Dear Corporate America
I haven't written to you in a while. At least not since my television broke down, my toaster developed a taste for human flesh and my phone company ran away with my phone number to Mexico.
Rachel Maddow says we're both on the right and are really close together. But then again Rachel Maddow also says the Republican Party drinks the blood of small children. So she can be a little factually challenged on occasion.
Still I'm on the right and you're occasionally sort of, but not really, on the right. I support lower taxes. So do you. At least for yourself. I support deregulation. You only support deregulation when it suits your narrow interests, but not when it lets smaller businesses and freelancers compete against you.
What you seem to want is a country with low taxes, your preferred forms of deregulation and the population of Mexico.
These things are not compatible. Mexico is currently governed by the Institutional Revolutionary Party; a member of the Socialist International. It has a multi-generational teachers' union whose members pass on their jobs to their children and whose riots have to be put down by armed force.
When it comes to ease of doing business, the United States is ranked 4th, Mexico is ranked 48th, coming in ahead of Kazakhstan. A Comparmex report showed that companies spend 10% of their revenue on bribes.
Is this what you really want for America?
Your lobbies and associations keep pushing for amnesty for 12 million illegal aliens even while your companies keep fleeing California.
If you don't like doing business in California, which is turning into the American version of Mexico, why do you want to turn the rest of America into California?
You keep talking about how we need "immigration reform" to be more globally competitive. Are there superpower rivals desperately trying to import 12 million people whose great dream is to put their entire families on social welfare? Are there Chinese recruiting agents showing up at the border to urge the DREAMERS clambering over the fence to try Shanghai instead?
I understand why you would rather pay a Pakistani or Chinese programmer on an H-1B visa half of what you would pay a talented American programmer. And that's your choice. And paying fifty bucks for the full version of that programmer's work, instead of ten times as much on your licensed edition based on a program once created by American programmers but reassembled into an update by H-1B employees until it has more bugs than features, is mine.
That's how the free market works.
But while those H1-B employees will forward all your confidential information back to Chinese intelligence and occasionally set off bombs while shouting Allah Akbar, they don't threaten your ability to do business.
Sure one of your execs might be flying on the plane that goes down in a burst of exploding underwear and next month a bunch of programs that look suspiciously like yours will come flying out of Zhong Guan Cun undercutting your international market share. And the next time you're negotiating with a Chinese company, they'll just happen to have access to all of your corporation's emails.
But you can live with that. Can you really live with full amnesty and the consequences of destroying the Republican Party as little more than a protest vote in a Socialist International America?
You spent the last election whining about how hard it is to do business in America under the Democratic Party. You hate ObamaCare, despite promoting it, and then you do everything in your power to make Democratic Party rule permanent through amnesty.
I'm not a psychiatrist and it would be hard for me to get all of Corporate America onto a couch for a session, but it seems to me that you're suffering from a severe bout of schizophrenia.
You want workers who will take low pay without complaining about working conditions. And you can get that with illegal aliens who don't speak the language and don't know their rights, until they hook up with community organizations backed by the entire Democratic Party and then you're up to your neck in lawsuits and minimum wage bills.
At which point you'll threaten to move to Mexico or China... to escape a problem that you caused.
Maybe I'm misjudging you, but I don't think you really want an open economy where deregulation cuts out the government bureaucracy and makes it possible for both workers and corporations to do business on better terms.
I think that Mexico is exactly what you want. Sometimes in business you have to take yes for an answer. And I think that in this case yes is the answer.
You want a closed system where there is no competition and cronyism is the only way things get done, where the corporate taxes are a bit lower, but the difference is more than made up by bribes, a society sharply divided between the vast armies of the unprotesting poor who are resigned to their fate and a small wealthy elite that enjoys its superiority in ways that it can't on this side of the border.
You don't really want to build things. You want to keep other people from building them while you enjoy a monopoly on the things that someone innovative built twenty years ago before he was forced to leave the country.
Paul Ryan is your boy and few other politicians represent the complete disconnect between the economic and immigration policies of your kind better than him. Ryan wants to cut social benefits and legalize 12 million illegal immigrants. He wants to cut money for the "takers" and add million more takers to the voting rolls to ensure that any legislative changes he makes will vanish in a wink.
So what does Paul Ryan really want? Does he want to cut spending more or does he want amnesty more? He's willing to sacrifice his budgets for amnesty, but not amnesty for his budgets.
Ryan may spout nonsense about how this generation of "family-oriented" illegal aliens will start lots of business and keep social security afloat, and how they, in a complete reversal of history, will be all for cutting social spending and voting Republican. But I doubt that he or McCain or anyone else is stupid enough to believe that nonsense.
Given a choice between America, the Republican Party and Amnesty, they're willing to sacrifice America and the Republican Party, not to mention Conservatism, on the altar of Amnesty.
