. We are still very competitive in these areas, as evidenced by the opening of our local Volkswagen plant. It is important for the US as a country to provide the right infrastructure to support the development of these kinds of activities. That means a government that invests in education, roads, science, and people.

The market has decided, rightly, that high-volume, low-profit, labor-intensive manufacturing should occur in developing economies where labor is cheap and the small value added by these activities are a marginal improvement over subsistence agriculture. Moving all those factories from China back to the US would make both countries poorer.

December 19, 2010 at 11:47 a.m.
fairmon said...

Yano,

You remind me of our politicians and their lemmings. The only four ways on earth to create wealth are mining, manufacturing, farming and fishing. All other activities utilize and move the wealth around but none create new wealth. We are not as competitive as you suggest is indicated by VW locating here, our huge trade imbalance says we are not. VW is a German entity so where will the profits from that operation go? Why are U.S. based companies moving their headquarters to other countries. Why are U.S. based companies leaving billions of dollars in foreign currencies instead of repatriating their foreign profits to dollars? Do you think it may have something to do with our corporate tax rates which are the highest in the world? The weakening dollar and the flow of wealth from the U.S. to other countries is not cannot continue indefinitely.

How strong can a country be that becomes dependent on other countries for steel, energy, food and clothing? What is wrong with creating and being the producer of inovative products with U.S. workers? The price difference in U.S. produced goods and foreign produced is not the wage delta. The inventor or a few involved in an invention become wealthy then arrange for forign production and acquire more wealth, how does that benefit most Americans? Would it surprise you to learn that the primary producers of reactors, uranium and other nuclear resources are not U.S. owned.

At the current rate at some point we will be defending ourselves by throwing an I-pad at them and threatening to quit inventing things. By the way we are no longer head and shoulders ahead in that area, check out Germany, you may want to catch up on Brazil also. I bet you don't accept that the U.S. dollar is being threatened. It will cease to be the world's reserve currency if we continue on our current path. China and Russia have already agreed to not use it as the reserve currency in their trades. If you haven't bothered to learn what it would mean should those advocating abandoning the U.S. dollar as the world reserve currency you would be wise to do so.

December 19, 2010 at 1:34 p.m.
BobMKE said...

Being in law enforcement forever and my daughter being a public school teacher for 19 years we always dicuss the problems with children. Here are our thoughts:

The problem with children are parents, parents, parents, parents, and peer pressure.

The home will always be the dominate influence in a child's life. The parents are failing miserably.

December 19, 2010 at 2:18 p.m.
Yano said...

harp3339:

Germany is an example of a country that invests a lot of tax money into development of infrastructure and human resources and as a result is one of the world's most successful exporters. Their tax rates overall are much higher than ours, and they have universal health care (they were the first in the world to have it). We could do worse than to emulate Germany. And Germany doesn't make trinkets - they import trinkets from poor countries.

Our trade imbalance doesn't paint the entire picture. Every time we import an I-pod, for example, it counts as a $99 trade imbalance, but most of the profit from the manufacture of that I-pod go to the mostly American owners of Apple Computer, who in turn pay American developers and salespeople. It doesn't stay in China. Likewise, manufacturers of personal computers pay royalties to American companies like Intel, AMD, etc. This intellectual property that you scorn, along with entertainment, banking services, management services, software, etc. are additional sources of wealth, along side mining, etc. Wealth consists of whatever people want, and people want services too.

There are lot of improvements that we as a nation must make in order to stay competitive, so that we don't end up defending ourselves by throwing I-Pads at the North Koreans. Those improvements will involve some smart government investment. But it would be a mistake to return our economy to the Golden Years of the 50s, when America made its own trinkets and was in reality was a whole lot poorer than it is now.

There will be a gradual converging of economic fortune between the US and our economic competitors, not by reducing our wealth, but by everyone else catching up. That is a good thing. A rich world is better for humanity than a poor one. The system that allows it - free trade - is America's gift to history.

