Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Speech Obama Should Give:

My fellow Americans, I want you all to stand up and go look in the mirror. That’s right, get up off of your chairs and go look in the mirror. Are you ready?

Ask yourselves; “Am I rich?” Yes, ask yourselves that question. If the answer is yes, you can go sit back down and change the channel. If it is not—Listen up.

There are too many people in this country who vote against their economic interests. There are too many people in this country who consider themselves conservative, who vote for Republicans just because they are Republicans. There are too many people in this country who take positions on issues of which they are wholly uniformed. We will tackle that one first.

According to a Congressional survey, more than half of you believe the recent economic crisis was caused by too much regulation. Let me repeat, the economic crisis was caused by too much regulation. Do those of you that think this also believe that government regulations caused the BP oil spill in the Gulf? Do you even remember the BP oil spill? Was it caused by too much regulation? The economic crisis was caused because there was too little regulation. Investment bankers bought mortgages from banks, sold them to their clients and then bet on whether they would fail or not. Then when the housing bubble burst, these banks couldn’t pay off their bets. This shouldn’t be legal. It wasn’t legal thirty years ago and it shouldn’t be legal now, or thirty years from now. There have to be rules. Businesses will make as much profit as the rules will allow, sometimes even that they don’t allow. Yet conservatives are balking at the very same regulations that kept the financial industry healthy for half a century.

Now look in the mirror and ask yourself if you believe in rules? If you do, you can continue listening. If not, you can change the channel.

According to a CBS news poll, over half of you think that I do not have a clear plan for creating jobs. It is to those of you I direct my next comments. Are you living under a rock? Do you ever read a newspaper? Or do you get all of your news from Fox news and Rush Limbaugh? These folks are only interested in one job—Mine and me losing it. I just proposed a comprehensive jobs bill that includes, lowering payroll taxes—Yes tax cuts. State and local governments would receive $50 billion for transportation projects, $35 billion for school, police and fire department payrolls, $30 billion to modernize public schools and community colleges, and $15 billion to refurbish vacant and foreclosed homes or businesses. All of this is deficit neutral. Do we not need these things? If we do need them, wouldn’t this be a good place to create jobs? Yes, this will raise taxes on millionaires. But we’ll get back to that later.

Is this not a plan? Every Republican in congress voted against it. As I said, they are more interested in me losing my job than finding jobs for unemployed Americans. Don’t tell me I don’t have a plan. What I don’t have is a partner in congress interested in creating jobs. Since I have been elected, Republicans have proposed 44 bills on abortion, 99 bills on religion, 71 on family relationships, 36 bills on marriage, 76 on firearms, 522 on taxation, and 445 on government investigations. Not one on jobs. Where are their priorities? We need a jobs bill.

Now look in the mirror and ask yourself if you want a jobs bill. If you do, pick up your phone or sit down at your keyboard and demand a jobs bill from your congressmen and women.

Many of you are registered Republicans. I can understand that we have our disagreements. I do not have the power to outlaw abortion and I can’t help you with your marriage or your family relations. This is not the role of government. You shouldn’t use these wedge issues to distract you from what is really important. You cannot let the conservative pundits hoodwink you into thinking I’m against everything that you are for. You cannot let the Republican Party do their best to keep the economy down just so I’ll lose my job next year. If jobs is the priority, why not tell your representatives so? There will always be time to argue about abortion later. These wedge issues are preventing you from voting for your economic interests.

Now go look in the mirror and ask yourself: Am I informed? Am I voting for or against my own interests?

Most of the members of the Republican Party have taken a pledge never to raise taxes on anyone or anything. They have tied their hands behind their backs when it comes to their obligation of governance. The tax rate for millionaires was 92% under Eisenhower, 75% under Nixon, Ronald Regan lowered taxes before he raised them again. H.W. Bush raised taxes as well. What type of statesmen would they be if they had made a pledge not to raise taxes? Do you think they raised taxes because they liked taxes? Or was it because they felt an obligation to the economy and to the American people? The top tax rate under President Clinton was 39%. What was the difference between then and now? Our economy was strong. Now it’s not. There’s less money to go around and I am turning to the most affluent of us to pay their fair share, even if it’s less of a share than it was under all of the Presidents I mentioned.

Rich people pay two different tax rates. Their salaries are taxed at 35%. All income they receive from investments are taxed at 15%. This is the lion’s share of their earnings. That is why Warren Buffet pays a lower tax rate than his secretary. Is this fair?

Now look in the mirror and ask yourselves if the rich should pay a lower tax rate than you.

