House Republicans Take a Whack at Earmarks
The tax and spend folks in Congress love “community project funding” – more commonly known as “earmarks.” These earmarks provide each member to grab a bit of taxpayer money to spend on a wide range of projects back home. In return, the member gets a political benefit. You will most likely see the congressman taking bows at some future ribbon-cutting ceremony.
Earmarks have been very controversial – with Democrats loving them and (most) Republicans not so much.
Other than to pump up a congressman’s political capital, there is no good purpose to be served by the earmark process – although a lot of members of congress will disagree emphatically.
The first problem is that earmarks are needlessly costly. There is no cost/benefit analysis. It operates more like Santa Clause than Uncle Sam. Folks back home give Santa … oh … I mean Uncle Sam their wish list – and like a workshop elf, the congressman provides the gift. (The Santa analogy is even more apt when you consider that the Jolly Old Man – like Uncle Sam — is not paying for all those goodies in his sack.)
A second problem with earmarks is that in many cases, there is no good reason why the national treasury should be used to fund many of the projects. Congress already uses the budgeting and appropriations processes to provide funds for major public works projects – such as tertiary treatment plants and airports. There are funds to support private-sector business start-ups – such as apartment buildings and factories. There are grants for almost everything.
Earmarks are used more for what one might call “pet projects” – things that the local community or even the state should handle. Uncle Sam should not be the first choice – or even the last resort. These projects often include civic memorials, museums, and theaters.
Earmarks can be used to provide a congressman with naming rights. You should check out how many locations are named after a member of Congress – buildings and parks. Some of that political advertising was purchased with earmarks.
There are limits to earmarks. It is currently one percent of discretionary spending (about 30 percent of the federal budget). That may sound like a small amount, but it is a LOT of money – somewhere between $15 to $18 billion dollars. That is about $35 million per member.
As part of the GOP’s efforts to reduce federal spending, House Speaker McCarthy is proposing a change in the guidelines that will cut the earmarks in half – to one-half of one percent of discretionary spending.
In addition, the Republican plan would essentially ban the funding of projects with names of individuals or organizations. (Let them pay for their own advertising). It will also ban funding for “memorials, museums, and commemoratives.”
Under the new rules, members who wish to steer money to their pet projects would have to provide a written statement indicating how the project justifies federal spending. To ensure that each project has a federal justification, only projects that qualify under federal authorization law will be funded.
While traditionally, earmarks are attached to almost any appropriation legislation like tinsel on a Christmas tree, the new guidelines will prohibit earmarks on the appropriation bills for Defense, Health and Human Services, and Labor, among others.
The sound you hear is a lot of Democrats caterwauling. They are calling the earmarks “essential.”
Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CN) – the senior minority member on the House Appropriations Committee, said that earmarks are “opportunities for members to help people in their districts and to meet urgent needs directly”. She pointed to hospitals, blood centers, and universities. But the big spenders always declare every dollar spent as essential – a matter of life or death.
Of course, the GOP proposal does not end earmarks but requires a higher standard of need. There will still be sufficient money to spread around to the places DeLauro cited. And one really needs to question whether universities – with their exorbitant tuition rates and huge endowment funds – need the money.
A little belt-tightening in Washington is not only a good thing, it is an essential thing.
So, there ‘tis.
We can thank the Republicans and Trump for bringing them back in 2018.
Yeah, just like we can award Obama for taking them away, or at least saying he would sign no bill with them.
Neither is true, this is a shared responsibility tween parties.
John Boehner is one of the few Congresspeoples that never took an earmark I think.
Beyond that, they are all guilty of this guilty pleasure that reeks of the ole boy’s club and behind-the-barn door deals.
Once again taking the part of partisan hack, and not just in my imagination because the statement: ” The tax and spend folks in Congress love “community project funding”” is total fake SPIN from the two-faced untax and spend even more crowd who are still taking earmarks at a high level while telling you they stand against them. It’s their House, remember?
