TOPIC: Electoral College or Direct Elections?

Discussion in 'Current Events' started by chocobo_cid, Jun 3, 2004.

  1. Spiderman CPA Man in Tights, Dopey Administrative Assistant

    On the other hand, you could be raising the standard of living for the workers you are paying in the foreign country....
  2. Bobby_103 New Member

    Wouldn't you consider that a rather silly trade spiderman? I lost my job today and my mortgage payment is due..........but hey, some guy in Uganda is gonna be able to afford his first pair of shoes now!

    Man, I'll tell ya, as much as I detest the amount of illegal immigration that goes on in this country now, I'd rather keep the jobs here and let Fox push his people over the border and fight us for them than never have a chance at the job at all.

    Popular votes are not a good idea. With the popular vote, it only takes winning the MAJORITY vote in nine states to win the entire election. That's not winning the entire population of those nine states, but merely 51% of it. That leaves 41 states completely out of the equation. At least with the EC, there's a chance for surprise wins in states (Bush looking to win PA this year for instance) and conceivably a good shot at smaller, less populated states having a voice in the election. One thing I would like to see changed is the ability of the members of the EC to vote for whomever they want, regardless of the election results from the population of the state.
  3. Spiderman CPA Man in Tights, Dopey Administrative Assistant

    Um, yeah. Just look at what you posted:

    "My mortgage payment is due but some guy in Uganda can afford some shoes".

    SHOES for god's sake. That he can't normally have while you probably have 3-4 pairs. In the grand scheme of things, yeah you lost a job but you can get another (whether you CHOOSE to for a particular job is another matter). This guy in Uganda probably doesn't have a TV, electricity, running water, etc and is probably barely eking out a living with his 2 goats.

    Give me a break :rolleyes:
  4. train The Wildcard!!!...

    and his goat milk...

    I don't think the EC should vote against the popular in their districts - it defeats the purpose of representation...
  5. Bobby_103 New Member

    Spiderman, I think you missed my point entirely. Bear with me here, as this is a bit long, but I'll give you my own experience with how wonderful we make lives for people in other countries.

    I would love it if the entire world could enjoy the life we have here in the US. Without a doubt, that would be a great step in the direction of a perfect world.

    I was working as plant manager for a company employing 374 factory workers and 38 office personnel. This company was listed in Nasdaq at around $12 per share. There were three major stockholders. One controlled the lion's share of the company with about 40%, and the other two held a combined 25%, while the remaining 35% or so was held amongst several shareholders.

    Once the company president was financially able to set his plan in motion, two things began to happen at once. First, he began to hunt for a location that would be prime for a new plant to be built. At the same time, production was suddenly slowed to a near halt. When orders were made, clients were told that we were backed up, and their order could not be completed for 2-3 months.

    In reality, those orders were simply piling up and production had been dropped from 3500 units per day to 1000 units per day. Naturally, this panicked the stockholders, and the price of the stock began to fall. Once the shares reached $8, an option was opened to the majority stockholder, who also happened to be the President of the company to initiate a mandatory buy-back program. Whether you wanted to sell or not, the company bought your stock back at $8 per share, and your interest in the company was gone. One man suddenly had the entire company in his pocket, and was able to do with it as he pleased. Soon after, he resigned as President, and a puppet was put in his place.

    Not long after the company buy-back was completed, one of our engineers returned from China with the announcement that he'd found a suitable site for an overseas plant. The building was already erected, and we simply had to purchase it and equip it.
    A "new" company was formed, and purchased this building from the Chinese government. Soon after, it was equipped and 3 engineers, myself, and the head of the quality control department were all sent to China to train the new employees.

    Back home in the States, production was increased from 1000 units per day, to an unheard of 5000 units per day over the course of 2 weeks. Our plant had never gone over 3800 units per day, and they never actually made the 5000 unit goal. Nobody really believed they would in the first place, but that was part of the plan all along it seems.

    Upon arriving at the new building in China, we began to train the employees on how to do their jobs. My main function was to train the plant manager there on how to do every job in the plant. What astounded me the most, was it seemed that they were only doing basic assembly and only welding half of the product before boxing it to be shipped on container ships back to the States. I didn't understand why they were only doing half the job, nor did I understand why full assembly and paint weren't being done before the product was shipped. I was soon to find out, though.

    When I got back home after a month in China making sure this new company got off the ground, I found out where those boxes were going. They were coming right back to our plant in the US. When we got the boxes in, we stored them in a warehouse the company had purchased on the far side of town. Not one box was sent to the plant for over a month. Not one word was spoken to the employees about those boxes.

    By this time, the employees were working 12-16 hours a day, depending on the department. They were making the 5000 unit quota, but barely. When these people showed up for work at 5 am, they looked dead. When they left at anywhere between 5:30 pm and 9:30 pm, you'd believe that they'd never come back. But, come 5 am the next morning, in they would come, looking weary and awful, but they were there.

