Are we really saving any money when we shop at Wal*Mart?

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We’re not saving anything. Let’s take a look at the republicans beloved Wal*Mart that imports goods from overseas. Wal*Mart has taken away our jobs that were once held here in the United States. The loss of jobs causes a demand for social services, i.e. welfare, food stamps, etc.

It’s not unusual for those that receive social services to go to Wal*Mart to spend it. They sell to those that still have a job and get the welfare money on the back end. Wal*Mart can't lose. In effect we pay twice at Wal*Mart, once at the register once and again with our tax money for social programs that Wal*Mart caused to begin with. They got us coming and going. They can't lose.

Let’s look at it algebraically. Let "A" be an American made shirt retailing for $30.00. Let B is the same shirt outsourced overseas for $15.00.

A = $30.00
B = $15.00+ the cost of social services that Wal*Mart helps cause. = $30.00 or more!

There is no savings to be had at Wal*Mart

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Dano45
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The Wal Mart phenomenon seems to me to be another example of what Thom is always on about, in other words that the US is engaging in "free trade" and shooting itself in the foot. It seems as though, historically, nations reach a point where the ruling class/capitalists/whatever run out of avenues for profitably investing their money within the nation's borders. Each new unit invested in the productive economy fails to bring an increase in wealth, at least for those who are already wealthy. New investment tends to improve quality of life for working people, but the capitalists can't stand that because they don't actually care if anyone else benefits, just whether they get a profit. No profit, no investment, it's that simple. At that point, the wealthy seek to get around whatever rules hem them into capital competition within the nation's borders, and they begin to push for "free trade" which means the free movement of capital outside the nation's borders and the free importation of cheaply-made junk into the nation, which allow investors to resume their concentration of wealth. At that point, the rich international investors begin using the nation as a giant ATM, and the unilateral dropping of trade protections then systematically undercuts the foundations of broadly-based national prosperity. England did it, and now the US is doing it. The fact that Wal Mart is arbitrageing the difference between near-slavery in China and what amounts to a giant credit line to middle class consumers in the US means that Wal Mart, along with all the other off-shorers, out-sourcers, importers, etc. are extracting value built up over a century from the US economy. They are eroding the tax base and with it the ability of the nation to maintain its educational system, health system, infrastructure, skill set, and general quality of life, and the process must necessarily trend toward banana republic conditions. To give the lie to Hayek, this is the REAL road to serfdom.

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eparsels
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Quote eparsels:

The Wal Mart phenomenon seems to me to be another example of what Thom is always on about, in other words that the US is engaging in "free trade" and shooting itself in the foot.

AllAmericaneeds to do is the same thing as we did to Mexican truckers coming into our country after NAFTA was ratified. Back then, Mexican truckers were told that their rigs had to meetU.S.standards for safety. If they refused to comply they wouldn’t be allowed in. It was that simple.

We need to do the same with all imports. We need to demand that all imported goods be made on par with our labor and environmental laws. If they refuse then we do not import their products and we will either do without or make that product here. It’s that simple.

Below is an excerpt on the subject from a recent blog of mine on another site.

Wal*Mart imports goods that may seem cheaper but when you add on the cost to the taxpayers having to pay for social services, i.e. unemployment insurance, food stamps, welfare, etc. due to layoffs, Wal*Mart isn't cheap at all.

And where do those receiving social services money go to spend it? Back to Wal*Mart of course! You see, Wal*Mart helps to cause unemployment and their low wages contributes to underemployment. Both create the need for social services money that we taxpayers pay for and Wal*Mart collects in the end.

You can bet that nobody understands this better than Wal*mart. It's like, why should we at Wal*Mart pay a living wage and employee heath insurance when we have our employees receiving taxpayer’s public assistance money that we end up with?

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Dano45
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Quote Dano45:We need to demand that all imported goods be made on par with our labor and environmental laws. If they refuse then we do not import their products and we will either do without or make that product here. It’s that simple.

That would be a hypocritical, condescending, and presumptuous demand, coming from the United States.

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Ixtelan
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When the cost of importing goods is about 10 times what it is now then you'll see things made locally. And that time may not be so far away.

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captbebops
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Quote captbebops:When the cost of importing goods is about 10 times what it is now then you'll see things made locally. And that time may not be so far away.

You may very well be right. The U.S. dollar is not invulnerable. As long as consumers can choose freely which goods they wish to buy, I have no problem with a devalued dollar and its income effects in the United States.

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Ixtelan
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Consumers do not get to freely choose in a marketing dominated system. We get cheap crap substituted for quality goods. Try buying nails or a light socket. I advise you to pay for the domestic product if you value your labor. But you have to go where somebody knows the difference rather than the big box where the supply chain is China.

