Monday, June 1, 2015

TPP, TTIP or American Industry

Trans-Pacific Partnership

Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership


American House Painting





One has to wonder why, with all of the capacity we in America have to foster the growth of a truly sustainable, mixed energy based domestic economy, just why the last three presidents have become so entirely obsessed with the nurturing of free trade agreements that by and large have placed America's middle class second to the impoverished cultures of nations who really don't want anything at all to do with America in the first place.

When does it actually register with these folks that the real growth of real long term, well paying jobs right here at home is actually our only real economic, industrial and environmental strength abroad? As I'm not an idiot, and, of course, quite capable of realizing the fact that our capacity as a nation to constantly nurture free trade abroad is quite important to our nation's overall global standing, the fact of the matter is that while our American leaders have each promised domestic American job creation over the past few decades as being paramount to their original campaign promises, by the time their term as president comes to an end, it is once again “the global economy” that takes precedent over our national economy.

Barack Obama began his presidency with a pledge to finally produce a mixed energy based domestic industrial economy that would create not only a great sense of national unity, but, an overwhelming wave of new job creation in the very mixed energy sectors that millions of Americans nationwide have been anticipating being involved with for the better part of the last four decades. As he did and he did so with a sense of personal gusto that entirely charged the minds of a significant portion of America's population, six years later and just like Bill Clinton and George Bush did at the end of their terms as president, he is now saying that the only way to revive the domestic economy he more or less did not revive, is to first revive the economy of countries like Vietnam. As if for some reason our last three presidents have all just naturally surmised that unfulfilled promises to the American masses somehow gives them the license to go about and make equally unfulfilled promises to the Vietnamese people somehow makes the guy a political prodigy, all the halfwit is really doing is reducing the personal ambition of creative people worldwide into a perpetual state of global industrial uselessness.

Stating among other things that expanding the market share of US goods sold worldwide will somehow manage to build our own domestic solar industries by importing knowledgeable people worldwide into America, I mean, at one point in time do over educated foreigners get tired of coming to America only to find jobs in internationally expanded corporate fast food hamburger stands?

Somewhere along the line, it has become commonplace for our presidents to justify in their own minds their own intellectual brilliance and global consciousness and in doing so, all together forget about the fact that among other things, America actually needs American made steel to rebuild American bridges that employ American steelworkers that actually rebuild the roads leading to America's hamburger stands prior to stopping of at a Vietnamese burger joint some six thousand miles away.

As any idiot knows that global trade has its place in the assurance of American interests worldwide, that same idiot also knows that if his own nation has been reduced to a massive pile of industrial infrastructure rubble, chances are that his foreign neighbor stands a much better chance of staying in Vietnam to find work on his own bridge building crews rather than again coming all the way to America only to be killed on his way to a fast food restaurant while crossing one of America's thousands of crumbling bridges. Yet, again, somehow Barack Obama has conclude that while he has not at all managed to rebuild our nation's own building trades in virtually every construction sector, his quasi spiritual mission is to now go about preaching the philosophy of broken promise making to those who are just desperately awaiting his words of jumbled industrial garble to reduce their own national economies in precisely the same manner he has done our own.

If the above analogy might be a bit to stark of a reality to bite off to those who administer such foreign policy mandates on behalf of America, let me suggest in all sincerity that perhaps an entirely new policy framework might play out to a worldwide audience in a decidedly more practical, and, of course, enjoyable, and, wholly enlivened practical environmental and economic manner. As I am clearly lambasting Barack Obama, George Bush and Bill Clinton in this essay, the reason I am is due to the fact that I know, with all certainty, that each of these American presidents have, over the course of the past twenty four years, never even for a moment, been taught by their fathers, just exactly how to paint an ordinary American house, let alone, a Vietnamese house.

