I Am Running for President

recessionOur nation languishes in an economic recession that seems intractable.

Our manufacturing base is gone.  Many of our cities and states are bankrupt.  The aisles at the neighborhood Dollar Store are jammed.

Still, there doesn’t seem to be any sense of alarm.  We whistle past the graveyard, as our government borrows and prints ever-increasing gobs of money to shore up our sagging standard of living.  We know it has to come crashing down.  The bubble will burst.  Are we content to just wait around until the doo-doo hits the fan?

Meanwhile, our fearless leaders offer no suggestions, no plans, no hope for a solution to this inevitable economic Hiroshima.  Have you heard anything from our President or our Congress that leads you to believe the economy will get better?

Decision-making has devolved into finger-pointing.  Politicians ride the fence, careful to not suggest anything that might cost them a vote as they play on the emotions of a citizenry that has become numb to bad news.  The remaining few of us who realize the gravity of our economic situation have, frankly, given up.

Tom-presidentTo hell with it.  I’m tired of whining about the situation and nothing gets done.   If nobody else will step up, I guess I have to.  ELECT ME AS YOUR NEXT PRESIDENT.  I will head the ticket for the E Party (the “E” stands for Economy).

If elected, I will declare war – call it World War “E”.  We will attack our economic crisis with a national fervor and urgency not seen since World War II.  The futures of our children and grandchildren depend on it.  You will ask not what your country can do for you, you will ask what you can do for your country.  And what you can do for your country is demand performance from our federal government, starting with Congress.

No more pandering for votes by competing to see who can give away the most stuff.  No more political correctness and phony junk science.  No more corruption – government crooks will do jail time, not get suspended with pay.  No more 139-day work calendar.  You will stay in session, you will do research and deliberation, you will work until you come up with solutions!  The president and the citizens will tell you – Congress – what needs to be done, and you will do it!

We will seal the borders and stop the flood of poor and unskilled illegal immigrants – we can’t afford them and we need to take care of our own.   We will eliminate corporate taxes, death taxes, and all other double taxation, and will create a simple, fair and flat tax system – this will spur the economy and eliminate corruption between big business and politicians.  We will sell all unused federal property.  We will eliminate all obsolete and inefficient federal programs.  We will abolish the corrupt government employee unions.

We will embrace our natural resources and become the energy provider to the world.  We will implement modest tariffs on all imports and bring manufacturing jobs home.  We will build 21st-century transportation and communication infrastructure and a state-of-the-art national defense system, including REAL anti-terrorism with profiling – not hassling Grandma at the airport.  We will let the rest of the world sort out their own problems, and make sure they know better than to screw with us.  Those nations who want to join our side in World War E will be welcomed to the team.  Kick the United Nations out.  Drop out of the World Trade Organization.  Tell the Chinese to get on board or bug off.

We will help the helpless, but not the clueless.  We will teach our children patriotism, history, free-market economics, and individual responsibility.  We will make our education system relevant, functional, and competitive.  We will encourage excellence and initiative rather than dependency.

We can do this.  Look at what our nation has accomplished in the past when our backs were against the wall.

Can I count on your vote?

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

Rockin' On the Right SideI’m your top prime cut of meat, I’m your choice,
I want to be elected!
I’m your Yankee Doodle Dandy in a gold Rolls Royce,
I want to be elected!
Kids want a savior, don’t need a fake,
I want to be elected!
We’re all gonna rock to the rules that I make,
I want to be elected!

Elected – Alice Cooper

Here’s my first campaign commercial!

Pat Buchanan: Competition – It’s A Good Thing!

pat-buchananPat Buchanan is right on the money.  Again.

In a recent editorial he points to a Senate hearing where Apple CEO Tim Cook (former darling of the Dems) was excoriated for tax avoidance.  You see, Apple has paid zero US income tax on its earnings from outside the country in recent years, and it’s perfectly legal.  Ireland won Apple over with its 2% corporate tax, compared to the 35% Apple would pay our Treasury.  Corporate income tax now makes up less than 10% of federal revenues, and will continue to decline as long as we fail to compete with other nations.

Buchanan says the solution to our economic woes is to abolish the corporate income tax in a revenue-neutral exchange for a 10% tariff on all imported goods.  This would bring American corporations (and their off-shore money) racing back to the homeland, and would invite foreign manufacturers to move here as well, reversing the death-spiral of our currency and our ghastly trade imbalance.

