Harley Davidson is cutting ~20% off their workforce since their peak a couple years back and their profits are shooting up. Of course, they also had greater than a 20% loss in sales, they killed off Buell, and sold MV Agusta too. I’d say its pretty hard to attribute causality to any one factor, but more so the total combination of things. Here in MN, there is one dude running for governor, who says we can’t cut our way to greatness… Well, he is right, if we only look at one thing, ie cutting taxes alone doesnt do much of anything, other than enrichen a few at the expenses of the masses.

The thing is… there is a ton that could be done in regards to cutting, apart from just cutting taxes, that could have a huge impact. Overhead cuts, anti-competitive regulation cuts, and re-prioritization of services could make a huge difference… but sadly, folks want the status quo, of more and more and more government, rather than to say “hey, wait a minute, this is stupid, and has to go”.

Overhead is often a killer. Just look at the massive layers in education…. case in point, actual classroom expenses, ie teacher + classroom + supplies are dwarfed by overhead. Or in other cases, some cities are finding its cheaper to use private contractors. In the future, I would guess many of these contractors will likely employ the same folks who used to do the same job as a government employee for a fraction of the cost.

MN is averse in anti-competitive and barriers to entry regulation. Politicians seem deathly afraid of a new entity coming in and doing the same work for 20% less for fear that it might cut into old entrenched businesses, the jobs such businesses create, and of course the resulting political contributions as well. They also seem to fear progress too… horrors that buggy whips might evolve, and something totally new replace them. I almost wonder had MN been more startup friendly, on all fronts, perhaps we wouldn’t have had the mass technical exodus post the CDC glory days.

Re-prioritization could be a huge deal too… Its like the Federal MMS on a small scale, or a Van Halen concert on a large scale. Writing up BS stuff for light bulbs being out, or improperly labeled buckets on the Deepwater Horizon, all the while major process issues go along unchecked and unregulated is a huge mistake. Granted, anyone can count light bulbs, and bucket labels or sort Van Halen’s M&M’s… it does take skill and expertise to understand the drilling process, or the rigging of a stage.

Trivial BS checksum methods (bucket inspectors)are mostly cross checks for attention to detail… with the philosophy that if attention is given to minor things, the feeling is that the major items are subject to the same attention, if not more so. The problem is… both on the fed, and state level… making sure that the bowl of M&M’s doesnt have any brown ones has become the greater priority, than the integrity of the stage rigging and floor.

Excessive overhead, the anticompetitive stance, and the prevalence of bucket inspectors are firmly entrenched… Its going to take a whole ton of folks crying uncle before any of that changes. We could cut our way to greatness… but instead, we talk about cutting key services, and cutting taxes, rather than cutting policies and procedures that could likely cut both taxes, and improve/expand valuable services to the citizens of MN.