Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Trek, Politics, Truth, Hypocrisy

In the middle of political firestorm, Trek Bicycle rolls on:

Mary Burke is running neck and neck with Scott Walker in the WI Governor race.

The Burke family is Trek, Mary has been involved and has benefited from the success of Trek. Have to applaud that! A Democrat that at least has had SOME experience in business! (rather than just inheriting the money, as in Dayton, Kerry (through wife), the Kennedys, etc, etc)

Richard Burke, the brother that is the real business guy sounds like a stand-up guy. Voted for W, so clearly not a doctrinaire D. His comments seem generally reasonable except for this one very large whopper that is never the less the kind of rationalization that is very human.

"I make my decisions on what is in the best interest of the employees," he said.
No, he does what is best for the BUSINESS -- because keeping that going is in even the medium term what is going to provide ANY jobs for any employees at all. Moving the jobs off-shore, or even moving some between communities in WI often stinks for SOME employees, but it is in the interest of the business, so it is the right thing to do.

One us stuck of what the world might be like if media outlets treated Romney in the same way as they are treating Burke here. The article is a study in being seemingly even handed but subtle. Specific numbers are used for how many employees are in WI, how long, payroll growth, etc, but while the "charge" that Trek manufactures 99% is listed as if it COULD be refuted, it never is. It is also softened with the statements that they "build bikes in Germany and Holland ...".

The article is a nice little microcosm of business, truth and hypocrisy in politics.

It is a global business world. It is absolutely impossible to compete in many many areas without using "The China Price" for at least some of your production. This article is very kind in making that soothingly clear. When it was Mitt Romney, there was no explanation, merely the in your face "he shipped jobs to China", with a few ex-employees to explain their pain and no soothing discussion of how everything is global and if you let the business die, then NOBODY in the US has jobs ...

Republicans are not against outsourcing to keep your business alive, or even to make it thrive,  but the calculation of politics is that you have to hypocritically define the hypocrisy of your opponent -- something like BO decrying "the 1%" at a $30K a plate fundraiser. It would be nice if the media would do it for you, but if you are a Republican, they are not, so you better do it yourself.

Democrats constantly make blanket claims against ALL outsourcing, so it is certainly fair game to call them on it when one of their own is connected to it -- it is one of the reasons that Democrat candidates tend to have no association with business at all, which is counterproductive to their side having any sensible position on business issues! Such problems are rife in the world of politics -- which is in many ways the definition of hypocrisy itself, which is one reason that our founders wanted to LIMIT government. On balance, truth is a far better basis for dealing with reality than hypocrisy.

The article is an excellent example of how media bias operates. For Romney, just never do any article at all -- let the opposition hammer away at him on outsourcing and maybe even pile on with some specific stories about workers hurt or poor conditions in China. As close as this article comes is "$2 an hour". For Mary, have the nice vision of the "Red Barn", busy workers and lots of accolades about her work, coupled with hard numbers of "all the good employment in WI", while nothing very specific about the validity of the "99% of bikes overseas" -- one can tell that neither Mary, Rochard nor the Journal Sentinel like the charge, but they are clearly not going to show us "total Trek Bikes manufactured, number manufactured offshore".

And so it goes. Business requires real hard decisions to be made correctly with limited information. Politics and the media are like blood brothers -- it can all be smoothed out with the proper wording and visuals, we don't REALLY need to get all specific like the real world. So the deficits build, the political trumps the real, the businesses die or flee, and eventually it all tumbles down because we refuse to see.

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