In order to properly reference the fact that our last three American presidents have, because of their collective intellectual redundancy, never even once actually held an American made paint brush in their hand, or, for that matter, a gallon of American made house paint, from this point forward, I will reference this fact by referring to the corporate entity of American House Painting Inc. as wholly owned by Barack, George, Bill and their Vietnamese business partner, Bob Ladzinski (a cement finisher from Illinois) whose mother Dorothy Rutledge, a Croatian woman from Media, Pennsylvania – just outside of Philadelphia met Bob while painting the house of Betty Cutler (a Jewish woman), in Omaha, Nebraska way back in 1974 while he himself was on his way to Durango, Colorado to help his friend build cross country ski trails for vacationers coming to Colorado out of Columbus, Ohio via Atlanta, Georgia who themselves were en route to Shreveport, Louisiana when they were stopped by a German Texas Ranger just outside of San Antonio prior to their trip to the Sante Fe opera where they were supposed to deliver hand blown art glass from their Italian cousin Vinnie out of Luxemberg, Belgium for the Shakespeare festival in Boulder, Colorado in a 2015 Westafalia conversion van filled with White Castle hamburgers out of Chicago, Illinois.

At any rate, prior to the TTP and TTIP trade negotiations now being held in 2015, American House Painting Inc. developed a global exterior house painting initiative that was more or less benchmarked by the fact that while the entire world had been immersed in a broad host of highly complex trade negotiations involving the global sale of everything from pharmaceuticals to cast aluminum automotive engine parts and to titanium alloyed custom racing wheels along with soy beans out of LaSalle County, Illinois, nobody anywhere within the confines of all the countries involved in either of these world class trading initiatives had realized the fact that every single house that was built on a piece of real estate in any of these countries actually had had a new paint job applied to the exterior surfaces of these homes in over forty years.

Armed with this knowledge, these four guys set out to establish a paint company that would, among other things, establish an industrial based public/private educational initiative that was designed to teach people from multiple generations just exactly how to hold and use a two and one half inch house painters sash brush to apply well over thirty trillion gallons of advanced technology, environmentally healthy and economically as well as industrially sustainable house paint to every home in every community and in every nation participating in TTP and TTIP trade negotiations. Oddly enough however, these guys soon discovered that before all of these houses could be painted, a certain amount of prep work would need to be addressed.

Low and behold, and after waiting twenty four years for these four guys to come to the realization that America was actually best run by real crafts men and women, I get a phone call from of all people, George Bushes' brother Jeb, who along with Senator Barbara Boxer from California were thinking along the same lines. If in fact every home in America needed to have prep work done before a state of the art painting job was to be applied to the exterior surfaces of these homes, most likely the broad extent of the prep work required would of course need to include the skills of literally millions of American men and woman who themselves have seen their trades whittled away by decades of forgetting just how in fact the ongoing maintenance of a typical American home nurtured the very technological advancements pertaining to the industries in America that in fact were manufacturing the products required to assure these homes were maintained once again.

Thus, as before a home can be repainted it must first be prepped, the industries required to do this prep work would have to be identified and identified in such a manner that would add significantly to the list of industrial classifications personified by our nation's existing NAICS coding framework. Furthermore, due to the labor intensive nature of such residential based restoration work, the very nature of NAICS coding would have to be expanded significantly to address the remarkably diverse industrial based and clearly labor intensive labor pool that would form once in fact such coding had been put in place. In other words, while focusing substantially on the literal repainting of every home in America would most certainly result in the overwhelming increased manufacturing volume of both American made two and one half inch wide painter's sash brushes and gallons of American made paint, equal results would be found in every industry having anything whatsoever to do with the prep work needed prior to the application of that paint.

Think about this for a minute.

For all of the effort the last three presidents have put into global trade for the past 25 years, not one of them have ever slowed themselves down enough to realize that while global trade has some relevance to some either corporate or political interests, non trade is by far much more lucrative due simply to the fact that the vast amount of people in the free world who are already trading with the US just need their house painted. All I have to do to make my point here is to suggest to you who are reading this that the next time you walk out of your front door and scoot rapidly to your car sitting in the driveway, before you do so stop, stand perfectly still, remove virtually all the business or professional or personal clutter that is racing around in your brain, and, just stop everything, period.

The next thing I want you to do is open the garage door, bypass the car altogether, and walk over to that thing in your garage you once called a work bench. Then I want you to find that two and one half inch paint brush you bought at the local home improvement store 24 years ago, which of course would have been right about the time of NAFTA, and take it out of what probably still is today the original sheath it was sold in. Once you do this, I want you to take off your suit jacket, toss it on the car that was made from parts manufactured all over the world, unbutton the sleeves of your white business shirt, roll those sleeves up, take the sash brush and slip it into the right rear pocket of your business dress slacks, and, walk out of the garage.

