"Only dull people are brilliant at breakfast"
-Oscar Wilde
Brilliant at Breakfast title banner "The liberal soul shall be made fat, and he that watereth, shall be watered also himself."
-- Proverbs 11:25
"...you have a choice: be a fighting liberal or sit quietly. I know what I am, what are you?" -- Steve Gilliard, 1964 - 2007

"For straight up monster-stomping goodness, nothing makes smoke shoot out my ears like Brilliant@Breakfast" -- Tata

"...the best bleacher bum since Pete Axthelm" -- Randy K.

"I came here to chew bubblegum and kick ass. And I'm all out of bubblegum." -- "Rowdy" Roddy Piper (1954-2015), They Live
Sunday, May 27, 2012

Someone please tell the Republicans that nothing is certain except death and taxes
Posted by Jill | 5:16 PM
I know that the Republicans are doing whatever they can to get rid of the latter, at least for their campaign contributors, but this idea of "Business Must Have Certainty" is the biggest load of horsepuckey that a party which has elevated horsepuckey to something approaching art has ever come up with.

Via David Atkins comes this moronic quote from one Linda Parks, a Republican candidate for California's 26th Congressional district:
Congress needs to stop the brinkmanship politics and work together to balance our nation’s budget and restore our bond rating. This will give businesses the certainty they need to invest in capital projects and expand their workforce. This in turn will create demand for goods and services that will buoy our economy. If Congress can't pass a budget on time, they shouldn't be paid.

Efforts should be made towards restoring our nation’s bond rating which will reduce costs for needed infrastructure such as roads, bridges, levies and water conveyance. These projects will also create jobs and stimulate the economy. Additionally, offering tax incentives to encourage business start-ups and new hires, providing job training and education in growing sectors of the economy, and supporting existing businesses so they can grow are all part of the solution.

I'll leave it to Paul Krugman to explain why this is, well, horsepuckey. But you don't have to be an economist to realize that what Parks is saying is just a bunch of Republican talking points strung together. As Krugman notes in the linked interview, the bond markets are willing to lend the Federal government funds at 1.7%. Even if you want to think of government as a business, if you own a business and you've been waiting to upgrade your network infrastructure so that you aren't pushing an elephant through a snake to the point that it takes twenty minutes to open a spreadsheet, you're going to look at that 1.7% rate and decide that now is the time. You'd figure you'd deferred an upgrade long enough. You're not going to sit around and wait to see if the rate will go to 1.5%.

Another thing you won't do, at least if you're not in the business of actually running your business, is wait for "certainty". Because one thing about business is that "certainty" never comes. It's funny how Republicans want to try to talk Americans into replacing Social Security with self-directed investment in the stock market, which is about as uncertain a move as you can find, instead of having the "certainty" of a guaranteed income in our old age. Uncertainty is fine for individuals, but when it comes to business, it's perfectly OK to demand certainty. Did Thomas Edison demand "certainty" before creating the Edison Company? Did Henry Ford insist on "certainty" before recognizing that an automobile that his own employees could afford would be more profitable in the long run? Did Thomas Watson demand "certainty" before underwriting Harvard scientist Howard Aiken's idea to build the Mark I digital calculating machine in 1938? Until 1980, television news was something that took place during the dinner hour. Did Ted Turner insist on "certainty" before flying in the face of conventional wisdom and creating the first 24-hour news network in CNN? Everyone loves to trot out Steve Jobs. Did Steve Jobs refuse to work with Steve Wozniak in the garage until there was "certainty" that they'd make money? For that matter, let's trot out Mark Zuckerberg. Did he demand "certainty" before he'd bang out even one line of code?

I could go on and on, but I think the point is made. Only businesses that are run solely to enrich the Board of Directors by propping up a share price (*cough* HP *cough*) need certainty. The innovators, the risk-takers that Republicans worship so -- not one of these people demands "certainty" before investing in an idea.

When Willard Rmoney tells college kids to borrow money from their parents and start a business, how does he reconcile this exhortation to take a risk with the idea that businesses won't invest unless they are guaranteed success?

And why should businesses demand such a guarantee? Why should Republicans embrace the idea that they should be? These are the people who screech about "equality of opportunity, not equality of outcome". If you are a black kid from a tough inner city neighborhood, you're told that you have the same opportunity to succeed as the white kid in the wealthy town, even though you have to dodge bullets on your way home from school and the only computers your school has are from 1996. And yet, the same Republicans who think this is perfectly all right are demanding equality of outcome for businesses.

Every candidate that spouts nonsense like this should be laughed off the national stage. But instead, the punditocracy parrots the "certainty" meme is if it made all the sense in the world.

Labels: , ,

Bookmark and Share
Blogger Oldfool said...
Forty years ago when I was young I thought I wanted out of Social Security. Now at 73 it is all I have. I made a lot of money and managed through "self-directed investment" to piss it away.
Playing the stock market for most is indistinguishable from the gaming tables in Vegas. Wall Street does not have a good reputation for honesty or looking out for their fellow man.
What bothers me is that so many of these people in their 40's and 50's are as sure of themselves now as I was then and I was wrong.