The real question is why. Not why Ryan is choosing such a course, but why his backers who claim to want legislative reforms and economic freedom are pursuing an aggressive and well-funded course that will ensure that America will never have any more economic freedom than can be bought by a bribe or a family connection? Why are the people who claim to be concerned about our debt and our unsustainable spending determined to take both up to eleven?
Maybe we're all part of the problem. Maybe as a society we're no longer capable of producing leaders capable of thinking in terms of long term consequences. We want what we want and we want it now.
Corporate America has decided that it needs cheap labor now and the tens of millions of unemployed and unskilled Americans don't do. In the long run, amnesty will make America all but impossible to do business in for any company that doesn't have General Electric, Duke Energy or Tesla in its name. But in the long run, the sun may go nova. That's how people like that think.
Maybe it's as simple as pumping and dumping America, cashing in on a few years of cheap labor and then heading somewhere else and profiting from selling the last remnants of the collapsing economy to Qatar or Saudi Arabia. It appears to be happening in Europe. Why not America?
Don't get me wrong, I'm all for capitalism in the same way that I'm for democracy. As Churchill said, it's the worst possible system except for all the alternatives.
Capitalism, like Democracy or Wikipedia, isn't innately good, it's just better because it's decentralized and that allows people to pursue their own dreams, agendas and anything else they like. The sum total of this crowdsourced wonderland is sometimes good, sometimes bad, often in-between, but on average better than any tyranny of politics, economics or articles on breeds of armadillo would be.
Democracy gave us Barack Obama. Capitalism gave us GE. Wikipedia lists a blue armadillo that doesn't exist in nature. All these flaws remind us that crowdsourcing is imperfect. It doesn't give us good results. It gives us better results.
But dear Corporate America, despite what Rachel Maddow says, I kind of like you. You make decent toasters. Or at least you design decent toasters that China makes. And if you ever decided to dump the Green energy labels, the abstract art and the million dollar donations to gay rights groups and turn into the monstrous cryptofascist conspiracy that liberals claim you are, we might get somewhere.
But we both know that's not going to happen.
You're not conservative. You're certainly not right-wing. There are exceptions, but they're not the rule. Like most of our elites, you're liberal. At best you're occasionally libertarian, but in a limited way. You're all for opening up the borders, but you're all for requiring businesses to get permits if they're in a competing line of work. And you feel guilty, about ice caps, black kids in the inner city and all the other stuff that comes in your mail.
But don't feel too bad, Corporate America. You're not uniquely awful. You're just part of a society whose best and brightest have lost their way and whose proud and prosperous have spent too much time listening to them.
In a decaying society, you have learned to grab what you can without believing that the society and the nation are worth protecting as more than sources of loot. In your comfort zone, the transnational idea has come to seem plausible and the world and its many nations seem infinitely redundant to you. If America doesn't work out, try China or Mexico or Qatar or Singapore.
That comfort zone in which you can thrive on transnational fantasies while still vacationing on Martha's Vineyard is brought to you by a Pax Americana. The peace of the American mercantile empire that your forebears put into place with sailing ships and armed men enables you to sell and buy across the globe, to jump in a jet plane and pop from airport to airport and from luxury hotel to luxury hotel.
All this is not the fulfillment of some Tom Friedmanesque fantasy about the inevitablity of globalism and the flattening of the world. It's not a new era of history. It's the last days of a peaceful empire that made your wealth and power possible. And that you are destroying the same way that the Romans destroyed theirs.
Yes, for a time you will have your estates in Gaul and compliant barbarians who will clean your floors and look after your kids at cut rate prices. The wine will be plentiful and the circuses shocking. And one day you will wake up and discover that your grandchildren have become barbarians, that the civilization you knew is gone and the virtues that made your way of life possible are gone with it.
I won't preach to you about sacrifice.I'll leave that to Elizabeth Warren and her ilk who will bleed you for every cent you have unless you pay her off first. I will tell you that actions have consequences and not just of the class action lawsuit kind. Power is not the same thing as control. That's not only a lesson that Obama must learn. It's a lesson that you must learn as well.
To build a thing, you must know what it is you are building, you must test the structure, practice with the tools and make it real. Destroying a thing is easier. All you have to do is tear down what works and replace it with a slipshod structure made out of poor materials and tools you don't know how to use as cheaply as possible.
That's what your amnesty push will do to America. And when it's done, when America is California and California is Mexico and organized crime is indistinguishable from government and the only way to do business is with a handful of bribes, then you really will have built that.
On that day, there will be no Tea Party to save you and no Republican Party left to defend you.
You will flee to Singapore or China or Africa, only to realize that you are no longer a wealthy American, but the citizen of a fallen empire without protection in a world where the old rules made by the Pax Americana no longer apply. When the last bribes have been squeezed out of you and your company has been taken over and looted by the son of some government official, perhaps you will finally come to know the worth of the civilization you so foolishly destroyed.
Oh, and I'm pretty sure my DVD player no longer works.