Outsourcing Jobs, Who Does it Really Help?

Due to our current economic environment (which I’ll get into in another rant) I’ve been thinking a lot lately about ways that we could potentially resolve some of the issues we’re all going through.  One of the issues that came to mind was outsourcing and it’s pros and cons.

Being a small business owner myself, I can certainly see the benefits.  I sold aftermarket automotive parts and at one point I wanted to sell my own brand.  First I shopped here in the US, calling around to numerous (15-20) parts manufacturers getting quotes and samples at great personal expense.  I then did the same for a number of overseas manufacturers.  Being a very small business and almost totally funded out of pocket, cost for quality was a huge concern.  I refused to put my name on junk, but at the same time, I had to be able to sell something that I could make money on.  I settled on two different companies – one state side, and one from Taiwan.  I purchased a small run from both companies (5 pieces each).  The US company costing me around 850/set, and the Taiwanese company costing me about 450/set.  Unfortunately as it pertains to customer service, I chose the WRONG US based company.  It took 8 months to receive the product that I paid for on day 1.  I paid more in credit card interest carrying fees than I could ever make in profit (the average selling price for these parts being around 950).  The Taiwanese company not only had the order done on time (2-3 weeks), but had the product on my door step in Nevada within their originally quoted timeframe.

After finally receiving both runs from both companies and examining the quality, I was relatively impressed.  Both were of equal quality in construction and materials.  I was very pleased.  For me, the shorter timeframe and better customer service for an equal quality product from Taiwan made more sense.  The price point made it so I could make a decent profit and afford to expand a bit. Who did this benefit?  Me, clearly.  It made it possible for a small business to stay afloat.  If I could have purchased a quality product from an American manufacturer and still made any profit, I would have absolutely done so.

Let’s look at this on a larger scale.  Take a large auto manufacturer for instance.  This auto manufacturer employs thousands of Americans, keeping them employed and paying them money that they can and will reinvest in the US economy. What happens if/when they outsource manufacturing to another country, essentially cutting their costs in half?  Do they lower the price on their cars?  Does they reinvest that money locally and hire more people, creating more jobs?  Unfortunately history shows us that the answer to both those questions is no.  They lay off the American workers, and pocket the increased profits.  This is an unfortunate example of the rich getting richer.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not some sort of hippy that believes everything should be made locally or that we should all live in tree houses and hug everyone, but I don’t believe in laying off hundreds or thousands, only to buy myself another vacation property, or a couple new exotic cars.

Unfortunately, there is little room for ethics in today’s money driven world.

I believe that the only way to solve this is to tax outsourced labor depending on the size of the business.  If outsourcing is the only way for a small company to stay in business and continue to employ the 1-10 people that they currently employ, then I feel that it should be taxed very little if at all.  If a large company wants to outsource and replace 10,000 American workers, then I believe they should be taxed to the point that they essentially pay for the welfare checks that the US government will then have to cut those 10,000 people until they find a job.

I’m sure there are issues with this plan, but I’m just one guy.  I’d hope that a government full of people who’s job it is to think of ideas like this could come up with something better – something that could keep jobs in the US, or at least tax those who outsource enough to cover the added financial stress put on our government by their actions.

Who knows.. these are just the ramblings of someone who’s sick of seeing campaign advertisements from two dudes trying to prove themselves the shiniest of two turds.

Kroger “5” Razors..

So I was at the store the other day shopping for some replacement blades for my Gillette Fusion razor, and I came across the Kroger brand “5” razors (which is supposed to be the comparable house brand product).  I was excited to find out that they were 1/3rd the cost of the Gillette, but after getting home and shaving, I now know why.  They are absolute crap.  I’ve got to shave at least twice for it to actually cut all of my hair, and even then leaves me far worse than the Gillette brand.

Just a heads up to anyone out there shopping.  They’re MUCH cheaper, but that’s for a reason.

Kids these days..

There have been a few things weighing on my mind recently.  It seems that kids these days are getting lazier and lazier.  Perhaps lazy isn’t the correct word for it;  Perhaps a better word woud be disconnected.  Gone are the days when kids would just go outside and play.  Passed is the time where people would just call another person to have a conversation with them.

It seems like the younger generation would rather stay inside and play video games than go outside and get some exercise or enjoy nature.  Is camping a thing of the past?  Does anyone actually fish anymore, or does everyone just play Bass Pro 2012?  I certainly enjoy a good video game every now and then, I’ve even been known to play them on a daily basis, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t enjoy getting outside and enjoying some fresh air.  Unplugging every so often can be a great thing.

People texting all the time is another one of my pet peeves.  Don’t get me wrong, I see the value in a quick text saying “I’ll be home late for dinner” or “Want to hang out later tonight”, but I personally feel that if the current trend continues (of people standing around in a circle with their heads down, texting each other instead of interacting face to face), we’ll all one day end up living in a Wall-e-esque society where nobody actually knows how to communicate face to face anymore.

The last thing I’ve got to rant about is the complete lack of discipline and work ethic I see in kids these days.  While I’m not a parent, and therefor I have no real right to talk on the matter, I feel that the above issues are caused by a general lack of discipline.  Perhaps it’s because today’s new parents grew up in a time where it was alright to hit your kids (to an extent), and they are now saying something to the effect of “well I won’t do that to MY kids”.  I don’t feel like there’s a right or a wrong way to raise kids, but it’s important for children to fear and respect their elders.  Without respect, the whole system breaks down.  Kids disobey their parents, and then feel like they’re entitled to everything.  They get lazy, and don’t truly learn to work.  Then we end up with a thousand groups of lazy idiots, picketing and claiming to be the 99% and feeling like they deserve things like ‘school loan forgiveness’ and ‘higher pay for their entry level positions’.  Ridiculous.

Oh well, what I’ve got to say doesn’t really mean or count for anything, but sometimes you’ve just got to rant.