December 19, 2010 at 2:29 p.m.
Yano said...

harp3339 said: "Would it surprise you to learn that the primary producers of reactors, uranium and other nuclear resources are not U.S. owned."

That is because the US allowed its early leadership in nuclear power lag over the decades. While countries like France get 50% of their energy from nuclear power, we have stayed dependent on oil and coal.

Fossil fuel reigns in the US because we subsidize it to a ridiculous extent, so that its price doesn't even begin to reflect its true cost, including the environmental damage, the burden on our military to keep oil flowing, and the health costs resulting from the pollution from burning it.

Today, due to a lack of commitment to the power sources of the future by our government, we are in danger of losing the lead in wind and solar energy as well.

December 19, 2010 at 2:42 p.m.
fairmon said...

Yano,

It is evident your reality is how you want or think things should be. I-pods manufactured for the American company at $99 each and sold in America. The full $99 paid to the manufacturing includes a profit for them and the $99 does count toward trade imbalance. The seller then marks the product up and sells to the American consumer. Yep, some sales people and owners get paid. That is the process involved with many imports except some have no American contracting to have them made elsewhere.

I did not and will not scorn any of those services such as financial or intellectual properties, they are valuable assets but do not create wealth. Yes, royalties are paid in some cases to a wealthy few but does little to employ U.S. workers. How do you propose to keep taxing our industries and running them out of the U.S. and reduce unemployment to a level closer to 4%.

We totally disagree when you say it will take some smart government investment. That is the last thing we need but we do need them to get their foot off the throats of those that can and will invest and create in those areas where there is indeed a need.

You ignored the reality of the dollar no longer being the worlds reserve currency. Right now those countries buying oil from the middle east, Russia, Brazil, Venezuela etc. have to first convert their money to U.S. dollars then pay the source in U.S. dollars. Russia, France, Japan, Dubai with the support of the world bank are pursuing an option to the dollar being the world currency. The same process applies for trade among all countries except China and Russia have already agreed they will not do that. Most economist will tell you if that happens we would be glad to make trinkets or anything else to sustain us.

How will you entice American companies to return and report the over one trillion dollars they have in foreign currency?

December 19, 2010 at 7:03 p.m.
Yano said...

harp3339:

The Chinese who make I-pods do not make $99 profit; they make a little bit after they buy parts and pay the biggest slice of profit to Apple.

Intellectual property does create wealth. For example, people do not buy books because they need the paper - nobody buys blank books. It is the creative input, not the forestry, that makes books valuable.

We do need smart government investment if we are going to be like your examples of Germany and Brazil, two liberal western mixed economies. I propose to reduce unemployment by investing in people and infrastructure so that Americans have the ability and opportunity they need to succeed. And, stop spending trillions of dollars blowing people up. Talk about not creating wealth!

The dollar will not be the world's sole reserve currency forever (it already isn't). I alluded to that when I said that other nations will catch up to the US in prosperity. That is inevitable, and ultimately good for humanity as a whole.

December 19, 2010 at 8:17 p.m.
fairmon said...

We shall see and probably within the not too distant future. If you think loss of being the world currency is only the rest of the world catching up your naivety is frightening.

It is the forestry that makes the book possible. It is the building of the Kendal that makes the electronic book possible. It is the construction of the towers, making the steel, the antennas, building the satellites etc. and maintaining these assets that make transmission of data possible. The German and Brazil governments are not the investors but they recognize the value of supporting those that manufacture and create products for domestic and world needs. Patten protection expires and can be stolen or imitated but production continues for years. What and how we manufacture must change, what and how we mine, fish and farm must change but we cannot employee sufficient people in service industries and in creative occupations to create a demand for the services and creations. So, the government creates a short lived demand or stimulus, then what happens?

