Reclaiming the Family – Part 2 – The Family Business

Reclaiming the Family – Part 1 – Bring Back the Dowry

 

Back in the 1960s when I was a kid.  My father told me that the key to success was getting as much education as I could in a technical field and working for private industry.  In my own lazy and wayward manner, I took his advice and on the whole the advice was actually very sound.  I ended up in engineering, supported my family through their college years and lived a reasonably comfortable existence at a step beyond what my parents had.

Fast forward to 2019.  I have grandsons who will be coming of age in the next five to ten years.  Would my father’s advice be as good for them as it was for me?  Maybe, maybe not.  Let’s look at some of the factors that have changed.

Back when I was young, the American economy was the engine of world economic growth.  Technical innovation in almost every field occurred primarily here.  Computer science was the greatest innovation but advances in materials science, chemistry, medicine and electronics were remarkable.  Jobs in all fields went through booms and busts in synchrony with the business cycles but people raised families, bought houses and sent their kids to college on the strength of American industry employing them consistently.  And this was at all levels.  They needed production personnel, tradesmen, maintenance workers, support staff, along with scientists, engineers, accountants, lawyers and business managers.  America worked.

But starting in the early 1990s American business got the bright idea that American business didn’t need American workers.  First slowly then rapidly, jobs were shifted from where labor was expensive to where it was dirt cheap.  NAFTA was the beginning of this.  A factory across the border in Juarez could build automotive parts for a fraction of what it would cost in El Paso right across the border in Texas.  But things really got out of hand when the globalists shifted whole industries to China.  I personally saw the beginning of the export of polystyrene manufacturing to China in the 1990s and assume that the wholesale loss of intellectual property happened in just the same way with all the other industries that were sent there to avoid the environmental regulations and the normal labor costs in the United States.  And with those industries went all the manufacturing jobs that had existed with them here.  In my later career I was in an industry that was relatively immune to this devastation but lately between off-shoring and the importation of Indian and Chinese scientists and engineers the same kind of fate awaits these higher-level jobs and the kids coming out of school hoping for them.

For now, the crème de la crème of the best professional schools can hope to find good jobs in the legacy industries remaining in the United States.  But for everyone else it is an uncertain and changeable environment.

Recently what I’ve been thinking about is small business ownership.  If you can select an industry that is relatively hard to replace by cheap overseas labor, owning your own business can both help someone raising a family and also provide jobs for family that will be needing them as they reach maturity.

What kinds of businesses could these be?  Obvious ones are the building and business trades.  Electricians, carpenters, plumbers, HVAC installers, roofers, mechanics, IT technicians and repairmen.  Of course, there are all kinds of businesses that haven’t been completely devastated by cheap Chinese crap from Amazon.com.  Custom manufacturers and specialty equipment manufacturers, specialty metal workers and welders all provide products and services for businesses that still exist in the US.  Someone who is good at orbital sanitary welding and is conscientious about the paperwork that goes along with it can make a good living servicing the needs of microelectronics and pharmaceutical customers.

The way I think about it, if you’ve spent your life building up an expertise maybe you can use some of these skills to start or buy a business that you can work your children into.  Giving your children a leg up in the kind of world we live in today sounds like something that make sense.  Schooling will still have its value but instead of spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to got to Stanford you could go to State Tech and then go to work for the family business.

I’m still working on my own version of this plan but I throw it out there as an idea.

Of course, it’s not a panacea.  There’s no guarantee that your kids will be interested in the field you start a business in.  After all, if your kid wants to be an astrophysicist chances are, he won’t want to be a plumber.  And it’s not uncommon that family members cannot work together because of differences in temperament.

But there are advantages to working for family that are unique.  Transitioning a business from a father to his sons provides a flexible environment for on the job training, reasonable terms for both sides of the ownership transition and the possibility for someone even beyond normal retirement age to provide real value to the business on a part time basis.  It might even make long term health care more affordable for the older generation.

Obviously, many people aren’t in a position to start a small business, especially while raising a family.  It might even be more applicable to grandfathers but I think it’s another way to try to protect your family from the negative changes that the American business world has seen in the last generation.  Something to consider.

 

The Twilight Zone – Complete Series Review – Season 5 Episode 32 – Mr. Garrity and the Graves

Jared Garrity arrives in Happiness, Arizona circa 1875 and enters the saloon where he wakes up the saloon keeper Jensen and asks for a beer.  Praising the town Garrity marvels at how peaceful it is and Jensen tells him that it only was renamed Happiness ten months ago when the new Sheriff named Gilchrist established law and order in the previously lawless town by killing off the outlaws like Lightning Peterson.  Since then everything has been happy in Happiness.  But when Jensen asks Garrity what his line of work is Garrity replies, “I raise the dead.”

Garrity continues that he is able to resurrect the dead through scientific principles that he learned in the Himalayas.  As they were talking in the bar the hear a dog give a loud yelp from out on the street.  Rushing outside they see that a dog is lying apparently dead on the street and a man driving a wagon says that the dog ran under his wheels and was killed.

Garrity announces that he will resurrect the dog if everyone present will turn their backs while he performs his secret procedure.  After a few seconds of Garrity mumbling some words they hear a bark and turning around they see that the dog is indeed alive and unharmed.

