Stone Crabs and the State of the Union

8 | By Shah Gilani

I love stone crabs. They’re delicious, expensive, and well worth it.

Maybe the real reason I love stone crabs is that only one of their claws is “harvested” (that’s the politically correct way of saying “ripped off”), so the creatures can defend themselves (from us?) while they regenerate another claw.

The best place in the world to get stone crabs is Joe’s Stone Crab on South Beach, which just happens to be on the south end of Miami Beach – imagine that.

I was planning on going there for dinner yesterday until I came across a farmer’s market (I won’t say where) and a young couple selling stone crabs for just $12 a pound (that’s why I won’t say where).

To make a long story short, I bought five pounds and cancelled my South Beach plans.

Here’s where I’m going with this… As I was cracking the claws with a hammer (nothing else works) and stuff was splattering all over my kitchen (I know, I should have used a towel, but that’s what an imminent stone crab dinner will do to you), I began thinking about the President’s State of the Union address, and the real prospects for the U.S. economy.

And it hit me. Both Republicans and Democrats are “harvesting” the remaining hopes Americans desperately claw at, and are splattering our dignity across our kitchen tables.

We’re caught in a trap. The American people are systematically being misinformed by extremist Republican and Democrat rhetoric about who’s got the better vision for America. They think that, by polarizing the nation, they can divide us into their warring camps to wage their battles to enrich themselves once they’re in office.

Just one problem.

We’re not stupid.

Are You Buying What They’re Selling?

Are you buying Newt Gingrich’s pandering to Florida’s “Space Coast?” Before this Tuesday’s primary, he channeled JFK calling for a colony on the moon in eight years, and wants us to go to Mars. Maybe he should go first. (Space exploration, yeah, very cool. But how about cooling our own planet first?)

No, actually, we need him here. I forgot. Newt is the stalwart voice railing against Washington insiders infighting and breaking his Contract With America. Yeah, that Contract, the one he wrote when he was in Congress. You know, Congress, where all those Washington outsiders are. The same Congress of Outsiders that kicked Newt out.

Oh, I just got it! That’s how he can call himself an “outsider.”

I want to trust him, I just can’t. Should you?

And how about Mitt Romney? Are you buying his “conservative” agenda? The conservatives aren’t.

Are you listening to the man who made hundreds of millions of dollars in private equity (that’s code for Wall Street, people), about how he wants to deregulate more and free up markets to let people do what they have to do to grow jobs unimpeded by government?

That would include Wall Street, I guess?

I’m not sure where Mitt’s loyalties are. Are you?

And about President Obama’s State of the Union speech – are you buying it?

He wants to bring manufacturing jobs back to the U.S. I’m 100% behind that. Only there’s one problem: His plan is grossly flawed and needs a lot of work.

We’re not stupid; we can handle the truth.

Obama wants to tinker with “territorial taxes.” Basically, when American companies make money overseas, they don’t have to pay taxes on that profit until they “repatriate” it back home. If they do bring it back here, they pay the difference between the low tax rate where they (paid) and made their profits and the U.S.’s 35% corporate rate.

So why bring the money back home at all, especially when you can reinvest it overseas, tax-free? By the way, why not invest where the growth is?

The President wants to disincentivize outsourcing jobs overseas and wants corporations to manufacture here at home. And, he wants to tax them more on their overseas profits to offset reducing taxes on U.S. manufacturers.

Let me see… Would I pay the lower overseas tax and a penalty because I manufacture overseas because my total burden is less than 35%? Would you, if you were in business to make money? Some plan…

What he thinks we’re too stupid to understand is that, first, he’s threatening China. You know, China, the country that owns half of our debt, that’s been financing our government’s deficit spending. The country that’s set to surpass the U.S. in economic muscle in a handful of years. China, where so many of our big corporations – the ones with a trillion dollars parked overseas – are making profits.

