Nothing Pencils Out
Nothing pencils out anymore. Maybe nothing ever did, but it seems flagrantly more obvious today that virtually all business activities are entropic. Unsustainable. Oh yes, businesses survive, even thrive, but only by begging, borrowing, stealing, cheating or government subsidy.
No business seems to make it on its own. No business can operate profitably without either cutting corners or receiving unearned revenue.
You know the big names, the ones who got the billions and hundreds of billions from the feds. So you know:
--Banking doesn't pencil out. Banks need large infusions of your tax dollars to stay afloat.
--Ditto for insurance companies. In addition, insurance companies have to aggressively deny benefits to their customers to stay in business.
--American auto companies haven't penciled out for decades and now need not only government money but supervision.
Certainly, the failed economy doesn't help matters, but this thought came to me awhile ago, before millions of jobs went up in smoke.
--Big agribusiness doesn't pencil out. The corporate farms are totally dependent on the pork-laden agriculture bill that Congress passes every few years.
--Small farms haven't penciled out for nearly a century.
--Food product manufacturing doesn't pencil out unless the product is loaded with heavily subsidized commodities such as corn and soybeans.
--Most other kinds of manufacturing doesn't pencil out in the U.S., which is why it's done in China and elsewhere.
In Portland, however, it's no different, just perhaps more bungled up than many other places, but definitely not alone.
--Major league sports franchises, though universally owned by billionaires, evidently can't make it unless taxpayers pay for their stadiums and arenas.
--The hotel industry doesn't pencil out, since it needs to hire illegal aliens to clean the rooms. And it needs subsidies from local governments to build new hotels.
--Restaurants, too, need illegals in the kitchen to pencil out.
--Bars evidently will go bust if they don't get revenue from video poker.
--Newspapers aren't penciling out and thus are near extinction.
--Radio and television news doesn't really pencil out either, because these media really don't report news, just gossip and opinion.
--The construction of buildings no longer pencils out, because there's no buyers anymore. Unless a builder wins a contract from the government, at which point taxpayers foot the bill.
--Pharmaceuticals don't pencil out. Yes, the drug companies make obscene profits, but only by convincing people to take lots of drugs they don't need—and then the government or the insurance companies pay for those drugs.
--Health care in general doesn't pencil out, even though prices are escalating at three times the general inflation rate. Hospitals can't make money treating the sick, but instead have to seek profits treating the vain.
--A lot of little boutiques in trendy areas may appear to pencil out, and do so in the short run, but wait a couple of years and see how many are still around.
--Small business in general hardly ever pencils out. Either the employers or the owners make pitiful wages for what they do, and never have good health plans.
--Big business doesn't pencil out either, because it doesn't have to. Big business is too big to fail, so the government keeps it alive.
I can come up with a handful of business activities—coffee, sex, IPhones—that seem to pencil out. Maye I haven't examined them closely enough. Maybe there are more. There definitely are more that don't. Give me your list.