|IT'S SNOWING GENTLY|
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.