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Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Obama may Be Into Solar, But He's not To Bright

       Recently I was reading online and I am starting to understand why things are not going to get better if Obama stays in the White House.  He is supposedly for creating solar power, but he is putting small companies out of business by putting protective tariffs in place.  The sad part is one of the companies he showcased as an example is now a victim.  A company making solar powered attic fans to help reduce heating costs.  It is a small company from northern Indiana.  It makes all the components from locally procured materials.   All except the actual solar panel.  He uses a small panel about one foot by two foot.  He wants to use all American components, but has not been able to procure them.  At least ones that meet his standards.

      The problem for his business started when the major American panel makers convinced the government to put a tariff on imported solar panels.  The tariff made the materials he needed so high that he is no longer competitive in the market.  The big companies supposedly wanted a level playing field.  What they really wanted was to jack the prices up to make themselves competitive.  That is not a level playing field.

     The free enterprise system of business in America has always been about giving the best deal for the lowest price.  Sometimes the lowest price is not necessarily the best deal.  With the world markets on the verge of collapse two American companies are still growing.  They operate on the concept that they must be the most cost effective business in their markets.  Wal-Mart and McDonald's are still opening new facilities both in the USA and overseas.  Their game plan still works.  They are not complaining about a level playing field.  In China they might not be the cheapest but they are selling a product the locals want.  In India some American food chains are making meatless products, but they are adapting to the local markets and opening new facilities which creates jobs.

      What they are not doing is selling their products at a loss to gain market share.  A couple companies in the American solar market were/are selling their product at a loss to get market share.  They figure they can raise prices later when they are established.  They want a tariff to protect them from themselves.  They have no understanding of how to run a business.

      Having run my own businesses in the course of my life I know that the idea of selling at a loss is destined to fail.  Companies that are in business and stay in business know the markets they are dealing in.  They know what it takes to survive and charge accordingly.  The hearing aid industry is a perfect example.  A quality set of hearing aids are very expensive.  The reason is the business comes in cycles.  You have to have the income to weather the slow periods.  Sure you can buy cheap hearing aids.  As the saying goes you get what you pay for.  When the cheap one goes bad, where do you get it fixed.  The established dealers will be there to help you with your problems. The cut rate guy will be gone.

     The job situation in America is not that there are no jobs or opportunities to create them.  It is ignorance like the tariff I mentioned earlier.  The government is trying to influence markets that they have no understanding of.  That small manufacturer was on his way to creating quite a few jobs.  Now thanks to the Federal governments meddling in things they do not understand.  Businesses are closing instead of opening.  Lobbyists that say they are all for America are really only for lining their own pockets.  Lobbyists are not the friends of the American consumer.  They are the friends of those who can make their wallets fatter and do not care who they hurt in the process.

      The lobbyists push, steer and control politicians that have no concept of their duties under the American Constitution.  The recent demise of the American made light bulb is the perfect example.  That piece of legislation eliminated hundreds of thousands of jobs.  While there may be an energy savings in the mix.  The pollution that the new bulbs put in our landfills may be much more dangerous.  Simply switching off lights not being used would save more energy than any change in light bulbs.  Are street lights really necessary. Especially on interchanges in the middle of nowhere, in the middle of the night.  Cars do have lights and reflective signs can help cars as much as street lights.   Do you think the companies that make the new light bulbs might be benefiting from lobbying to get the competition off of the market.   They were lobbying to make themselves rich.

     Reducing emissions from coal powered plants is one thing.  Forcing them out of business is entirely another thing.  Nuclear is not the answer.  The earthquakes in Japan proved that.  A small leak can become a major problem.  Off shore drilling is just inviting another disaster to happen.  We can develop better cleaning systems for the coal plants and better ways of using all the heat that goes up the chimneys as a wasteful byproduct.  Why not put green houses and other industries near the plants to benefit from the heat that is being wasted.  Improvements is this way could create jobs.  Green houses all across the country make a lot more sense than trucking all of our produce from California, Mexico and Florida from one side of the country to the other.  You want to see a real threat to America read my 4/25/2012 blog "America Under A Threat, Worse Than Katrina."  I spent over 30 years in transportation and logistics and realized America is under a threat that makes the Katrina thing look like a cake walk.  It is not a matter of if it will happen, it is a matter of when it will happen.  Read it, then ponder how you will react to what I predict when it happens.  Sooner or later it will.  An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.  My recommendations could not only create jobs and save lots of energy.   It could save hundreds of thousands of lives.

      Several years ago a local business pushed to get a law passed that required a certain percentage of any new construction to be spent on landscaping.  Guess what kind of business the guy pushing that rule through the city zoning board ran.  You betcha, a landscaping service.  That is almost standard practice anymore.  There is a need for jobs, but not by ripping off our fellow citizens or bankrupting the country.  It is not the governments job to create jobs, but it is not their duty to get in the way and eliminate jobs either.  I invite you to read 3 September 2012 blog and see that the debt issue is not the problem either.  The lack of jobs is the problem and cause of that is the Federal government.  They need to get out of the way and let Americans do what they do better than anyone else in the world.  Work and create jobs.


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