Monday, June 27, 2011

Thanks for the Rubber Crutch

Don’t they realize that they eventually have to buy that oil back?

In an effort to supply Europe with the light-sweet crude it’s lost from Libya, play Sun Tzu with OPEC, and collectively keep otherwise helpless looking elected officials in office, 60 million barrels of oil will be released from strategic reserves in the world. Half of it is coming from the US. Seemingly proposed by one of the states involved, it’s surely seen as another dose of economic stimulant for a chaotic Europe, a teetering China, and an economically enfeebled US.

And the White House backed it in what must surely be a passive way – that of a “best choice among those offered”, and likely didn’t initiate the idea. Surely it seemed to be an economic positive, based on spending behavior in the US being closely tied to the price of gas, but it is starting to look more like a date-rape drug than a sugar pill.

It also displays the continued chaotic nature of the US administration’s behavior. On one hand, it manages this effort. On another, it harasses Boeing to the degree that buyers, eternally playing Airbus and Boeing off against one another and sitting on the fence. It’s not hard to get the sense that the extent that the Airbus’ recent jackpot in aircraft sales are based on buyers looking at the sad misuse of what is meant to be a mediation board, the NLRB, into an anti-capitalist voodoo priestess, and seeing contract fulfillment difficulties in their future.

That the White House seems eternally held hostage by loons is not a revelation. That they are largely blind to the consequences of their ardent crusade to build a bridge to the 19th century is. “Labor” used to be made up of Labor, and thus actually understood industry. Now it looks more like it’s populated by the graduating class of some sort of Bedwetting Social Justice Campaigners’ Reeducation Camp, not to mention law school.

I could even see the frustration in the eyes of the old warriors myself, having had a casual conversation with a higher up in an American Machinist Union. We discussed education and economics. While our social philosophies are different, I learned a great deal. He knew a great deal. He learned it in industry.

While the role of labor can, has, and will be debated, the American zeitgeist is closer to the mature, intelligent engineer from that Machinists’ Union than they are to the post-modern attendants around the alter of the political and social left, who don’t actually know much about a chain of production, and actually seem to think rather little of the American skilled or unskilled worker that they are presuming to “save” from their very own nature.

The shorthand goes that there are makers and takers. it is truer than you think that makers pursue knowledge and skill, and that takers have their response-set programmed into them by political activists not employed in a productive capacity or from educators. Makers inspire makers. Takers turn potential makers into takers.

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