Germany is on the brink of economic disaster due to borrowing money and bailing out Greece, Ireland and others. They have stated they will not tax those that are providing jobs for people that pay taxes. Unfortunately some euro countries will fail and the primary EURO countries will kick them out of the euro union.

Who do you think pays the 22 to 33 percent ligislatively embedded cost in U.S. produced goods? China has a zero corporate tax rate. The cost delta in those imports you buy versus U.S. goods is not the wage delta. Transporation cost off sets the wage delta. Canada has passed the U.S. in economic health.

December 19, 2010 at 9:45 p.m.
mountainlaurel said...

Harp3339 said: “Why are U.S. based companies moving their headquarters to other countries."

The most obvious reason are the tax loopholes that allow business profits to remain “completely untaxed” if left overseas, Harp3339. This is the first thing that needs to be changed - ASAP.

December 19, 2010 at 9:49 p.m.
AndrewLohr said...

Why bad math? Because most students here go to tax-paid schools that get paid whether their 'customers' like them or not, unlike businesses that have to keep their customers happy. Give the money to parents, instead of to school systems, and the schools will race to the top competing, not just for a few dollars. Pay them regardless of performance, as we do now, and performance won't add up.

As I keep saying, business offers instant accountability, also diversity and flexibility; the tax-paid sector not so much.

Remember salvation came not from King Herod's bureaucrats but as a personal gift of triune Jehovah. Merry Christmas.

December 19, 2010 at 10:20 p.m.
Yano said...

Companies are not actually relocating. Mailboxes in Bermuda are not companies. CEOs aren't in Bermuda, except maybe on the weekends. It is all just a tax dodge for a few unscrupulous companies that would fare a lot worse if they were based in any other developed country. We can discuss whether a consumption tax might be a better revenue source than a corporate income tax, but ultimately tax extracted from the private economy is all equivalent anyway.

There is no crisis with respect to a new world currency. The current best contender, the Euro, is in a hell of a bigger mess than the dollar. If Spain defaults, Germany will quit it and the Euro will cease to exist.

Today in the US companies like GM have restructured, the banks have been restructured. It is going to be like the last recession, when the US dragged Europe into recovery.

Trust the market. US companies will move their reserves back to the US when the opportunity arises, which it will.

There will be no soon replacement for the petrodollar, because Europe will never trust Russia enough to base a currency on the price of Russian energy reserves.

December 19, 2010 at 10:23 p.m.
Yano said...

Harp:

Canada has more debt than we do. Transoceanic transportation is extremely cheap (transport ships use the dregs from oil production). Value is added to goods by every manufacturing process - which is why many European countries can successfully use a VAT - the value of a Chevy is more than the value of its plastic and steel. China doesn't have a corporate income tax but every Chinese company pays money to the government - many of them are if fact owned by the government, which receives a 100% tax (i.e., they get all the profit).

Why are you seeing the world so primitively? Fish are one of the four sources of wealth??? Even Adam Smith understood that manufacture increases the value of materials.

December 19, 2010 at 10:37 p.m.
Yano said...

In the Chinese economy I mean that many companies are owned by the Peoples Army, which is a branch of the Communist Party, which is the de facto government there.

December 19, 2010 at 10:47 p.m.
fairmon said...

yano China is communist no doubt, they do have central control and planning by the government. However, They now have individual and family ownership, public ownership via stock exchange, Foreign owners and joint ventures.Their annual growth rate, 8-10% compared to our 0-2%. We have gone from being the world's largest lender to having the world's largest debt, Cananda does not have more debt than the U.S. I participated in the decisions and know why we constructed facilities in another country instead of the U.S. where we would have preferred. The CEO of Intel recently bluntly explained why they were unable to build a factory in the U.S. The cost was over 1 billion dollars more than for the same facility in another country. He stated it was not the difference in worker compensation but the bureaucracy here. Canada's debt is not greater than ours.