Accounting for value and wealth in this corrupted system makes "price" a false front to the real economic dynamics. The externalized costs are not reflected in the price because we pay them elsewhere. If you think labor ought to compete with the impoverished masses on their level playing field, your theories of global free trade amount to labor arbitrage or the new slave auction block. There are ways to lift up the conditions of others without a race to the bottom.

When you think Green, none of this petro-dependent global industrialism adds up. Try Raj Patel's THE VALUE OF NOTHING for an easy read on environmental economics and the problem of our "economic man" world.

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If consumers cannot discriminate between value and garbage, thanks to commercial advertising, are voters any better at discriminating between good and poor candidates for office, DRC?

And if consumers/voters are so easily fooled by corporate/political propaganda, doesn't that suggest that democracy is a joke and potentially dangerous to peoples' rights? I mean, you either trust vox populi or you don't, right DRC?

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Quote Ixtelan:
Quote Dano45:We need to demand that all imported goods be made on par with our labor and environmental laws. If they refuse then we do not import their products and we will either do without or make that product here. It’s that simple.

That would be a hypocritical, condescending, and presumptuous demand, coming from the United States.

How so?

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Dano45
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Quote captbebops:

When the cost of importing goods is about 10 times what it is now then you'll see things made locally. And that time may not be so far away.

Americans are paying 10 times more when we add on the cost of unemployment, foreclosed homes, as well as the stress caused by America’s unfair trade practices against its own citizens, i.e. unemployment.

Once again, Wal*Mart receives money on the front end at its cash registers and once again on the back end by the money received from taxpayers social services money. The disparaging economic conditions that Wal*Mart causes are why people are receiving social service money to begin with. Where does everyone think people on welfare and/or receiving unemployment checks go to spend their money? They spend it at stores like Wal*Mart of course.

We taxpayers enrich Wal*Mart with our tax dollars. And nobody knows it better than Wal*Mart.

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Dano45
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Quote DRC:

If you think labor ought to compete with the impoverished masses on their level playing field, your theories of global free trade amount to labor arbitrage or the new slave auction block. There are ways to lift up the conditions of others without a race to the bottom.

Along with being the arsenal of democracy,America must also be the arsenal of fair and equitable labor.

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not to mention every time you buy something there you might as well personally ship a job overseas. I boycotted that place years ago.

ah2
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Quote Dano45:How so?

The United States did not become a rich country by protecting workers' rights, the environment, or consumer safety. We developed the easy way; now we demand that developing countries do it the hard way?

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Ixtelan
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Quote ah2:I boycotted that place years ago.

Americans should be free not to purchase foreign made goods if they so desire. Boycotts are a time honored tradition in American politics.

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Ixtelan
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Quote Ixtelan:
Quote Dano45:How so?

The United States did not become a rich country by protecting workers' rights, the environment, or consumer safety. We developed the easy way; now we demand that developing countries do it the hard way?

poly replies: Actually, the U.S. "Golden Age" was between 1945 and the early 70's when we did just that. We developed the largest middle class the world had ever seen...and national productivity to support it.

Retired Monk - "Ideology is a disease"

polycarp2
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Quote polycarp2:Actually, the U.S. "Golden Age" was between 1945 and the early 70's when we did just that. We developed the largest middle class the world had ever seen...and national productivity to support it.

Precisely the years during which our main economic competitors--Britain, Germany, and Japan--were still recovering from the war. Once they recovered and the United States faced competition, the good times were over and Americans screamed "foul!"

If you are the only rooster in the chicken coop, life is sweet and easy.

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Ixtelan
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When I was in Louisiana after Katrina, Wal-Mart was about the only place to get stuff.

It was low-priced, looked okay on the shelf, but not very good quality.

The locals had a phrase "Wal-Mart fall-apart" to describe this. I was surprised that they could know how bad the quality was (meaning they'd have to get another before too long) and still continue to shop there - but Wal-Mart's virtual monopoly had largely eliminated their option to buy elsewhere.

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Did they have no Internet? Could they not purchase things online?

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Ixtelan
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Due of the loss of jobs, nearly all of our social services money, i.e. welfare, food stamps, unemployment checks, etc; are a result of importing cheap goods from third world countries. It leaves us wondering if we can really afford those cheap products. It is obvious that we can't.

In this country there is only one price for any made product whether made here or overseas. The difference is we pay only once if made here in America. If bought overseas we have to later add on the additional expense for social services money that those products cause from the loss of jobs. As we can see, all products cost the same whether they are made here or overseas.

All of which begs the question, would it be reasonable to put extra duty on imported goods to offset the cost to our social services? If not we must ask ourselves why we taxpayers are stuck with paying the bill?

Wal*Mart collects some of our net income at the cash register and some of our tax money paid out of our gross income because those receiving public assistance money usually go to Wal*Mart to spend it.

Our tax money would be better spent on our military and/or for our infrastructure that would also employ people here at home. But I'm sure you all know that.