Once again, it’s still the same old “tax and spend folks” Republican false trope for Democrats when everyone knows that Republicans via TRUMP alone own over 25% of the national debt, the largest deficits in US History, and the lowest GDP growth since Hoover. And the previous Republican, George Bush, is right behind him. We know who is spending while cutting revenues lying about the fake GDP growth that will cover and yet, never ever comes. It’s Republican huckster budgeting where you blame the Democrats for exactly what you are doing.
We should have an honest, fake based, discussion on Earmarks but instead it’s retribution time once again and we need a bogyman. Better yet, Republicans blame the Democrats for the very things Republicans do all the time. Dressing the pig up in “higher standards” does not change the fact that it’s a pig. And soon it will be a Republican-controlled-pig. FOX is in the henhouse tellign you The Big Lie is the truth, all over again. Brilliant!
Everyone knows who spends the most, put us in the deepest debt, and then has the balls to say it’s the other guy’s fault….now they are attempting to pull the wool the same way with earmarks. As in “we hate em but we want them and it will be OK because we promise to do them better. Isn’t that what they said about Trump’s economy? Or what they said about ObamaCare. Still waiting for the ez ObamaCare fix Republicans had up their sleeves. I guess right after they finish with Hunter and deweaponizing the DOJ.
In time, I will review the rest of the false statements and spin on this one; would do it now but there’s so much and so little time.
BUSTED — both parties are to blame — not just Democrats.
Wow! A very good and passionate response, very perky!!! I agree that professional earmarkers fill the ranks of both Dem and GOP. I do not think Larry’s statement about earmarkers being folks that like community projects is an attack on either party. I read the whole first paragraph as rather neutral and calling out the word “folks” seems to indicate both parties. Its “the folks”, like the “folks” who respond to this blog are both Dem and Gop with an Independent/Unaffiliated sprinkled in for good measure. BUT, I understand your hyper-sensitivity to attacks about liberals being tax and spend and community organizers/funders on the federal dime by the other side that covertly does the same thing but proclaims otherwise while also feeding the rich with tax cuts. I get it. I can recommend a book called, “Loving the People That are Hard to Love”. I have had to use it to survive both parties.
I think it would be great if you could start an “elf advocacy” group on your side of the aisle as I believe your party to be the leader in inclusivity. Based on what Larry stated, I believe elves to be a marginalized group not currently covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act, ADA. This needs to change because elves lives matter!!!
But wait, there’s more……
First though, about those elves. No can do because we can not single out one company, Keebler, for favoritism. That is not in our Dominion and we might be indicted on Tuesday, a stormy day that’s cohen to get you.
“Earmarks have been very controversial – with Democrats loving them and (most) Republicans not so much.” The facts do not support this.
The real truth is that Republicans OFTEN benefit from earmarks, and while their aggregate totals may be lower than Democrats, their individual projects are some of the largest earmarks in the first two years of the return of earmarks, which Republicans allowed also after Obama, a Democrat took an earmark moratorium ten years ago.
Be truthful for a change.
There are about 7,200 earmarks in this budget proposal. Democrats own more, own more of the dollars requested. Yet Republicans increased their submission amounts by 85% and own 8 of the 10 most expensive earmarks. They love earmarks in practice, hate them in public, and believe if they continue to blame Democrats, the spin will stick.
For example, over the past two years, we have seen:
Don Bacon, Republican, Nebraska, told the world his constituents did not like earmarks, so he didn’t either as he earmarked $37.9 million in two different bills
Ken Calvert, Republican, California, declared “House Republicans are ready to lead the fight for lower spending, more transparency and responsibility in Washington.” Last year he nailed $56.1 million in earmarks.
Sen. Richard Shelby, Republican, Alabama asked for $666.4 million. Sen. Jim Inhofe, Republican, Oklahoma grabbing $498 million. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, Republican, Alaska getting $489.1 million. Sen. Roy Blunt, Republican, Missouri; $348.5 million. And not to be left out, Sen. Lindsey Graham, Republican, South Carolina and sometimes Georgia wants $251.2 million.
