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June 07, 2012

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General Dynamics is a shell now.

Honeywell is a shell now and will continue to ship jobs (manufacturing and engineering) to Mexico until all the plants in AZ are closed.

Boeing is on borrowed time unless they win the new US Army armed aerial scout (AAS) helicopter contract (which they might), but it won't be huge like the Apache contract.

Well-armed Third World nation = Barbarians! Let the pillaging begin.

"Why can't Phoenix get its act together?"

Because, in the not-so-deep recesses of its tiny, lizard heart, Phoenix knows too well that it has no future beyond this; its brief beat of the Oil Age Orgy.

Great commentary, Mr. Talton.

I did manage to find a list of defense contract expenditures by state that lists Arizona as sixth, but the data comes from a 2004 database.

http://www.statemaster.com/graph/mil_def_con_exp-military-defense-contracts-expenditures

So, I found a source that provides the information for 2011 (state by state only, and no master list) and checked the top 12 states, figuring that this should be sufficient to ferret out the facts absent earthshaking changes in contract apportionment to states since then. Results:

#1 Virginia $54.8 billion
#2 California $43.7 b.
#3 Texas $35.9 b.
#4 Maryland $15.9 b.
#5 Florida $13.3 b.
#6 Massachusetts $13 b.
#7 Connecticut $12.5 b.
#8 Arizona $11.8 b.
#9 Pennsylvania $10.8 b.

http://www.governmentcontractswon.com/search.asp?type=dt

Of course, this is by contract expenditure amounts rather than "number of contracts" as specified in the Arizona Republic story. The latter seems a particularly silly way to measure this -- who cares how many contracts there are when what counts is the money they bring to the state -- but the second database also lists the number of contracts by state in 2011, so I took another look.

Arizona isn't even in the running. After checking and finding that California, Virginia, New York, Texas, Florida, Pennsylvania, Maryland, New Jersey, Ohio, Massachusetts, Washington (state), Georgia, Connecticut, Missouri, Alabama, and likely others, are all ahead of Arizona in the number of contracts for 2011, I gave up.

Likely, the "fifth in the nation" stat uses old data, or else data covering a period containing past years when Arizona ranked higher (e.g., from 2000 onward).

It's possible that my own methodology was flawed since it wasn't systematic. You can check any suspicions you have about other states, state by state, with the second database.

By 2010 share of Defense Department revenue, Boeing is the third largest defense contractor; General Dynamics is 4th and Raytheon is 5th (the revenues listing for Raytheon is a typo and needs three more zeroes on the end). Even Hewlett Packard comes in at 10th.

http://defensesystems.com/articles/2011/06/08/2011-top-20-defense-contractors.aspx

Out of time for now.

@Solipsistic Crematorium:

in the not-so-deep recesses of its tiny, lizard heart, Phoenix knows too well that it has no future beyond this; its brief beat of the Oil Age Orgy.
I second thi-is notion.

*...The tragedy is the the trillions blown away in wars and defense programs we don't need...*

And every time I go into Walgreen's the cashier asks me if I want to send a Snickers bar to the troops.

How do you say "Fuck no" politely? Perhaps like this: You mean out of the trillions that go to "defense spending" they can't afford to give our mercenaries a candy bar now and then?

By the way, here is an interesting thought-question:

If we totally privatized our army and hired Filipinos and other brown-skinners to fight for us for cheap, would anybody at Walgreen's be asking me to send a Snicker bar to the troops?

The answer of course is no. Why that answer? Because the Filipinos and the other brown-skinners are getting paid to fight for us!

Remember that old line in "Meet John Doe" where Walter Brennan says: "I know the world's been shaved by a drunk barber." That's only party right. The barber in not only drunk, he's got Mongolian idiot features...

I am really starting to like this idea of totally privatizing the army. It would save the taxpayers and enormous amount of money. Perhaps we could even cut the taxes of the super rich some more and grow the economy...

Looky:

There are plenty of Mexicans, Filipinos, Vietnamese, and heck, probably even some Chinese that would take our soldiering jobs for a fifth of the pay...

And we wouldn't have to pay out veterans benefits or education perks. Or worry about some vet going on a PTSD killing spree. We wouldn't have to waste taxpayer money on costly prosthetics.

Please note that at the turn of the 20th century, American capitalists gleefully employed children under egregious working conditions to increase their profits.

And that at the turn of the 21st century American capitalists gleefully employed Chinese under egregious working conditions to increase their profits.