Instead of blaming entrepreneurs for avoiding taxes, our fearless leaders should work on attracting and retaining businesses, along with the jobs and wealth they create.

Adam Smith, the father of free market capitalism, taught us that any attempt to control commerce externally is a bad thing.  Free and natural competition is a good thing.

The best solutions are usually the simplest.

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

Rockin' On the Right Side

Seems this worlds got you down
Your feelin’ bad vibrations frown
Well, open your eyes girl, look at me
I’m gonna show you how it ought to be

We’re gonna’ have a good thing
Such a good thing baby

Good Thing – Paul Revere and the Raiders

Here’s an unusual video for you Rockers on the Right Side.  Yeah, it’s GOOD THING by Paul Revere and the Raiders, but from a different perspective – behind the drums.  Unless you have played drums, you would not know that everything is different back there – the sound, the lights, the distance from the audience, even the “feel” of the music.  It’s kind of a lonely world for drummers.  This video features Raider drummer Tommy Scheckel.  And even Tommy is different – a left-handed drummer playing a right-handed setup.  It makes for some unusual moves!  Scheckel is a relative newcomer to the Raiders after playing for 27 years with the Buckinghams (“Kind Of A Drag”,” Susan”,”Don’t You Care”).   Enjoy!  Oh, and hug a drummer today.

We Were Takin’ Care of Business

beatrice_memorialI spent a good part of my early career working for one of America’s greatest businesses – Beatrice Companies.  For most of us in Montana and the western U.S., the face of Beatrice was Meadow Gold Dairies.   While the Meadow Gold brand still exists in some areas, Beatrice is long gone.

The Beatrice story is classic, from its birth in 1894 as a small creamery in Beatrice, Nebraska, to its zenith in the 1980s as a huge multinational corporation encompassing companies and brands such as Avis, Playtex, Culligan, Tropicana, Airstream, Peter Pan, and many other household names.  The company’s ultimate demise was rapid, and the cause has always been pretty much a secret.

A Beatrice manager with a stellar record became CEO in 1980.  According to my very reliable sources at the corporate office in Chicago, he became mentally unstable shortly after taking the reins, and the rock-solid management corp at the top crumbled rapidly.  His actions were erratic, his decisions bizarre – certainly not consistent with the buttoned-down, well-disciplined playbook that had worked so well for almost a century, or with his own management record.  The company’s consistent growth and profits began to wane, and in 1986 Beatrice was acquired in a hostile takeover.   In a leveraged buyout funded by the sale of “junk bonds”, it was split up and sold, and the over-funded defined benefit plans were plundered.  I left the company just as the final axe fell.

There are many life lessons to be learned from the Beatrice saga.  The Beatrice business methods and philosophy were “old school” and tremendously effective.   Every Beatrice manager learned:

  • Hire good people, and treat them well.   Allow them to share in the success.  They will be loyal, responsible, and productive.
  • Promote and move your managers between locations.  They will take the best attributes of their previous company and add them to the strengths of their new company.
  • There are no short cuts.   The details of the business are where the money is made.
  • Accounting and controls are vital.  Count everything.  Never allow an opportunity for someone to get in trouble.
  • Quality is never sacrificed, but the path to profitability is to be the low-cost producer.
  • Competition is a good thing – it allows those who work the hardest to succeed.  And profit is the result of planning and hard work, not luck.

Using these guiding principles, the company grew and thrived.  We were always challenged to improve performance, and were rewarded when we did.  The lessons I learned from Beatrice served me well for the rest of my business career.

In today’s dismal economic environment, when we all question whether our nation’s best days are behind us, I take comfort in my memories of Beatrice Companies.  Profit is not evil, it is the life blood of our economy, and the source of wealth.  The “old school” business formula worked – for employees, for employers, and for the nation.  It will still work, if we don’t screw it up by throwing roadblocks in the way.

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

Rockin' On the Right Side
And we’ve been takin’ care of business, every day!
Takin’ care of business, every way.
We’ve been takin’ care of business – it’s all mine!
Takin’ care of business, workin’ overtime.

Takin’ Care of Business – Bachman Turner Overdrive