    Then came the meetings. Department by department, the big brass came down and made the announcement that they could not continue on paying out 4-8 hours of overtime per day per employee to make production. Keep in mind, the production numbers they were forcing on us were caused by the back orders created during the manufactured slow-down of work when the majority owner was staging the buy-back, combined with current orders. It was announced that the company had "found" another company in China that was willing to perform pre-assembly work for us at a reasonable cost, and we could all go back to working 8 hour days again. Naturally, the spin was placed on this tid bit of info that the Chinese company was found after an exhaustive search done in both the interest of the company to save the overtime pay and the employees to keep them from killing themselves to meet current demands, which I knew to be total BS.

    Of course, this wouldn't all be that bad, except the pay was based on piece work. Once the first shipment of pre-assembled parts arrived (from across town), new time studies had to be performed. With half the assembly done, this should have changed the rates of production for top pay by approximately 50%, but the company changed it by 75% across the board based on one time study of one piece. When the employees complained, the answer was "You don't like it? Get out." So much for the act of doing things in appreciation of the employees. At that point, the company made no bones about it. You don't like the new policies, get yourself a new job. The company did allow one meeting with the top brass, each department supervisor, myself and the production manager, and a representative of each department present. When the employee reps aired their grievances about the new time studies, or more accurately, lack thereof, the company rep had one response. I'll never forget this as long as I live: "You know, you guys don't seem to realize that you don't have to work here. We don't have to keep this plant open. The plant in China is already doing half the work, so what makes you think they can't do it all? We don't want to pay what we're paying you now, but we will if you'll do your jobs and quit bitching about the pay. Otherwise, we'll turn this plant into a warehouse and pay minimum wage for dockhands to store the complete finished product built in China."

    With that message, the reps returned to their departments, and it was suddenly apparent that they were going to see these impossible production numbers for the duration of their employment there. Plant-wide, pay dropped from an average of $13 per hour to around $9 which is very close to the base pay of $8.50. Not only did the pay decrease, but the production numbers increased from 3500-3800 to 6200 units per day when I left the company to start my own business.

    Doing the math: Pay drops an average of $4 per hour. That's $160 per week, $640 per month, $8160 per year on a 51 week year as there is one week of shut down for mandatory audit. I'd say that's a pretty MAJOR dip in lifestyle to go from around $26,000 per year to around $18,000.

    What did the Chinese workers gain? Well, that's the best part. I'm sure that the 374 people that work the floor of that plant will be glad to know that they improved the lives of those Chinese to the grand old tune of $2 per day, 2 meals per day consisting of a bowl of rice some kind of meat that tasted horrible to me, and a cup of tea that smelled like seaweed. If they want anything else to eat, they pay for it themselves off of a lunch wagon outside the plant, and it's not cheap when you only make $2 per day. They sleep IN THE PLANT in 4 large rooms with cots seperated by paper curtains that remind me of cubicles here. There is a community shower room that appears to be able to serve 20 at a time, and a community bathroom that is able to seat 10.

    So, you see, I fail to see the trade off here. People here were sent down near the poverty level, and some below it if they had a couple of kids. Losing almost 1/3 of your annual salary to give those Chinese workers such a wonderful life as that....gee.

    Now, let me ask you. Would you give up 1/3 of what you earn this year so the Ugandan can have his pair of shoes? I've seen similar stories from people involving jobs moving to Mexico. In the case of the high-end lawn furniture factory I was working for, I personally heard the owner and the company president joking that the only reason they didn't follow through with their threat to send all the jobs to China is because they would have to change a 30 year old company slogan or run the risk of being sued for false advertisement. What is the slogan? To this day it still slaps me in the face every time I drive by it.....The Pride of American Quality.
  6. Spiderman CPA Man in Tights, Dopey Administrative Assistant

    That's a tough story, no doubt. And no, I probably wouldn't give up 1/3 of my salary - I would probably donate the shoes in the first place. But the point is that you are infinitely better off than the Chinese worker or Ugandan right now, despite losing 1/3 of your salary. To one of them, 1/3 of your salary is probably more than they'll see in their lifetime. Now that's sad.
  7. train The Wildcard!!!...

    I think it all comes down to cost of living - because 8.50 down here would be quite nice... seeing as how it's much above minimum...

    Is it a change in lifestyle - perhaps... if most of your bills are paid, and you only pay the necessities each month, it depends on how much those necessities cost...

    I do think however, you could report that to 60 minutes, and come away a winner...
  8. Spiderman CPA Man in Tights, Dopey Administrative Assistant

    Is that Stossel guy around, the one who does the "Give Me A Break" segment? ;)
  9. Bobby_103 New Member

    While I agree that I am likely infinitely better off than the Ugandan, Chinese, Mexican (except the ones who hop our border every day), I am also willing to offer a solution to helping those people rather than taking the hard-case stand of "Keep American jobs in America. Screw the rest!"

    If we truly care about the rest of the world, especially those who are less fortunate living in these third world countries with little or no economic base, teach them. Don't just GIVE them things. Teach them at the same time. Give the Ugandan his shoes, but teach him how to make them too. Move more toward helping these countries industrialize themselves rather than have them remain dependent on us to continue to send them more jobs. Wouldn't it be nice to hear that after teaching the Ugandan how to make a pair of Nikes, he opened his own shoe factory 5 years later?