So I don't think anyone in finance or business would morally object to employing brown-skinners on the cheap to do our war-murdering for us. In fact, there is ample precedence to say this is the smart business thing to do.

Koreyel: "brown-skinners on the cheap"? Is there a racist amongst us, or did you just have some strange stuff for breakfast? 'Scuse me if I missed the humor in your post.

Perhaps a bit crudely done, but I took koreyal's comments to have been delivered with Swift-ian intent...

Mercenaries bad. Just ask the Romans, the Byzantines, any number of African countries. After awhile, they get bored with taking pay and figure why not take the whole enchilada (since none of these lazy fat rich slobs is willing to fight)?

I find it disappointing that Stanton is spending his time on this issue and time with the Zombie. His actions have signs of bigger ambitions than mayor of the burning berg called Phoenix. Stanton should be spending his time on the Calles de Phoenix not in the dank hallways of DC. Whats next a joint trip with Brewer to the Krupps works?

Koreyel,
" I am really starting to like this idea of totally privatizing the army. It would save the taxpayers and enormous amount of money."

Koreyel as I asked you before would your private Hessians be entitled to American veteran entitlements? Citizenship?

Military Keyensianism and Fireman.

Hopefully Ray Bradbury's remains will some day be spread across the surface of Mars. I think there is a common thread in Bradbury's move Fahrenheit 451 and today's world, afire.

A quote,

"During breakfast at dawn, Granger discusses the legendary phoenix and its endless cycle of long life, death in flames, and rebirth, adding that the phoenix must have some relation to mankind, which constantly repeats its mistakes, but that man has something the phoenix doesn't. It can remember the mistakes it made from before it destroyed itself, and try not make them again. Granger then muses that a large factory of mirrors should be built, so that mankind can take a long look at itself. After the meal is over, the band sets off back toward the city, to rebuild society."

Thanks Ray.

Side note: new reply to AZRebel in the All Fall Down thread.

I saw this Q. & A. with Ed Robson, a homebuilding magnate who developed Sun Lakes Retirement Community and others. Here's an interesting comment that echoes some of Mr. Talton's remarks about the end of the old exurban growth model:

Q. What is your outlook on the future of active-adult community development in Arizona?

A. ...the days when you could just go, really, out in the fringes of a city probably are gone. Which will probably move the program of retirement communities to high-rises. I can see that coming 10 or 20 years down the road.

http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/business/articles/2012/06/02/20120602homebuilder-ed-robson-looks-back-ahead.html

Gee, this sounds exactly like the job I did for seven years and was run out of. From the AZ Republic:

Arizona Economy columnist
The Arizona economy columnist will provide a voice on key issues facing the Arizona economy as it tries to rebuild, rejuvenate and diversify after a brutal recession. The columnist will be a force across all platforms – print, digital, TV and social media. Arizona's economy is a broad terrain rich with opportunity. The columnist should offer analysis on local business news and economic trends; introduce entrepreneurs and tap into the ideas of business leaders; monitor Arizona's progress on key economic indicators; keep tabs on government impact on business; and present concepts in a clear and approachable way for readers. The columnist will be expected to blog often and make television appearances. The columnist also will be expected to make public appearances. The columnist must produce work aimed at Republic Media's broad audience, not simply the area's movers and shakers. The body of work should be accessible and solutions-oriented. The columnist also should be prepared to work collaboratively with reporters covering the topics on which the columnist writes and work within a Business team that requires initiative, strong communication and adherence to the highest legal, ethical and quality standards. Apply to Business Director Kathy Tulumello.

I sent Kathy Tumumello And the editor a note recommending You.

No mention of the Rep's business columnist needing to understand and explain global economic issues and opportunities as they impact AZ?

"Arizona's economy is a broad terrain rich with opportunity."

Requirements:

The successful candidate must be willing to lie to everyone, without hesitation, or pause.

OBITUARY COLUMNIST WANTED

Job Description: Write positive articles about a metropolitan area spiritually dead and on economic and political life support. Stress the positive aspects of the local economy and stress factors suggesting a final bubble opportunity.

Apply to Arizona Republic, preference given to NRA members, graduates of home school, anti-abortionists and college drop outs.

"The body of work should be...solutions-oriented."

You know, I was going to make a facile remark to the effect that you were more of a "voice crying in the wilderness" than a solutions-oriented writer, but then I looked at some of your old Arizona Republic columns, and I decided that management simply didn't like your solutions.