The House Freedom Caucus, that really fun hard-right Republican clusterduck group, stood back and stood ready to reinstate the earmark ban that Obama created with member Representative Byron Donalds ducking. He’s a Floridian culture club warrior who took home $25.2 million for projects that DeSantis just could not turn down. Now that’s woke. But Florida is a sinkhole for earmarks. Brian Mast, Florida, secured one of the largest: $447 million for an ecosystem restoration project in South Florida. Think he plans on returning Florida to swamp state status even though politically, they are well on their way.
The total earmarks in this current bill increased by over 2,200 projects while costing $7 billion more. That almost sounds like a deal. Democrats outspent Republicans by $2.5 billion, 8.7b versus 6.2b. Yet Republican members asked for a whopping 85% increase in earmark spending for their pet projects. Democrats’ increase was a mere 70% higher than previous. Republicans did grit their teeth when they did it though, wink-wink-nudge-nudge.
This year, Republican lawmakers claimed eight of the 10 most expensive earmarks.
“Other than to pump up a congressman’s political capital, there is no good purpose to be served by the earmark process – although a lot of members of congress will disagree emphatically.” The things done via earmarks are actually most often good; it’s the process that’s bad. The trope is wasteful spending, like the bridge to nowhere. The actual truth is quite different.
“The first problem is that earmarks are needlessly costly.” No they aren’t. Neither needlessly or even just plain old more costly than any other project that government undertakes.
“A second problem with earmarks is that in many cases, there is no good reason why the national treasury should be used to fund…” Just not sure if this is true and too lazy to check this unsupported claim. Sounds clever though, just not supported, again.
“Earmarks are used more for what one might call “pet projects” says Captain Obvious. Think that’s the first line of the definition of earmark.
“Earmarks can be used to provide a congressman with naming rights.” How woke of you :>) to try to tear down that statue. Yet any government funded project in any state can have a name. State’s rights include naming I think… What’s the Capitol city name? Isn’t anything the government touches a chance for a name? No Trump naming though, not sure how he missed that. No wonder they’re so pissed at the naming.
This article is misleading spin at best. It’s bipartisan, almost everyone takes them. Some just pretend reality is made up.
Yes I agree, I do not like earmarks. I may be wrong in saying this and I have not data to support this, but in my view, earmarks seem to be a way around the normal budgeting process for the purpose of building political capital. By circumventing the normal budgeting process, they also circumvent the inspection of the people. Nobody knows, but all of those in Congress know.
Frank, recently in the build back better legislation finally signed off, Mitch McConnell got a $1.4B bridge for Kentucky. According to the news, this bridge has been in need of repair for 20 years but Kentucky being so tight they can squeeze the poop out of a buffalo nickel, did not seem to want to approve the funds. Now it seems that McConnell became very in favor of the bill once he was assured he would get his bridge. Was this an earmark? Or was this normal budget?
Hey, great job slipping in that Captain Obvious comment! I loved it!! I think the reason Trump does not have any buildings or monuments named after him is because he is much more busy having criminal law suits named after him. And he has by his behavior chosen to make his mark differently, i.e. First POTUS impeached twice, First POTUS to defeat two impeachments, First POTUS to be criminally indicted, POTUS with the most law suits against them in their life, POTUS with the most orange hair. Some of these firsts will make their way into the history books. And he loves reading about himself.
Frank Stetson … thanks for your looooong antithesis to a thesis that was not presented.
Wow, half dollar words and no cents.
Way to focus on issues.
One would think you would appreciate that I actually read this one-sided biased spin of an old conservative.
Frank Stetson … You seem to have reading comprehension problems again. You will not that I said earmarks are supported by Democrats and opposed by MOST Republicans. I recognized earmarks as a bipartisan problem. I referred later to Democrat responses to cutting them because they were the only ones I found with publicly opposing the eliminating or limiting of earmarks. I have consistently held that excessive spending is a bipartisan problem. Tom understood what you — in your obsession to be my constant counterpoint — missed or ignored.
“You will not(e) that I said earmarks are supported by Democrats and opposed by MOST Republicans. I recognized earmarks as a bipartisan problem.” Duly not-ed.
