Notes Book

Exporting Jobs

The Department of Defense exports a lot of jobs. DOD personnel work in more than a hundred military bases around the world. Soldiers, Sailors, and Marines require a lot of expensive support. These are not textile industry jobs, which require only a sewing machine and a few square feet of working space. The tools of the defense industry are Aircraft carriers, battleships, 100 million dollar fighter planes, etc. Even the “humble” Humvees driven by the ground pounders are very expensive machines. All this equipment must be stored and maintained on foreign soil. They need a lot of real estate in which to practice their arts of destruction. The costs of this support are pumped right into foreign economies. Not only are we exporting the jobs of the military personnel, we are exporting the jobs of the people who support the military personnel.

If we brought all these DOD people home, that support money could be going into the domestic economy. And, of course, we would not need so large a military as we have to simply defend our country. We only “need” such a military monster to attempt to rule the world. A lot of returning DOD people could be free to find productive things to do with their lives.

In football where you are dead certain that the other team is out to get you, the best defense may be a good offense. But in life, being offensive usually just makes enemies out of neutral parties, and may even turn friends into opponents. This is clearly illustrated by the Iraq fiasco. A trigger-happy defense can be far worse than no defense at all.

“Do unto others before others do unto you” is not a policy most of us use in our daily lives. Such a policy requires not only “intelligence”, but also the ability to predict the future. If you get it wrong and attack someone who did not intend to attack you, you have wasted your energy and opened yourself up to justified retaliation for no good reason, and made the world poorer by your foolish actions. Even if you had some means of “knowing” that someone was going to attack you, it might still be the best policy to wait until the attack occurred before striking back. That is the only way to can have convincing proof that your defense was justified. The world is not inclined to place a lot of faith in clairvoyance.

Pre-emptive defense is the policy of fools and knaves. It is a fig leaf to cover a belligerent and aggressive military adventurism. Such a policy has benefited few nations and ruined many.

We are currently terrorizing the world into supporting us in the style to which we have become accustomed. Eventually the world will band together to ruin our economy, if we don't learn to play nice. For a while, no one will stand up to a schoolyard bully, but soon the children realize that open confrontation is not the only way to put a person in his or her proper place.

If our power elites could just learn to play nice and be satisfied with some slight moderation of their power lust and their greed, the world would tolerate them for some time to come. The surest way to lose wealth and power is to hold onto it too tightly. If you gain wealth by service, and keep it by service, the world applauds. But if you try to keep wealth and power using blackmail and violence, you will only lose it more rapidly.

If an economic policy makes sense on a family or individual level, then it should make sense for a Nation. If it doesn't, somebody, somewhere is pocketing the difference.

I have never complained that my neighbors sold me something for too low a price. I have never received a complaint that I have sold something for too low a price. The Government would have us believe that selling goods for low prices is a crime when done by foreigners. The government proposes to correct the situation by fining the people who buy cheap foreign goods or services. This is transparent criminal extortion, and does no one any good, not even the criminals doing the extorting. They learn to depend on crime as a way of life and soon come to believe that if a littler extortion and deception is good, then more is better. When their racket ends, as all rackets must, they will have to start over at the bottom in an honest career of providing services that people actually need.

Tariffs promise to solve the problems of those who can't compete with foreign goods or labor, but they result in more difficulties for everyone. Instead of dealing with the economic situation constructively, citizens spend time fighting with one another about the amount of tariffs, their enforcement, and the distribution of the ill-gotten gains. While all these people are fighting about the tariffs, or lack thereof, they are not working, and they will therefore be less prosperous than if the government had butted out.

Groups who fight less and work more become more prosperous. As a nation with the largest army, the most lawyers and the largest prison population, we are squandering our wealth at an accelerating rate. We spend more and more time fighting and arguing, and less and less time working. The time when “our” Government will no longer be able to "borrow" from those who actually work and save is fast approaching. That will be a sad day for extortionists and a great day for workers and savers.