Fishing creates wealth you ask, yes. Wealth is only created when you convert something of lesser value to something of greater value and those in the fishing industry do that. Printing and spending or loaning money does not create wealth. Loans enable wealth creation, interest paid is not new wealth. Dr.'s, lawyers, government workers, hospitals, accountants etc. do not create wealth, they relocate it.

Why do you call a company unscrupulous for lowering their product cost, protecting profits and returning more to share holders by being creative regarding the location they identify as headquarters? Halliburton's move to Dubai was a smart move, others will follow.

The new world currency concept being pursued and supported by the world bank, Russia, Japan, the middle east and France is a basket of currencies and gold. The VAT may be even more stifling than a ridiculously high corporate rate, and who ultimately pays the Vat tax, called by some sharp economist the "fools tax"?

The value of a Chevy is no greater than the sum of it's parts. Taxes don't increase value. It would be nice and transparent if there were no in process or imposed cost and the price to the consumer included thirty cents of each dollar as a consumption tax. This concept would work and prevent manipulation by corrupt and ignorant politicians. Most of those we elect have zero business experience or acumen.

mountainlaurel, chimes in that companies leaving foreign country profits in those countries is one of the things we need to change ASAP. Fortunately the power of our elected elite is not applicable in foreign countries, they can't require those doing business in another country to do anything regarding their business in those countries.

Primitive thinking? Read the history of those world dominators in the past. Rome, Spain, France, Europe and others. You will see some of your words and of our officials today.

December 20, 2010 at 1:45 a.m.
Yano said...

Harp said: "The value of a Chevy is no greater than the sum of its parts."

This is fundamentally wrong. A Chevy is worth more than its scrap value. Is your computer worth $20 of plastic and silicon? Companies add value to resources, that's basic economics.

Canada's debt is 75% of GDP compared to the US's 53%. (Not to say we don't need to reduce that.) Germany's is 72%. Brazil's is 60%.

December 20, 2010 at 4:36 a.m.
fairmon said...

Yano I have enjoued the exchange of opinions and I think we finally agree on something we may have been stating differently. Saying a Chevy is worth more than the sum of it's parts means an assembled Chevy is worth more than the sum total of each of the parts used to build it. You can price an assembled Chevy at a higher price than you could sell each component for. A wealth creating manufacturing process. An assembled computer is worth more than the parts used to construct it.

Mining the minerals and converting them to aluminum, steel and other materials to be uded in constructing the Chevy increases the value of the minerals and creates wealth.

Commercial fishermen catch, clean and process fish for the market. The value is greater than when they were swimming around in the open sea.

Looking at debt only as a percent of GDP is misleading to say the least. The U.S. has much more "off book" accounting than others. The debt per capita, X-assets, projected growth and various other factors are used by economist and investors to assess the debt and risk reward value. In my earlier travels to Canada I could convert one U.S. dollar to around $1.50 Canadian. The current exchange rate is close to $1.00 for $1.00. I should have been sharp enough to convert several thousand then and I would now have a nice profit.

Have you ever worked in industry and managed a for profit business with a budget of several hundred million dollars. Have you ever had to review hundreds of pages of local, state and federal reports that cost to generate and provide duplicated and meaningless information. Have you ever seen the impact of local state and federal taxes, fees and other imposed cost? Environmental and safety regulations are not a problem and very appropriate.

I don't mean to imply these jobs are not important, they are essential. But, your view on economics and governements roll suggest to me you are either a government employee, in the education field or in a retail business?

December 20, 2010 at 7:41 a.m.
Yano said...

Harp,

Have a great day.

I'm off to work, managing the creation of value in the form of services at a Fortune 500 company.

:)

December 20, 2010 at 7:46 a.m.
Amos_Ives_Root said...

It is plain to see that harp places no value in technological innovation. So, in his world a bucket of paint and a plate of steel are worth as much as a painted automotive unibody.

The reason he values innovation so little is because he doesn't understand it. Its hard to value something that you see as incomprehensible. harp understands the value of technological innovation as much as Clay Bennett understands mathematics.