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Quote Dano45:Due of the loss of jobs, nearly all of our social services money, i.e. welfare, food stamps, unemployment checks, etc; are a result of importing cheap goods from third world countries. It leaves us wondering if we can really afford those cheap products. It is obvious that we can't.

Let's assume that you are correct. Consumers can pay more to provide services for those who are displaced by imports, or consumers can pay more to subsidize the wages of protected workers. Assuming that the two costs are identical, then it seems to be half a dozen, six of another. The difference being what?

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Ixtelan
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Quote Ixtelan:
Quote Dano45:Due of the loss of jobs, nearly all of our social services money, i.e. welfare, food stamps, unemployment checks, etc; are a result of importing cheap goods from third world countries. It leaves us wondering if we can really afford those cheap products. It is obvious that we can't.

Assuming that the two costs are identical, then it seems to be half a dozen, six of another. The difference being what?

Let me repost what I’m saying from a different site. It seemed to have resonated better. Keep in mind that Wal*Marts alleged low prices are an illusion.

Due to the loss of jobs, nearly all of our social services money, i.e. welfare, food stamps, unemployment checks, etc; are a result of importing cheap goods from third world countries. It leaves us wondering if we can really afford those cheap products. It is obvious that we can't.

In this country there is only one price for any made product whether made here or overseas. The difference is we pay only once if made here in America. If bought overseas we have to later add on the additional expense for social services money that those products cause from the loss of jobs. As we can see, all products cost the same whether they are made here or overseas.

All of which begs the question, would it be reasonable to put extra duty on imported goods to offset the cost to our social services? If not we must ask ourselves why we taxpayers are stuck with paying the bill?

Wal*Mart collects some of our net income at the cash register and some of our tax money paid out of our gross income because those receiving public assistance money usually go to Wal*Mart to spend it.

Our tax money would be better spent on our military, schools and for infrastructure that would also employ people here at home. But I'm sure you all know that. When we pay the price for goods that are made here people are employed resulting in a stable economy.

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Dano45
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Quote Ixtelan:

Did they have no Internet? Could they not purchase things online?

Point taken but just as I know a well rounded meal at home is much better quality there are many times when all I can afford is the "special" at McDonalds. Low and middle income families don't shop at Wallyworld because they are greedy and want to save cash for the stock market. It's often times all they can afford.

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Bush_Wacker
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Quote Dano45:

Let me repost what I’m saying from a different site. It seemed to have resonated better. Keep in mind that Wal*Marts alleged low prices are an illusion.

Due to the loss of jobs, nearly all of our social services money, i.e. welfare, food stamps, unemployment checks, etc; are a result of importing cheap goods from third world countries. It leaves us wondering if we can really afford those cheap products. It is obvious that we can't.

In this country there is only one price for any made product whether made here or overseas. The difference is we pay only once if made here in America. If bought overseas we have to later add on the additional expense for social services money that those products cause from the loss of jobs. As we can see, all products cost the same whether they are made here or overseas.

All of which begs the question, would it be reasonable to put extra duty on imported goods to offset the cost to our social services? If not we must ask ourselves why we taxpayers are stuck with paying the bill?

Wal*Mart collects some of our net income at the cash register and some of our tax money paid out of our gross income because those receiving public assistance money usually go to Wal*Mart to spend it.

Our tax money would be better spent on our military, schools and for infrastructure that would also employ people here at home. But I'm sure you all know that. When we pay the price for goods that are made here people are employed resulting in a stable economy.

I understand and appreciate your consternation, Dano. I have never shopped at Walmart and doubt that I ever will. I am old enough to remember when Walmart sold only U.S.-made goods. That was back when Hillary Clinton was on Walmart’s board of directors, a role that brought her nothing but (unfair, in my opinion) grief during the 2008 campaign. Hillary left the board and Walmart dropped its “U.S.-only” practice. "So it goes."

The problem I have with your argument, however, is your undefined term, “we.” How, exactly, are we? Some of “we” work in import-competing businesses and some of “we” work in export industries. Some of “we” are not affected one way or another by gains and losses from trade. Some of “we” are consumers who benefit from the selection and low prices of imported goods. Some of “we” have pension funds invested in the shares of companies doing business in China. There are a lot of different “we’s” not just one.

If I pay more taxes to support displaced workers but pay less for imported goods, the net-net might be miniscule. If I have to pay tariffs on imported goods, then, yes, less of my taxes will go to displaced workers. Probably my taxes will be transferred from support for the unemployed to support for U.S. puppet governments around the world. One thing I can guarantee you if that if "we" put tariffs on "their" exports, then “they” will retaliate against “we.”

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Ixtelan
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I'm wondering if there is a source for the argument that all of the savings at walmart are consumed by higher social services costs. Is there a link with the math on that?

