To Each their Own: Business and Government Each Have their Roles

Terrible news for employees of the Carrier Air Conditioning Company in Indiana has spread all over the world, as this CNN Money article shows:

Two things that are getting lost in the debate over this situation:

1.  It’s well within the rights and responsibility of any business to its shareholders to attempt to maximize profits: to push things as far as possible within the confines of the law to obtain as much benefit for as little investment as possible.


2.  It is the responsibility and duty of local and national governments to judiciously enforce those rules and regulations that ensure not only the competitiveness of our industry, but that the benefits of our competitiveness are spread throughout the workforce, THUS ENSURING the FUTURE competitiveness of our nation.

Businesses usually do not think further than a few years out. Ergo, it is incumbent upon our government and society to use the powers of tariffs, taxation, regulations, and yes, even public shaming to ensure that long term growth for OUR nation is enabled.

Businesses make things as efficient as possible, while governments ensure that this efficiency has a future.  The primary responsibility of businesses is to their shareholders, while the primary responsibility of governments should be to THEIR citizens, not to international agencies, “fair trade” treaties (NAFTA and the Pacific Trade Treaty being shining examples of this insanity due to how much they favor foreign competition over U.S. jobs – for another post), or the WTO (another debacle for another post).

This should be read as not a failure of the business – businesses are expected to be heartless and cruel – but rather a systemic failure of governments across the spectrum, from local, to state, to national:

  • A failure of governments to impose appropriate tariffs to ensure that U.S. manufactured goods remain competitive at home.
  • A failure of governments to use tax policy to ensure that businesses are incentivized to develop new, groundbreaking technologies that keep this nation as a technological and scientific leader.
  • A failure of governments to use tax policy to enable businesses with U.S.-based manufacturing to remain more competitive than foreign counterparts.
  • A failure of governments to use tax incentives to entice businesses to bring home their wealth held abroad, while ensuring that a good portion of that wealth is reinvested in job producing activities at home.
  • A failure of governments to keep immigration in check, for both skilled (e.g. H1B) and unskilled labor, alleviating pressure on the wages and job security of citizens.
  • A failure of governments to keep the most rapacious behaviors of businesses at bay, to ensure that businesses, business leaders, and business owners / shareholders contribute their fair share to those common services and systems that allow for their own health, common welfare, and competitiveness. It would be the unusual company that did not leverage existing “commons” style infrastructures such as roads, public education, military, and more. Businesses and their leaders/owners should contribute to these common facilities in a manner proportional to their use and ability to pay.

A proper solution to this systemic issue would address ALL of the above. We can either solve the problem by accepting that the proper solution will be painful for everyone, or we can keep kicking the can down the road.

Unfortunately, here’s what will really happen: The proper solution to this issue will piss off everyone and thus never get passed. Liberals would hate some parts, and conservatives would hate the other. So instead, we’ll be left with fascist style appeals to social conflict, religious strife, racial warfare, and xenophobic hatred promulgated by people such as Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, and Ted Cruz. Anything to deflect attention from reality.  Nothing will be accomplished, while the 1% continue to rape and pillage this nation, blindly squeezing it for as much short term gain as possible, while blissfully ignoring the fact that the great U.S. market for their goods will be dramatically different and smaller in 30-40 years if they continue to get their way.


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