Guns vs. Guitars
by Joel Bowman
The Daily Reckoning
by Joel Bowman: Freedom,
Naturally: A Review of Morris and Linda Tannehillís, The†Market†for†Liberty
If I leave
Would you still remember me?
For I must be travelling on, now,
Cause theres too many places Ive got to see.
Bird by Lynyrd Skynyrd
and medium businesses, sending armed goons to American factories,
confiscating private property, closing down production and harassing
business owners and their employees; a curious strategy for nurturing
domestic job creation, wouldnt you say?
The above strategies
might seem ludicrous, even downright criminal, to we laypeople,
but to government officials, its all in a days
work. Take, for example, the latest case of The Feds vs. Gibson
not even a case yet, not officially
but that didnt stop
armed agents from the US Fish and Wildlife Service (these guys have
guns?) from raiding two of Gibsons production facilities in
Tennessee and its Nashville headquarters last Wednesday. The agents
confiscated nearly $1 million in Indian ebony, finished guitars
and electronic data, according to the companys CEO,
a nightmare, fumed Mr. Juszkiewicz after the incident, We
had people sitting there making guitars. We had no weapons.
This is not
the first time the feds have actively sought to bum Gibsons
vibe (a job-creating vibe, let us not forget Gibsons
Tennessee factories alone employ over 700 people). The feds last
crashed the party back in 2009, seizing a shipment of ebony from
Madagascar. They claimed they were there and, again, armed
to enforce the Lacey Act, a century-old endangered species
act that was amended in 2008 to include plants and animals.
activists get their patchouli incense sticks in a knot, its
worth noting that Gibson is not your typical or even atypical
enemy of the planet.
seized wood that was Forest Stewardship Council controlled,
Juszkiewicz noted, in a quote carried on the companys website.
Gibson has a long history of supporting sustainable and responsible
sources of wood and has worked diligently with entities such as
the Rainforest Alliance and Greenpeace to secure FSC-certified supplies.
The wood seized on August 24 satisfied FSC standards.
has no idea where the Forest Stewardship Council, the Rainforest
Alliance and Greenpeace stand in this particular case
bet its not on the side of the greedy, seal-clubbing,
old growth-uprooting capitalist pigs.
been importing this wood for 17 years, consistently, on a regular
basis, with no problem, Juszkiewicz told Fox News yesterday.
And our competitors continue to use and buy this wood without
any problem today.
says the government wont tell him exactly how or if
his company has violated that law.
in this really incredible situation, continued Mr. Juszkiewicz.
We have been implicated in wrongdoing and we havent
been charged with anything, he says. Our business has
been injured to millions of dollars. And we dont even have
a court we can go to and say, Look, heres our position.
worth noting that the relevant law doesnt actually protect
the trees themselves
just how or, more specifically,
where the wood is finished. Its perfectly legal
for Gibson to use the wood, in other words, it just cant use
its own workers to fashion the wood into a guitar. That work needs
to be done in India. Call it mandatory outsourcing
the same people who will next week bring you their ideas on how
best to create jobs in America.
treatment, Juszkiewicz and Gibson
have mobilized their supporters via social media networks, encouraging
people on Facebook and Twitter to write their representatives and
demand action. The company also launched a Twitter campaign under
last Friday: Why is big government spending our money to harm
ordinary citizens and small businesses?
For the record,
your editors here at The Daily Reckoning have no political
dog in this fight. That a red state company is being
harassed by a blue state administration may or may not
be a fluke. Either way, the politics of it all is of
little interest to us. In the end, we are fans of private action
and government inaction, not the other way around.
But since the
government insists on acting and acting in the only vulgar,
brutish way it knows well return the favor and harass
them a little
peacefully, without guns, in the only way we
As you probably
already know, next week Obama is scheduled to deliver his much-lauded
Jobs Speech. We are already getting a flavor of what
it might contain as advice from tenured economics professors, leading
experts and other well-degreed blowhards begin seeping into the
pages of the mainstream press. Unsurprisingly, the proposed solution
to having over-spent and under-saved is
you guessed it
a snippet from The Huffington Post:
At the top
of many to-do lists is government spending into the tens of billions
of dollars to finance large-scale public works projects, a strategy
that could address a gaping mismatch: Nearly 14 million Americans
are officially out of work, yet a great deal of work needs to
be done, from repairing dilapidated roads and bridges, to retrofitting
government office buildings with energy-efficient infrastructure.
a former Labor Department economist and now a senior fellow at the
Brookings Institution in Washington, chimed in, If the government
spends the money directly on government-funded projects, that puts
people on payrolls.
Pavlina R. Tcherneva, an economist at Franklin & Marshall College,
echoing Mr. Burtless brilliance, We still have mass
layoffs in those [manufacturing and construction] sectors. It seems
very obvious that we can absorb large numbers of workers in those
sectors for the public good.
all so obvious! More spending!
More public works!
government involvement! You know, because all this worked so very
well for the country with The New Deal
above logic, the government ought to spend billions of dollars it
doesnt have undertaking projects it has no demonstrable skill
in completing simply to put people on payrolls. Heck,
why stop at billions? Hasnt academia heard? Billions are for
wimps. Trillion is the new figure du jour. Why not pay every
un- or under-employed American a thousand bucks a minute to scrape
gum off the sidewalk? Think of the boost to GDP! Think of the payroll
numbers! Think of all that public good! And think of
all the Chinese-made trinkets and Indian-fashioned guitars those
people could then buy with their million-dollar bank balances!
One is left
to wonder: with thinkers like these, who needs idiots?
Lynyrd Skynyrd guitarist, Allen Collins, used a Gibson Firebird,
and later switched to playing a Gibson Explorer. Starting in late
1977, he also occasionally used a double-cutaway Gibson Les Paul
with permission from The Daily
Joel Bowman is managing
editor of The Daily Reckoning.
After completing his degree in media communications and journalism
in his home country of Australia, Joel moved to Baltimore to join
the Agora Financial team. His keen interest in travel and macroeconomics
first took him to New York where he regularly reported from Wall
Street, and he now writes from and lives all over the world.
© 2011 The