Another (Re-) Introduction

This is Robert Prather again, or Rob if you prefer. I haven’t posted since Obama’s election night win, but will be posting once or twice a week going forward. I’m not sure exactly what I’ll be posting about, but I should warn readers that I have moved somewhat to the left in recent years. My economics is still largely free market, and I was never a social conservative to begin with, so I might seem the same to those of you who remember me. I think my biggest change is the realization that the Republican Party is being dominated by idiots at the moment.

Anyway, on to the posting…

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Robert Prather
About Robert Prather
Robert Prather contributed over 80 posts to OTB between October 2005 and July 2013. He previously blogged at the now defunct Insults Unpunished. Follow him on Twitter @RobPrather.


  1. Triumph says:

    I haven’t posted since Obama’s election night win, theft

    I think my biggest change is the realization that the Republican Party is being dominated by idiots at the moment.

    Ok, this is less than helpful. I’m not sure how you can consider patriots like Palin, Cheney, Bush, & Bachmann “idiots” unless you are sympathetic with terrorists.

  2. Gerry W. says:

    What if funny is that when I see something not working one way, then I go the other way. I don’t believe there is any perfect economics or let us say ideology. I believe that capitalism needs help at times. And that might be in the form of regulation and laws, and just the right kind of management to make it all work.

    I went republican in the late 1970’s when I saw people in line buying groceries with food stamps and I had to spend my hard earned money. I still have the same feelings somewhat today, however, after seeing 8 years of Bush and the ideologies of republicans, it saddens me that the one political party that I thought who understood economics has turned out to be a party of ideology. So I whipsaw around, but I have my own conclusion in how to create jobs and get the country moving again. And really, Obama has touched on some of this, it is just that he has not emphasized enough in a cohesive manner on how to deal with our situation.

    If you want the government to get serious on employment then they have to do the following:

    1. Fix the antitrust laws that Reagan relaxed. Monopolies and consolidations destroyed jobs.

    2. Invest in your country: That is energy independence for security and jobs. Also a new air traffic control system that will save 12% on fuel. The savings to the airlines can go to build new aircraft. A high speed internet system. Perhaps high speed rail.

    3. Invest in your people: That is mandatory vocational training. We live in a globalized world and you can no longer rely on factories. We have to be an educated society.

    4. Invest in the future: Federal research grants to be given to universities and business to bring out new technologies. Today there are no new jobs to go to for those unemployed. You need new areas of growth. No playing games with embryonic stem cell research.

    5. Consider an “American job elimination tax” on companies that move out of the country. These companies do not pay middle class wages, healthcare, pensions, social security, or city and state taxes.

    6. Get away from failed ideology. We saw it for 8 years. Tax cuts do not solve problems. Does not prevent recessions. And does not create prosperity. You still have to solve problems. Ideology does not solve problems.

    7. Supporting small business sounds nice and it is heard in Washington, but it does not work in my community as the big business left. That means you cannot have small business as people lost their jobs. Besides, small business will never pay what big business paid in wages.

    8. We are losing the middle class. We cannot compete with 2 billion cheap laborers in the world that want our jobs. There are not enough jobs to go around. Competition is good, but it can be harmful also. All we are doing in this country is build the same business environment so that we can knock the other guy out. A person loses his job and has no place to go to. And the reason is that we did not invest in our country, in our people, and in the future.

  3. Brian J. says:

    I love your Shell Scott novels.

  4. Triumph,

    I hope you are joking. If not, we are miles apart. Palin and Bachmann would top my list of idiots in the Republican Party.


    I disagree with about half of what you said and agree with the other half. Perhaps we can get into specifics later. Thanks for commenting.


    You’ve totally lost me.

  5. Herb says:

    Richard S. Prather wrote the Shell Scott novels. Richard, Robert…same difference.

  6. pete says:

    Gerry W., buy and read “The Way The World Works,” by Jude Wanniski. It will breath some fresh air into your stale mind.

  7. Gerry W. says:

    Unfortunately, I saw too much of Bush and the right wing nuts while we lost jobs in this country.

  8. Gerry W. says:

    Had looked at the Amazon articles on “The way the World Works” and it is the same talking points that we hear. I have no problem with tax cuts, but when you have tax cuts and don’t want to do anything else like “staying the course” then it makes no sense when we have problems to deal with. You can have all the tax cuts in the world, but we still lose jobs due to globalization. And that is the point. It is globalization and the relaxation of anti-trust laws (Reagan) and the consolidation and monopolies of corporations. We used to have a thriving middle class, and we are losing it. If you have more input on how to deal with realities of the world and to preserve the middle class, then I am all ears.