December 20, 2010 at 8:08 a.m.
sunnydelight said...

BobMKE Says The problem with children are parents, parents, parents, parents, and peer pressure.

The home will always be the dominate influence in a child's life. The parents are failing miserably. Although there is some truth in what you say, you're not 100% correct . Explain a family with multiple children and only one turns out bad. Children are individuals who make decisions of their own regardless of the home environment . They don't have steering wheels like automobiles nor are they programable like computers. If they did , It would solve a lot of problems. Drugs in School and on the streets is the biggest influence they have in their lives.Leniency in the justice system is the biggest roadblock to the solution. The court system is a revolving door. All one has to do is look at the rap sheet of a couple of offenders to see this.

December 20, 2010 at 8:26 a.m.
BobMKE said...

sunnydelight,

Regarding your comments about the court systems, you are right. I've always had this sarcastic saying; If you want justice go to the whorehouse. If you want to get scr--ed, go to the courthouse. Also, parents involvement in their children's lives, in most cases, will overcome the massive drug problem (peer pressure) that is out there. Hardly anything is ever 100%, so I agree with you on your point.

December 20, 2010 at 8:41 a.m.

erobersonII said: "C'mon, Clay, make your cartoons relevant."

You must be new to his work?

December 20, 2010 at 9:57 a.m.
mountainlaurel said...

Harp said: “Fortunately the power of our elected elite is not applicable in foreign countries.”

No, the “change” I was referencing was our need to enforce U.S. laws that were established to deal with corporations that mostly operate in the U.S. but have incorporated offshore to avoid paying their taxes here in the U.S. These corporations should not receive any Federal contracts.

December 20, 2010 at 11 a.m.
mountainlaurel said...

BobMKE said: "The home will always be the dominate influence in a child's life."

I agree this is important, but I believe "peer pressure" is the dominant factor with teenagers.

December 20, 2010 at 11:04 a.m.
pmcauley said...

Something I agree with Francis... miracle!!

I think there should be an across the board flat tax. Period. No deductions. No loopholes. Off the gross. It would be better in the long run. I never could see the reason for "progressive taxes". 20% of $250,000 would still be a hell of a lot more than I would pay.

my $0.018

December 20, 2010 at 1:47 p.m.
pmcauley said...

Yano: "Canada has more debt than we do." Canada hasn't anywhere near the same debt or deficit as we do.

December 20, 2010 at 1:49 p.m.
Clara said...

mountainlaurel,

I agree with the peer pressure.

As a classmate of theirs said many years ago..."You are only two against around 3000." Actually, it was only 1 against 3000.

December 20, 2010 at 4:55 p.m.
fairmon said...

Amos_ives_root,

Your speed reading failed you. The message was that an assembled automobile had greater value than the individual components used to construct it. That is one example of wealth creation. Lol...a Chevy may not be the best example and may have caused some confusion since some people consider them a "bucket of bolts".

Where did you conclude I didn't think technological innovation was important? Can you imagine the cost to assemble an automobile without it? Of course it is a critical piece of the wealth creation process. However it is useless if there are not meaningful and productive uses or it is not appropriately utilized. Technology is the best way to avoid inflation in all wealth creation processes.

Yano, a service industry such as an insurance company cannot create new wealth but service industries do add to the velocity of money which is important also. The service sector is like a casino or bookie. They take money in skim off their take and pass it on. People demand and want the service but nothing of greater value is created. Example: when a Lawyer wins a big settlement he takes his cut and passes the balance on to the the client, nothing of greater value results although there may be someone impoverished and someone else wealthy. An insurance company pays a big claim but charge clients in total enough to make around a 4% margin on the money flowing through their firm, nothing of greater value is produced. Services and governments are zero sum operations. They can only move to someone money they receive or they take from others. Very different than the wealth creating process of taking a variety of components or ingredients and converting them to something of greater value. This includes computers and their greater assembled value.