Of course it’s a weaselly passage in that it appears that many, if not MOST Republicans take them. You say MOST opposed, I think MOST take, that’s a YUGE difference. Now, of course, they are Republicans like Larry. It’s not usual for them to oppose and take at the same time. Just like Gaetz opposes pedophilia and dates underage girls. Enough stupid talk pissing Larry off (but he deserves it, AGAIN). For the record, even in early May 22 drafts, Republicans made up 35% of 2023 earmarks and 44% of the “earmark budget.” And remember, they grew by 85% in their final 2023 requests. And by May of 2022, for 2023, a total of 121 of the 222 Repub’s in the House asked for them. Last I checked, that’s MOST. I am sure the number grew from the May draft.
And, actually, you said: “Earmarks have been very controversial – with Democrats loving them and (most) Republicans not so much” which certainly sounds like ALL Democrats take and a FEW Republicans take. Apparently that’s not true, again.
Since Republicans are asking for the biggest ones, your comment rings hollow, again. But my bigger problem is that I comprehended what you meant when you added:
“The tax and spend folks in Congress love “community project funding” – more commonly known as “earmarks.” Bipartisan? Yeah sure.
Clearly, based on the numbers, this is a bipartisan issue, perhaps it leans more toward the Democrats, but shit, Larry, Republicans own 8 out of the 10 HUGEST ones this year. MOST Republicans take em, even as they oppose them. Then again, this is the team that voted against Build-Back-Better and then tries to tell their constituents about all the new infrastructure projects and jobs they, personally, brought to their state.
Hope that’s fact-filled issue focused enough for you. Don’t feel you have to respond. I have heard all your cute names already.
Good point Larry, I have never heard of Santa Claus paying his elves. They appear to be either slave labor, indentured servants, racism, or perhaps maybe Santa is just taking advantage of height disadvantaged persons” in violations of our Americans with Disabilities Act – thus he is a criminal and should not be allowed a fly over during the Christmas holidays. But I digress….
I have never liked earmarks. The biggest earmark I know of to day is Mitch McConnell’s 1.4 billion dollar bridge for Kentucky. Earmarks are one area where at least most of our legislators agree. Kentucky did not approve the funds for the bridge for 20 years, so why should all of the other states pay for it if Kentucky does not want to pay for it!! Bottom line is that most earmarks are used to maintain party control. I am in favor of ending all of them, not just half of them. I doubt that anything will happen on this because the same Dem and GOP earmarkers are also pros at writing exception and loopholes in all that they do. They should be on a swiss cheese committee!!!
Jpop … ditto
Tom … You do not like earmarks. I do not like earmarks. You seem to think it is a bipartisan problem. I think it is a bipartisan problem. So, what is Captain Oblivious ranting about? Is he defending Democrat earmarks???
Well I think Frank feels the article is slanted by two things, 1) Democrats loving them and (most) Republicans not so much. (points a bigger finger at Dems). 2) Statement about Dems that said, “The sound you hear is a lot of Democrats caterwauling.” (my reading says both sides are doing this to some degree,. (sense of justice and fair play). And maybe 3) Last few paragraphs seem to pull away from the opening where the word “folks” was used but closed with only Dem earmarks listed. (sensitivity to balance).
Frank may be experiencing a little PLDS from previous articles and so his radars are up and functional which causes him to read the article much more analytically than I do. As I said many times, Independence have no desire to be linked to parties, we prefer to be linked to issues. So I read the article based on the issue without regard (or ignoring if you will) both parties and keyed on the word “folks”. Frank read the article/issue with regard to party linkage and defense of party. And this is a big reader difference because we Independents/Unaffiliateds do not have a party to defend so we are freer to focus purely on the issue.
I’m right here Larry, but you know that……
My Bottom Line – “Earmarks are most often doing the right things the wrong way. The spending may be good, but the process sucks. IMO. It’s a sleazy process that reeks of ole boy negotiations behind the barn. I applaud attempts to formalize, make transparent, and instill a more formal process. But give it a rest on the money wasted and targeting the Democrats as the bogyman here. Cutting the 1% to .5% is a meaningless gesture, both numbers are irrelevant, budget wise. McCarthy should spend his time on more important areas of fiscal control. And the process, in words, may look better, even sweet, but mark my words: the Republican process will still suck and probably be worse than the existing process which Obama was correct in taking the moratorium. It’s a Republican HOUSE, what are you waiting for?