For example, here's a column from 2006 entitled "Rebuild With Rails":

http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/opinions/articles/0625talton25.html?&wired

The article is notable for several points:

* Outstanding provision of context. It describes where the United States has been; it describes where we are now, compared to our competitors in Europe and China; and it tells where we're going and what to expect in the future.

* A clear outline of problems (high energy prices, congestion and pollution, climate change) and a listing of suggested remedies (or at least ameliorations) and strategies, including five NARP recommendations.

* An even-handed and non-partisan assessment of political culpability (both parties deserve criticism, and they receive it).

Incidentally, on the freight side, just three days ago the Arizona Republic announced that Warren Buffet's BNSF Railway Company (the second largest freight railroad network in North America, and wholly privately owned) will invest an estimated $80 million on maintenance and rail-capacity improvements in Arizona this year.

http://www.azcentral.com/business/articles/2012/06/06/20120606bnsf-spend-80-million-improve-arizona-railways.html

Minor digression:

Today's Arizona Republic, on page 2 of the Business section, gave some interesting stats in the "On The Numbers" item (only paragraph length and easily missed).

Investor activity (homes listed as investor-owned on new affidavits of value) in Maricopa County rose by five percentage points year-over-year, from 23.7 percent in April 2011 to 28.1 percent in April 2012.

The Market Pulse quote of Mike Orr (Director of ASU's Center for Real Estate Theory and Practice) was interesting also:

"We're looking at only about 8,800 single-family homes for sale in the Greater Phoenix Area, and more than 25 percent are priced at more than $500,000."

Here's an expansion of the Orr quote from an ASU News website:

"The inventory of single-family homes for sale under $250,000 with no existing contract is equal to only 21 days of supply.

"Orr says we have a very unbalanced market with many more buyers than sellers...

" 'In order for us to see a more stable housing recovery, the basic rules of economics require prices to change enough to bring a new wave of sellers onto the market,' explains Orr. 'That hasn’t happened yet, and so far, supply remains insufficient to meet demand.' "

https://asunews.asu.edu/20120531_business_orrreport

Put this information together with that in the previous comment, and what it looks like is that investors are buying but they're not selling. Meanwhile, most homeowners who have a choice don't like the offers they're receiving (many from investors used to bargain basement bidding) and are hanging on to their houses. Not quite a housing recovery.

Speaking of military Keynesianism, Krugman has some relevant comments on comparative spending levels between Reagan and Obama (Reagan also having two recessions to deal with in the early 1980s). Excerpt:

...On at least one dimension, government spending, there was a large difference between the two presidencies, with total government spending adjusted for inflation and population growth rising much faster under one than under the other. I find it especially instructive to look at spending levels three years into each man’s administration — that is, in the first quarter of 1984 in Reagan’s case, and in the first quarter of 2012 in Mr. Obama’s — compared with four years earlier, which in each case more or less corresponds to the start of an economic crisis. Under one president, real per capita government spending at that point was 14.4 percent higher than four years previously; under the other, less than half as much, just 6.4 percent.

O.K., by now many readers have probably figured out the trick here: Reagan, not Obama, was the big spender. While there was a brief burst of government spending early in the Obama administration — mainly for emergency aid programs like unemployment insurance and food stamps — that burst is long past. Indeed, at this point, government spending is falling fast, with real per capita spending falling over the past year at a rate not seen since the demobilization that followed the Korean War.

Why was government spending much stronger under Reagan than in the current slump? "Weaponized Keynesianism" — Reagan’s big military buildup — played some role. But the big difference was real per capita spending at the state and local level, which continued to rise under Reagan but has fallen significantly this time around.

And this, in turn, reflects a changed political environment. For one thing, states and local governments used to benefit from revenue-sharing — automatic aid from the federal government, a program that Reagan eventually killed but only after the slump was past. More important, in the 1980s, anti-tax dogma hadn’t taken effect to the same extent it has today, so state and local governments were much more willing than they are now to cover temporary deficits with temporary tax increases, thereby avoiding sharp spending cuts.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/08/opinion/krugman-reagan-was-a-keynesian.html?_r=1&wpisrc=nl_wonk

Emil is onto something. Perhaps Jon will re-run a few of his old Republic columns for us Rogue-o-philes. They are rather brilliant insights about the issues and the myopia. With several, we could just change the dates and a few names and they'd be CURRENT! Once I settle down and get past the anger, regret and nostalgia, I can reflect on the vision they represented.