I'm curious about free trade policies as well. Comparative advantage is the label we have for the easy to demonstrate case for having each trading partner focus energy on what they do best and then trade with one another to increase the total available amount of goods and services. Each is in effect increasing productivity by trading for what they are less efficient at making. A trading partner need not be as productive as you are in anything, and still be able to bring a benefit to the group. They just consume less than the partners that are more productive.

The key to making this work for everyone is how the goods and services are priced and how much each party is allowed to trade.

I'd like to see an objective analysis of what the trade deals we have in place now are producing for us in net benefits. Yes, we can buy a lot of things a lot cheaper than we might pay if we had a tariff or other methods to reach the point where we import no more than we export. But do we pay the price in lower wages, or the social services mentioned earlier, or other costs?

How can we expect to compete on price with partners that have a lower standard of living, unless there are careful measures in place to ensure that we do not simply sink to a lower standard of living while theirs increases?

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jmanstro
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[/quote]

The problem I have with your argument, however, is your undefined term, “we.” How, exactly, are we? Some of “we” work in import-competing businesses and some of “we” work in export industries. Some of “we” are not affected one way or another by gains and losses from trade. Some of “we” are consumers who benefit from the selection and low prices of imported goods. Some of “we” have pension funds invested in the shares of companies doing business in China. There are a lot of different “we’s” not just one.

If I pay more taxes to support displaced workers but pay less for imported goods, the net-net might be miniscule. If I have to pay tariffs on imported goods, then, yes, less of my taxes will go to displaced workers. Probably my taxes will be transferred from support for the unemployed to support for U.S. puppet governments around the world. One thing I can guarantee you if that if "we" put tariffs on "their" exports, then “they” will retaliate against “we.”

[/quote]

In answer to your question, I’m referring to we as in We the People. As in all other species that work together for the benefit of the colony as a whole like nature dictates. When you state that “Some of “we” are not affected and benefit from low prices you’re in fact alluding to “I”. It’s the same selfish I that the left has so much trouble trying to get the “moral” right to understand.

Gains and losses from trade and pension benefits are fine as long as they’re not gained from the misery of others and the whittling down of a great nation. Your statement, “. . . consumers who benefit from the selection and low prices of imported goods,” is particularly disconcerting. We Americans pay one price for goods whether made here or overseas. When made here we pay the entire price up front. When made overseas we first pay a lower price followed by the additional cost of public assistance money needed for those who lost their jobs due to the illusion of cheaper imports.

China and Wal*mart do not pay for those social services that they cause. Those of us that still have a job pay for those services through our taxes. And where do people go to spend that money? Back to Wal*Mart and then then the money goes on to China that is making itself an aircraft carrier as well as anti-aircraft carrier missiles to be used against you know who. Who ever thought that communist China could overtake America without firing a shot?

By the way, China can't retaliate. We're the biggest consumers in the world and as such where would they go if we were out of the picture? Not to mention that they import little to nothing from us to begin with. Also, let’s not loose sight that we can make everything here inAmerica with American labor.

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Dano45
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Quote jmanstro:

I'm wondering if there is a source for the argument that all of the savings at walmart are consumed by higher social services costs. Is there a link with the math on that?

I'm curious about free trade policies as well. Comparative advantage is the label we have for the easy to demonstrate case for having each trading partner focus energy on what they do best and then trade with one another to increase the total available amount of goods and services. Each is in effect increasing productivity by trading for what they are less efficient at making. A trading partner need not be as productive as you are in anything, and still be able to bring a benefit to the group. They just consume less than the partners that are more productive.

How can we expect to compete on price with partners that have a lower standard of living, unless there are careful measures in place to ensure that we do not simply sink to a lower standard of living while theirs increases?

In answer to your question in your first paragraph, no, there isn’t any math on it but it is obvious that it needs to be done. Of course the right wing will spin the you know what out of the results.Your second paragraph has me wondering if China would be as competitive if it had to comply with our labor and environmental laws. I think we all know the answer to that. True, we can’t make China comply but it’s a poor excuse to continue to import from them. We Americans know of child labor violations in China but continue to shop at Wal*Mart anyway. The right wing doesn’t seem to understand that we are not a Christian nation but a nation of Christian want to be’s. Apparently, our wallets are our God.

As to your last paragraph, Along with being the arsenal of democracy America must also be the arsenal of fair and equitable labor. Either we lift others up to our standards or by default we’ll be forced to go down to theirs.

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Dano45
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Quote Dano45:In answer to your question, I’m referring to we as in We the People. As in all other species that work together for the benefit of the colony as a whole like nature dictates. When you state that “Some of “we” are not affected and benefit from low prices you’re in fact alluding to “I”. It’s the same selfish I that the left has so much trouble trying to get the “moral” right to understand.

Permit me to observe that your desire to reduce the taxes you pay to support displaced workers by shifting the costs to American consumers is no less a selfish position than mine. What is wrong with paying taxes to support displaced workers?

