Business Is Gonna Be Good

Last week, as I sweltered in 100-degree weather in Chicago, it was hard to imagine that this winter I will freeze and endure blizzards. It is always hard to imagine change, even predictable change, because our brains are usually imprisoned by the sweat and chill of the moment.

The same is true in business. We tend to be slaves to the moment, bending to the fear of failure when the possibility of success is just as likely if we give hope breath.

July 2012. We have half a year to make things happen, but it feels like the gloomsters are winning at the moment, focused on political gridlock, high unemployment, big budget deficits, and a paralyzed Eurozone.

I think “the scared” control the media because fear sells, but if we take a one to five year view of the economy in the U.S. we should be upbeat, especially if we are in the machining world.

Why am I optimistic about the long-term?

1) The American dream is a bit tarnished today but it certainly has survived. I see it most dramatically when I visit the Bay Area and see people starting businesses, or at least planning to start them, all over the place. And the people are from all over the place. I don’t know how they get into the country, but they figure out a way, maybe by leveraging a tourist visa and a credit card into a new life. I see the same thing in Chicago in the gentrified old neighborhoods near downtown. There is incredible energy and vitality, whether it’s starting a restaurant or driving a taxi. Every 4thof July I marvel at my incredible luck at being born into the rich freedom of America.

The John Deere Pavilion in Moline, Illinois.

2) The renaissance of American manufacturing is really happening. The decline of the last 15 years is reversing. I heard the President of John Deere interviewed on July 4. He said Deere has three plants worldwide that make big combines for harvesting grain – one in China, another in Brazil, and the third in Moline, Illinois. The most efficient plant is the one in Illinois. The head of Caterpillar has made similar comments, and the remarkable re-inflation of the American automotive complex to a 14 million car pace with 70 percent of the cars bought here made here soon is an amazing success story.

3) The biggest reason for continuing high unemployment is the moribund residential housing market, but it is definitely turning around. Homes are starting to sell. You can get a mortgage today without jumping through a million hoops, and the rates are unbelievably cheap. Foreclosures are being bought by speculators for rehab, rental and flipping. Housing starts are creeping up. The rental market is smoking in most big cities. Tradesmen are finding work and buying pickup trucks.

4) The shale gas, shale oil, and oil sands revolution is in full swing in America. The dependence on foreign hydrocarbons will be a thing of the past in 5-10 years. The low price of natural gas is a momentary deterrent to drilling but the thirst for cheap oil and gas by the utility and chemical companies will fuel massive capital spending here in the coming years.

The economists are enthralled by the week-to-week numbers and the tremors from Europe, but if we keep our eye on the ball I think we should feel good about the current trends in the U.S., which should be very good for machining in North America for the next several years.

Question: Do you think unemployment would be higher under an Obama administration or Romney administration?

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32 thoughts on “Business Is Gonna Be Good

  1. Mike Yeager

    I think private sector employment would be higher but goverment employment would be less.
    Overall it may be a wash but Smaller Goverment is always a good thing. Who pays the goverment workers?

  2. Pat Kane

    If Obama is defeated, the Oil & Gas industry should flourish under the Romney administration. The Gulf will be a beehive of new drilling activity. Many, many new jobs are at stake.

  3. Allen

    We lost many jobs because of the last republican in the white house. This administration has made progress despite the obstructionist, oops. republican party. we hired some new help and my present health insurance is free. Thats a good thing. Keep up the great posts.

  4. Jim Goerges

    Lloyd, I agree with Mike. I am wondering, would we-should we still blame BUSH? Your article doesn’t give us business owners any credit for long term thinking about issues which we understand very well, like health care, like government spending, like teacher pensions(defined benefit plans) and a long list of dramatic “Government” changes in the last 10 years that will curtail private sector growth due to “socialism” or “entitlement”. Then you bring up the mortgage mess, which is proof positive why give away programs don’t work and why socialized health care won’t work. First the mortgage mess, in 95′ Bill Clinton wanted 8 million more homes built, Barney Franks and Chris Dodd gave the US through Freddie and Fannie, the mortgage program for the poor, you didn’t need money down, hell you didn’t even need money to qualify for a loan! This program was exploited and pretty soon became the program for the poor that damn near bankrupted the world!–Wanna bet? Now, I can’t believe the poor are going along with health care, but supposedly there supposed to contribute and that is why this is supposed to be so good! Wow, newsflash people-THE POOR DON’T HAVE ANY MONEY, so do you really think they are going to contribute? Guess what, the system now will become overun, DOCTOR’S will be overworked, and the middle class will PAY! Wanna bet?
    So when you say the media and gloom permeates the air waves, THERE IS A REASON FOR IT! The only way manufacturing comes back is from what we take back from the rest of the world, NEWSFLASH–there is a worldwide economic slowdown happening as we speak, it will come sneaking up on your doorstep within the next 12 to 18 months. WANNA BET?

