Tuesday, July 17, 2012

What Is China up To Now ?

Think About This

The next time you pick up that “Made in China” product when you know there is an American made product at a slightly higher price, Think about This!

On May 10, 2012, USA Today reported that the trade deficit with China is on pace to exceed $295,500,000,000, last year’s amount.  And they use questionable currency manipulation to make Chinese goods cheap in the United States and American products very expensive in China.

On October 4, 2010, The American Economic Report in that year, our trade deficit with China will displace between 512,000 and 566,000 American workers.  Since 2001, when China joined the World Trade Organization, 5, 500,000 manufacturing jobs and 26,000 manufacturing facilities have been lost due to such a large trade deficit.

In 2011, according to the federal government, the labor force in the United States was 153,600,000 with 20% or 30,720,000 members typically engaged in manufacturing.  Just using very simple math one can see that we have, as of 2010, lost 18% of our manufacturing jobs due to the trade deficit.  The 2011 unemployment rate was 9% so if we just reduce our imports from China by 50%, we should reach full employment in the United States.

Just a note, our total imports in 2011 exceeded $1,700,000,000,000.  Why?

That unimaginable number is due to two things; first, the American people do not want to pay a little more for American made goods.  Second, American employers do not want to provide a wage and benefit package that is commensurate with the skill and educational level of the American worker.

Big corporations know that as the unemployment rate increases, so does the demand for ever and ever cheaper products.  So they import those products from countries, like China, that pay very little, have no benefit package to worry about, have no environmental protection or worker protection regulations.  Everything goes their way. The more we demand cheap products, the more domestic production they move overseas.  While they are rolling in the dough, the American wage and lifestyle, for so long the envy of the world, continues to decline.

Just one more point for today, but you will be hearing a lot more from me about China’s colonization of America. While the ultra-rich continue to bash the middle class of America into submission, they are moving their corporate headquarters “off shore” to avoid paying taxes in the country that has given them such great wealth.  To add insult to injury, many of the “ruling class” are renouncing their American citizenship to avoid paying income tax.  As Leona Helmsley once said, “We don’t pay taxes. Only the little people pay taxes.”  People at her level actually believe that.

Think about those things the next time you put a “made in China” product into your cart.   More to come!


Monday, July 16, 2012

America's Death Knell ?

According to University of Wisconsin Professor Alfred W. McCoy, when empires enter their era of decline, they fall apart with “unholy speed.”   He points out that The Portuguese Empire dissolved in just one year.  Most of us remember that the death throes of the Soviet Union lasted for only two years.  For the French it took eight years, the Ottoman Empire fought off the pale horseman for eleven years, and the mighty British Empire lasted seventeen years before the final bell tolled.  Many believe that the year 2003 marked the beginning of the end of the American Empire and predict that the end for us will occur within the next twenty-two years.  I am writing this essay in the year 2012.  From the time I write and post this short work, nine of those years are gone and thirteen remain.  Given that there will likely be a series of events that lead to the end, we probably have eight to ten years of deluding ourselves that we are too big, too important, or too powerful to ever be replaced as the preeminent super power of the world.

What kinds of events could possibly trigger the end to the America we know?  One could involve the delicate financial corner the United States has painted herself into.  It’s not just the national debt but includes what has happened to the middle class and the spending power, and taxing power that comes with such a class.

When we ask why the middle class is shrinking, we need to look first at where the products we American Consumers buy are made and by whom.  In the year 2011 the United States imported $726,712,000,000 more than we exported.  Forty per-cent or $295,456, 500,000 of that trade difference was paid to China. We bought from China $3,000,000,000 worth of apparel and $2,400,000,000 of leather goods.  We bought $1,400,000,000 in chemicals and $1,300,000,000 worth of plastic products.  We bought $2,000,000,000 worth of machinery and $2,500,000,000 worth of appliances and components for assembling appliances, and we paid $11,000,000,000 for computers and electronic products.
Every item I just listed, and it is far from encompassing everything, could be and should be MADE IN THE USA.  Why are they made in China rather that the U. S.?  Because we, as consumers, want to pay the lowest possible price for everything we look at.  Businesses want the best bottom line they can achieve.  Consumers, as workers, want the highest wages they can wring from their employers and employers want to pay their employees as little as possible.  We all want a clean environment, but we don’t want to pay the price for achieving it.  China satisfies all of those wants, but the cost is that your neighbor, and now probably you, have no jobs to go to.  How many people can fast food places employ?  To see just how arrogant we American Citizens are.  Go into any fast food store and see who is working there.  My experience is that it looks like the Hispanics have pretty well sewn up the employee pool for fast food joints. Why? The reason is simple, they are willing to work, and they don’t expect factory level pay for what they do.  But we, mostly white Americans, see the kind of work and wages offered by the fast food companies beneath us.  But not everyone does. Someone will do the job and take the last few dollars of your last unemployment check as you pass by the drive through window of the local Burger King or McDonalds.