Some of you call me a socialist. Well, we’re all socialists. In Europe, taxes go to pay for universal health care and free college. Here, our taxes go to subsidize rich corporations. Why are we subsidizing big oil, big agribusiness, and the pharmaceutical industry? Big Oil gets generous tax breaks for exploration and they give us token royalties for what they extract from Federal Land and Seas. Big Farms are paid not to grow. Our government invests in pharmaceutical R & D. If the research fails, we lose. If it succeeds, we pay top dollar for it on the market. They are all making record profits. It is they who are the beneficiaries of American Socialism. Our activist Supreme Court erred terribly when it extended first Amendment rights to corporations. Corporations do not fulfill the obligations of our citizenry and should not be entitled to our individual rights. They are controlling our campaigns and ultimately the laws under which we live.

Now look in the mirror and ask yourselves: Do we want corporations controlling the way we live? If you don’t trust that government will do the right thing, what wind will blow when corporations call the shots? No regulation on pollution, on the banks, on anything that would impede their profits.

This is not the America I grew up in.

Go look in the mirror and ask yourselves if this is the America that you want your children to grow up in.

Thank you and God Bless America

Monday, October 17, 2011

These Machines Were Made For Walking

Our annual Open House was very busy and we moved a good deal of machinery last week. Why?

We demonstrated a number of current generation in-line or near line machines that reduce labor. Surprised? I didn’t think so. Over the weekend I heard pundits talking about how businesses could hire right now but can’t find good people. Sound familiar?

The new Drylam ALM3220 is a single or double sided laminator that works just like a copy machine. You put the stock in, hit start and walk away. You can go get a cup of coffee, read the paper, or go over to The new MBM Aerocut slitter, cutter and creaser. This machine slits, cuts, and creases business cards, CD booklets, brochures, or anything up to 19” wide and infinite in length. Just put the stock in, hit start, and walk away. You may want to walk over to your digital printer or load up The Sterling Digipunch automatic “touch screen punch.” Simply load up to five reams of paper, hit start, and walk away. Your material will be sitting in the delivery tray on each of these machines when you return. Or, you can use the Graphic Whizard Creasemaster and UV coater in-line to produce eye popping brochures, creased, coated, and ready to go.

It’s hard to resist machines that reduce labor, and are as easy to run as these machines are. Either do these things the way you have always done them, or just keep walking.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Let Them Eat Cake

There’s been a great deal of talk about class warfare lately. Apparently the President wants to raise taxes on millionaires a couple of points. Also, the top .4% of the country’s top earners will have their earnings taxed as income, rather than on the much lower rate of capital gains. This is now known as the Buffet Rule, after Warren Buffet wrote an Op-Ed piece complaining that his secretary paid about a 33% income tax rate while he only paid about 15%.

Now to the picture above. The French Revolution was carried out against an aristocracy unmoved by the plight of the poor people living under their rule. How large was this aristocracy? .5%. So the French Aristocracy was about the same size as our capitalist aristocracy over two hundred years later. If this were class warfare, we’d be rolling out the guillotines—not asking for a fair tax rate for the wealthiest of the wealthy.

Some say that this top .4% are job creators and that a higher tax rate will hamper the creation of jobs in this country. And they are 100% right. The wealthy are creating jobs. But where?

Two weeks ago The Swiss watch company, Vacheron Constantin opened their first store in the United States. Their shelves are stocked with 55 watches, a 50 million dollar inventory. Yes that’s right, the watches sell for $905,000. Just imagine how many jobs will be lost if billionaires have to cut back and are unable to purchase million dollar watches? How many employees will have to high tail it back to Switzerland?

Meanwhile, the wealthy still have to drive over the same crumbling roads and bridges that we do. They still have to wade through the homeless after going to fine restaurants.

Time is money and we're running out of time. The wealthy are not running out of money. Perhaps it is time for these most affluent of us to pitch in for more important things than a perfect timepiece.

Friday, September 16, 2011

The Demise of The Printing Industry Has Been Greatly Exaggerated

Michael Spiel Addresses The American Dealers Group

I haven’t written a blog for some time now. The malaise that ran through our industry was completely obliterated by a new found optimism and a need to automate. This has kept me quite busy.

As my brother recently said in a speech to the American Dealers Group; “We are coming off the busiest summer that our company has seen in years. Surprised? We certainly were. It seems that America has finally woken up to the fact that we need to reduce our labor to be competitive. Printers are automating more than ever before. Our smart customers are automating. Those less savvy are holding auctions.” It’s been three years since the 2008 crash. It’s time to go high or go home. Either you are going to compete in this new economy or you’re going to fold. “That’s the way we’ve always done it” is no longer an option.

This was the busiest Graph Expo we’ve seen in years. Americans are finally coming around to the notion that you can’t solve every problem with labor. The Europeans have known this for years and we are starting to catch up. We have more large shops looking at automatic double wire binders than ever before. More small shops are automating their punching and coil binding.

So look around your shop. Where are the bottlenecks? Where are your workers doing more talking than binding? How can you reduce labor with a decent ROI? If you don’t look at these things, and look at them soon, you may start looking at auctioneers.