Now Garrity announces that, that very night, he will resurrect all the dead in their Boot Hill and that the departed would arrive back in town at midnight.  As the hour approaches A form is seen walking through the fog toward the saloon and Garrity tells Jensen that since his brother was the last to die, he will be the first to return.  Jensen nervously tells Garrity that his brother John was a thief and a drunkard.  And he tells Garrity that if there is some way to stop the resurrection, he would want it.  Garrity tells him that resurrection is easy but reversing it is difficult, $700 of difficult.  Jensen pays.  Then each of the townspeople pay Garrity to keep their kin from returning.  Mr. Gooberman, the town drunk pays for his wife Zelda to stay dead so she won’t break his arm again for the seventh time.  And the sheriff pays $1,200 to keep Lightning Peterson from coming back, especially since rumor has it that Sheriff Gilchrist shot him in the back.

After collecting all his fees Garrity leaves town and in front of the graveyard he meets up with the man who drove the wagon over the dog and of course, his dog.  Garrity compliments his friend for impersonating Jensen’s brother and then they discuss their next con job in Tucson.  As he leaves, Garrity addresses the denizens of the graveyard and apologizes for not actually being able to bring them back to life.

As he drives away, the dead rise up from their graves and stagger down the road toward town.  John Jensen, Zelda Gooberman and Lightning Peterson each express their impatience to get back to Happiness and greet their “friends and relatives.”

What can I say?  John Dehner, J. Pat O’Malley and Stanley Adams as Garrity, Gooberman and Jensen respectively are fine character actors who take comic turns in this farcical passion play.  Between the cowardly hypocrisy of the denizens of Happiness and the creepy supernatural ending this is a very enjoyable comic Twilight Zone episode.  A.

 

A Very Unfunny Joke

A priest, a rabbi and a minister happen to meet in a bar.  Everybody has heard these kinds of jokes.  Let’s try a different kind of joke.  A cokehead, a gangster’s nephew and the heir to a ketchup fortune met in Washington.  Well that doesn’t sound as funny.  Wait, it gets better.  Especially since the gangster is the recently dearly departed Whitey Bulger, the cokehead’s father is Joe Biden and John Kerry is the stepfather of the Prince of Ketchup.  Ah, now you see.  Each of these men has been able to turn nepotism into a pot of gold.  There’s definitely something funny going on there but it’s definitely not a coincidence that these three men met up.  Joe Biden and John Kerry were powerful members of the Obama administration who allowed their relatives to trade off their names with foreign governments that could benefit from decisions of the Obama administration.  James Bulger is just the latest manifestation of the Massachusetts proclivity for shady politics.  James’s father, Billy Bulger, was Whitey’s brother but he was also the President of the Massachusetts Senate for eighteen years and used his influence to enrich himself and his family and insinuate them into circles that would perpetuate their influence.  And, of course, John Kerry and Billy Bulger are old Bay State friends.

Apparently, this is what all the hullaballoo was about with the Russia-gate scam.  The Obama administration was a giant grift where the leaders used their relatives to siphon off billions using influence peddling operations.  If China wanted to buy up American military technology companies, well Hunter Biden would partner with them to make it seem legitimate.  It meant greasing some palms, but the Chinese got what they wanted and so did the Bidens.  It sounds a lot like the Clinton uranium scam for the Russians.  And it also includes the Ukraine grift.  And after Hillary and company lost the election, they started the Russiagate frame-up to deflect attention from their own foreign crimes.  And yet somehow, we’re supposed to believe that the same CIA and FBI that seems to have wire-taps in every room in the White House didn’t know a thing about Hillary’s and Biden’s grifts.  That’s the unfunny joke.

I watched Rudy Giuliani make the rounds with the television political pundits.  He laid out the evidence and made the case that all the evidence being ignored by the Press and the Deep State is a mountain compared to the molehill of the alleged whistleblower in the CIA that is all over the front pages of all the MSM outlets.  He declared he is waiting for the Justice Department to do something about it.  But will they?

We are about to find out if Barr is a real American or just another swamp dweller.  With all the information out there, if the Justice Department takes no action at all then basically Trump is on his own.  In fact, wouldn’t Barr know that someone had changed the definition of whistleblower to include hearsay?  Could something as rigged as that rule change happen without alarm bells going off in the Attorney General’s office?

But an even larger issue is the fact that the surveillance state now controls the actions of the President of the United States.  Unelected spies control the actions of our elected officials and spy on all of us too.  President Trump has the unenviable task of draining the swamp while fighting off the nine-headed Lernaean Hydra of mythology that inhabits the swamp.  And just like that mythical beast every time one head is cut off (e.g., Comey or Brennan) three more grow back.

I’ve come to believe that the only way to get back control of our country is to dismantle the surveillance apparatus.  In a way I think it would be a good platform for the President to run on in 2020.  Purging Washington of these wannabe KGB masterminds would be popular with many moderates and independents too.

When I imagine how I would tackle the job that Barr is supposed to do, I imagine assembling all the upper echelons of, let’s say, the CIA and after explaining how allowing the resistance to sabotage the Trump Administration is dereliction of duty I’d fire the whole top level of the organization.  Then while these big shots were being rudely escorted off the premises, I would address their direct reports with the following ultimatum, provide evidence of who the remaining obstructionists are or immediately follow their former bosses out the door.  I would give them at least five minutes to make up their minds if they wanted to cooperate and if they didn’t volunteer information by then I’d have them escorted out the door and move on to the next echelon down.  This plan has the advantage that as you move down the chain of command the importance of a pay check becomes more and more critical.  Eventually you will reach someone who would rather be an employed civil servant than an unemployed resistance fighter.

As you can see, I have a very unsubtle way of looking at things but the point is, cleaning out that rat’s nest needs to be done somehow or other.  When rampant government malfeasance is ignored by the FBI and CIA but these same agencies abuse their power to hamper the legitimately elected representatives of the people it’s time to start over.

Now that the President has started down this road it can’t be more than a week or two before we know whether Barr is there to clean up or cover up the mess.  Fingers crossed.