I watch with a somewhat detached fascination as our bloated economy circles faster and tighter around the bowl before lodging in the drain, overflowing the crapper, and making a hella foul stinking mess. As I watch I can’t help but think that most of us over the age of forty have seen this particular turd being flushed before but for whatever reasons seem unable to grab the plumbers helper and clear the pipes before it is to late, or maybe figure that it’s no problem if we just light a match, turn our backs and walk away. Someone else will clean it up…surely.
For those of a certain age who grew up in Seattle, this street sign circa 1971 brings back not so fond memories of a city in decline. From the end of WWII through the 1970’s Seattle was a one horse town as far as employment opportunity and the Boeing Company was that horse. As Boeing went, so went the region. Established in 1916 in a little red barn down on the Duwamish River flats, the company expanded and contracted along with the city in the boom and bust years of the 1920’s and 30’s until the outbreak of war brought Defense Department contracts and transformed the company into the corporate behemoth it is today. My father, after graduating college with a degree in mechanical engineering in 1956, entered this thriving culture of geeks and salesmen, the Microsoft of its day, and set to work helping design and test the cutting edge technology of the times. Life was good in the sixties.
By the time the Carter induced malaise ridden seventies rolled around however, huge cuts in defense spending were the order of the day. With the cancellation of the SST and other programs, and with enormous amounts of tax money being poured into the ever more bloated “Great Society” programs initiated under the Johnson administration, Boeing, and hence Seattle, were foundering on the shoals of insolvency. Somehow we managed to right the ship, due in large part to an unlikely actor who gave us reason and the means to believe again and Seattle, along with the rest of the country, had a renaissance of opportunity and wealth creation.
Now comes word from Microsoft that if corporate taxes are raised to provide for the “One’s” wealth redistribution plans, they will move a substantial part of their operations overseas and out of reach of the new taxes. Seattle is a much more diverse city regarding business than it was in the seventies but with city and state deficits running ever larger we can ill afford to have a company with the economic impact of Microsoft relocate to greener pastures. Boeing already left about ten years ago to a state with a more business friendly tax structure. How many times do the members of the so called reality based community have to get hit upside the head by reality before they recognize it for what it is.
If I have to walk into the bathroom again to find turds floating on the floor and a bunch of leftists standing with their pants around their ankles shrugging “I don’t know what happened”… well…I don’t know what I’ll do but it won’t be pretty.