If “we” is an exclusionary term, pitting “us” against “them,” then why should “I” not put my own interests ahead of “we?” Why should “I” pay more to buy a car in order to pad the paycheck of an autoworker in Michigan?

If “we” means “all other species,” then the term includes everybody on the planet, not just Americans. Do Americans deserve well-paying jobs if they come at the expense of workers in other countries?

Gains and losses from trade and pension benefits are fine as long as they’re not gained from the misery of others and the whittling down of a great nation. Your statement, “. . . consumers who benefit from the selection and low prices of imported goods,” is particularly disconcerting. We Americans pay one price for goods whether made here or overseas. When made here we pay the entire price up front. When made overseas we first pay a lower price followed by the additional cost of public assistance money needed for those who lost their jobs due to the illusion of cheaper imports.

Your suggestion that we burden the price of imports with higher taxes creates just as much “misery” for workers in other countries. Are those workers excluded from “we?” If so, don’t blame me for preferring “I” to “we.”

Your tone suggests that you resent paying taxes to support displaced workers and that you would prefer to shift the costs from your taxes to the prices paid by consumers. Allowing others to pay more for imported goods so that you can pay fewer taxes pits "you" against "me." Why should I pay more for my purchases so that you can pay fewer taxes?

Frankly, I am not sure that we pay very much at all to support displaced workers today. I would gladly pay more taxes if I knew that the money would go to displaced workers instead of the American Empire. The United States has “ended welfare as we know it,” and Congress has not yet extended benefits for the unemployed. Your comments suggest that you might be someone who resents paying taxes for the social safety net, as porous as it may be today.

China and Wal*mart do not pay for those social services that they cause. Those of us that still have a job pay for those services through our taxes. And where do people go to spend that money? Back to Wal*Mart and then then the money goes on to China that is making itself an aircraft carrier as well as anti-aircraft carrier missiles to be used against you know who. Who ever thought that communist China could overtake America without firing a shot?

I do not shop at Walmart. If Americans shared your concerns, then they wouldn’t shop at Walmart, either. The fact that Walmart has any shoppers at all means that at least some Americans do not share your worries.

If the U.S. companies doing business with China put cash into my pension funds, then so much better for me.

By the way, China can't retaliate. We're the biggest consumers in the world and as such where would they go if we were out of the picture? Not to mention that they import little to nothing from us to begin with. Also, let’s not loose sight that we can make everything here inAmerica with American labor.

Of course China could retaliate. WTO rules provide that countries can impose countervailing duties against trade partners who violate trade laws. Whether “we” can make everything we need in America is not the point. The point is whether the things we make and consume maximize our wealth or minimizes our wealth.

I think that when you say “we,” you really mean Americans, rendering non-Americans as “they.” I have big problems with this sort of petty nationalism. Freedom is good for everybody, not just Americans. I suspect your notion of freedom is Americans should be free to enjoy wealth even if it comes at the expense of people in other parts of the world. If I am right, then we disagree.

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Ixtelan
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The point is being lost that Wal-Mart is often a threat to the jobs of retail workers, not just manufacturing workers. The U.S. economy has increasingly become service-based. The focus among progressives on manufacturing to the exclusion of the quality and/or security of service-oriented jobs I think shows a degree of stereotypical thinking on the part of people who sometimes claim to be without stereotypes. It is almost as if the only issues that can be allowed are those which are prerecorded and pre-digested, like records standing by to be played in a jukebox at a moment's notice.

Given communities, whether they are small towns or neighborhoods within larger cities, can only sustain so much economic activity. When Wal-Mart moves in, it has been well-documented that other stores selling similar or identical products lose business. Businesses may close after a Wal-Mart opens. People can lose their businesses and their jobs. Downtown business districts in small towns could suffer serious decline from a new Wal-Mart. Some communities have rejected Wal-Mart because local officials don't want a company which mistreats its employees and doesn't compensate them adequately or fairly. They also do not want to kill off many of their existing retail businesses.

I would specifcally criticize the Chicago City Council to bowing to pressure to allow Wal-Mart to open stores in the city. Former Mayor Daley supported Wal-Mart moving into a few locations. The original justification cited by some aldermen and Daley was that jobs were desperately needed, and Wal-Mart was able to provide some employment. Then, the argument was raised that Chicago had certain inner-city neighborhoods that were "food deserts." Once again, Wal-Mart to the rescue. Now, people in certain areas of the city are seeing that Wal-Mart wants to open stores of a smaller format than their usual superstores in neighborhoods that already have retail jobs and already have more than one supermarket so can't be considered to be food deserts. Wal-Mart is trying to play the city for its own greed. The employment problems at Wal-Mart go beyond the pay and benefits. In Chicago, the company may have agreed to pay somewhat more than they usually do in their rural or suburban locations. I would be opposed to allowing them to get any bigger and to be given the go ahead to open any new stores, anywhere.

