13 Jul PLAYING CHICKEN
“IT IS THE MARK OF A TRULY INTELLIGENT PERSON
TO BE MOVED BY STATISTICS.”
George Bernard Shaw
There is a line in an episode of NCIS where Gibbs father is staring down the barrel of his rifle with a drug cartel head, who had threaten to “kill Gibbs family”, that I will not forget. “I used to play chicken with my daddy’s truck every Saturday night, I never lost!” It was a true ‘Mexican standoff’. The cartel lady backed down and ordered the place shot up and him killed. He was not there when they went in.
What does this have to do with anything? Well this. President Trump is playing a major game of chicken with the people who are our trading partners in the world. Some are friends and others enemies. The winner is who does not blink.
In this country who have fought wars for other countries when they were threatened, have been taken advantage of by those who believe that we should act very modestly and put up with the fact that things are dumped on our markets at below cost in order to hurt out own businesses. This forces our manufacturers to leave the country where labor is at slave wages in order for us to buy things cheap.
Things have to be cheap because so many were not working there was no money to buy things that are expensive. It is kind of a game where we have to be polite as others are stabbing us in the back. We also give money we don’t have to many of these nations in aid so they can hate us anyway.
The newspapers right now are very upset because of the new tariffs that have gone on imported newsprint. It may run some of the papers out of business. These are not the national papers that continuously print all kinds of distorted news for their own gains. The papers who are hurt the worst are the ones that you are reading this in now.
The paper that publishes me the most is looking at a $50,000 increase in their cost of production. I have not heard how much others that pick me up are looking at. They are rightfully worried. The margin is not there. 40% of the newsprint is produced in the US that papers use. The rest is mostly from Canada. So Canada is dropping newsprint in the US at lower rates, and to counter act that the tariff goes on to try and level the playing field.
Things don’t always go as they should. But if no one has noticed yet President Trump is playing chicken in order to get things on a level playing field. The challenge is who is going to blink. Will there be local papers left by the time the challenge is met and things are normalized? The goal is a free and fair trade. If we can survive until leaders settle down and make things right.
Steel plants that have been shut down for years are hiring and coming back on line. Harley Davidson who announced that they were opening plants overseas before the tariffs were announced, are trying to use tariffs as cover for what they were already going to do. All you really hear about are all the bad things that people can make up. But there is going to be hardship before we are done. Are we going to blink?
The paper companies in the US are AbitibiBowater (the largest), Boise Inc., White Birch Paper Co., Catalyst, Blue Heron, NORPAC, and Inland Empire Paper Co. If these companies would take their prices down and capture the business that is going to Canadian companies they would insure their prosperity for years to come. If they do not and the number of customers drops and they lose business, no one wins.
The problem with companies today is that there are too many MBA’s that never actually worked in the business making the decisions. And they ride their golden parachutes down when they run a company into the ground. Good managers would work with their customers to build a loyalty to US produced products and shrink the foreign goods demand.
Lets see who blinks first. I put my money on US.