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The Rest of the Credit Story Am I Still a Conservative?

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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.


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


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

US Life in 1842

Families helped each other putting up homes and barns. Together, they built churches, schools, and common civic buildings. They collaborated to build roads and bridges. They took pride in being free persons, independent, and self-reliant; but the texture of their lives was cooperative and fraternal.
Michael Novak, The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism

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

Society and State

For [the left] there is only the state and the individual, nothing in between. No family to rely on, no friend to depend on, no community to call on. No neighbourhood to grow in, no faith to share in, no charities to work in. No-one but the Minister, nowhere but Whitehall, no such thing as society - just them, and their laws, and their rules, and their arrogance.
David Cameron, Conference Speech 2008

Socialism equals Animism

Imagining that all order is the result of design, socialists conclude that order must be improvable by better design of some superior mind.
F.A. Hayek, The Fatal Conceit


[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

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.

Religion, Property, and Family

But the only religions that have survived are those which support property and the family. Thus the outlook for communism, which is both anti-property and anti-family, (and also anti-religion), is not promising.
F.A. Hayek, The Fatal Conceit

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


A writer who says that there are no truths, or that all truth is ’merely relative’, is asking you not to believe him. So don’t.
Roger Scruton, Modern Philosophy

Physics, Religion, and Psychology

Paul Dirac: “When I was talking with Lemaître about [the expanding universe] and feeling stimulated by the grandeur of the picture that he has given us, I told him that I thought cosmology was the branch of science that lies closest to religion. However [Georges] Lemaître [Catholic priest, physicist, and inventor of the Big Bang Theory] did not agree with me. After thinking it over he suggested psychology as lying closest to religion.”
John Farrell, “The Creation Myth”


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

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©2007 Christopher Chantrill