American Elephants

It’s Earth Day! Do You Care? Did You Observe It? by The Elephant's Child

Today is “Earth Day” and many communities try to observe it, because not caring would be a potential negative. Mostly they offer opportunities for volunteering for something or other, often recycling. Most people care about clean air and clean water, but except for Flint, Michigan, the air is pretty clean and the water is fine. Hillary, typically, in her speech after winning the primary in New York suggested that Flint was a common problem throughout the country and hardly anyone had safe water, which is bunk.

I write about climate a lot, but I should admit clearly that I am not only not a climate scientist, but not any kind of scientist. I did, however, grow up very rural in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains (that’s stretching it a bit) on 400 acres at around 4000′ elevation between National Forest and Bureau of Land Management land. I spent most of my time outdoors, and the protestations of coming climate disaster from a bunch of city people always seemed like bunk to me. Some winters we had not much more than 3′ of snow on the level and some winters we had five feet.  We had a couple of miles of river frontage with plentiful trout, and I once stepped on an eel to the astonishment of both of us.

President Obama sees climate change as an urgent issue of national security, but the public in general does not. They see terrorism, the economy, health care and government spending as far bigger issues. Only 29% of Democrats are worried about climate change as a voting issue, and 3% of Republicans. according to Karlyn Bowman at AEI.

Also at AEI, scholar and economist Mark J. Perry who a professor of economics and finance at the University of Michigan, Flint, lists for Earth Day18 spectacularly wrong predictions made around the time of the first Earth Day in 1970, expect more today.” Paul Erlich is of course on the list. which ranges from greatest cataclysm in the history of man, through mass starvation, to urban dwellers having to wear gas masks to survive, and sunlight reduced by one half.  Spectacularly wrong.

Best Headline Of The Week! by The Elephant's Child

Economist Mark J. Perry, wrote at the American Enterprise Institute:

Why do progressives hate Walmart for low prices and its 3% profit margin but love high-priced Apple and its 24% profit margin?

Evil Walmart makes a lot of money, right? We hear that all the time even though the retail giant’s profit margin was only 3.12% in the most recent quarter. Interestingly, we never seem to hear as much about the much higher profit margin of Apple, the “darling of the progressives.” In the most recent quarter, the computer behemoth with a market capitalization ($725 billion) that exceeds the value of the entire stock markets of Mexico, Thailand and Russia, had a whopping profit margin of 24.2%. No wonder its market cap is so astronomical.

Here’s one way to put Walmart’s 3.12% profit margin in perspective. Over a typical 31-day period like the month of March for example, Walmart generates about $40.5 billion in sales revenue (roughly $1.3 billion per day). To generate that amount of sales, it costs Walmart about $39.3 billion every 31 days to pay for all of its expenses: merchandise to stock its stores, shipping expenses, the cost of labor including fringe benefits, utilities, corporate income taxes, property taxes, payroll taxes, interest expenses, advertising, etc. After incurring all of those costs to provide the merchandise for consumers over a 31-day period, there’s about $1.26 billion left over for profits, which is also 3.12% of the $40.5 billion in sales revenue.

In contrast, Apple’s whopping 24.2% profit margin means that the company can typically cover its costs to operate for 31 days in a little more than three weeks (23.5 days) and it then usually has 7.5 “profit days” every 31 days. That is, for more than an entire week every month, all of the sales revenue collected by Apple during those 7.5 days turns into profits for Apple’s shareholders.

Do read the whole thing. There’s lots more, and a good lesson in both politics and economics. And Progressivism as well.

Manufacturing is Coming Back. Big Time. by The Elephant's Child

This recession has been a particularly bad time for American manufacturing. Foreign competition has been fierce, and this administration has not been friendly to business, or friendly to foreign trade.  They were forced to the wall, says Investors Business Daily, and have gone through “the most dramatic transition since World War II.”

Manufacturing companies have stored  up cash and are investing in new factories, new technologies, job training, acquisitions and going global.  The Census Bureau reports that American exports rose 21% in 2010 putting us back in second place among world exporters.  85% of all goods exported in 2010 were manufactured goods.

Contrary to rumors, the United States is still the world’s largest manufacturing country, in terms of the dollar value of goods.

The top 500 U.S. manufacturing firms had sales in 2010 of $4.5 trillion, greater than Germany’s GDP.  The company ranked at #500 for 2010 was Polymer Group with $883 million in sales. There are probably, says Professor Mark J. Perry, thousands of additional medium and small-sized companies with annual revenue less than %883 million that generate billions of additional dollars in sales for U.S. manufacturers.

They say that “nothing is made here anymore.”  They’re wrong.

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