Unfortunately, the Republic and Gannett owns those hundreds of columns. But plenty of solutions were put out and explored. They also vigorously supported bringing T-Gen, IGC, meds-and-eds, expanding ASU research, saving downtown Scottsdale, building light rail, the convention center, ASU downtown, etc. etc. I suspect you can find them in the archives, but you might have to pay.

Emil writes:

~~~~~~~~~~~~
"O.K., by now many readers have probably figured out the trick here: Reagan, not Obama, was the big spender. While there was a brief burst of government spending early in the Obama administration — mainly for emergency aid programs like unemployment insurance and food stamps — that burst is long past. Indeed, at this point, government spending is falling fast, with real per capita spending falling over the past year at a rate not seen since the demobilization that followed the Korean War. "
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


If Mr. Obama wanted to he could bring out the charts to show he is out-Republicaning the Republicans. After all his center-piece, the health care act, was born in a right wing think tank.

And as Emil points out: he has drastically reduced the Govt's footprint, and the number of folks in Gov jobs...

And of course he could argue that he has dramatically grown the number of guns. I am sure the chart would show there are more guns than ever in American right now. He could brag about that too...

And he could boast about the increase in drone strikes...

And the fact that he has privatized space...

And so on...

You almost have to say there is very little room between Obama's "socialism" and the party of Reagan. Except of course the party of Reagan is not the party of Reagan anymore. Have you see the Republican planks in Iowa?

Check out this little paragraph from this site:

http://www.niemanwatchdog.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=background.view&backgroundid=636

~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"Here’s a sampling: Plank 1.5 supports a constitutional amendment that “Personhood and life begins at conception;” Plank 15.4 gives juries the right to find laws unconstitutional; Plank 16.1, in the name of state sovereignty, allows Iowa and other states to nullify any “federal oversteps” they don’t like; Plank 4.1 is as adamant as it is ambiguous: “…All efforts by the federal government to redistribute wealth are improper and we demand their immediate elimination;” Plank 9.2, “…claims of human-caused global warming are based on fraudulent, inaccurate information… a plan to take our freedoms and liberties away.” Plank 13.12 probably would bring government to a screeching halt: “…all items to be voted upon by any government body should be posted online at least 120 hours prior to their vote.” Numerous planks make life as miserable for homosexuals as possible. Plank 6.20 says the teaching of creationism should be on par with teaching about evolution. And, of course, the United Nations is “diabolical”(9.6), smoking bans are violations of liberty (5.5), and no fault-divorce and minimum wage laws are unacceptable, (22.7 and 25.2)."
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Oh and it gets worse...
Did you hear the one about the voter suppression in Florida?

Or how about the one where Jonah Goldberg a *mainstream* Republican columnist (and author of "Liberal fascism") said that young people are stupid and shouldn't have the right to vote. And that the fact that they like socialism more than capitalism means that they should have the stupidity *beat out them literally or figuratively*.

Did you see that?
It is at the 57 second mark:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hxsEG9c_p30


Please note: No one appears to be calling for Goldberg to apologize or step down from the LA Times. Because to quote (and slightly change) a famous line: Right-wing extremism in defense of right-wing extremism is no vice.

@cal: my post about privatizing the army was a joke. I was trying to out kook the kooks. I believe in a return to the draft. With an emphasis on drafting rich kids, the kids of DC lobbyists and politicians, and the kids of stockholders in military industrial companies.

The Military is bringing the private prison system to Afghanistan?

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/09/afghanistan-counter-narcotics-tribunal_n_1580855.html

Here's an interview I did with Jon Talton (2/11/06)

To gain a better understanding of what’s really going on the valley, I had a chance to sit down and fire questions at Jon. I consider him the “valley’s conscience”. He is a native son with a unique appreciation for the issues that weigh upon us. He notes that FH shares the valley’s fortunes and that our “car economy” will become a larger issue as oil prices rise. So why can’t we get the centers of influence to agree on a list of major issues?

• There are different and conflicting priorities and no one body calls the tune like the Phoenix 40 once did. Overall, there’s less leadership and fewer key figures who can write a check or build consensus. The private sector is relatively weak, now that most corporate headquarters have moved elsewhere. It is ironic and unfortunate that the three most influential individuals (Gov. Napolitano, Mayor Gordon and Michael Crow) are ALL on the public payroll and thus subject to turnover.

• There’s the “all growth is good” lobby paired against the much weaker “growing smarter” group. The former is making too much money to listen to counsel about who pays for the congestion and pollution that follows in their wake. Reference the current remedial plan for expanded freeways, where the taxpayers ultimately foot the bill long after the developers have been and gone.