But to put blame on just the Democrats is just not the case, according to the facts.”
Facts are our friends, try them sometime. Or just keep ignoring them and call me a liar instead. Again.
Pass clean bills..bills that can be read before being voted on….no more omnibus…we must vote before we know what’s in it bullshit. That goes for both sides.
Good point Jpop. As an Independent / Unaffiliated voter, I like and am very in favor of clean bills. And sweeten the pot by true negotiating where you balance one bill with another bill instead of using pot sweetening earmarks. They all, Dems and GOP, may have to learn how to actually be good statesmen and women and good negotiators.
Yes, my reading comprehension is only surpassed by your incomprehensible unsupportable lambasting of everything Democratic using age-old Republican tropes which I guess makes sense when you consider the source. It is a problem. And when you add “again,” again it must be true since you said it at least twice. Again and again. It’s not true just because you stutter.
Now to the fun part, the facts, the numbers where comprehension is critical and Larry, completely adequate. Again.
Uh oh, those damned numbers that can even trip up a famed economist.
“There are limits to earmarks. It is currently one percent of discretionary spending (about 30 percent of the federal budget).” Oh no, math attempt…. Incoming… On the first subtle spin, the real number is about .3% of the total budget…..Just to make crystal clear for the comprehension impaired, discretionary spending in the federal budget is 30%, not earmarks. Earmarks are 1% of discretionary budget which is 30% of the Federal Budgets which makes earmarks .3% of the total budget. That’s .3% in total. Again.
“That may sound like a small amount, but it is a LOT of money – somewhere between $15 to $18 billion dollars. That is about $35 million per member.” Oh boy….again. I think it is currently $15B. Also, earmarks are there from the Senate and House alike, That means it’s actually about $28M per member, not $35M as some might falsely conclude. The Senate was left out of the story’s estimate due to a lack of comprehension, again.
To an individual, a billion dollars is an incredibly large number. So is a million for that matter. So, of course it all sounds larger than life — because it is. No duh. However, to the Federal Budget, $28M is in the noise, a rounding error. The federal budget ain’t in millions, it ain’t in billions, it’s in TRILLIONS, and a couple of those. That makes earmarks, in Federal budget terms, chump change. Now, IMO, $15B is worthy of budget discussion — a .3% budget worthy discussion….sounds like a job for Santos :>)
“….House Speaker McCarthy is proposing….cut the earmarks in half – to one-half of one percent of discretionary spending….” Good, but if you hate earmarks, still too high. Why do Republicans continue to take actions as if they like earmarks when they vocally pretend-kvetch that they don’t. What is that called? The Republican way?
“In addition, the Republican plan would essentially ban the funding of projects with names of individuals or organizations.” Now we see what’s important given Trump has not anything named…..
“Under the new rules, members who wish to steer money to their pet projects would have to provide a written statement indicating how the project justifies federal spending.” Good, if you have decided that you like earmarks.
My Bottom Line – You can do the right things the right way OR the right things, the wrong way OR the wrong things the right way OR the wrong things the wrong way (way bad that one.) Earmarks are most often doing the right things the wrong way. The spending may be good, but the process sucks. IMO. It’s a sleazy process that reeks of ole boy negotiations behind the barn. I applaud attempts to formalize, make transparent, and instill a more formal process. But give it a rest on the money wasted and targeting the Democrats as the bogyman here. Cutting the 1% to .5% is a meaningless gesture, both numbers are irrelevant, budget wise. McCarthy should spend his time on more important areas of fiscal control. And the process, in words, may look better, even sweet, but mark my words: the Republican process will still suck and probably be worse than the existing process which Obama was correct in taking the moratorium. It’s a Republican HOUSE, what are you waiting for?
But to put blame on just the Democrats is just not the case, according to the facts.
Frank good point on the budget math, very good explanation. I liked it. I was wondering about those original figures as well. Your revised figures seem much more realistic.