If we want to try to stop our race to mediocrity, some first steps include; spending a little more and buying American made products whenever possible and accepting any job we can find, no matter how much it pays.  If it takes three jobs to put food on the table, work three jobs.  Those jobs are out there. If you don’t want the money, someone else will take it.

Every generation in our country’s history has had hardships to endure.  There have been depressions, recessions, periods of outlandish inflation, periods of severe labor strife, crop failures, and the list goes on.  This is the first generation that has thrown their hands in the air and cried about the situation, expecting that by wringing their hands, some magic spell would fall upon the world and then every wrong becomes righted.  Other generations put their shoulder to the grind stone; helped each other; did whatever work was available; and most of all bought American products that were made in American factories, by American workers.  We did not allow ourselves to be pushed around in our own country; we just dove in and did whatever it took.  Now a new generation is facing the abyss. It appears that this generation is content to be pushed into it rather than put up a fight.  If that is the case, America is doomed and in a few years will be an “also ran” on the world stage.  There may still be time, but I see this generation too selfish and too self centered to be bothered.  So I suggest you learn the exchange rates on the Yuan and the Euro because soon one of them will be the world’s reserve currency!  

Sunday, July 15, 2012

The End Of America As We Have Known It

Recently I have read several articles indicating the end of the American Empire is nearing an end.  Stories of the decline of America have abounded for years but the difference between the earlier and more recent articles is that reputable think tanks, The CIA, The State Department, and other experts in the field of international relations have now admitted that the America we have known for nearly a century is headed for a dramatic change as the global political picture changes.  Their new “missions” are not determining ways to stop the inevitable from happening but to determine how to make the coming changes less painful for the nation as a whole and for we as individuals.

History has taught us that empires, no matter how large or how powerful, eventually come to an end.  America is often compared to the Roman Empire.  I don’t think the two are comparable for the main years of their existence but the end games seem to have many parallels.

The Roman Empire fell because the people had become selfish.  The empire was bankrupt, both financially and morally.  By moral bankruptcy, I am not referring to religion.  I am referring to the greed of the people.  The more powerful the person, the more greedy he was.  There was a time during the heyday of the Roman Empire that even poor folks owned slaves.  It was a period of decadence and of thinking that the empire was indestructible.  For the last eighty years, The United States has been slipping deeper and deeper into the same situation as the Romans during their declining years.

In the United States, during the last twenty or thirty years, the motto of the individual seems to have become, “I got mine, screw you.”  The higher one rises in the hierarchy, the more ingrained and overt that attitude seems to become.  That upper echelon of America, the very rich and powerful, mirror the Roman Senatorial class very closely.  They are relentless in their efforts to take everything they can from both the government and the working class of people.  The distribution of wealth in this country is shameful.

The country’s financial wealth has been decimated by the outlandish amounts of taxpayer dollars that are paid to large corporations for relatively little in return.  Two very long wars, in one case completely unnecessary and in the other unnecessarily long have driven the country to the brink.  The graft, outright theft, and incompetence of the corporations with the cooperation and collusion of government officials throughout those two military actions should have resulted in prisons filled with those who plied this injustice on the American people, but instead they simply became richer and more powerful while the working class paid by sending their young men and women to die and by watching the infrastructure of the country fall into a state of decay that is financially impossible to repair before major collapses throw us into the same condition as a third world country.  The final insult is seeing the power class pit working class people against each other in order to accomplish their personal goals.

This has been a brief synopsis of what I see in America today.  It will serve as an introduction to a series of essays I will post, outlining the various possible scenarios that will spell the end of America, as we have known it.  I will state here, for the record, that one of the scenarios, or a variation of them, will occur within the next thirty years.  If you are a senior citizen, like me, the worry is not so great, but I weep for our children and our grandchildren for the turbulence and utter change they will experience as America falls from its place as the world’s most powerful nation  to “just another place on the map.”