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Wednesday, January 5, 2011


Wednesday, 8:30 AM.  9.5 degrees, wind S, calm.  The sky is overcast and it is snowing gently, very fine flakes falling straight down.  The barometer predicts snow, so we may have some accumulation.
    While picking up a ton of mail at the post office yesterday I ran into Dwayne Zott, who swims daily off the Reiten Park boat dock.  I asked him if he was still swimming, and he said he quit on Monday when he found the ice too thick to break.  He said the water was 32 degrees and the air immediately above was the same on New Year’s Day and he was very comfortable in his wet suit and goggles.  Better him than me.
    On our return trip from Columbus, Ohio we listened to some local Indianapolis talk radio, the guest being a Purdue University economics professor who spoke the usual supply side lingo, much of which I often agree with.  A caller suggested a sliding tax scale for American manufacturers, the greater the American content the less the corporate tax rate, the less  such content the greater the tax, this as a way to encourage “Made in America” manufacturers.  I thought it a worthy concept, but the professor blasted it as anti free trade and a horrid economic idea.  He then went on to say that American workers had to compete worldwide, and that all Americans need college educations in order to perform the highly technical work of today’s world.  Now, I thought, economics is a social science, and any social scientist should realize that human populations manifest standard bell curves of intelligence and other critical abilities, and if we have no useful work for the fifteen percent or so of the American population that are innately incapable of performing highly technical or critical thinking tasks we will face equally high permanent unemployment and welfare rates, as well as permanently high deficits.  Unless of course we adopt truly draconian Social Darwinism concepts and let people starve, or ship them off to island colonies to let them fend for themselves.  I say these things only somewhat facetiously, as recent history has seen Germany, Russia, China and many other societies limit their populations and eliminate unwanted persons in just such ways.
    So, thinking about how dismally stupid our current trade and economic policies are, I decided to take an informal survey of items for sale the next time we stopped to eat at a Cracker Barrel restaurant and store (I am not picking on them in particular…they were just convenient). As you may surmise, about the only American products you can buy there is the food.  Of fully two dozen items I randomly picked off the shelf, only one item was American made.  Even some of the candies produced in America or Canada were sold in Chinese containers.  Our one-sided trade agreements are guaranteeing employment for millions in China and other developing or third-world countries, while forcing our own citizens onto the dole.  How dumb is this? To add insult to injury, China manipulates its currency to be even more competitive, and the Chinese Army owns many of the companies whose products we buy, so that our dollars often go directly into the coffers of a foreign war machine.  Why have we been manipulated into having our citizens compete with artificially low-cost foreign labor and market prices? On top of all this dangerous economic nonsense, we are purposely devaluing the dollar, which is bound to result in hyperinflation. Is it all a grand game to redistribute American wealth and subvert American power and influence? And if so, who is behind such a nefarious plot? And finally, how can an economic professor at a major university not understand these things, and what is he teaching our sons and daughters? But what do I know, I’m just an old tree hugger.

1 comment:

  1. We seem to be very good at running up debt and wanting cheap goods. I have a problem with companies that are US in origin and have setup operations in China in order to take advantage of cheap labor and weak environmental laws. Of course benefits in China are non existent. That is a big saving as well. We are doing it to ourselves. I see Polaris gave notice to 500 people in Wisconsin so they could relocate in Mexico. A huge savings in wages so they can maximize profits. They would say so they can compete on a Global scale I'm sure. I completely believe there is a shift in wealth and we have become a two tier society. The wealthy and the rest of us. Deflation of the dollar has us working harder for less. You want a hungry workforce that is willing to work and will do so for less, that way the profits are larger and the CEO can get his two million dollar bonus. And if it all fails he can depart with his golden parachute and retirement package. I have no problem with large corporations in the USA. Only those that do the wrong things that in the long run hurt their own country with no regard to the people that work for them. Sadly there seems to be a great deal of them these days. That is why the micro economy of the Bay area is appealing. People know to support their locate Café and stores. It only makes their community better and supports their neighbors. While we all go to Wal-Mart we know it is hurting the local Hardware Store, Grocery store and Car repair shop. It’s hard to shop local first when there is such a discount down the road due to volume big box stores.
    But we must learn how to do just that. Someday we will have nowhere to work.