Friday, December 07, 2012

A Few U.S. Risk Takers Exist

In a very sparsely populated mini-parade, Apple wants to create jobs here in America, maybe 600,000 soon. This may inspire a few more big and little companies to get with the program...the program of national recovery.

Of course the giant fruit is the same and different. It has much more cash than many, but most U.S. corporations are sitting on piles of cash they've been afraid to invest. We can be sure Apple wouldn't repatriate jobs unless it figured it would do so at a good profit, perhaps equal to Asian factories and without the headaches, logistics issues and terrible PR. It is also certain to use new, highly efficient production to maximize margins and productivity.

There are the lessons all manufacturing companies can learn by observing. Sure, Apple has a cash buffer, but it is also showing moderate amounts of courage, love of country, and business savvy. For the latter, each company doing its part to provide consumers, particularly middle-class ones, enough income to buy their products is the long-term counterbalance to maximizing margins regardless of effects on America.

Meanwhile, the smartest, most America-loving rich types, think Warren Buffet and George Takei as just a few, call for minimum and increased taxes on highly profitable companies and the wealthiest individuals. It's not that they take Matthew 19:21 literally (sell everything and give the money to the poor). While the Montgomery Burns types may see them as traitors to their class, they blend good economic sense and patriotism.

Alas, for all the irrationality about job creators, large and small U.S. corporations in the main do not expand or add jobs, have not for years, and would rather sit on capital than risk it. Even for those who idealize capitalism and idolize capitalists, most bosses are too cowardly and unpatriotic to create jobs.

When called on it, the most common response they provide is that 1) after the great recession, banks and venture capitalists are harder to convince for loans and investments, 2) government regulation and paperwork is just too, too hard, and 3) it's more dangerous financially to make jobs than profit off invested money.

The stench of the gutless is overpowering. The parody of the bold capitalist is risible.

Hell, sure lenders are wary. That just means you have to think your proposal more fully and make the pitch. Do the work. For regulation, it's as light and in many cases lighter than it has been in decades. No excuse here. For risk, that is how business owners define themselves. Take smart risks or retire!

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