I am sorry but I do feel Larry is pounding both sides, Dem and GOP fairly equally when he lumps them all into “folks” but then maybe Dems a little more in the closing paragraphs.
Now, Larry did say midway through the article, “The sound you hear is a lot of Democrats caterwauling. They are calling the earmarks “essential.” But I did not read this as blaming Dems for earmarks past or present. It sounded to me that Larry is saying Dems are defending the current process and not in favor of a process revision. So the issue is process change, something you and I were both very involved in back in our Demming Days! Ahhh those were the days, huh?!!
But as I read this article at “https://apnews.com/article/politics-legislation-coronavirus-pandemic-b05c97336ea4574bf99cc2bc9eeaf90c” it appears to me that both Dems and GOP have members that are caterwauling in unison because it appears that this earmarks process is a way of getting legislators who would normally vote against a bill to instead vote for a bill that they would otherwise strike down. So it appears that earmarks are a way of sweetening the negotiations pot by one legislator in order to gain the another legislator’s ya vote. The key is both sides view it as the mechanics that make bipartisanship work. Mitch McConnell’s 1$1.4 B bridge is a huge example of this! It got Bidens BBB Plan over the goal line. So the real issue for both sides is how do we get bipartisanship to work in the negotiations process when not using pot sweetners like earmarks? This could be a opportunity for you to suggest some of your Demming / process impovement techniques!
So perhaps Larry should have included GOP in that one sentence just as he did in the first paragraph where he said, “Folks”. Still, Larry acknowledges that both sides like earmarks, but the part where Dems loving them more than most GOP, quite frankly (no pun intended) I read right through that as “equally” because of the word “folks” used earlier. And it would have helped to balance examples with Dems and GOPs that push for earmarks.
So I do understand your concern. I think you had a good response with your list of GOP earmarks. Very indepth!
So time to get your peace back. You may be suffering from a pinch of PLDS.
Not sure the bridge fits the earmark definition but it does in spirit at least. often, “accommodations” are made to pass a bill. the problem is not the project, it’s not necessarily the money, but the process. most of these earmarks are worthy local projects, no more clinkers than government projects in general.
but it’s the process that’s awful. It’s like hostage taking, once you pay, you will pay forever. Once you earmark, or “accommodate,” as a process, that is then the process to make things happen going forward. so you take a guy like john boehner who really did take a stand against earmarks and what did he get: no new projects for his state. is that a win?
now these two-faced hypocritical Republicans are blasting Dems for loving earmarks while they voted to reinstate the process, are taking them like sailors drink on shore leave, take the biggest ones, publicly are against them, and slam Democrats as “tax and spend” earmark mavens. enough with the lies, stick to the facts.
I would love to see a formal process where all of congress is equal and the McConnell’s and McCarthy’s and Schumer’s and that dem minority leader whoever he is…. don’t get a backdoor edge due to position and a somewhat ad hoc process. But I hate to see these projects get scrapped just because these people can’t effectively manage a budget and budget process.
my point is 1) it’s bipartisan, it’s everyone. and 2) it’s the job of the house to manage the budget — do your job, again, both parties.
IMO, take the ball and run with it. at this point, screw the surgical approach to budget cutting, screw being careful and just slash the discretionary budget by 10%, equally, across the board for every line item and let the department heads figure the end result out. maybe a couple of “saves” like social security and medicare. enough. they won’t freaking even think about freakin earmark chump change if you did that. I think that’s a $250B cut, that’s not chump change.
fyi =- not sure what plds is, some sort of democratic syndrome i gather…..
Frank, as a former quality manager and engineer I can agree with you that its a process problem and that both parties contribute. And I agree that many of the projects are probably worthy projects. And yes, I agree with you that they all need to start doing their jobs and managing budgets better. PLDS = Post Larry Stress Disorder. You make many good points!