  5. Karl

    I don’t think there is any question, Romney will be a much better job creator…but job creation is only a part of the issue. The other is the deficit. I just can’t believe that people ignore what is happening in Europe and cannot (or refuse to) see that we are moving at lightning speed towards the same cliff. Unsustainable entitlement spending. Congress must continue to say NO to spending that is not offset by cost cuts…and Allen, nothing is for free. Someone is paying for your healthcare.

  6. rich

    your right on the problems Jim G. ! and Allen , your clueless. Why can’t Democrats ever admit their party is wrong . This president is SO in over his head it’s scary . He and his administration will Lie about everything and do whatever B.S. needs to be done to try and get relected . All health insurance has gone up with Bozo in office .

  7. Jack

    Do I think unemployment would be higher under an Obama administration or Romney administration?
    In my opinion that is really a stupid question!
    Obama knows nothing except how to agitate and divide. He has done nothing to lead the country or the congress toward solving our real problems. His only agenda is to financially enslave as many voters as possible so he can perpetuate his own power and change this country as quickly as possible to a socialist state. He will bleed the small businesses and working people of every penny he can get so he can hand out the money to his subjects and his supporters.
    At least Romney understands business and what it takes for a business to be successful. He was not my first choice. But I’ll bet my future on Romney.

  8. Larry A

    I think that it won’t matter much in the near term who is elected. We’re in for high unemployment rates for now due to the nature of the current generation emerging. Many of the current generation are of the mindset that good enough is good enough or that just getting by is good enough. It seems to me that 15-20 percent of those under 25 don’t see the need to work so long as their basic needs are being met. They don’t see a need to work unless they absolutely have to.

    Romney would probably be responsible for exporting more jobs, thus creating a hunger for work in this country that would be good in one sense. Obama is fighting to stop the flow of jobs to Asia and India. It’s hard to close those flood gates now that they’ve been opened so wide.

    I’ll be voting Obama because I think he’s better for those of us who earn less than $300,000/yr. I think that you should vote Romney if you earn more than that and most of your earnings are from imports.

  9. Stefan

    Not only will unemployment be lower with Romney, but the economy (quite apart from any inputs of the Federal Government) is ready to explode. The cash reserves of many companies are at record levels waiting to see what the tax and regulatory climate will be. When that improves under a less socialistic president (I presume) the money invested in capital expansion, labor force expansion, new product development, and new business development will produce a huge healing in our economy. The big question will be: If that is profitable for those companies, what will be the response of the media and the Federal Government to that profit.

  10. Karl

    Americans receiving Federal Disability – 1992 3.3 mil…2012 it has climbed to 8.7 mil. people! In 1984 85% of American workers paid Federal Income tax…today only 51%. Do you think the present administration is interested in reversing these kinds of trends? Not a chance. We are Greece without the olive oil

  11. GARY

    I think the Rothschild’s said it best, ” If I control the money, I control the country “. The bankers have owned the US since 1913 and their control is now being felt.

  12. Matt

    What a ridiculous question! Trillions on the sidelines waiting for the current administration to LEAVE! Has socialism ever created jobs?

  13. Ryan

    Allen is either young, naive, or most likely, both!!! The inexperienced Salesman we have in office now has proven that he is not a leader. While Mitt would not have been my first choice, hopefully he gets a chance and will certainly be a better leader than the current crook. Best of luck to us all.

  14. Greg

    Lloyd, your socialistic leanings certainly sneak out in the open with your political and economic views. The irony is why would any businessman want the country and our federal government to be heading in the direction that Odumah is taking us??? Maybe you want free health care for your employees?? You certainly will pay more taxes under Odumah as a small business owner.
    Lloyd, I would caution you as you visit and try to sell machinery to shop owners. Keep the liberal leanings in your pocket, as 99.9% of all business owners are staunchly conservative
    Nobody, and I mean nobody, that I talk to, in any kind of business supports Odumah.
    His main supporters are the poor, the deadbeats, the illegals, most of the public sector workers, (who by and large are overpaid and underworked), most of the college professors (whose universities would not exist without government support), and generally anyone else looking for a HANDOUT of some kind.
    The working poor, the working middle class, and the working wealthy have nothing for Odumah. We just want to be left alone by our overreaching government..
    Asking who would be better for job creation??? That is a stupid question.

  15. Raymond T. Frattone

    I would scream this answer if I could! Why have we not learned that socialized giveaway governments do NOT work unless you are the one in power. Just take a look at Europe.
    I cannot understand how we can do the same stupid things over and over and expect different results. This is a direct paraphrase from Albert Einstein. Just look at how this country was built on capitalism and now the idiots want to change things.
    I just don’t get it. Common sense is dead in the USA. Half of the people are on food stamps promoted by the administration.

