First-time readers, this blog is set in the future (sometime after the year 2020).  Each entry assumes there has been a 5th revolution in the US — the Revenge Revolution.  More about Revenge Revolution and author, Entry #1.  List and general description of entries to date.  Annual assessment whether Revolution plausible.

Note: most characters appear in a number of entries, with many entries building on previous conversations.  Profile of characters.  You’ll catch on quickly.  Thanks for your time and interest…and comments. 

Scene: Jordan’s office. Regular work day.

Gelly (Jordan’s assistant): “Jordan, sorry to interrupt you but I think you might want 092615_2031_Characters7.gifto take this call.”

Jordan: “Anyone important?”

Gelly: “Try POTUS. He’s calling you personally.”

Jordan: “Oops. Thanks. (Picking up phone.) Good morning, Mr. President.”

POTUS: “Morning, Jordan. Hope all is well with you. Have a nice holiday break?”

Jordan: “Yes, thank you. Had a chance to visit my wife’s family.”

021214_1242_24Resultsof1.gifPOTUS: “That’s what I understand. And don’t ask how I know.”

Jordan: “I know better than to ask.”

POTUS: “Calling to see what you learned on the trip. I can’t really get out and visit with people like you can. What’s up out in the heartland?”

PilotLogoJordan: “One of our stops…really one of my stops…was a truck stop in Central Illinois. Had an interesting chat with a fellow diner.”

POTUS: “Was it productive or the usual politics?”

Jordan: “Very insightful. The guy…his nickname is Doughman…talked about companies Pillsbury-Doughboymoving manufacturing jobs out of the US and relocating in Mexico or China. He just could not understand why we would want to gut the middle class in this country by shipping jobs elsewhere.”

POTUS: “What’d you tell him?”

Jordan: “I could not tell him much he didn’t already know.”

POTUS: “You mean like crazy tax laws that benefit CEO’s and other executives by moving jobs outside the US? And those laws really transfer wealth of the middle class to the executives and to the other country.”

TurtleneckJordan: “Tax laws are part of it. So are the negative perceptions of unions and a few other issues. But…”

POTUS: “…but what? Have you got a solution?”

Jordan: “The solution, at least to me, seems to be more education about why manufacturing in the US can be as profitable, if not more profitable, than manufacturing overseas.”

POTUS: “What about fixing the tax laws, increasing training for workers…ideas like that.”

factory_07Jordan: “Tax laws are out of whack and need to get fixed. But the real problem, I think, is American companies do not understand total costs…or maybe don’t know how to calculate total costs. As a result, they focus on individual components…like wages…and miss the big picture.”

POTUS: “Sort of like some of these yahoo politicians focusing on one part of the problem in the Middle East and pretending the related problems don’t matter. So, OK Swami, what are we going to do about rebuilding the manufacturing base…and rebuilding the middle class?”

swamiJordan: “First step is to find some examples of companies that have expanded US-based operations rather than shipping jobs overseas. We can have them talk about what issues they considered in the decision.”

POTUS: “OK, then what?”

Jordan: “We need to reach out to other CEO’s and CFO’s (chief financial officers) and educate them why it can be cheaper to manufacture in the US. The conversation needs teacherto focus on all costs, not just labor costs.”

POTUS: “That’s a big job. Who are going to get to be the spokesperson? Might need several people.”

Jordan: “The most credible would be CEO’s and CFO’s of companies that have either expanded in the US or brought operations back.”

POTUS: “What about some consumers? Some folks really prefer to buy US-made product.”

Jordan: “Good idea. And maybe you can use the bully pulpit to help persuade some companies to focus more on US manufacturing.”

walmart_logoPOTUS: “You mean like Wal-Mart. Sam Walton must be turning over in his grave. Wal-Mart went from US-made products to “Made in China” for just about everything.”

Jordan: “Wal-Mart might be more receptive than we think about returning to US-made products. They’re struggling.”

POTUS: “Any bully pulpit effort needs to be very quiet and behind the scenes. Can’t give countries the impression I don’t support free trade.”

Jordan: “The naysayers are going to argue that China offers lower costs and therefore that helps the middle class.”

POTUS: “You sound like some politician.”

Jordan: “Should I wave my arms and raise my voice as well? Actually the argument might be true for some items. But when the people who used to buy your goods are out of a job and have no money, what does a lower price do for them? They still can’t afford it.”

POTUS: “Hasn’t much of the price decline for a lot of products been due to technology and not labor cost per se?”

bingo-607633Jordan: “Bingo. And that’s the core argument with the CEO’s and CFO’s. Cheap labor doesn’t matter for many products. Technology has reduced labor content to a much smaller percent of total cost.”

POTUS: “Not sure this is the right example, but your old stomping ground – the auto industry – has reduced labor costs, right?”

Jordan: “Yes. Over the last say 25 years, labor hours per car have decreased dramatically.”

POTUS: “Just thought of another point we need to emphasize. If labor costs in the US are so high, why have so many of the foreign car manufacturers set up assembly plants here?”

Jordan: “Duh. Think those companies might understand the value of manufacturing in the US better than many US companies do?”

questions_answers_5POTUS: “OK, so we’ve identified a problem – the middle class is shrinking; and we’ve identified a partial solution – rebuild US manufacturing base; and we’ve identified a way to get started – educating CEO’s and CFO’s about how to calculate total cost….”

Jordan: “…and educating the public.”

POTUS: “Jordan, I buy the argument and the base solution. We’ve had the Revenge Revolution, which should make people more receptive.  Now, how do we really get started?”

Jordan:  “Want to talk now?”

POTUS:  “Can’t.  Have a cabinet meeting.  I’ll get back to you.”