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 and POTUS continue conversation about rebuilding US manufacturing and the middle class. Series starts #177; conversation with POTUS, #179.

POTUS: “Jordan, you’re taking a tough stand. Aren’t you making it harder for white-house-clip-art1manufacturing companies? Won’t companies just leave…or just start the company outside the US and not worry about regulations?”

Jordan: “Might be making it a little more difficult. But a counter is having tax breaks for US made products.”

POTUS: “You talking about tariffs for imports? We’ve got all these trade agreements between the US and other countries.”

TurtleneckJordan: “What I’m suggesting is goods manufactured in the US – manufactured, not just assembled in the US – get some sort of tax relief. The goal is to make it less attractive for executives to locate outside the US.”

POTUS: “What about companies relocating in the States? Should there be some sort of penalty?”

Jordan: “Like banning Charlotte from recruiting companies from New York, Ohio, Michigan and elsewhere. Like I said earlier, recruiting from another state seems more like stealing to me.”

POTUS: “Couldn’t we allow states still to recruit but say ban any tax breaks or other type of incentives? Another approach would be to levy a tax on the company for relocating.”

Jordan: “Some type of tax or penalty seems reasonable. At a minimum companies should checkbook2pay for displaced workers and the loss in tax base in the community they’re bailing out of.”

POTUS: “What do we do about the influence of Wall Street? The Street seems to put lots of pressure on companies to meet quarterly earnings targets.”

Jordan: “I view the so-called pressure as an excuse by CEO’s to cut expenses and mask poor management. Some tweaks to operations are always necessary but the company is either being run fundamentally correctly or not.”

POTUS: “If the company is being run properly, any earnings shortfall in one or two quarters should work itself out. Is that what you’re saying?”

Jordan: “Exactly what I’m saying. Sophisticated investors understand that. Warren Buffett is a perfect example. Did he build the value of Berkshire Hathaway by focusing on quarterly earnings?”

POTUS: “No.”

DogJordan: “So there’s the lesson for investors. Be patient.  We’ve allowed the traders on Wall Street to gain the upper hand.  As a result management start to focus on the wrong issues.”

POTUS: “Are we letting the tail wag the dog, as it were?”

Jordan: “We…societal we…are letting Wall Street traders have too much influence on the way businesses are run. The time horizon for traders is minutes, not months or years. The political right would be apoplectic if they ever heard me say this, but the traders are more like traitors. They really don’t care about this country.”

traitorPOTUS: “C’mon. Wall Street traders are traitors? How can you say that?”

Jordan: “Because the traders have no loyalty to the company or the country. They do not care if a company goes under, the company moves production off shore and ruins a town. The traders care about one thing – making money on every trade.”

POTUS: “Keep talking.”

Jordan: “Think about it. Pension funds and individuals…but mostly pension funds…have large securities portfolios. What are the pension funds supposed to do?”

POTUS: “Protect the money of employees, current and former.”

Jordan: “Do you think the employees believe its smart business to ship jobs overseas and eliminate their own job?”

POTUS: “That seems like a silly question. Of course not.”

CashJordan: “Well, CEO’s are doing exactly that. Why? To boost quarterly earnings so some a-hole doesn’t start trying to drive down the stock price and encourage a hedge fund to begin a takeover. I sound like a broken record, but do you think for a microsecond the traders care about the company?”

POTUS: “I hear you Jordan.”

Jordan: “Who does care about the company, or at least should care about the company?”

POTUS: “Employees, the pension fund…”

Jordan: “…and maybe some of the executives. Then why do we have all these laws that permit manipulation of stock prices? Even worse is allowing investors to raid companies.”

POTUS: “How do you propose we stop that?”

Screwed-GuyJordan: “Mr. President, I don’t know. But what I do know is the American worker is getting screwed and wealth is being transferred from the worker to a small group of investors and some countries outside the US.”

POTUS: “What about unions? Wall Street and the execs are not the only ones playing this gig.”

Jordan: “I’m not naïve. Some unions were a problem 15-20 years ago. But they’re not now. And I contend the unions never were as big a problem as a lot of people claimed.”

POTUS: “I’ve heard stories where unions drove companies out of town.”

Jordan: “I have to. And there are likely a few examples. But people forget, unions are made up of people. People with kids and families. And people with feelings.”

POTUS: “Some people will claim you sound like some screaming liberal.”

Jordan: “For some issues, I probably am. I’ll give you an example of why I feel this way. Years ago, when I was at Buick, our department ‘hosted’ students during their men talkingco-op work period from Kettering University – it was General Motors Institute then. One session the son of the president of the UAW local was working in our department. A short time after the co-op work session ended, some of us attended a meeting with the UAW. The president and I chatted a while and then joined the rest of the group. I got all kinds of semi-nasty questions about why I was talking to the president.”

POTUS: “How’d you respond?”

Jordan: “I told ’em I was asking how his son was doing in school. And that the president thanked me for taking his son under my wing.”

POTUS: “You think that happens very often?”

Jordan: “Probably not, but it should. We were a couple of guys trying to help a young man get an education. What’s so terrible about that?”

POTUS: “Sounds as if both of you were trying to do the right thing. You have another example?”

Jordan: “Yes.”

POTUS: Remember the second story, please.  I’ve got to head to yet another meeting.”

(Continued)

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