  16. clayton smith

    First LLoyyd,
    No one doubts your sales ability. Hell you could probably sell roller skates to a snake, but you are never going to sell this Obama thing to business men.
    Secondly we understand all wealth in a nation comes from manufacturing. It’s why England is not in as good a shape as Germany and why we gave all our labor intensive jobs to China, just so we could avoid another war with them. But what do you do with all the uneducated and intellectually challanged folks who were making buggy whips?…..Welfare.
    Now with millions in real estate I can’t borrow a dime. You bet your butt I’ll take the Mormon anytime.

    Clayton Smith

  17. Hank

    Unemployment will definitely be higher if Romney is elected as he accelerates the offshoring of American jobs and shrinks all forms of government regulation and investment in America’s future. Romney will remove all obstacles keeping the Barons of Wall Street from moving our money to whatever country has the least regulation and taxes.

  18. Val Zanchuk

    A lot of job creation depends on which party controls Congress. The moronic Republicans think they can turn things around by severely cutting spending and giving the “job creators” lots of cash. What a bunch of crap. You can’t tell me a greedy money manager on Wall Street is a job creator. I don’t see too many businesses growing by only cutting spending. The moronic Democrats think money appears out of some magic vessel they can keep siphoning and needs to be “equitably” spread around. Also a bunch of crap. We need pragmatic people in congress who can solve problems, equitably tax people, cut spending that’s outlived its value, and work to grow the country. Obama or Romney will support such measures.

  19. Colleen York

    Sorry Guys, you talk as if the unemployed or under employed are lazy and looking for a hand out. Many good, hard working and talented people are out of a job and losing their homes due to the greed of big business taking advantage of the cheep labor and no environmental rules in foreign countries. Now these unemployed workers can’t even afford to buy the cheep crap they are selling. Get a grip, you send your cash to foreign counties to pay their wages you have no money left in this country for people to purchase the products you are selling. So, go live somewhere else, you have no loyalty to this country, only to the almighty buck. I founded in 1976 and still own a wonderful small business, I have heard for years that nice guys finish last and I need to learn to speak Chinese or I will not survive. Guess what, I am still here and hope to hire more hard working Americans this year and offer them health insurance. I believe our President is doing the best he can with what he is dealt, if people would quit using the hateful and negative language (media tag words) and just look at what is really going on with an open mind they might be able to help this country instead of enslaving us even further to the banks and other counties.

  20. James Ashby

    Here is food for thought do you love your childern your grandchildren do you care about there future? If so vote no to socialism vote for change, vote Obama out. I am for hand ups but quite anoyed with hand outs. Let me ask you this, will you please go borrow $100,000.00 and give it to me with no return on investment, stupid right. Yet so called highly educated people do this all the time with one difference you and I have to pay it back. No more broken health care plans, no more forced tax, stop giving my money away, no more Obama.

  21. trashcup

    I hope if we ever declare war on China that we have enough sense to order our tanks and other weapons from them FIRST because by then, we won’t have many manufacturing jobs left, they’ll be outsourced to the cheapest bidder.

  22. Larry A

    I notice everyone here bashing on the other party. The Dems do give too much to the poor and lazy. Unfortunately, nobody seems to notice that the Reps give everything away to the rich (multi-millionaires) who in turn take the money and invest it in Asia and India, not America.

    When will Americans learn that it’s our 2 party system that is broken. Both parties serve special interests and we, the working stiffs, get stiffed. In my book, you’re clueless if you belong to either of the 2 parties. WAKE UP, PEOPLE!!!

  23. Jeffrey Scott

    What has happened while Obama has been in office? Have we lost jobs or gained? Even you Mr. Graff knows the answer to that one and even all the Liberal media’s attempts to make excuses cannot change the fact that Obama has been a total economic disaster.
    Should this fool be re-elected and his Socialist takeover of the entire healthcare system in this country be enacted you haven’t seen anything yet.
    All we hear from the “Whiner and Chief” is “It’s Bush’s fault”…I wish I had a dime for everytime Obama has used Bush (and others) for his lame excuses because he really doesn’t know how the economy works so he cannot comprehend what is wrong as he adds more socialist spending to an already overburdened populace.
    Did Bush make excuses when the Clinton/Gore bubble burst and then had the 9-11 attacks happen? Did he point fingers when the economy almost collapsed or did he get to work and make the moves necessary to keep people from panicking and finally returning to some sort of normalcy?
    Like him or not Bush made the right moves and kept this country from imploding which Liberals seem to ignore now and I think that Romney will make the right moves too because he understands business, capitalism (what we have left of it) and our economy and Obama has proven without a doubt that he might be great in classroom debates but he can’t carry Mitt’s jock strap when it comes to economics and neither can any of his appointed avowed Marxist advisor’s he has surrounded himself with.
    Even though I view him as much to moderate Romney is the guy to at least start fixing what six straight years of Liberal control of Congress has brought….four years (Bush’s last two and Obama’s first two) of not even attempting to write a budget while spending us into oblivion….then they last 3 of running around blaming everyone else for what they have screwed up while stopping the Republican budget in the Senate that the House Republicans wrote within 90 days of taking control of the House.