    It's not like we're losing anything doing it that way. Staying with the shoe example, it's not like the people of Uganda, for the most part, can afford to buy Nikes. However, if they are able to make them in Uganda, from materials in Uganda, using Ugandan labor, then they will be able to afford them because they will be at a Ugandan price.
  10. Bobby_103 New Member

    Train,
    There was nothing illegal about what the owner of the company did. Immoral and downright dirty, but not illegal. I've already checked into it with an attorney just to see if there was some avenue that could be pursued to screw him somehow. The only thing he could be busted on was the manufactured shortage of work that caused the stock to drop which in turn kicked the buy-back in. Proving it would be a different story, though. Very tough to prove that was the motive behind not building orders as they came in. According to the attorney, he's not even positive that there is any precedent that specifically prevents the owner from just refusing to build the orders for whatever reason, as long as he doesn't just outright say that he did it to manipulate the stock.
    Yes, in this area, $8.50 is a decent wage. However, when you are making $13 and in some cases $15.50 as that was top pay, your bills are most likely above what a guy making $8.50 can afford. I watched people lose their cars because they couldn't make the payments. I watched people sell their houses because they couldn't afford to make those payments either. Once you've been at $13-$15 an hour for 10 or more years, you are going to have one hell of a tough time going down to $9.
    I'm one of the lucky ones in all this. I was on a comfortable salary and the new crap they pulled on the laborers didn't effect me. Using my credit, my savings, and all of my other resources, I was able to leave the company and start my own trucking business. Quite frankly, I couldn't take looking into the eyes of those people day in and day out and watching them lose everything they'd worked so hard for over the years. I just hope you guys never have to experience it yourself.
  11. Spiderman CPA Man in Tights, Dopey Administrative Assistant

    I agree and it helps to emphasize the importance of saving, saving, saving instead of using the easy credit available these days (something I'm trying to control myself).

    I also agree about your proposed solution but I think then it gets into the nitty-gritty of politics in the region. While this actually undercuts what I said before (I think), Africa and some other places have a history of dictators, corruption, graft, etc. So while the current system is in place, anything someone does will probably go into the controlling officials pockets.

    Not all earnings perhaps, but enough to stunt growth and not allow the people to realize their full potential. This probably goes towards the teaching part too, as incoming teachers will encounter this and not be able to teach to the fullest.

    Still, I think it's a good solution. The only problem is implementing it in such a way that it succeeds :)
  12. train The Wildcard!!!...

    Yeah - I didn't mention a suit - but bringing this into the light of the news, usually negatively affects the business - especially when done in this fashion...

    ala - sweatshops...
  13. Bobby_103 New Member

    I agree that it wouldn't be easy, and admit that I have no immediate in depth solutions as to how you would implement such a program. I could make one suggestion though.

    Perhaps for all the impotence that the U.N. has shown in enforcing it's resolutions it has shown the world that it has outlived it's usefulness in some ways. Perhaps the U.N. could focus it's resources more in the direction of industrializing and helping to move these countries into this century. While I feel that the U.N. isn't anything that any country fears as a world policing organization anymore, I still see an ability to make a difference if they put their resources to work in areas where they may be better suited.

    In countries where dictators rule and corruption is the norm, it's going to be difficult no matter who pilots the programs. At the same time, those same countries pose a problem for the current trade rules. Forced bribes and political favors would have to be assumed to be part of the deal when asking these countries to allow us to build factories there now. The problem with the people of these countries is that they have nothing now, therefore they have little to fight for in overcoming their own government. Perhaps once they've been shown that they do have the ability to build and grow their own nation, they will see more worth fighting for and it could possibly spark a revolution that removes some of these corrupt leaders.
  14. Spiderman CPA Man in Tights, Dopey Administrative Assistant

    Education is the key! :)

    I agree that the UN may be outdated. I think it's done a lot of good in most areas; I believe there's a number of peacekeeping missions going on, but of course only the troublesome ones get the news spotlights. But it doesn't have a lot of teeth or effect if the countries in it don't all participate fully or go about things themselves.
  15. Bobby_103 New Member

    Train,
    Yes, it more likely would effect the business negatively to bring it into the watchful eyes of the public via news outlets. But, as you can probably tell, I care about the people that worked there and still do in a lot of cases. My greatest fear would be that by bringing it into the news, it would effect the business so negatively that those people would lose work and make hard times even harder.
    Make no mistake, if I ever see a way to damage this company without damaging the workers, I'll do it as long as it's legal. Any company that treats their employees the way this one did is deserving of anything that they get. I guess there's just no appreciation for the employees that built that company over a 30 year period and made the owners millionaires, and for the lack of appreciation, there is no excuse.
  16. mythosx Legendary Creature-Human

    lets all go communism....
  17. train The Wildcard!!!...

    bobby - IMHO - I don't see taking it to the news hurting those working there - I actually see it putting pressure on the business to better the situation...

    communism - Isn't that the same as playing blue?...
  18. Oversoul The Tentacled One

    No, blue is more like fascism...

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