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Robindell
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Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

The bottom line is a question as to why is is our tax money being used to support those Americans that are out of work due to unfair trade practices? Shouldn't the likes of China and WalMart be charged for the mess they create? If China and WalMart desire to have people sit on their duffs due the theft of their jobs then China and Wal*Mart should pay for it. I'm sure you'll agree that our tax dollars should be spent on schools, military, and infrastructure projects instead of cleaning up other nations as well as corporate America's messes.

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Dano45
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Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

In the future lets all refer to unemployed Americans as Chinese refugees.

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Dano45
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Quote Dano45:The bottom line is a question as to why is is our tax money being used to support those Americans that are out of work due to unfair trade practices? Shouldn't the likes of China and WalMart be charged for the mess they create? If China and WalMart desire to have people sit on their duffs due the theft of their jobs then China and Wal*Mart should pay for it. I'm sure you'll agree that our tax dollars should be spent on schools, military, and infrastructure projects instead of cleaning up other nations as well as corporate America's messes.

No, I do not agree that my tax dollars would be better spent on the military. I would prefer that my taxes be devoted to government support for displaced American workers

China isn't going to pay for anything and Americans can't make them. If China had to pay, it would simply pass the cost along to consumers.

So, again I ask you:

"Why should I pay more for my purchases so that you can pay fewer taxes?"

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Ixtelan
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Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

[/quote]

"Why should I pay more for my purchases so that you can pay fewer taxes?"

[/quote]

You are not paying less at for imported goods. Lets look at the math once again.

An American made shirt: A= $30.00 per shirt.

The same shirt that is imported: B= $15.00 + the cost of food stamps + the cost of unemployment checks + the cost of welfare for displaced workers = $45.00 per shirt.

And where do those recieveing public funds go to spend the money? Back to Wal*Mart!. Wal*Mart is in a position where it can't lose. Wal*Mart is on a gravey train that any public employee could only dream of. Keep in mind that the American taxpayer is paying for those social services and not Wal*Mart or China as one would rationally think for creating the demand for social services in the first place.

Of course republicans have a great answer, "All we have to do is exploit our labor including children as well as throw away our environmental regulations. Then we'll be on equal footing with China." Brilliant!

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Your made up numbers are hardly persuasive.

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Ixtelan
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Quote Ixtelan:Your made up numbers are hardly persuasive.

Just think about it the next time your in Wal*Mart.

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Dano45
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Quote Dano45:

Quote Ixtelan:Your made up numbers are hardly persuasive.

Just think about it the next time your in Wal*Mart.


I do not shop at Walmart. Never have. Do you shop at Walmart?

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Quote Dano45:

By the way, China can't retaliate. We're the biggest consumers in the world and as such where would they go if we were out of the picture? Not to mention that they import little to nothing from us to begin with. Also, let’s not loose sight that we can make everything here inAmerica with American labor.

I'm not sure that's correct. I can't remember where I just saw an article (an opinion piece more accurately) arguing that China is not beholden to us either because they need our market or because they hold so much of our debt. I do remember one of the factors the author mentioned was that China may intervene in Italy to prevent a collapse. How then, does it benefit them to buy different kinds of debt? I think the answer lies in that China itself is a growing consumer market and that also European markets hold many keys to other developing economies in Africa and Latin America. Over the long run, any investor (individual, corporation, or state) is probably well advised not to "put all their eggs in one basket."

Related to the subject of welfare benefits, etc., and also the solvency of pension funds, in that these are factors which contribute to popular discontent, it has been suggested (again, unfortunately, I don't have the reference, this is just something I heard) that rioting could occur in the U.S. I think Thom suggested the other day that one of the reasons popular demonstrations haven't yet occurred is that people are doped up on antidepressants. Anyway, there is popular unrest in China as well. In China, some victories have been won by labor in gaining wage increases through de-facto "unions", that is informal but effective organizing. Many of the workers who travel from the rural parts of China to the cities are less successful in acheiving a middle-class lifestyle (to say the least), and in some cases the their dissatisfaction can be registered in ways which demonstrate a desperation given the type of security state and police apparatus found in China. If demonstrations were to occur here, for the reason that a significan segment of the population is on a trajectory toward desperation and seeks to avoid it before having to escape it, I wonder if it will be revealed that the maintainance of public order more closely mimics that of China's than is suggested by the rhetoric by which our system and ideology is characterized.

Good post though, and I agree with most of what you say and am glad that somebody is able to see the "big picture." Ixtelan, aren't you going to remind everybody that we will have to adjust our lifestyles?

nimblecivet
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China will block US exports to it if America blocks their exports to the US. Americans must adjust their lifestyles. ;)

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No, I do not shop at Wal*Mart..