  24. Miles Free

    “Every 4th of July I marvel at my incredible luck at being born into the rich freedom of America.” Best line you have ever written, you salesman of rollerskates to snakes, you!

    Lloyd, I agree with your sentiment exactly. And i would add, on Memorial Day and President’s Day, and certainly Thanksgiving Day. And Canada Day too. (My mom was from Canada.) In fact, every day when I wake up. All of us are blessed to be Americans, yet we are mostly blind to our good fortune and calibrated to look closely and passionatelyat the negatives.

    As for your question, did all those young voters who put Obama in the White House think that the ” Change” that he promised was that they would be young and wageless and mired in college debt? I think that I am persuaded to vote for “Change” this time. For the young people’s sake.

  25. John Ryder

    Those who think a conservative administration will be better for the 98% are CRAZY, OUT THEIR MIND!. I am jesting because I find humor in polarized attitudes. No one can possibly know as “fact” what the future beholds and if they feel they do, a critical thinker they are not. Many still want to blame Clinton who left the nation in the best financial shape in decades. I rather we were all stressed over Monica.

    Even if Clinton made a bad decision about housing in 95, why were corrections not made . 10 years later, the housing boom was out of control and nobody doing a thing about it. A sailing ship needs corrections along the way. Maybe it is all G. Washington’s fault

    How about starting two wars(one was legit) and cutting taxes. Does not sound like good business. This and Europe has dragged this country down. Obama tried a repair job and it did not work. Though some economists feel things could have been much worse if the TARP was not continued.

    Nobody knows, either choice has great risks. Romney does not have working people in heart, more as a tool. Obama may be an idealist…. We need another Clinton!

  26. Jim Goerges

    Another Clinton? What the …, why do we need to go back to what the definition of is IS? Sorry, I think we need real leadership and Ronald Reagon would be the one I would choose. Proven results in terrible times.

  27. GG

    @ Val Zanchuk – Right on! You nailed it.

    But, the article was about the power of positive thinking. If only small businessmen will take the long view and invest their capital, we would see a recovery. Well, this small businessman has spent the last three years trying to keep his head above water, keeping most everyone employed, keeping the health insurance going and affordable, borrowing money into the losses, and waiting for things to turn around. I will make careful investments that will improve efficiency and productivity. What I won’t do is make big bets on the future that will destroy the company if, as seems all too possible, we slip into another recession. I suspect that most people feel the same.

    My nature is to be optimistic, but the warning signs cannot be ignored. We still haven’t fully felt the correction that should have happened in 2002 and again in 2009. I’m optimistic for the next three years, but look out for 2015!

  28. Betty

    I like your optimism and I like your bullish view for manufacturing and all I can say is “it’s about time”.
    As for the election, I am putting my faith in the man that believes in making things in the USA and the man that saved our auto industry. Certainly not the man that lives off his offshore investments which he earned by squeezing the life out of companies.
    We are certainly better off today than we were four years ago and I will let that be my bellwether.

  29. Tom Hogge

    Since the supreme court agreed Obama care is a constitutional tax . I have placed an order for my first robots . We have 117 employees at present. I pay 50% of our employees heath care insurance. Only 40% of our employees elect to participate in the plan. Rates as everyone knows (who have insurance) increase every year. And this new tax won`t correct that. So now I am faced with a really tough decision. Invest in additional robots. Which means at some point, borrow funds to automate. Or the safest thing, Lay off 50-60 employees. Don`t accept purchase orders that require labor intensive operations. Let it go back to China , Mexico, India where ever. And jeopordize My good name . We don`t lay off. Well that was before Obama Care. I hope Romney replaces Him. We get a pro business administration. A health care plan that someone bothers to read before sending to law. And I don`t start laying off what I consider My extended Family. Regretfully, I am not the only business owner faced with this difficult situation.

  30. Keith

    Obama promised change. Nothing changed. I don’t think he was lying at the time (any more than any other politician enhances the truth), but I think he was naive. He really THOUGHT he could do those things. Then he ran face-first into the real world.
    I don’t get the sense that Romney is a bad guy, but he seems disconnected. He was much more like Obama when he was Governor. Now that he has to play to the Tea party, his rhetoric has changed. Makes me wonder what he’ll REALLY do if he gets elected. If he’s a fantastic businessman but has little experience in other areas – he sounds like someone who should be in a Cabinet position, not the driver’s seat.

  31. Marv

    The KIS acronym applies, Romney understands private sector business, Obama primarily thinks about making government bigger and building infrastructure.


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