The only way this little plan works, theoretically, is if we then lower the U.S. corporate tax rate to maybe 15%. Let’s see, lowering corporate taxes, on top of all the loopholes corporations have, hmmm… Why waste all that money on accountants? Just eliminate all corporate taxes and raise taxes on the middle class. After all, they’ll be able to afford it with all the low-paying manufacturing jobs the plan will create.

Where’s the consideration that manufacturers here have to ship goods to where the demand is? After all, we’re building McDonald’s and other businesses overseas because that’s where we’re selling American goods.

Then there’s the issue of the dollar vs. other currencies…

Oh, that’s why the Fed is promising to keep rates at zero until 2014, and do another round of quantitative easing (or “twist” again, like we did last summer)… to cheapen the dollar to make our domestically manufactured goods less expensive abroad. Brilliant!

And, on the subject of helping American manufacturers, the President wants to pick winners. Besides autos (okay, that actually worked out), he’s now chosen technology companies for a helping hand. Good thing Obama is putting the government glove over the invisible hand of free markets; after all, his picking Solyndra was such a good bet, maybe he should start a hedge fund! Seriously, why don’t we have our own sovereign wealth fund and let the President and his administration run it for a 2% management fee and 20% of the profits…?

Can you see the battles ahead? Does anyone think for a second the Republicans are going to take this Democrat drive to dismember free markets and not come out guns blazing?

It’s going to get ugly.

In fact, America’s hacked-off claws are going to get splattered everywhere over the next few months. Why? Because the real fight isn’t being waged openly.

There’s a dark secret that’s cloaking the truth about America’s future.

If you want me to tell you what it is… I will.


8 Responses to Stone Crabs and the State of the Union

  1. Barbara says:

    yes! Tell me, please, and all Americans.
    I think you need your own TV show; Americans are starving for facts/information..

  2. Thomas Olsen says:

    Excellent Stone Crab article, evenhanded in it’s disgust for what both sides are flinging at us. Assume you think Santorum and Ron Paul are out of the picture. My big question to current Republican contenders, and this could go to a Democratic field if they were in the underdog position – You’re all busy trashing the other contendors, but if one of them wins the nimination, will you support them and put your weight behind them? Doesn’t that make you two-faced? Or do you choose Obama?

  3. Bob & Suzanne Hamrick says:

    “There’s a dark secret that’s cloaking the truth about America’s future. If you want me to tell you what it is… I will.”
    (signed) Shah Gilani
    If you show us yours, we’ll show you ours (our version of “the dark secret cloaking America’s future”, that is). We’ll need an email address for you that we can attach a PDF file to. Thanks.

  4. Jerry Grubbs says:

    OK, I’ll bite, Yah already have my name and email, what’s it going to cost to:

    There’s a dark secret that’s cloaking the truth about America’s future.

    If you want me to tell you what it is… I will.

  5. GL says:

    I’m not sure that you’re right about the American public… It could be that MOST of the public does not understand the consequences and MANY never will… Look at Greece… Its people still want to retire at 55… It must be someone else’s error… NOT theirs!

    I add the following and What a slap!! Ouch?????? 

     This appeared in a Czech newspaper in April 2010. I think the Czechs may be on to something.

    The danger to America is not Barack Obama but a citizenry capable of entrusting a man like him with the Presidency. It will be far easier to limit and undo the follies of an Obama presidency than to restore the necessary common sense and good judgment to a depraved electorate willing to have such a man for their president. The problem is much deeper and far more serious than Mr. Obama, who is a mere symptom of what ails America . Blaming the prince of the fools should not blind anyone to the vast confederacy of fools that made him their prince. The Republic can survive a Barack Obama, who is, after all, merely a fool. It is less likely to survive a multitude of fools such as those who made him their president.


  6. Erika says:

    Um, or how about Iceland’s new PM, who’s a woman, gay, and has an ecnmooy arguably even more on the rocks than the US’? OK, OK, I admit I succumbed to a little one-up(wo)manship, but just to underline your point that other countries face obstacles as well and choose to stretch beyond the familiar and ordinary in order to try to find creative solutions and leaders to overcome them. Harvey would be proud, Patricia!

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