Henry Blodgett has been running some of the best economic analyses this side of Alan Beaulieu. He ran some charts that show how the top 10% in terms of income have been earning a larger share of the pie over the past 30 years–and especially over the last 10. Makes you stop and think about economic policy.

Thinking of government policy–I’m constantly amazed at the number of people who think that the government can cure all their ills. (OK, this is bad generalization, but too true to ignore) Lower income people (not sure of the definition, could be up to $100k per year income I suppose) are looking either for direct government payouts or subsidies of various kinds. Business owners seem to like to blame the government for their problems. “If only the government would…” fill in the blank with whatever.

Kenna Amos interviewed a trade association general manager for the November Automation World magazine. He said that if only the government wouldn’t require a safe, non-polluting work place, then his members could compete. Wait a minute. Let’s think about this. Does he mean that we should go back to the kind of workplace where people are walking around with missing fingers or arms? Where danger lurks around every machine? Where we just dump chemicals and gases and wind up with cities unsuitable for human habitation such as found in many cities in China?

If we ran the right kind of operations taking into account safety and reduction of waste, maybe we wouldn’t invite the Feds to the party in the first place. Not to mention that safe machines and processes are actually more efficient and productive. Not to mention that it’s nice to go out to eat or go to a high school football game in your community and not have people mutter about how you’ve destroyed property values with your pollution or lives with your operations.

Must be my Midwest/German upbringing, but I believe in individual responsibility. Do your work right. Live your life right. Run your plant right. And you don’t have to worry about other things. If someone is undercutting your price, then you probably got lazy and need that competitive shot to get you back into the continuous improvement track.

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