I do hope you had a great day, I did. I am sure you gave your employer the productive time you agreed upon for the compensation agreed upon. None of us are ever paid what we desire but most are paid more than we are worth as we go about providing a service or doing wealth creating work.

December 20, 2010 at 5:17 p.m.
whatsthefuss said...

harp 3339 for president!!!

December 20, 2010 at 5:52 p.m.
Yano said...

Hello Harp,

I hope you had a great day as well. Alas, I was in meetings all day, and we know how productive those can be!

When a company makes a Twinkie, it creates wealth by increasing the value of sugar, flour, and oil. When a singer records a song, he creates value out of nothing but his talent.

You can buy the Twinkie and eat it, and it disappears. The wealth is gone (consumed).

Or, you can download a song on I-Tunes, and potentially keep it forever. We know that the song has value because people are willing to pay for it. The value of the song does not derive from the manufacturing cost but from the talent that went into creating it. Apple can even sell the same song to someone else with zero additional cost to themselves.

The market decides what has value and what doesn't. Yes you can create value by refining ore or growing wheat, sugar cane, and soybeans. You can also create value by performing a service. The service has value, we know, because people pay for it. The value of that service may be ephemeral (like a haircut) or lasting (like a work of art).

Those who create value by performing services contribute to the economy as long as they continue to perform, and some may leave lasting wealth as well.

December 20, 2010 at 6:38 p.m.
BobMKE said...

When a parent(s) are not involved in their children's lives, such as ALWAYS asking, who are your friends, where are you going, who are you going with, what is going on at school, do your homework first, you will be home by ----pm. Informing their children that you will be there for their teacher's conferences, plays, sporting events, church servies, and always saying I love you. Later the children will have earned their parents trust and can become more independent and become responsible adults. Clara and mountainlaural I have over 34 years in law enforcement, worked the mean streets and housing projects, interviewed 1,000's of young people. My daughter has put many years in the inner city schools. We know what we are talking about when it comes to lack of parental control. Parents who have failed their children will never admit it. Their excuse the vast majority of the time is, It's peer pressure.

December 20, 2010 at 7:50 p.m.
whatsthefuss said...

BobMKE, You and your daughter are either extremely arrogant or your not quite the experts you profess to be. Because you have done something for X amount of years dosen't make you the authority of parenthood. PS, the majority don't live in the "MEAN STREETS or HOUSING PROJECTS." Kind of funny but I also have talked with 1,000 of young people and the majority in the south have been let down by teachers with a bad attitude and a poor skill set. Encouragement and motivation are not taught on a daily basis in school. If you are a black person talking about people of your own race and feel you need to make a difference and can effect change in needy neighborhoods I commend you and offer any assistance I can. If your white and just want to go on about how you have done a noble job and we should bow, don't hold your breath. Teachers who have failed their students will never admit it. I know what I am talking about when it comes to bad teachers and cops!!! Go figure??

December 20, 2010 at 8:24 p.m.
fairmon said...

Yano, Producing a recording is manufacturing, Twinkies are manufacturing and the wealth was created due to the increased value of the ingredients from the conversion process, eating a twinkie or a depreciating car does not reduce wealth if replacements are manufactured. True wealth is not how much money but the value of assets. Inflation will reduce the value of money but assets are more likely to appreciate similar to inflation and prices.

No my dear, services do not create wealth although they are desired and needed by consumers. See earlier examples and help me understand how any of those services or governments create new wealth. Services and governments simply move wealth around. Banks loan money but they create no wealth although their loan can enable others to operate a wealth creating business. Insurance companies create zero wealth but for a fee enable people or businesses to protect each other from drastic changes in their wealth.

I'm not downplaying the importance of services or being critical and condescending to those with careers in the service sector or involved in creativity and inventions but recognizing they don't create wealth but enable others to create wealth.