If any of this makes you feel a bit awkward, walk over to your car, open the drivers side door, reach over and take your sunglasses off of the dashboard, close the door and put the sunglasses on your face.

Once this is done, proceed to walk out of your garage and head down the street.

As you are wandering like a halfwit through your neighborhood with your sunglasses and sash brush, start noticing the condition of the paint jobs on everyone's house including your own. As you do this, you will almost immediately begin to see why you bought the sash brush twenty four years ago before your company expanded to Malaysia. Your house and every other house on the block is in pretty bad shape.

The window putty surrounding the glass on virtually every window in your home has deteriorated slightly. To the point where the windows rattle when you attempt to very carefully close the front door, there is in fact more old window putty in the dirt below your window than there is window putty on the sash itself. Even though twenty four years ago you not only bought the paint brush and were intending to invest some of your retirement income in window putty stock, you of course were busy in Malaysia while your neighbor Bob next door was busy in Mexico. Needless to say, while both you and Bob were being multinational corporate executives, the sash brush sat idle, the window putty Bob bought dried in the can, the company that made the putty went broke, the company that made the can went broke, the paint brush company was sold to a company in Bangladesh, the house painter you were going to hire to help you paint the house twenty four years ago has a LINK card in his wallet where he once had a few paid off charge cards and a nice wad off cash, your property values have plummeted due to the fact that you over borrowed several years ago to purchase stock in companies you thought were going to expand internationally, and, now, you are standing in the middle of the street in front of your house without a suit coat, your white business shirt sleeves rolled up to your elbows, a twenty four year old sash brush sticking out of your back trousers pocket, and you're staring at your house and asking yourself, what about Bob? And, Bill and George and Pete and Sally, all of whom are standing in the street next to you with sash brushes in their back pockets.

Think about this for a minute.

The very trades that America has relied upon for decades to fix the everyday American things that are increasingly falling apart, have for some reason, been entirely supplanted by this vast international urgency to build commerce that for the most part, never even for a moment has taken into consideration that these trades are the only real industries worth investing in to begin with. Today more than ever though, it is these trades, all of America's building trades, that actually hold the key to domestic based industrial expansion that if executed properly, will methodically rebuild every other American industry in the process. For no other reason than what is already entirely obvious, if we collective start our nation's whole environmental based and mixed energy based 21st century industrial economy at the point where window putty is falling out of windows across America, if we do this and work backwards to fix and upgrade everything else that is wrong with that house, doing the same thing to the next house and then the next house, gives us the one thing no other nation in the world has. What that one thing is, is an overwhelmingly skilled American workforce that for years has had exposure to the very technologies in American paint as they have had in every other technology in every other industry that has any relationship whatsoever to the house and the community that house is built in to begin with. With this work force decidedly massive in scale, one simply has to wonder what has become of a government that constantly pursues trade policies abroad that draw the American work force down in both esteem and prestige for really no substantive economic reason to begin with.

Even from the standpoint of what today is clearly the need to diversify our portfolio of military based allies by offering free trade agreements that enable us to do so, again, what good is America if in fact not one house in the country has been repainted in the last twenty four years? If the house hasn't been painted in that long and virtually every other component in that house is more or less in the same condition, what possible reason would an enemy have to invade us to begin with, and, even more so, how on earth can we possible build an army to defend ourselves when virtually no one in this country truly has any tangible hands on, and, original American craftsman based skills remaining on their resume to begin with?

Putting this whole either national or international house painting issue another way, let's for a moment say that we in America actually chose to take house painting to the highest level of economic development possible. What exactly would our US communities begin to look like if in fact we did?

Well, aside from the fact that there would be an awful lot of people wandering around America in white painter's pants, which of course, would automatically boost the growth of America's textile and garment industries, the sheer volume of paint being delivered would tend to suggest the possibility that so many more paint delivery vehicles would have to be manufactured. As these vehicles would, for the most part, by operating in existing community environments, and most of those environments would be in urban or suburban areas already tight with congestion, the type of vehicle being manufactured most likely would reflect the capacity the vehicle itself has to utilize alternative power sources to fulfill those needs. In the same breath, paint is, for the most part, a product that has distinctive “left over principles” attached to its function. Whereas the typical home undoubtedly has several gallons of paint left over from twenty four years ago, this new and dynamic national economic emphasis on house painting would, of course, probably result in just a few more gallons of paint left to be disposed of in some one manner or another.

