Nobody gets any if there ain’t none

Adam Klugman, son of the actor Jack Klugman, lives in the Portland area and is making a short “video anthem” which he hopes will help “brand” the Democratic Party. A front page story in yesterday’s Portland Tribune told all about his effort and gave us a link to watch a rough draft of the video.

In a nutshell, Klugman wants to use what he calls six “fighting words” that he believes will move people to action. The words are:

Think
Speak
Stand
Create
Believe
Engage

After watching the video twice, what struck me was that only five of Klugman’s six “fighting words” were used. The one he left out was “create,” as in create value, create wealth, create jobs, create industries, etc.

The video was very explicit about all the things his party demands: good jobs, living wages, new industries, etc.; but it was silent about how these things are created.

I don’t know whether leaving “create” out of the draft video was an oversight, or intentional. I would simply observe that people can demand all they want, but unless someone first creates those goods and services, they won’t be available for Klugman’s or any other political party to distribute.

A group of young people in the mid 1970s stated it best in their 16mm educational film, “The Incredible Bread Machine”:

“Nobody gets any if there ain’t none.”


Steve Buckstein is Senior Policy Analyst and founder of Cascade Policy Institute, a Portland-based think tank.

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Posted by at 12:00 | Posted in Measure 37 | 15 Comments |Email This Post Email This Post |Print This Post Print This Post
  • Jerry

    If Jack Klugman is going to help the Democratic Party, then they are in worse trouble than I thought.
    Good luck with that.
    Talk about an over the hill has been….what a sad, pathetic joke.
    I hope he makes 50 video anthems – that should put the party back on its feet for good.

  • Jerry

    Sorry, Adam, whatever, it makes no difference. His only claim to fame is his father.
    I rest my case.

  • Jack Roberts

    Great analysis as usual, Steve. Their approach to redistributing wealth, without considering where the wealth came from in the first place, reminds me of the beginning of an old Steve Martin routine: “I can tell you how to make a million dollars without paying any taxes. First, you make a million dollars. Then . . . “

    • dean

      Much if not most basic research that leads to economic and social development is done at PUBLIC universities with PUBLIC funding. Read the Science section of the Oregonian today on tree genetic engineering for a good example.

      And out of curiosity, do any of you have any data that suggests Republicans are more creative than Democrats?

      • Steve Buckstein

        Dean,

        Not being a member of either major political party, I think I can anger both sides by stating that in my humble opinion creativity is not a function of one’s political party.

        Of course, some creativity is good (such as the kind that leads to economically productive ventures) and some creativity is bad (such as the kind that figures out how to take what some have produced and redistribute it to others who did not earn it,)

        • dean

          Touche Steve.

          My own experience, not backed up by any statistics, is that those who are creative in the arts tend to be Democrats, and those who are creative in business lean Republican, with exceptions all around. A world of art with no business might be limited to druming, cave painting, and oral tradition, but a world of business without the arts would be unbearably boring.

          And a world with zero income redistribution would look like feudalism

          • Steve Buckstein

            Dean,

            We have to worry about a world with no business or a world with no art. Both impulses are pretty strong in the human race. What we don’t want is a world where business people are forced to subsidize artists, or the other way around.

            I don’t see how zero income redistribution would look like feudalism. We become more feudal as we lose more of our property rights. As I understand the feudal system, the lords granted use of land to the vassals in return for military service. Not to get going on M37 and M49 here, but after M49 passed this month I think many Oregonians feel a more like feudal vassals in that what they can do with their property depends on the whims of the land use lords.

          • Steve Buckstein

            oops, I meant to say that we DON’T have to worry about a world with no business or a world with no art.

  • Bad Boy Brown

    With candidates like Hillary and Osama – the Dems will need lots more than a commercial to win in 2008. And don’t forget that during election season one political commercial among amny tends to get ignored more than ever.

