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Sunday, February 8, 2009

Perceptions Matter

Click on the title of this posting to see the actual US News article. Then come back and add your comments here.

You really need to read the article and some of the links associated with it. While there are people who may disagree with the premise and conclusions, that is almost irrelevant if the perception is there.

If you disagree with this article or you want to provide some other information (good or bad), please respond to the article or post a comment here.

We all need to be reading these articles so that we can understand where the perceptions about Maine are coming from.

Help Save Maine!!!


Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Made in America Will Save America

I think I have figured out how to practically SAVE the United States of America during this economic meltdown. I can sum it up in only three words...


There was a time when America was a self-sufficient, productive, exporting nation. Our country continues to be uniquely blessed with a wide variety of materials, ingenuity, and imagination to build and grow all of the essentials that we need. We have so much of this abundance that we can also produce things that we don't absolutely need but merely desire to make our lives fuller, to entertain us, and to reward us. We have abdicated our industrious nature but maintained our materialistic tendencies in some form of twisted entitlement.

Over time, we have exported our strengths and capabilities which has resulted in us losing our competitive edge around the world. We are at the point where goods imported to the USA have a greater demand and appreciation than our own natively produced products. More importantly, we have lost the ability and capacity to produce many basic materials thereby requiring us to seek foreign sources for things that were commonly made here less than twenty years ago.

I remember when "Made in Japan" was synonymous with junk that had no expectation of lasting five minutes from when it was taken out of its tacky and mispelled carton. "Made in China" was reserved for hand-woven wicker baskets and other "crafts" primarily used as kitsch. Now, Americans put consideration on purchasing foreign produced goods ahead of those made in the United States and look down on the "Made in the USA" label the way we used to view products from the Far East.

What went wrong and how can we correct this?

The answer is that we lost control of our own destiny by putting greater value on the design and management of goods and services than in the manufacture and delivery of them. We are still the engine of discovery and innovation around the world. Unfortunately, when it comes to putting those plans and inventions into action, we discount the craftsmanship and skills of the American worker. We can't even say we didn't see it coming. For the past 25 years, we have fueled the research and design of better foreign made products by transfering our wealth and experience to the lowest bidder. This has been a false economy because we restricted our own investment in advancement and gradually drove the base income requirement of the average American family to an unsustainable levels. To add insult to this, in the absence of this increased income, the addiction to materialism was financed on credit to backfill for the real wages.

Increasingly I am convinced that as a nation we have to understand that we have to consume more domestically produced goods and services if we are to save ourselves from a death spiral similar to what caused the fall of the Roman Empire. The single largest factor in their demise was the outsourcing of what made them an great society. When it got to the point that they outsourced their own security, they were done.

As Tom Friedman would have us all believe, the world may be flat, but the playing field is not level. For the United States to become competitive again worldwide, we have to be competitive first within our own borders. To accomplish this, we need to produce compelling products and services that the world's most sophisticated consumers (read: Americans) will buy. To create this demand for products and services, we have to remove or reduce the perception that foreign produced goods are better quality at a better price. Even when certain foreign goods are more expensive, they are perceived as being a better value than American produced products. American consumers will pay more than a similar domestic product if they feel that it will get them closer to the ideal.

At some point, even the "perfect" product is too expensive and the consumer is forced to consider and eventually purchase domestic products even if they are a compromise.
To hasten getting Americans back to an "America First" purchasing mentality, we have to sufficiently raise the tarrifs on imported goods and increase and improve the marketing (which is a form of educating the buying public) of American produced products. This will stoke the engine of a sustainable economy by providing the manufacturing jobs that will create the incomes to build and the products and utilize professional and technical services.

When America was at its strongest, it didn't look to dominate the whole world. It just looked to have a market in the United States. It looked to produce enough cars, refridgerators, televisions, and other household items and the potential market was these 50 states. If some of the excess capacity was sold overseas, then that was a bonus. We have to get back to this perspective. We already have the potential to produce more than we need to. We now need to produce the demand for American products to realize that potential.

If the Obama government really wants to produce the "Change" that is real, they need to provide not only the physical security for the nation, they also have to provide for the economic security of the country. They have to pre-emptively support US-based organizations and treat competing foreign interests as threats to our livelyhoods. They have to look at protecting each US job as they do US lives. They are essentially one and the same thing. A life not worth living because there is no opportunity, is equivalent to a life under a repressive regime. And that is precisely what we are turning into. Our government is failing to protect us by keeping out unfair competitors who flood our markets with unrealistically produced goods and services that are made by people who are forced to live lives that are below the base American standard of living and below the US standard of what we define as poverty.