As semi-annual curb side municipal pick ups of used paint have been the prevailing method utilized to get rid of such paint, the fact of the matter is that but a handful of consumers utilize this service in spite of the fact that a hodgepodge of towns and cities across America offer such a service anyway. As such pick up services are more or less dependent upon town budgets that have already been depleted to practically nothing by global free trade agreements, needless to say, the larger potential of defining this effort as either an environmental or an economic issue is essentially lost in the abyss of poorly thought out federal and state environmental protection policy to begin with.
Having said all of the above, what we are again discussing here is looking at house painting as a massive nationwide economic redevelopment effort that sustains multiple industries for several decades into our 21st Century, mixed energy based American industrial future. At any rate, attached to the alternative powered paint deliver vehicle is of course a spill proof transportation and shipping container designed to of all things (and more) place unused house paint into it, deliver that house paint to a predetermined shipping point, take that paint from the shipping point to the reprocessing point, take that paint from the reprocessing point to the manufacturer, and, then, wait back at the retail distribution point within a given community or neighborhood for the next shipment from the manufacturer to arrive at the the retail point from which it is shipped out to the next house on the block that needs a paint job.

One of the perhaps hidden cost savings about addressing the nation's residential house painting industry in this manner, is the remarkable fact that there are virtually no foreign tariffs associated with this type of domestic American trade policy. In the same breath, there are virtually no trade shipping embargoes attached to either the paint, the paint can top, the paint can bottom, the label wrapped around the paint can or the handle attached to the paint can itself. Well, that is, unless of course, the State of Iowa launched its naval armada to prevent a shipment of paint from coming across the Mississippi River from The State of Illinois. As I doubt seriously this would happen here, those Iowans who might consider such an embargo would more than likely choose to place an embargo on the people who are leaving Illinois to get to Ohio instead. But, this is another story for another essay probably coming soon.

Getting back to the national initiative to repaint the exteriors of every house in America. If you back up a little bit and begin to see how the purchase of a relatively mundane piece of painting equipment such as a two and one half inch painters sash brush has a rather remarkable economic domino affect associated with its industrial growth, it's relatively easy to see that in order to actually get our national economy moving in the manner that truly benefits the whole country, certain legislative issues pertaining to this growth should, in all likelihood be addressed. As virtually everyone of these issues is firmly anchored to the overwhelming need to bring all sorts of new technology into what I would call a full operational mode, all of these legislative issues are essentially wrapped around around the constructive full development or redevelopment of our nation's building codes.

As these codes have, for decades, played second fiddle to the concept of getting a new product to a new market, and, more or less worrying about the codes later, this back asswords approach has served nothing more than being what I consider to be a much larger economic problem here at home, as well as abroad, and, within the nations we are already trading partners with. This problem can be best summed up by one phrase – “market absorption” - or – the flawed principles of “market saturation”.

Within the concept of market saturation, a certain forgone conclusion exists in the mind of every corporist, unless a corporation is constantly reinventing its product line, no doubt someone will come along and swallow that corporation up just the very moment it reaches what only it and it can reach. That is its product line has reached its maximum ability to be absorbed into the market place, and as a result, can only proceed to go down hill from there. The fundamental problem with this philosophy is that it is entirely untrue due quite often to the flawed research of the corporation itself. As the concept of not even knowing ones own market comes to mind here, as the notion of starting a company that sells toy sailboats to a desert nation might be just a bit absurd, the same concept more or less applies to any product based again on an entirely false assumption that today in our 21st century is even more absurd.

Essentially, there really is not such a thing as market saturation. Essentially there is no such thing as a product losing either its popularity, or, more importantly, its broader traditional as well future possible function. With few exceptions, virtually everything that has ever been made has a completely viable function even if that something was made more than one hundred years ago. The point I am making here is that it is not the product that looses its function, its the consumer who has lost sight of the actual need for the function that ultimately diminshes the growth of the corporation producing the product. Thus while it is presumed that only so many gallons of paint can be manufactured in America because it is also presumed that America is manufacturing more vinyl siding, and, therefore, replacing the need for such things as exterior paint to begin with, both assumptions are entirely false as vinyl siding cannot possibly protect every type of surface level found on a home anymore than paint can be used to conceal the fact that the surface beneath the paint must be either repaired or replaced, if in fact the paint job itself as well as the subsequent sale of the paint can be considered a market success itself.

