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Posts Tagged ‘April Fool’s Day’

President Ronald Reagan With CEO Vaughn Beals

In 2020, April Fools is passé and pranks are out.  The pandemic crisis has changed humor!

The popular metaphor for speech is “Shouting fire in a crowded theater,” which may cause panic.  The seriousness of COVID-19 has the capacity to frighten in a visceral way the public and dedicating a blog post to misleading people just seems like a very bad idea.

Do you remember a long time ago in a galaxy far far away, when tariffs were being used to control unfair trade practices (labor, environment and other issues).

Former H-D CEO Matthew Levatich With Recode’s Kara Swisher Discussing Tariff’s

Recall the hysteria of — Tariffs bad, Harley good?

Harley-Davidson execs and investors panicked when the European bloc raised its 6% tariff to 31% on motorcycles. That made each motor company motorcycle about $2,200 more expensive to export, and forced the company into opening another manufacturing plant in Thailand.

Thirty-seven years ago today, President Ronald Reagan took bold steps to protect Harley-Davidson from foreign competitors.  It was April 1, 1983, when Reagan ordered massive tariffs on large Japanese motorcycles to help the last surviving maker of American-made motorcycles.

President Ronald Reagan at H-D York, Pennsylvania on May 6, 1987

I’ve previously written about how during the 1970’s, Japanese motorcycle manufacturers flooded the U.S. motorcycle market decreasing Harley-Davidson’s market share. It had only been a few years since Harley-Davidson executed the epic buy back from AMF.  Their sales hadn’t reached the levels they envisioned, in part, because the AMF era was famous for shoddy quality, bikes requiring a lot of maintenance and the Milwaukee motor company was getting knocked down publicly and in need of some sunshine.

With poor quality and high-maintenance requirements, Harley was skiding toward bankruptcy.  In 1982, Harley-Davidson sought protection from the International Trade Commission (ITC) and requested a tariff on all overseas heavyweight motorcycles. This was the first and only time such a request was made to the ITC. They also lobbied the Reagan administration to raise tariffs on Japanese manufacturers because of “Dumping,” which in this context refers to exporting a product at a lower price than is charged in the home market, or selling at a price that is lower than the cost to produce it.

President Ronald Reagan and CEO Vaughn Beals at H-D York, Pennsylvania on May 6, 1987 — Recieving Appreciation Award

It was a different time and President Reagan used tariffs, versus tweets, to change the course of the American motorcycle industry.

On April 1, 1983, April Fools Day, President Reagan signed into law an act that imposed draconian import tariffs for a five-year period on Japanese motorcycles with displacement of greater than 700 cc’s.  This would give the American motorcycle maker some breathing room from intense competition to retool, get its act together and turn profitable. While the act was supposed to last for five years, then CEO Vaughn Beals asked that it be lifted a year early in 1987.

It was as good then and just as good today… Remarking about the celebrated Harley-Davidson turnaround in 1987, President Reagan quipped (recorded in this Podcast), “Never bet against Americans.

If you are in need of some reading humor, check out these previous April Fools posts:
Harley-Davidson Boom Box Infotainment Virus
I Quit
Harley-Davidson Launches Blackline L-Edition
Keith Wandell Retirement Revs Up Harley
Wagoner Tapped As Harley CEO

Bonus:  President Reagan’s Remarks (Video) to Harley-Davidson Company Employees in York, Pennsylvania on May 6, 1987.

Photos courtesy of Harley-Davidson, Recode and Ronald Regan Foundation

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog

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i-quitI guess you could say it all started when Taylor Swift wrote that song.

Was “Mean” really about me?  I’m just an aging blogger, why did the biggest pop star in America have to pick on ME?  That hurts. You don’t know what it was like growing up.  Everybody knows I’m thin-skinned. I’ve got health issues and doesn’t she know that if I don’t consistently see my psychiatrist I’ll need MKULTRA re-programming.

Yes, I know, bragging that I see a psychiatrist, is a sign of a SIESPD mental disorder: Self-Inflation at the Expense of Sacred Psychiatry Disorder.

But what’s worse are the blog readers. It doesn’t matter what I write.  They only want to read and comment about the reality TV drama The Devils Ride.  Sure I’m “unqualified” to write a motorcycle blog, but I think it was precisely that total lack of journalism training that gave me an edge.  But, it’s doesn’t matter what wisdom flows through my fingers as I throw down editorial so magical—so right—that my fellow bloggers are moved by my artistry.  In a country where everybody’s seems to be on the take, where screenwriters whose job is to feed the character dialogue on “reality” TV, where politicians are indicted on a regular basis, it doesn’t pay to be honest.

So, I’m stopping. Giving up. I quit.  Going over to the dark side.

No, I’m not going to work for Harley-Davidson, I’m not even going to work for Honda, there’s just not enough money involved.  You can’t make it in motorcycles, you’ve got to go where the money is, Technology.

Technology is run by young people challenging all the rules.

Oh, it’s been done before.  You wake up and chuck aside journalistic aspirations and went where the real power was, Technology.

And why not. Everybody thinks I’m wealthy anyway. I make a comment about the Portland occupiers and my inbox blows up with people castigating me for being a one percenter. You’d have thought I was giving away Nike stock. I’m sick of being poor, now I truly am going to be rich.  No, I turned down the Pritikin offer to co-write The Devils Ride scripts.  We might look similar in a black vest, but do you think I still want to be in the public eye after what I’ve been through on this blog?

No, I’m not going to tell you the name of the company.  You wouldn’t know Summly anyway.  They made me an offer I couldn’t refuse.  And I’ve brought in my black book. I’m tapping every relationship I have for cash. Everybody.  If you’re wealthy, expect to hear from me.  As for the rest of you…it’s payback time.

I’ve sold my email subscription list to so many marketers I can afford a year off in Honolulu. You’re gonna be spammed to high heaven. I’m always accused of selling my list anyway, so why not do it?

I’m all about the cash now baby. I gave you that motorcycle information for free and all you did was bust my chops.  You were so busy drinking at the trough of motorcycle Reality TV that you can’t see that you’ve been sold a bill of goods.

So, I’m leaving you behind.  Going to work for Nick.

At fifteen without a driver’s license, he had a computer, an iPad and an iPhone.  Of course there were good parents that insisted he do well in school and he had a worldly view to know there are winners and losers.  He didn’t want the short end of the stick and didn’t waste time learning the guitar or riding a dirt bike?  No, he developed an app and now at 17 years old he has millions.  A teenager who sits at home and changes the world.

Motorcycling is done anyway.

The Discovery channel ruined it. They “prostituted the patch” in the name of advertising and shilling faux t-shirts.  There’s no money left.  If you’re smart, you’ll follow me.  I’m done with you, I’m going behind the tech celeb gate and throwing away the key, only flying private from now on.

Look, I get it. You can’t have people like me writing whatever they want. If I run too loose I’ll ruin all of powersports…who knows what’s next.  Blogs like NWHOG need to be shut up.  I mean who does this MacRant think he is?  There’s nobody he hasn’t written negative stuff about. He’s just a crybaby loser who is desperate to be close to fame. He’s been doing it for too many years already.

Good riddance.

I hear you. I’m done.

Photo courtesy of Superior Law Office.  Gullible motorcycle blog-lovers gather round, April Fool’s Day is upon us!

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog

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