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As Long as We Remember...

July 4, 2011

Of Corporate-Jets & Asphalt Paving: Class Warfare!

Steven R. Berryman

I didn’t vote for the man, but I don’t hate him either. He won fair and square, based upon campaign promises of hope, transparency, and goodwill for the “middle-class.”


I held my nose and voted for Sen. John McCain instead, and was rewarded for my party loyalty – while I was learning to speak “tea” – by a man that gave up any sincere efforts at campaigning fully two months before the Election Day.


It was as if it was then Sen. Barack Obama’s turn. Based upon his first 2/3 term in office, I’m as disappointed on this Independence Day marker as many of the Democrats and Independents who actually voted him in.


The “class warfare” that President Obama claimed to despise in his own rhetoric poked its ugly head out at last week’s presidential news conference. In some ways this was a worse offense than the lack of – but bragged upon – transparency in government and abandoned pledges to “bring our boys home” from unwarranted wars.


Our leader played the “class warfare card” in hating the General Aviation jet market as symbol of corporate wealth, even as our government allowed for this industry’s subsidy (in the Stimulus Package) due to their terrible economic outlook. Why can’t this man get his signals straight?


[My full disclosure: please note that the Airline Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) is headquartered right here in Frederick, and is thriving now at our expanding airport.]


Corporate-jets are an easy bogey-man to conjure up; it helps to have a “straw-man” phantom to act out against. Surely somebody must be bad! …In this conundrum of all recessions.


At the extreme other end of the economic spectrum, during the same news conference, the jobless from all professions – up to 18% in real terms – were supposed to be consoled by incentives for road construction?


The president’s only verbalized strategy to get the people back to work was this nation-wide building of infrastructure. Flash back to the WPA Program of the “New Deal” era.


Some simple math: An asphalt paving crew may consist of nine men, including one boss and one assistant that make any real money at all. I count them as 1.5 men. The rest are laborers at the margin. Add 100 new crews per state, for example, and you get ~50x 100 = 5,000 x1.5 men with any serious purchasing power to give back to the economy.


And at what true cost?


That’s 7,500 people seriously added to the economy. That’s the plan? And that’s just “blue-collar” guys, and only a fraction of all construction trades; what of plumbers, painters, home builders, drywall finishers, HVAC and Insulation guys, etc.?


Does President Obama expect out-of-work architects, civil engineers, space scientists, grocery store managers, and so on, to join road paving crews? Let’s just admit that we don’t have a real jobs plan and be done with it!


It would not have helped to call this plan “paving our way to prosperity” upon examination!


In other class-warfare news, Minnesota’s Democratic governor has allowed his own state to go out of business – in a temporary shutdown gesture to embarrass Republicans for their refusal to raise taxes.


Governor Mark Dayton was quoted in Sunday’s Frederick News-Post’s Associated Press story regarding his own good personal fortune in growing up rich: “I grew up in that environment. I know people can afford it.”


How nicely self-deprecating!


The truth is that if all of the money were to be confiscated from all of America’s top 2 percent of the most wealthy, then added to the national debt, less than one percent would be paid-down. And the other result would be to kill the job-creation sector.


We can’t “eat the rich” for public relations purposes, despite any positive PR value. We need to apply broad-based incentives to businesses, improve the long-term national business climate, help states in this regard, and allow for market confidence way over the horizon…


…instead of breaking campaign promises of “saving the middle class” and conducting open “class warfare.”


Happy Independence Day to all, regardless of your socio-economic class!


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