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Do as I say

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Has anyone else noted the incongruity of TV reporters standing out in the wind and rain at the edge of a hurricane telling us lesser individuals to get away from their locale and seek shelter in a safer place?

No matter the channel I checked the scene was the same, their reporter in rain gear (notice they all wear the same uniform) being buffeted by wind and rain with crashing ocean waves in the background. All seem to come safely through their ordeal so I cynically feel that if it isn't too tough for them, why would it be so tough for me! Maybe if one or two would get washed away in the surf, never to return, it would lend a little more credence to their "brave" reporting.

Yes, Irene, the storm of the century, did wreak havoc all along the Eastern Shore. Here in our country we too have strong winds, hail storms, tornadoes, floods, and prairie fires so I guess one just has to pick your poison and make the best of where you choose to live. Personally I have been privileged to have lived on the East Coast, on Cape Cod and near the West Coast of this great United States. Uncle Sam also sent us to live along the north bank of the Rio Grand and the south shore of Lake Superior. Grannie Annie and I enjoyed some of the good and bad of each location but still chose to come back home to Nebraska. No regrets.

Recently with little fanfare, General Electric Corp. announced that it is moving the headquarters of its 115-year-old X-ray business from Waukesha, Wisconsin, to Beijing, China. Now the CEO of G.E. is none other than Jeffry Immelt whom President Obama has chosen to head his Jobs Council. So far there has been no announcement from the White House that Immelt has demonstrated by his actions that he is an inappropriate poster child for his position as jobs czar and has to go!

Then just last week I received a short original treatise from my son, Don (Dusty) Trail that explains many of the motivations of U.S. corporations and how they, as G.E. did, make decisions that many of us feel are downright un-American.

\Don writes: "After working for three Fortune 500 companies (including G.E.) over the years I want to offer you a little different perspective that you might want to research.

"Capitalism is great as far a system of unleashing peoples' potential to make money. However, ever since the inception of the corporation and their specifically being granted right to be a legal personality as a fictional person, a legal person, or a moral person (as opposed to a natural person) in my view changed things.

The problem is corporations have no soul. They only exist for one purpose, to be profitable, whatever it takes. They have no concern for the "afterlife." Therefore, their only moral obligation is to be profitable so they can survive. They have an obligation to keep the "stock holders" happy and remain profitable. In my view, this is why we see so many corporations taking short-term solutions to keep their balance sheet as "profitable" as possible. It is a hedonistic self-serving entity. Many times corporations do not take a moral long term stance. This is why we see mass layoffs and restructuring in companies and people getting laid off before their retirement reaches full benefit, under paying over-performers, and even the moving of their corporate headquarters overseas to avoid tax liability. We also sometimes see corporations making decisions to do things that may not be the best for the community (closing long time facilities) or environment (dumping waste into waterways) around them. Their moral obligation is only to themselves and their survival. With the 'corporation' there is no accountability to the creator for their decisions because they are not concerned about afterlife consequences. What counts is only this life today because there is no "afterlife."

"However, we Christians believe there are consequences for our actions, in this life and the next. We have a long-term perspective about life and do not make decisions only for this life, but we know some day we are going to be 'held to an account for our actions'.

"Sometimes, in my view, God is gracious to us and lets us get 'caught' in this life so we have a chance to repent, make restitution and make things right. This is for our benefit and can also truly benefit those we may have wronged by making things right.

"Our perspective is not only doing what is right, even though it may hurt our own personal profitability and pride. We do this because it is the right thing to do and our goal is to 'Love God and Love our Neighbor as ourselves.'"

Ouch, me-thinks that Don has hit the nail on the head! What can be done about it? I've been pondering and can only suggest that when a corporation sends a job out of country there should be a tax penalty attached. That would require action from the 545 members of Congress and the Presidency but I fear that all too many of them wouldn't understand the concept.

That is how I saw it.

Dick Trail

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I can only wonder if Warren Buffet will have a "make restitution" moment. Or will he go down as one of the greatest hypocrites of all time?

-- Posted by Chunky Peanut Butter on Tue, Aug 30, 2011, at 5:06 PM

No one wants to pay taxes. Not corporations, not wage earners, not Survivor winners, not sellers or buyers. Who is going to pay off that bouncing check that caused the earthquake in Virginia? If we have no jobs, no companies to work for and no prospects for either, we should just move out of the country to where the jobs and companies are. Oops, we Americans would expect high wages, and labor unions to protect us from companies that are sure to exploit us. Since all the workers have left the good ole USofA, the companies can now return. I am sure the 545 representatives can arrange some sort of welcoming party for those returning companies, such as a tax free status. Ya Think?

-- Posted by TravRN on Tue, Aug 30, 2011, at 11:45 PM


Buffet's outfit is just like all the rest of the big companies, they are years late paying their taxes because the IRS questions their returns and they are in litigation for years. At least his company pays unlike GE.

Last week he was talking about his personal taxes, not his company.

We will never get the deficit paid down unless there is more revenue coming in, and I see no reason why there shouldn't be a tax imposed on all the companies that shift their production oversees. For once I actually agree with Mr. Dick on that point.

But while we are at it, close the loop holes that enable outfits like GE to pay zero taxes last year. It's a crime that an outfit like GE pays no taxes while granny and grandpa on social security will pay incomes if they receive enough to put them in a tax bracket.

Also time for term limits for congress, just like the president. Maximum of 2 terms and you're done, and no congressional retirement plan for them, social security like most people. Former congressional members can not be lobbiests for 20 years. Take away the incentives for them to be in the backpockets of the big coporations.

-- Posted by goarmy67 on Wed, Aug 31, 2011, at 11:13 AM

agreeing with Wondering70. would also add SPENDING REDUCTION!!!

-- Posted by doodle bug on Wed, Aug 31, 2011, at 1:23 PM

Good article Mr. Trail - Thanks!!

Since your article pertains to Corporations and their lack of soul, I thought you might enjoy reading a recent briefing paper about the proposed Keystone XL pipeline.


-- Posted by Geezer on Wed, Aug 31, 2011, at 6:35 PM


Would you mind pointing out to me and the other readers of these posts how you determined I was against the pipeline project?

Back up your assertions or keep your opinion to yourself.

-- Posted by Geezer on Thu, Sep 1, 2011, at 11:21 AM

What is the difference Wondering70? If Warren Buffet is making the case that all wealthy, whoever they are is still a mystery, pay more in taxes, shouldn't he. Shouldn't his investment group be a reflection of Mr. Buffet? Or is he just a greedy old man, and those who worship him just as greedy and hypocritical?

-- Posted by Chunky Peanut Butter on Sat, Sep 3, 2011, at 9:50 AM

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Dick Trail
The Way I Saw It