Skip to comments.Is America Still "Pro-Business"?
Posted on 08/25/2013 6:46:15 AM PDT by Kaslin
The day started with an American CEO ringing the opening bell at the NASDAQ in New York. And it ended with that same CEO announcing plans to cut his companys American workforce.
It was Friday, August 9th. Mark Durcan, CEO of the global Micron Technology, Inc. had traveled from the companys headquarters in Boise, Idaho to visit the NASDAQ trading epicenter in Times Square. The company has been enjoying good news over the past several months, including a rise in its stock value, additional contracts to sell its computer memory systems to additional tablet manufacturers, and its recent acquisition of the Hiroshima, Japan based Elpida Corporation. Ringing the bell at the stock exchange seemed like a great way to cap-off a string of celebration-worthy events.
But late in the day on August 7th, and continuing through August 8th, an internal memo from Mr. Durcan began circulating to Microns American-based employees (the company has operations throughout the North American continent, including the states of California, Colorado, Idaho, Virginia, Minnesota, Texas and Utah). In announcing what was described as a workforce optimization plan, Durcan noted to employees that steps like these to improve efficiency and competitiveness are difficult, but our business is heading in a positive direction and we must build the foundation for a bright future. Success will not be achieved without some tough decisions, and this is one of those.
The steps amounted to an across-the-board reduction in Microns workforce. But this wasnt aimed at Micron employees worldwide no, its a reduction in the companys American workforce specifically. Durcan was offering a generous severance package to those who voluntarily wanted to leave, and if the companys American workforce reduction goals arent met within a specified time frame then official layoffs will be the next step. Over the next ten days, entire departments within Microns U.S. operations were told in essence, heres your severance package offer, if you dont take it your position may still be eliminated later.
Micron, by the way, is a great American business success story. Begun at the dawn of the new computer revolution era in 1978 with, among others, some very young and eager graduates of hometown Boise State University, it would eventually be infused with investment capital from a billionaire Idaho potato grower named J.R. Simplott on its way to becoming a publicly traded global enterprise.
Like other players in the highly competitive computer memory industry, Micron has had its ups and downs over the decades. Job layoffs have happened before within the company, and twice last decade first during the post Nine-Eleven recession of 2001 and then during the great recession of 2009 former CEO Steve Appleton chose to sacrifice his entire salary as a means of helping restore profits during lean times. Through it all the company has re-distributed portions of its profits in to its own charitable Micron Foundation, and has donated regularly to arts programs, and to both public and private colleges and universities to support tech education.
But this time Microns unfortunate news is different. The company isnt merely reducing its workforce. This time Micron is specifically cutting jobs in America, even as it will soon be expanding its employment base in Japan. Forget trying to explain to the community organizers in our country about the company executives fiduciary responsibilities - one can imagine that President Barack Obama and lots of disingenuous members of Congress might soon make an example of Micron and unleash talking points lamenting the companys un-patriotic behavior and then vow to crackdown (whatever that means) on those dastardly American companies that are shipping jobs overseas.
But Americans need to wake up and realize that its the policies of these disingenuous politicians that are leading the United States to become a lousy place to do business. The U.S. has the highest corporate taxation rate of any country in the world right now. Japan lowered its corporate income tax rate from 39.5 percent to 37 percent in 2012, and now the Japanese legislature is talking about lowering it even further.
And then, of course, theres Obamacare. The Presidents signature policy initiative is driving insurance costs sky-high, and most of that burden is being carried by individual American workers and their employers. Companies whose CEOs are on good terms with President Obama companies like McDonalds and GE Corporation, for example have gotten themselves exempted from the Obamacare horrors. Micron hasnt received our dear Presidents blessing, apparently, and so must make some moves to protect the interests of its investors.
Do Americans want a thriving economy that produces career opportunities and potentially productive lifestyles for all? Or do we simply want to continue in our fantasy-based pattern of believing politicians promises of free things as we pay no attention to their actual policies?
The choice is ours to make.
We’re a pro-moocher society.
America should not be “pro-business.” That’s the road to crony capitalism and favoritism.
American should be pro free market. The businesses can take care of themselves.
Tax Micron's Japanese products.
Possibly true. However, with exemptions and deductions often highly misleading. Many corporations pay no tax to USA.
Comparing true average net rates would be interesting.
America has become (very) anti-Business.
We have done this by being very very cutthroat competitive within America.
But then farming off production to every country in the world, where we do not apply the same standards.
America is screwed, unless we bring back American production.
As folks often say, no corporation ever pays a tax. Their customers pay the tax for them as the product's price increases so that the tax bill can be paid.
And the concept of crony capitalism fits right it to this. I have friends in high places. I can have loopholes created in the laws. Regulation will hurt my competition, but I can be exempt. The politics is working in my favor, so my tax bill is less, therefore I can charge my customers less, therefore my business expands.
When corporate tax rates are high (as they are now) then crony capitalism (fascism) increases, and an anti-free market environment is constructed. Consumers suffer.
It looks to me that the People of America are pro business but big bus and government are pro dictatorship.
“Fascism should rightly be called Corporatism,
as it is the merger of corporate and government power.”
- Benito Mussolini
As you say.
It’s a classic example of game theory. The economy as a whole thrives when tax rates are low and businesses must compete with each other by being more efficient or innovative.
Any given business, however, can thrive with less effort when rates are high simply by lobbying for exemptions or deductions, which comparatively handicap its competitors.
We should be free market not pro business.
Eisenhower famously spoke about the “Military-Industrial complex”. Some folks thought that was about the Army and the defense contractors, more or less. But really it is a broad concept — that merging corporate and government power is a huge mistake and deprives we the people of our freedom. That way lies dictatorship. Eisenhower knew it.
Those businesses and industries that can afford the most lobbyists, make the right political donations, and engage in activities that further a political ideology whether or not it is feasible or profitable are the ones that receive the exemptions and deductions.
With some notable exceptions, businessmen favor free enterprise in general but are opposed to it when it comes to themselves.
How about taxing Chinese Products instead?
I see your Friedman and raise you a Smith.
“People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices.”
The government of his time was not in general involved in regulating business in detail, or he would surely have said the same about businessmen meeting with government officials.
Adam Smith again:
“To give the monopoly of the home-market to the produce of domestic industry, in any particular art or manufacture, is in some measure to direct private people in what manner they ought to employ their capitals, and must, in almost all cases, be either a useless or a hurtful regulation.”
>>That way lies dictatorship.
In the Old Testament is was named Ba’al.
Ba’al is a Hebrew word for Lord, Possessor, Master, Owner — typically manifested ala the merger of Commerce, Government, and Religion into a State of affairs where “COMMERCE BETWEEN MASTER AND SLAVE IS DESPOTISM”.