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Quote Ixtelan:
Quote Dano45:
Quote Ixtelan:Your made up numbers are hardly persuasive.

Just think about it the next time your in Wal*Mart.

I do not shop at Walmart. Never have. Do you shop at Walmart?
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[quote=Ixtelan]China will block US exports to it if America blocks their exports to the US. Americans must adjust their lifestyles. ;)[/quote

So what if China did? Is America helpless? Besides, I'm not advocating blocking any country’s exports or setting any tariffs. I’m advocating that all other countries must meet or exceed our labor and environmental laws. If they don’t agree then we’ll refuse their imports. It’s akin to NATFA when Mexican truckers tried to enter our country with trucks that were substandard with our safety laws. They had no choice but to comply by bringing their vehicles up to our standards.

We need to do much the same with all imports.

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Quote Dano45:So what if China did? Is America helpless? Besides, I'm not advocating blocking any country’s exports or setting any tariffs. I’m advocating that all other countries must meet or exceed our labor and environmental laws. If they don’t agree then we’ll refuse their imports. It’s akin to NATFA when Mexican truckers tried to enter our country with trucks that were substandard with our safety laws. They had no choice but to comply by bringing their vehicles up to our standards.

The WTO already permits trade rules that require safety and environmental safeguards for imports. Those rules may be not a subterfuge for trade protectionism.

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I'm not talking about port safety. I’m saying that our labor and environmental laws here inAmericamust also be adhered to by all other countries. If they refuse then we will not import their products.

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Quote Dano45:I'm not talking about port safety. I’m saying that our labor and environmental laws here inAmericamust also be adhered to by all other countries. If they refuse then we will not import their products.

The WTO provides explicit exceptions for "health, safety, national security and a range of other public policy grounds." No nation can be forced by the WTO to accept any trade agreement that would permit abuses of labor rights or endanger local enviroments. The United States already has the authority to place countervailing duties against the exports of any country that violates American sensibilities.

The WTO dispute resolution mechanism cannot force the United States to comply with any particular agreement, but it can authorize countervailing duties against American exports by member States if it determines that U.S. import restrictions are subterfuges for trade protectionism.

In other words, your worries are baseless.

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Quote Ixtelan:
Quote Dano45:I'm not talking about port safety. I’m saying that our labor and environmental laws here inAmericamust also be adhered to by all other countries. If they refuse then we will not import their products.

are baseless.

When I read of exploited children and workers committing suicide rather than continuing to work under horrid conditions then my worries are certainly not baseless. Either America lifts the word up to our standards or we'll be forced to continue on our journey down to theirs.

Along with being the arsenal of democracy America must also be the arsenal of fair and equitable labor.

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[/quote] ideology is characterized.

Good post though, and I agree with most of what you say and am glad that somebody is able to see the "big picture."

[/quote]

Thanks. I'm glad when others notice.

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Quote Dano45:When I read of exploited children and workers committing suicide rather than continuing to work under horrid conditions then my worries are certainly not baseless. Either America lifts the word up to our standards or we'll be forced to continue on our journey down to theirs.

I do not know what you have been reading, but saying doesn't make it so. Nobody is forcing you or anybody esle to purchase goods made under conditions that you oppose. Instead of acting on your own conscience, you appear to wish to impose your conscience on others, even if your conscience is based on who-knows-what "evidence."

If thine eyes offend thee, pluck them out. Lay off my peepers, would ya?

Along with being the arsenal of democracy America must also be the arsenal of fair and equitable labor.

I don't want America to be anybody's "arsenal," democracy, fair labor, or anything else. Why must America be the world's policeman? Talk about unnecessary taxes. Do you never tire of paying for the American Empire? I say let China run the world for the next century and see if they do any better than the United States did.

U.S. imperialism is what has given the country a bad name.

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Quote nimblecivet:I think Thom suggested the other day that one of the reasons popular demonstrations haven't yet occurred is that people are doped up on antidepressants.

Maybe too many people are listening to Mr. Hartmann's broadcast when they ought to be fixing the world.

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The "bottom line" is to be determined by whom? The bottom line is that those who claim to be concerned with the welfare of others are actually thinking in terms of self-interest. Converely, those who claim to only be concerned with self-interest are actually trying to make a statement on the body politic in the process. Wal-Mart claims that it helps low wage earners by bringing somewhat lower prices to them. The bottom line actually is, how can prices be lowered without eliminating U.S. jobs in manufacturing or by allowing foreign workers to be exploited with low wages and poor and/or unfair working conditions? How much does the cost of labor enter into profitability?

Some people shop at discounters simply because they shop there. It is convenient, the place is familir to them, or whatever. Others have to save as much money as possible. In a sense, people who are underpaid are, by necessity, supporters (customers) of others who are also being taken advantage of.

If we had a single-payer health insurance system, then no employer would be the insurance provider, and the fiancining of health insurance would be detached from where someone is employed.