December 20, 2010 at 8:54 p.m.
mountainlaurel said...

BobMKE said: "When a parent(s) are not involved in their children's lives."

I agree that it’s important for parents to be involved in their children’s lives, but parents simply are not in control of everything. They cannot control how teens perceive one another, how teens interact with one another, what type of clothes are fashionable, who is attractive and who is unattractive, what kind of behavior is cool VS uncool and who is popular and who is unpopular, etc. - and all of these things can impact children who are searching for their own identity.

December 20, 2010 at 10:53 p.m.
SavartiTN said...

According to Clay's cartoon, it might be perceived that the American student cannot read either.

BobMKE...way off target. I have been raising four grandchildren for the last 7 years and have been absolutely appalled at the way the current school system is run. My children have constantly dealt with apathetic teachers who have no interest in actually teaching the children. They have told the students as much. Teachers who run crying from the class. Teachers who talk on their cell phones during class. Teachers who scream that they don't HAVE TIME to explain the math concepts that the children don't understand. Teachers that preach religion and politics while ignoring what they should be teaching. Teachers who say that they don't have time to give the children a list of their grades or missing assignments. Teachers who don't communicate with me.

I have always been involved with their education. Go to conferences. All sporting events. I try to check their homework and grades but the Hamilton County school system does not have a computer that posts student assignments or grades. I send emails to teachers that...50 percent of the time...are ignored. I have numerous college degrees with majors in math and technical writing. How, exactly, is a parent supposed to do more? I could help the children IF the teachers would enable me to do so.

One issue that could help the situation is enforcing discipline in the schools. It's seems as if the principals are afraid to discipline the minorities. One of the student's at our local high school plays sports and hasn't done any of his own work for years. But he passes anyway. Students misbehave and the administration turns a blind eye because someone might holler discrimination. I will tell you what discrimination is...it is the majority of the children wanting to get an education but unable to do so because a few students disrupt class but the principal lets them get away with it.

Teachers go to school to learn how to teach. We pay them to teach. They have our children 7 hours every day five days a week. They need to teach. Or was I under the mistaken impression that they should teach...maybe it is the parents job to educate? If so, fire the teachers. Save the taxpayers some money.

December 20, 2010 at 11:42 p.m.
BobMKE said...

whatsthefuss,

You're right, my daughter is a bad teacher and I'm a bad Detective because we do not have the right to help our community because we are both white. What do we know. We are also a Christian family who always tries to do the right thing in everything we do, and that is serving our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. So go ahead and criticize us for being Christians too. I'm sorry that you are painting us with a broad brush. I forgive you for your hurtful comments.

December 20, 2010 at 11:47 p.m.
mountainlaurel said...

Whatsthefuss said: “Encouragement and motivation are not taught on a daily basis in school.”

This is truly unfortunate because "encouragement and motivation" can and does make a big difference, particularly with kids who are having difficulties in school. I served on a truancy board a few years ago in another region and I saw first hand the kind of dramatic difference it can make when a community works closely with the truant and the parents to resolve the problem.

It was a volunteer board that included a diverse group of community representatives – the truant, the parent, the truant's homeroom teacher, a private social worker, a County Children’s Services worker, a police officer, a probation officer and several local community organization members. The goal was to let the truant know a lot of people cared, and were there specifically to make sure he/she got the education that they needed for the future – the size of the board always got the student’s attention, including most of the young gang toughies.

The truant’s attendance problems were discussed openly with the truant, personal goals were set with the truant, and, then, an “attendance contract” was set up, which the truant had to sign. If there were any additional problems, the truant knew he/she would have to come back to the board to discuss them again. Approximately, 90% did not have to come for a second meeting.

December 21, 2010 at 12:05 a.m.
SavartiTN said...

BobMKE...you were painting parents with a broad brush. Maybe the parents will forgive you for your "hurtful" comments.

December 21, 2010 at 2:27 a.m.
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