Non-Ferrous Founders’ Society 2011/2012 Executive Committee
PRESIDENT Bryan Beck
VICE PRESIDENT Bill Mehlenbeck Cast Technologies Inc.
TREASURER Bill Surman
I. Schumann & Co.
DIRECTOR R. J. Kuhn
DIRECTOR Steve Horvath Brost Foundry Co.
HEADQUARTERS 1480 Renaissance Drive, #310 Park Ridge IL 60068 (847) 299-0950 firstname.lastname@example.org
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR/EDITOR James L. Mallory, CAE email@example.com
CONTRIBUTING EDITORS Jerrod A. Weaver, CAE Quality/Safety firstname.lastname@example.org
Ryan J. Moore, CAE Member Services email@example.com
LAYOUT & DESIGN Michael Barron
Barron Layout & Design firstname.lastname@example.org
Who Pays? That seems to be the burning question these days. The answer used to be “Who Benefits, Pays”, but it isn’t that simple any more.
The “Occupy Wall Street” and “Tea Party” protestors can’t seem to agree on who should pay. One side suggests that the big money moguls take advantage of “the 99%” and should be the ones to pay, while the other side is quick to point out that 50% of the people pay little or no taxes already. “Why should those who have so much pay so little?” directly conflicts with “Why should those who already pay the most have to pay even more?”
Government budgets are grossly unbalanced, so every level of government is looking to shift part of what it pays for to someone else. Federal agencies enact what are known as “unfunded mandates,” which is another way of saying “We just make the rules; we don’t pay for them.” More often, the cost of compliance is shifted downstream to state or local authorities. State legislators are caught in the middle, with Washington officials shifting costs down and local governments trying to shift them up. Take the cost of education, for instance.
Everyone wants to improve education for children, right? But whose responsibility is it? Teachers’ unions want more money. School districts want more money. State education agencies need more money. The U.S. Department of Education wants to raise standards, give out more grants, and forgive student loans, but doesn’t have the resources it would take to do any of those things adequately. Parents don’t want to pay higher fees or tuition, while citizens who no longer have children in the system balk at paying higher real estate taxes to support increased school funding.
The same sort of dilemma exists in transportation. Oil prices rise and fall on political infighting and international turmoil. Drilling for more oil domestically could shield us from foreign influence, but might carry another kind of price tag – one that everyone seems to want someone else to have to pay. Meanwhile, the price for everything from gasoline to heating oil, from airline tickets to plastics continues to go up. Car prices also go up because it costs more to produce cars that use less energy. You can pay more for the car, or pay more for fuel. Sometimes both.
Of course, customers never ask for things they don’t want to pay for, do they? Tooling, warehousing, quicker turn-around, just-in-time delivery, free shipping, quality inspections, guaranteed pricing, warranties, payment discounts, price cuts, returns (for reasons other than quality), extended payment terms (whether granted or simply taken)? None of those things have a cost impact, do they? And no one ever argues or “negotiates” about them, right? “Who Pays” is never an issue between a buyer and seller.
What about things that are simply “taken for granted.” Some things are supposed to be provided just because they should be. Justice - equal protection under the law, which sort of implies that law enforcement should just “happen.” Life, liberty, happiness should all just “happen,” too. You shouldn’t have to pay for them, either. Why not just let someone else pay? The Constitution has a “Bill of Rights,” but it doesn’t have a “Bill of Obligations
Does any of that make you mad? If it doesn’t, it should. Of course, you’re never guilty are you? All of those things just describe someone else. You never take something for granted, never expect something for free, or someone else to pay for something you know you should be paying for – or at least contributing to – yourself, right? That just wouldn’t be fair.
And what if everyone simply stopped paying? What would happen then?
The CRUCIBLE is published six times each year in February, April, June, August, October and December by the Non-Ferrous Founders’ Society 1480 Renaissance Drive, Suite 310, Park Ridge, IL 60068 (847) 299-0950. Copyrighted 2012 by the Non-Ferrous Founders’ Society. All rights reserved. Statements of fact and opinion are made on the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily imply an opinion on the part of the officers or membership of the Non-Ferrous Founders’ Society.
January/February 2012 The Crucible • 1
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