  • rural resident

    It’s easy to talk in the abstract about “good jobs,” “better health coverage,” etc. And, there’s no doubt that there has been some degradation in job security among many in the middle class over the past few years. As a Dem, what I want to know is what my party plans to do when some of their goals come into conflict. When “progressives” had the chance to choose between middle class jobs for those in the timber and fishing industries here in Oregon and “the environment,” their choice was clear: toss those middle class jobs with good benefits overboard. Never mind the impact on families, schools, and other institutions in rural areas. What my party too often seems to forget in its slavish opposition to “development” is that as the economy grows, there are more resources available to finance social and environmental programs.

  • John Fairplay

    I think there’s scant evidence that Democrats are interested in jobs that are non-union or non-government or outside of some favored industry group. All the buzz now is about “sustainable” industries, so the liberals try and get those kinds of businesses here. They even attracted a windmill manufacturing firm for about 90 days, but the deal ultimately collapsed. A few years ago, the buzz was creative professionals in the Pearl – that’s pretty much collapsed. A few years before that it was bio-tech jobs at OHSU and the SoWa District. That’s completely collapsed. Despite big talk by Gov. Kulongoski on this issue, he’s done absolutely nothing meaningful to make Oregon a more attractive place to create, or move, and grow a company. In fact, companies continue to leave Portland proper at an alarming rate.

    • Dean

      John….yes, its a wonder that 100,000 people have moved to Portland over the past few years, and we are one of only 4 cities nationally that are still gaining value on our housing investments. And the Pearl, I was just there yesterday and it is so crowded that no one goes there anymore. No place to park. Those dang liberals….

      RR….what I remember is the dems were split on conservation. When I worked at the forest service Les Aucoin was a major force in funding us to cut the heck out of the place. Where I really think we went off the rails with labor was on NAFTA.

      And on fishing, isn’t that a question of jobs vs jobs? To the extent we do less logging and protect our rivers better, aren’t we preserving more fishing jobs?

      • rural resident

        Dean … There isn’t a one-to-one correspondence between the two industries because of their size and structure. Tens of thousands of timber industry jobs have been lost, with billions of dollars of negative economic consequences. There certainly hasn’t been a corresponding increase in fishing industry jobs because of that. In fact, fishing industry employment is down over the past few decades.

        While I agree that NAFTA has been a bi-partisan boondoggle, it’s impact on our timber industry has been negligible. Allowing radical environmentalists who believe that it is better to see timber burn than to use it to produce good jobs and healthy communities to gain the upper hand is a much bigger cause.

        • dean

          RR, I do some marginal work in forestry (sometimes cutting, sometimes conserving,) and here is my perspective.

          There is no question that some rural communities that had mills dependent on federal timber were hurt economically by the rapid reduction in sales. It was environmentalists who brought the lawsuits that in the end forced the feds to curtail logging. The truly radical ones do not hire lawyers, they climb trees. The feds, including many democrats, resisted reductions in selling timber for years, long after it was clear that they were over cutting and there would be the piper to pay.

          When I worked at Mt Hood National Forest we were cutting 350 MBF a year. Everyone who worked there, and I mean everyone, knew this was not sustainable. When there was a downturn in the economy Senator Hatfield bailed out the timber industry by forcing us to “buy back” already done sales.

          The conversion of hundreds of thousands of acres of steep, rugged, remote forests into heavily roaded areas with plantation forests was not good environmental, economic, or in the end social policy. A lighter touch forestry could have been sustained forever, but the industry and congress and many federal foresters simply got greedy. Rural communities paid the price.

          Our recent spate fo large forest fires is mostly due to decades of fire supression and high grade logging in forests that used to burn overy 10-30 years. Many environmentalists, including the Nature Conservancy, are now urging the feds to thin these forests to prevent them from burnig to the ground.

          And…even our private timberlands, much more productive and managed very intensively, are barely economic any more. Cheap plantation radiata pine from New Zealand and Chile has depressed prices. And mechanization (1 feller buncher does the work of several loggers) has cost far more jobs than conservation.

          So I see a complex picture. Environmentalists are an important, but not critical piece.

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