While not exactly brick and mortar type expansion, it could be argued that some of the recent Federal bailout maneuvers have saved some jobs. Besides the well chronicled bank bailout, and bolstering of the sinful two auto manufacturers, other ploys have been advanced in the name of recovery.
It just so happens this is the year for the Federal census. Every ten years, as is required by the US Constitution, the fed attempts to count every person in the country, and take a snapshot of where they live, work, and make purchasing decisions. It requires a fairly large army of people to accomplish a census, and a delivery mechanism for the tools used in that quest.
Besides all of the television advertising telling us a census was being taken, we received a letter in the mail alerting us that a census packet was being sent to us. Even at bulk rates, the fed paid a small fortune for that piece of mail to be delivered to every home in America. Then, the actual census packet arrived. Not really that huge a package, but probably weightier than it needed be.
We filled out the form and mailed it back the next day. In a few days we received yet another piece of mail telling us we had received the census package and to please fill it out and send it back.
It really is a brilliant idea; get rid of a bunch of that money the Fed has been printing lately and help bail out the postal system at the same time! It puts a pot of money into the hands of the census army, which hopefully they will spend and help stimulate the economy, and helps keep the postal system solvent for a while longer.
I have this nagging suspicion there will be yet another piece of mail delivered to every home in America thanking them for taking part in the census. Maybe such maneuvering will help stave off the inevitable cessation of Saturday mail delivery for a while longer.
While we are talking about bailouts, I think it is helpful to remember which of the US auto manufacturers bellied up to the bar of excess to receive Federal dollars, and which didn’t. If sustainability and job creation was the goal, there is one US auto maker (and its subsidiaries) which did not receive Federal dollars in a bailout, and is doing quite well without government help. I think this company deserves some reward, and that reward is coming in the form of brand loyalty and consumer confidence. Ford Motor Company is selling cars, innovating, and expanding. And they are not beholding to the government for their merits.
A friend of mine recently bought a new Ford. He made a phenomenal deal on a new model, with factory financing. We are thinking of supplanting our aging fleet here at Gilly Hollow with a new car. It won’t be a Toyota for obvious reasons. It won’t be a General Motors car because I don’t feel like rewarding any company who needed Federal dollars to stay afloat. I’d love to have a new Jeep, but for the same reason we will not buy a Chrysler product either. If and when we do it, I think a new Ford product will find its way down our lane.
I’m surprised Ford Motor Company is not trumpeting in their ads the fact they did not take Federal money. It would be an easy dig to the other automakers. Maybe by taking the high road they are even further distancing themselves from the others. Most Americans are, I think, aware Ford did not take the money.
While I am not an economist, it doesn’t take keen observation to determine that all of these Federal bailouts create huge Federal debt. All of this debt will eventually crowd out private investment, and lead to a lower Gross Domestic Product. It may be stimulating the economy right now, but at what cost? What a legacy we are leaving our children and their children. It will be at least a generation before the debt we’ve incurred the past couple years is serviced.
OK, so I’ll climb back off my soapbox. I just felt compelled to tell you what I was feeling regarding stimulus money. I have more respect for those companies which subscribe to the free enterprise philosophy and who think private investment trumps government bailouts every time. I’ve parroted it before, “That government is best which governs least.”
In to the Wind and this column are copyright 2010 Mike Gilchrist. Readers, feel free to contact me at email@example.com via email, or write to me at P.O. Box 255, Toledo, IA 52342.