Monday, December 03, 2012

Former textile mill owner blasts crazy tax notions and other popular nonsense about the economy

Where has this guy been all these years? Or more to the point, where have we all been, not to have been aware of him? He's a former textile mill owner, trade association president, and hard-headed business guy – not exactly a raving lefty seeking "gifts" as that yutz Mitt Romney put it.

Instead, Roger Berkley talks no-bullshit, no-punches-pulled common sense about the economy, what's wrong with it, and how company owners and managers in his own business can survive.

Last Spring he gave a speech at the National Press Club in Washington D.C. at the Second Annual Conference on the Renaissance of American Manufacturing: Jobs, Trade and the Presidential Election. And if you think he was going to start spouting some Republican party line blather, un-think the thought. Here are excerpts of what the former Chairman of the National Textile Association had to say, as reported in the trade newspaper Fabrics and Furnishings, and entirely missed, I fear, by the mainstream press.

Corporate taxes not the boogeyman

"I have boots on the ground manufacturing experience.  I’ve dealt with cost increases and tax increases and economic cycles of boom and bust. I’d like to answer one question that’s been raised today about taxes.  My company and my competitors never made a decision based on taxes.  They made decisions incorporating what the tax structure is because we can’t change it. If you want to do something about taxes, if taxes are an issue, remember that Japan may cut its corporate tax rate, but it has a value added tax, which we don’t have in the USA.

"American disadvantage in export is related to VAT. When the American product gets sold to France, I have all that American tax on it and then my French customer has to apply the French value added tax which is about eighteen percent in France today.  That’s a real tough nut.   
"So if you’re going to cut corporate taxes that’s not really going to help me that much in my exporting efforts. You must do something about that [foreign] value added tax."
 Want to see something stupid? Look at a bank.
"I fought against the incredible stupidity and finality of banks which took billions of taxpayer dollars in bailouts and then kept it, rather than lending it to the people who needed it.  I lost that fight. I really did.  I saw my business killed by the stupidity of a bank.  They just didn’t like what they saw.  That bank hadn’t lost a penny on us.  They just didn’t like what it looked like.  
"What did they know?  They knew nothing. Over the years I’ve learned that bankers… are   generally lying bankers (and) really stupid.  They’re asked to look at all different kinds of fields and areas and understand them. That means   they look at all kinds of things and they understand none of them.  Then they make decisions based on their lack of knowledge." Walmart shows us
it's cheaper to make stuff abroad

I wrote a cranky rant on products made abroad back in 2007. It ranged from poisonous toys made in China to missile rocket cones made in Pakistan. Now Berkley goes me one better, by calling out pressure in Congress to "save the taxpayers money" by making military uniforms more cheaply abroad.
"...we have the Berry Amendment, which says that anything used by the military, and now the TSA - you know those nice blue shirts - those are made in the United States because the Berry Amendment says that all has to be made here in the United States.  And every time the Berry Amendment comes up for renewal there’s a group in Congress that says, you know, we could get it for less if we bought it in China.  Yeah, but, what are your soldiers going to wear when the Chinese get pissed off at you?  You’re going to have a whole bunch of naked soldiers running around the field.  I mean, that’s what it’s all about."

For more of Berkley, check out his entire speech here. And while you're at it, ask yourself this. Why is it we can get useful stuff like this only from a quarterly fabrics and furnishings trade newspaper? Where the hell are CNN, and ABC, NBC, CBS, and the regular daily print press?

Oh, I forgot. They're consulting the usual suspects: talking heads, loudmouths, and airheads.

1 comment:

Patricia said...

This was an excellent post, really interesting and thanks for the links. I really do believe the banksters should be prosecuted. I moved my money to a local community bank. It is crazy that dollars, printed at taxpayers expense are being used for banksters insane salaries and robbing Americans blind with their fees and let's go there, with the damn foreclosure crises. Real Estate sales have been frozen here in Jersey due to the hurricane. Short sales and foreclosures all have to be reinspected due to hurricane damage. The banks wouldn't even maintain the properties they owned before. Are they really going to repair them now? The banks are run by criminals. Sorry for the rant, but everything goes in a giant circle jerk right back to the banks.