• Jon observes that the differing priorities are evident when looking at the older urban areas and their need for calculated reinvestment and reinvention . . including light rail . . vs. the outskirts who are struggling with clogged freeways and strained infrastructures.

• Meaningful change is painful, whether it is in the form of land use regulations, mass transit or some restrictions on leapfrog residential projects in the valley’s far reaches. Neither valley leadership, not real estate/tourism nor our state legislature is disposed to address many of the key issues. Fundamental change does not serve their interests.

What about economic growth?
• We are growing population and houses faster than jobs and the quality of those jobs leaves much to be desired. Proportionately, too many remain in the low paying construction and service industries.
• It is pretty much a zero sum game where one area’s job growth often represents another area’s decline. We see this in the cutthroat economic development competition between valley cities, throwing mega dollars to acquire new businesses.
• What’s alarming is that our big employers like Intel really have the option to make their widgets in far off places like Malaysia, so the most desirable business to attract are centers of invention and innovation like T Gen. Example: the valley could become a “genomics hub” if we’d learn how to get out and market ourselves.
• Job growth is a reflection of Arizona’s economic development deficiencies. We have neither the horses nor the vision to get out and compete for talent and capital in the global economy. San Diego and Denver outdo us.
• There is a huge challenge in developing a highly educated workforce that will allow us to compete in the global knowledge economy. Our state ranks among the lowest in most all education indices, yet our state legislators “don’t get it”. The only substantial funding increases for education have come from voter-led ballot initiatives.

What’s the best new model for growth in the valley?
• Looking forward, we need a live/work/school/play model in the central corridor and possibly other locations. (our daughter rarely drives more than 15 minutes for anything)
• We need to compete with other cities for science and technology clusters; they’ve got everything we’ve got . . plus a great downtown and urban neighborhoods.
• Time is not on our side. The world economy is changing; world climate is changing.
The valley’s growth model has been based on cheap oil, which is a fig-newton (my term) of someone's imagination!

Meanwhile, even sprawl apologist Joel Kotkin has to 'fess up the research showing how badly metro Phoenix is doing in science, technology, engineering and math-related jobs. Adjust for population and the showing is shocking:

http://www.newgeography.com/content/002848-the-best-cities-for-tech-jobs

Talton:

...research showing how badly metro Phoenix is doing in science, technology, engineering and math-related jobs. Adjust for population and the showing is shocking

It's a fundamental problem. The Party of Reagan has evolved into a party hostile to science. In fact according to one of the Iowan Republican Party Planks:

Plank 9.2:

…claims of human-caused global warming are based on fraudulent, inaccurate information… a plan to take our freedoms and liberties away.”

The Republicans are taking a fist step towards Lysenkoism:

(per the Wikipedia: Centralized political control exercised over the fields of genetics and agriculture by the director of the Soviet Lenin All-Union Academy of Agricultural Sciences)

So right wing AZ has serious issues that are hostile to the game of science. I don't see how AZ can shift this underlying dynamic...

Perhaps the Phoenix mayor is correct in a deeper way: The only kind of scientific industry possible is the making of various weapons. Everything else, at best is slipping away as the kooks deny Climate change and Evolution and try to get their denialism codified and taught in public schools.

So the military industrial entitlement culture may be AZ's best and only bet. Or... to requote (for today's kooks) a famous Barry Goldwater quote:

I don't care if they (the kooks) think the world is flat, all I care is if they can build a guided missile that hits the other side of the coin...

Thanks for that STEM list link, Mr. Talton.

I'm not sure exactly how much the figures reflect population.

The end notes indicate that 25 percent of the index is determined by "concentration" of jobs, which suggests some sort of per capita or related calculation, which is indeed an adjustment for population size.

The remaining 75 percent of the index is an equally weighted measure of growth over the past two and the past ten years in STEM and technology industry jobs. But that is the rate of growth, not absolute growth.

So, the concentration of jobs is determined, and also the percentage growth over two and over ten years (from each base, calculated independently).

Determining the concentration helps to decrease the effect of growth from a small base: if the number of such jobs is tiny to begin with, then a very small increase in absolute numbers of jobs can result in a large rate (percentage increases) of job growth.

On the other hand, concentration only contributes to 25 percent of the index value, and I'm not sure whether that is sufficient in the general case to make accurate comparisons possible.

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