Unethically, we are promoting the exploitation of people who we consider to be of lesser value than ourselves. That is how we justify the belief that they are better off having some employment than none at all. It also allows us to benefit from this injustice to provide a good price to the consumer.

So if you are really, really interested in helping to save the United States during these tough economic times, you need to consider every purchase and try to buy goods and services that are produced as closely to your location as possible and even if you have to pay more, understand that for every dollar you put back into your local and national economy, that provides the fuel to the engine of future prosperity.

After all, without national economic prosperity, why invest in national and domestic security? What is there left to protect?

Think about it, and next time, look for the label, "Made in America."


Sunday, November 16, 2008

Give a Tweet!

No, this isn't a lisp, it is the micro-blog world of Twitter. HelpSaveMaine will now post updates on Twitter you can follow when interesting things pop up. Please take the opportunity to follow us on Twitter ( check back often to see more indepth content right here on

Tweet! Tweet!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

How we're voting in 2008

These are the positions of HelpSaveMaine in the 2008 election.

On the question of raising Dirigo Health Care Program funding by taxing beverages and charging insurance companies a fee on paid claims we reject this referendum as being non-competitive and just one more tax added to an ever growing list of taxes in Maine

On the question of allowing a casino in Oxford, ME - we heartily reject this idea. Maine cannot gamble its way out of its problems. We feel that this type of enterprise preys on the portion of the society that it most unable to afford this and continues to fuel the resignation that Maine can support their entire economy on tourism and recreation industries. Furthermore, it is the position of Help Save Maine that gaming industries have a net negative impact on developing and providing the business climate for attracting substantial, sustainable, and credible corporations to the state. What happens in Vegas should stay in Vegas. That is not what Maine is all about.

On the question of improving wastewater treatment programs through the building of new facilities we also reject this spending. Maine already has some of the best water qualities in the nation and this expenditure is, at this time, frivilous and politically motivated.

All of the other local referendum and political office choices will not be discussed here on this forum but in general we support rejecting referenda that will increase taxes and further decrease the attraction of new business to Maine. We MUST get spending under control even if that means that not every need is met. The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Just how bad are things?

The conventional wisdom is that we are increasingly taxed to support out-of-control public spending. Much of this spending is spread across the future (borrowed with interest) rather than paid for with funds that have been accumulated and invested for a specific purpose and then applied to that end. State income (and this is true in other states than just Maine) is gathered into the "General Fund" where it is blended together and then dealt out. This combining of funds adds to the anonymity of purpose and increases the sense that the funds are for the use of all equally. The side-effect of this is that when setting priorities, it is difficult to establish a weighting factor.

Once monies go into the general fund, they are assumed by the government that they are there to be spent. Legislature and budget committee's figure out ways that the money can be used, "because it is there."Over time, the list of programs that get funding grow to the point where entitlements are born and must be sustained. After even more time, no one can remember what it was like to get by without them.

The answer to setting and resetting priorities is to look at spending and budgeting laid over previous generations and then evaluate if these programs are still needed. The programs should have to meet certain conditions to retain their funding. Some people might have to make personal sacrifices to meet the moral imperative that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.

The estimated 2009 budget for the State of Maine is $3.1 billion for a population of 1.3 million people. I think it is time to ask if we are getting the value for what we are spending and if we are, then why is everyone complaining about high taxes?

Friday, October 24, 2008

Help Save Maine - Official Launch

Scarborough, ME - appeared on the internet today with the official launch of the website. Over the next few weeks and months we will be building out this information site to develop a critical mass that can then be used to market Maine as a place where business can be successful and to also raise the awareness of potential strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats in the Maine business economy. Stay tuned to this blogsite and the main website at

Help Save Maine accepts all contributions to our cause in the form of research and links to relevant information sites. We welcome your interest and look forward to hearing back from you with interesting content.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Welcome to Help Save Maine


Welcome to Help Save Maine. This blog's purpose is to post and discuss information about doing business in Maine with the hope that it will provide a compelling reason for companies to locate their businesses here.

Please watch this space for topics of interest and feel free to add your own comments and information where relevant.

Thanks for stopping by.