  9. I’ve think your views have been summarized before with a broad brush as the Republicans are the stupid party and the Democrats are the evil party.

  10. Forgot to add that all in all it is yet another great argument for smaller government.

  11. Gerry,

    I disagree with you on the anti-trust laws; loosening them was a good idea. You’re right that tax cuts don’t necessarily solve much and the Republicans have turned into a one trick pony on this.

    The job loss you are referring to has more to do with technological change than anything else. Manufacturing employment is lower because of automation; we actually manufacture more than we ever have.

    The only real solution to this is education, and the answer isn’t necessarily throwing more money at it. I plan to get into this in a later post.

  12. Pete,

    I’m pretty sure Jude Wanniski is still on the supply side hobby horse and wouldn’t pay too much attention to him. That whole idea is based on us being on the right side of the Laffer curve, which seems unlikely.

  13. Gerry W. says:

    Well, I hope you read this on consolidation and monopolies.

    I don’t agree with your assumption on manufacturing. I live in the Midwest and there are dozens, maybe hundreds of plants that have close down. We have seen automation for years. And we have seen lean manufacturing and lean management for years. We also have the internet that has taken front office people away. But again, I cannot stress enough that there is 2 billion people who want our jobs, because it is cheap labor that trumps all. We do produce a lot of goods and perhaps for export, but increasingly it is China and other countries that will undercut us with cheap labor. And that means pressure on companies to keep costs down, which in turn means pressure on jobs, wages and benefits and the middle class as we know it.

    I live in a small town in Ohio of 14,000 and 3 plants closed and that is 2000 employees. I was lucky to retire, however, where is a person supposed to find a job? We cannot support small business as they relied on the factories. And besides, small business will never hire and pay what the factories paid. My job went to Mexico, another plant closed down to consolidation, and another place closed for reasons I don’t know. But this is just one town and it is happening all over. And to make matters worse, people go to the big box stores in another town 12 miles from here. So it means that business is taken away from my town and in the town that has the stores, there is too much competition. It means to me, for example, if you put an extra chocolate chip in a cookie, then you knock off your competitor. The problem here is that people lose their jobs and they have no other place to go to.

    I have said that you need to invest in your country, in your people, and in the future. As for this discussion, investing in the future means that our government has to invest in the preliminary science and/or research grants to our universities so that future jobs will be here. We were told that this was going to be an information and a service society. That we did not need the manufacturing jobs. So a lot of jobs are gone, and there are no “new” jobs to go to. That is what I see. And I saw it all the time we had the tax cuts. The simple fact is that there is no upward mobility for the middle class. And that is an important fact when it comes to economics and ideology. After eight wasteful years, after a stock market crash, jobs lost, and cities and states going broke with lost revenue, we went backwards some 10 years.

    China is growing whole cities, high speed rail, making contracts for oil, etc. That is not to say they don’t have problems and it will catch up to them. But we sit here with loss jobs and a dwindling middle class. As I have said before, and this goes for good times as well as bad times, you need to invest in your country-definitely not done under Bush, you need to invest in your people-and we have not done enough on this, and invest in the future-in which Bush never cared about science. This is where we are. Other countries invest in their own countries. I don’t want wasteful spending. However, doing nothing means more welfare. So it is one way or the other.

    If Kennedy said we will put a man on the moon by the end of the decade, then we did it. If he said that we will have Phys ed in the schools across the country, then he did it. If Eisenhower said we will have an interstate, then we did it. If Nixon said we will have security at the airports, which was nearly unheard of at the time, then he did it. We used to do great things in this country. The private sector cuts out waste because it needs to compete with its competitors. Governments are wasteful. However, our competitors is cheap labor and we need to learn on how to create jobs in this globalized world. We have given up our textiles, some of our autos, steel, and electronics. And McDonalds has experimented with a drive thru in which you order your hamburger talking to someone in India. Dell computer left Ireland (considered business friendly) to Poland for cheap labor. So anything can happen. And we need to find “new” jobs that are middle class jobs and we need to find some way to have jobs that stay in this country. For example, high speed rail and infrastructural situations that will stay in our country. That is just an example of the kind of thinking we need to keep the middle class.

  14. Gerry W. says:

    I had made a comment, but it went to the moderator. I suspect I had to many hyperlinks.

  15. Gerry,

    Thanks for letting me know. I approved your comment and will respond to it when time allows. For the moment, suffice it to say there is no easy solution that won’t make us worse off (trade barriers) and your proposal for infrastructure is a good one.