What is needed are further decreases in prices with increases in wages for those who are less prosperous, perhaps the bottom half of the labor market. The whole system is misaligned.

What about state universities which charge less tuition than private institutions? These institutions, with state budget cuts, are inching up their tuition so that it is becoming closer and closer to that charged at the more cost-effective private schools. If a state college is cheaper in tuition than a private university, doesn't that add to the cost of taxes in a given state, for the subsidy that is provided to the institution? What would be the cost to society if people who could afford to go to cheaper public college could not otherwise afford to attend college if there were no state schools?

In many cases, you would be hard pressed to find certain kinds of merchandise in almost any store that is not made in China or some other foreign country. This trend goes beyond Wal-Mart.

Friedman talked about the negative income tax. Others have talked about supplementing the wages of relatively low-paid hourly workers (many of whom are part-time).

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Quote Robindell:The bottom line is that those who claim to be concerned with the welfare of others are actually thinking in terms of self-interest. Converely, those who claim to only be concerned with self-interest are actually trying to make a statement on the body politic in the process.

Agreed.

The bottom line actually is, how can prices be lowered without eliminating U.S. jobs in manufacturing or by allowing foreign workers to be exploited with low wages and poor and/or unfair working conditions? How much does the cost of labor enter into profitability?

People ought to be free to purchase whatever goods or services serve their tastes. Manufacturing jobs are only one type of employment and not necessarily the most desirable. Uneducated, unskilled workers are inexpensive and plentiful and mostly resident in developing countries. Americans who desire remunerative employment today need skills or education. The Easy Times are over.

If we had a single-payer health insurance system, then no employer would be the insurance provider, and the fiancining of health insurance would be detached from where someone is employed.

Agreed. The legacy costs of American employers put them at a competitive disadvantage with foreign employers.

What is needed are further decreases in prices with increases in wages for those who are less prosperous, perhaps the bottom half of the labor market. The whole system is misaligned.

What about state universities which charge less tuition than private institutions? These institutions, with state budget cuts, are inching up their tuition so that it is becoming closer and closer to that charged at the more cost-effective private schools. If a state college is cheaper in tuition than a private university, doesn't that add to the cost of taxes in a given state, for the subsidy that is provided to the institution? What would be the cost to society if people who could afford to go to cheaper public college could not otherwise afford to attend college if there were no state schools?

In many cases, you would be hard pressed to find certain kinds of merchandise in almost any store that is not made in China or some other foreign country. This trend goes beyond Wal-Mart.

Friedman talked about the negative income tax. Others have talked about supplementing the wages of relatively low-paid hourly workers (many of whom are part-time).

Too many different topics to respond to here, Robin. Suffice it to say that those who benefit from a global economy have an enlightened self-interest to share some of their "winnings" with the losers. Whether they do so is a political matter, not an economic matters.

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Ixtelan wrote: Too many different topics to respond to here, Robin. Suffice it to say that those who benefit from a global economy have an enlightened self-interest to share some of their "winnings" with the losers. Whether they do so is a political matter, not an economic matters.

poly replies: What a ludicrous statement.. Have you no sense of history...of how things actually function? The enlightened "self interests" of the British elite impoverished one nation after another. It was called colonialism. Not a whole lot of sharing.

Their newly discovered "enlightened self interests" led to outsourcing just prior to the Great Depression and the British themselves experienced impoverishment right along with their foreign victims. They entered the Great Depression and massive unemployment a year before the Wall St. collapse in 1929..

Unions in U..S.. developed as a result of so-called "enlightened self interests" of America's elite......starvation wages,,a 6 1/2 day work week and child labor. as young as age 7.

Politics IS about economics or haven't you been paying attention?

Retired Monk -"Ideology is a disease"

polycarp2
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Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm
Quote polycarp2:What a ludicrous statement.. Have you no sense of history...of how things actually function? The enlightened "self interests" of the British elite impoverished one nation after another. It was called colonialism. Not a whole lot of sharing.

As I said, whether the winners share their winnings with the losers is a political matter, not an economic matter.

Politics IS about economics or haven't you been paying attention?

As long as the winners win more than the losers lose, society as a whole is better off and the winners have an enlightened self-interest to share part of their winnings with the losers. Whether people act upon their enlightened self-interests is a separate matter.

I have frequently expressed my scepticism about the better angels of human nature generally and altruism in particular. Or haven't you been paying attention?

Shall we debate altruism yet one more time, poly?

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Currently Chatting

Can Democrats Set Out a New Path?

Democrats must embrace a pro-government platform, not run away from it.

Those were the sentiments of Senator Chuck Schumer today, in a speech given at the National Press Club. Talking about the reasons for Democrats’ losses on Election Day, Schumer said that those losses were proof that the American people and middle-class want a government that will work more effectively for them.

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