dVote For Barack Obama Or Fred Smith - Road to the Middle Class - by Christopher Chantrill
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Vote for Barack Obama? Or Fred Smith?

by Christopher Chantrill
November 03, 2008 at 11:02 pm

IF YOU VOTE for Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) maybe he’ll spread the wealth around. He’ll take money from the rich earning more than $250,000 a year and give it to 95 percent of the American people. Obama is a student of Saul Alinsky, who wrote Rules for Radicals. Alinsky’s idea was that you organize poor people to demand justice and their share of the economic pie. You can read all about Obama and community organizing from Stanley Kurtz.

Or you could vote for Fred Smith. Fred Smith is the guy who wrote a paper in business school on the idea of an overnight package business. Today FedEx Corporation owns 300 planes and employs 290,000 people. But back in the day his business school prof didn’t think the idea would work.

Fred Smith is frustrated. He’s built his company on blue collar and community college types, according to an interview with Stephen Moore at the Wall Street Journal. The high flyers won’t go to work at ordinary industrial companies. They want to earn the big bucks in the finance industry. Or they did.

He says that most of FedEx’s first line managers come not from the top flight universities, but out of community colleges and the military. "The top talent has wanted to go to Wall Street."

But if you want to spread the wealth, according to Fred, you want to forget about Obamanomics.

"The politicians deplore the fact that we have a disparity of income," he says, but "the only way to make a blue-collar person earn more is to invest in capital, training and infrastructure. So the more you tax capital, the more you hurt workers." He estimates that about 70% of the return from FedEx capital expenditures is captured by workers in the form of higher wages as their productivity rises.

You mean that the way to help ordinary Americans is not by government spread-the-wealth but by corporate invest-in-capital-training-and-infrastructure? My, that’s radical!

Notice that Fred doesn’t mention education. The way to make a blue-collar person earn more is to invest in capital, training and infrastructure, he says.

Fred Smith deplores the high leverage in the financial industry.

"Rather than in our business where you have to have a dollar of equity for, 10 cents or 15 cents of debt," he explains, "it’s exactly the opposite in the financial sector where you have one dollar of equity for 10, 25, 50 times risk."

The thing about having 1 to 10 debt to equity rather than 10 to 1 like the finance industry is that, when things go south, you get to survive. In today’s economy that has to mean something.

Fred argues that the way to encourage corporations to reduce debt load and increase equity is to tax equity less, starting with lowering the corporate income tax rate from 38 percent down to 25 percent.

Now that would be something.

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Christopher Chantrill blogs at www.roadtothemiddleclass.com.  His Road to the Middle Class is forthcoming.


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What Liberals Think About Conservatives

[W]hen I asked a liberal longtime editor I know with a mainstream [publishing] house for a candid, shorthand version of the assumptions she and her colleagues make about conservatives, she didn't hesitate. “Racist, sexist, homophobic, anti-choice fascists,” she offered, smiling but meaning it.
Harry Stein, I Can't Believe I'm Sitting Next to a Republican


Racial Discrimination

[T]he way “to achieve a system of determining admission to the public schools on a nonracial basis,” Brown II, 349 U. S., at 300–301, is to stop assigning students on a racial basis. The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.
Roberts, C.J., Parents Involved in Community Schools vs. Seattle School District


Liberal Coercion

[T]he Liberal, and still more the subspecies Radical... more than any other in these latter days seems under the impression that so long as he has a good end in view he is warranted in exercising over men all the coercion he is able[.]
Herbert Spencer, The Man Versus the State


Taking Responsibility

[To make] of each individual member of the army a soldier who, in character, capability, and knowledge, is self-reliant, self-confident, dedicated, and joyful in taking responsibility [verantwortungsfreudig] as a man and a soldier. — Gen. Hans von Seeckt
MacGregor Knox, Williamson Murray, ed., The dynamics of military revolution, 1300-2050


Responsible Self

[The Axial Age] highlights the conception of a responsible self... [that] promise[s] man for the first time that he can understand the fundamental structure of reality and through salvation participate actively in it.
Robert N Bellah, "Religious Evolution", American Sociological Review, Vol. 29, No. 3.


Churches

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Annie Dillard, Holy the Firm


Sacrifice

[Every] sacrifice is an act of impurity that pays for a prior act of greater impurity... without its participants having to suffer the full consequences incurred by its predecessor. The punishment is commuted in a process that strangely combines and finesses the deep contradiction between justice and mercy.
Frederick Turner, Beauty: The Value of Values


Pentecostalism

Within Pentecostalism the injurious hierarchies of the wider world are abrogated and replaced by a single hierarchy of faith, grace, and the empowerments of the spirit... where groups gather on rafts to take them through the turbulence of the great journey from extensive rural networks to the mega-city and the nuclear family...
David Martin, On Secularization


Conservatism's Holy Grail

What distinguishes true Conservatism from the rest, and from the Blair project, is the belief in more personal freedom and more market freedom, along with less state intervention... The true Third Way is the Holy Grail of Tory politics today - compassion and community without compulsion.
Minette Marrin, The Daily Telegraph


Moral Imperatives of Modern Culture

These emerge out of long-standing moral notions of freedom, benevolence, and the affirmation of ordinary life... I have been sketching a schematic map... [of] the moral sources [of these notions]... the original theistic grounding for these standards... a naturalism of disengaged reason, which in our day takes scientistic forms, and a third family of views which finds its sources in Romantic expressivism, or in one of the modernist successor visions.
Charles Taylor, Sources of the Self


Drang nach Osten

There was nothing new about the Frankish drive to the east... [let] us recall that the continuance of their rule depended upon regular, successful, predatory warfare.
Richard Fletcher, The Barbarian Conversion


Government Expenditure

The Union publishes an exact return of the amount of its taxes; I can get copies of the budgets of the four and twenty component states; but who can tell me what the citizens spend in the administration of county and township?
Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America


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©2007 Christopher Chantrill