“building semi-conductor factories back then.” that’s cool….unappreciated factory engineer….used to love those guys….practical and down to earth. quality guys — not so much :>) must have been cool to see the changes you put into the factories. I watched as we reduced factory size requirements by like 75-90% while producing more with less people. sad, but cool. then we had to use the building, we owned it and too big to sell, so we closed smaller lab buildings (much easier to sell, in nicer neighborhoods too) instead and moved them all out to a converted factory floor. pretty funny to see all those labroids who looked down at factory engineers forced to work alongside the factory folk. Picked up the neighborhood too, now they had starbucks! Lo n behold, after the initial shock, they liked it.
I love a good factory. Had been to Japan to scope theirs starting out in the 80’s via a partnership and wow, those Japanese were really cool. Then used a system of small feeder factories, some of which were forges in some guys back yard — not cool at all, but took a lot of the dirty stuff off the factory floor. That was their real secret so no way could we copy that. And the loading dock was amazing with the jit-process, trucks coming and going, stuff being tossed on belts to go to robots for delivery to the floor.
Impressive. But I noted a bunch of probably broken, incomplete product behind some screens so I know all was not perfect, it just looked it. Gave us hope. Funny thing was partner we were kinda spying on was my old client who I helped double market share in less than three years.
I had to sit down and pray when I saw my first chip insertion machine. OMgoodness, it was so cool. a gatling gun of parts. But I still loved the ole style. Nothing better than a two-story hydraulic press to form bulletproof boxes. I loved that thing. clanking metal, moving parts, press that steel. back then we were japanese-copying for jit performance, thus the on-site spy visit. moved the office to open space cubicles after that, I still had glass. one of our factories was so proud that they leased land for $1 to a plastic’s supplier who put up the silo for our jit plastic supply. they owned it but their inventory was on our site so we didn’t hold the asset.
Once I “invented” from a market-based set of needs, a 100% market driven product with world-class cost in a company known for producing at the highest costs. It was grand but for small business so a nit to the corporation. I surpassed myself in marketing creating “buy it, try it” where you paid me today for product tomorrow. think that’s illegal in sw today. It worked and on day one we had so much volume we outstripped production by ten fold. Using my advanced forecasting skills (piece of paper, two data points and a straight line) I could see us needing much more factory talent. In a panic, I called the factory to sound the alarm, rally the troops and get my needed reinforcements toot sweet: my factory engineer guy (new line so we still had dedicated engineer) said: chillax Stetson; you represent less than 1% of our factory output, it’s not even a full man. Humbled Stetson slunk off…….
Factories and factory guys were great. Lots of fun. It was a sad day when we sent the hydraulic press overseas. I cried. And fyi, re the spying, I know little about factories, it was a boondoggle cuz I knew them and info not used in our factory evolution. my boss just wanted to watch our factory guys. boondogle. Tokyo is always fun though.
Sounds like you had a cool job at the best time in technology to have it.
yes, I agree with your agreement with me. and no, I got no post Larry. I do not obsess. I just take my liberal stand, check out the facts, and put in all to paper as exercise of my writing skills which no amount of exercise can help :>) It’s too bad he talks about being fact-based, but has issues in doing it. too much clinging to past conservative conclusions and tropes. sad in that he’s the best pbp has to offer, the others are, in a word (or two), useless rubbers when it comes to facts and thinking for one’s self. Sheep. Larry is no sheep, but he relaxes too much and does not check for updates. his name calling has improved though: now he copies me :>)
Hi Frank! Yes you are probably right, that was a great time to be in tech manufacturing. And you are correct, the product engineers always looked down on us because we did not design the glitzy stuff like they did. But one advantage I did have was that I also did the electronics for the explosive and toxic gas detection. The environment had arsine, phosphine, phosgene, and hydrogen running through them to the machines. So we need gas detection, and I was the man. The only engineer in the who factory that dealt with those systems.
I wonder, it sounds like that component insertion machine might have been like ours, we had early models of Fuji machines. I think they held around 125 reels of paper tape components when fully load. When they were running it sounded like a couple fifty caliber machine guns going off! It was loud enough that we wore ear protection when we worked around them. And we had one software guy that programed the machines, both of them. Man, now there is true employment security!!!
Hey its nice to reminisce about those good ole days. They were a lot of fun, and we can tell our grandkids we lived back then.