Market saturation then, is, at the very best, a highly misleading term that for the purpose of this particular essay might want to be replaced with a term I would choose to define as “market misdirection”, that is the notion of operating on an entirely false set of market assumptions that abandoned altogether would present an entirely different and decidedly more prosperous outcome as a result.

Community Based Economics.

When you truly think about the framework of the conversation above, it is relatively easy to see why in our America we are still barely showing any form of either industrial or economic output in many if not all industrial sectors, more so in some, less so in others, but, collectively slow when all such industries are combined. Choosing to look quite closely as to why, with all of the technological advancements we have in virtually every industrial sector in our midst, we still don't really have any tangible evidence of sustainable growth, the reasons for this abound.

At the very top of this list is the virtually insane discussion on either global warming or climate change. How we managed to find ourselves led by what can only be considered as a ridiculously small number of fundamentally, mad scientists, and, in being led, these halfwits have managed to stop the development in new energy efficient technologies in every sector? When in fact if any of them actually sat down to have a talk with their own long ago unemployed house painters, they'd probably discover that it was their own home causing their own global environmental hazard to begin with?

This of course is one issue.

The larger global warming and climate change issue however, is the fact that we are producing legislation in anticipation of future global warming and preparing taxation plans on every industry that may or may not be involved in global warming to begin with, and, in the process of doing both, our leaders have essential frozen the industrial minds of a nation in every bit the same manner as a deer freezes on a highway upon the approach of headlights. As the redundancy of this whole network of legislative, earth intervention legislation to legislate, legislation is again a virtual essay on human insanity, this entire approach ignores entirely the fact that with the aid of advanced technology, energy efficient headlamps, the driver of the car no doubt has already seen the deer and is taking evasive action to avoid the deer even as we speak or will speak next season when another deer will undoubtedly attempt to cross again, another dark road at night whether or not the globe is getting warmer.

In as much as our leaders are working feverishly on new environmental legislation, they are as well working just as hard to eliminate other legislation from days (or decades) gone by with the thinking that such legislation somehow caused the virtual socioeconomic collapse of our nation that in their mind has actually caused this collapse, whereas in the mind of the vast majority of Americans who need their houses painted, such legislation just simply guaranteed the fact that they would be able to afford to do so up until Bill Clinton came along with NAFTA.

As what I am characterizing here is most certainly an over dramatization of the overall legislative situation were in, the point in fact, is, that it really isn't. The reason it really isn't is precisely the reason why TPP and TTIP will be remembered far less than being either historic or monumental as Barack Obama and Barack Obama alone chooses to characterize this “BIG DEAL”. As this Big Deal will be dissolved into the Big Belly of the global economy more quickly than a Big Mack will be absorbed in Barack Obama's digestive system, the only real big deal in fact the fact that America's domestic economy is for the most part idle.

Another significant aspect of this whole legislative mess that America finds itself in has to do with the hardened facts of local politics. Within the confines of local politics lies the real meat and potato issues of America. As those issues have been increasingly buttressed by the fact that local economies have suffered the most due to poorly structured international trade deals, they are clearly as well, the most entrenched in their individualized beliefs of not only what America means to them, but, from a much larger social dynamic, what they mean to America. As within this constantly embattled social dialog all these communities actually represent is an overall failure on behalf of the federal government to represent their interests in both industrial retention and job growth, economic growth has simply dwindled to nothing other than minimum wage job creation for entire communities throughout rural America. As a result, the relatively simple notion of adopting any form of building codes, that, on their face value are supposed to serve as both educational benchmarks as well as job growth associated with those benchmarks remains benign due exclusively to the fact that so many in these areas have lost all faith, and, subsequently all trust in government.

But, again, there remains the unused two and one half inch painters sash brush and that ubiquitous under utilized gallon of wholly undervalued American paint sitting in their barn.


Thanks for stopping by.

Mike Patrick Dahlke

Please visit some of my other essays.