Sunday, November 2, 2008

Trade Fix #1

Free trade is great. However, differing national environments allow for free trade to create unfair advantages for some.

So,one tenet of the Doug campaign is that our free trade only goes so far as the playing field is level.

We have some excellent worker protection and environmental protection laws. Some of them need improved, but they are the legal environment in which American businesses must operate. So, free trade with America will be allowed if the companies doing the importing demonstrate that the facilities meet the same standards as American facilities. No more moving manufacturing overseas to dodge Clean Air or Water requirements. Minimum wage requirements will be based on currency exchange, but no more paying dollars on the day. No more dangerous work environments that we wouldn't stand for here.

Refuse to certify and allow inspections? You will be assumed to be in default, and be fined the same penalties for each offense. Each imported item is a separate incident, so it's going to be costly to bring items into this country. Why not make it here instead?

Agricultural products will face the same scrutiny. No imports of products treated with chemicals that are banned in the US. No imports without inspection of other products. I know we can grow enough, make enough, and produce enough to provide for not only America, but to export, so why are we importing? Why are we bringing in apples from China, after seeing all of the poisons that are rampantly used there? It's time to stop it.


  1. There is a slight flaw to your plan that I feel compelled to point out here.

    Any costs you force upon a manufacturer will be passed on to the consumer. The idea shouldn't be to punish them for manufacturing over seas but the find ways to convince them to return the manufacturing of goods by US companies to the US.

  2. Also, on the Apples. There is a set amount of apples grown here every year. It's my understanding that we have a bit of a shortage on apples at the moment due to some apple diet fad going on somewhere in the world which consumed a large portion of our stored crop. Therefore if we're gonna have apples, they are going to need to be imported.

  3. The idea is to make it more economically neutral. Many companies moved overseas so they could pay workers less, have no OSHA or state worker protections, and have no EPA to deal with. So, if those regulations become inescapable, there is no benefit to make Fords in Mexico, Chevys and Dodges in Canada. (Just as an example. Did you know the Camry is the only car model featured in NASCAR that is actually made in America?)

    As far as the Apples----like anything else, imports are not bad, but China has shipped us poisoned toys, poisoned dog food, they've poisoned the milk that Chinese children get, and they sent us poisoned chocolate! At some point, we have to stop letting them ship death and disease. If you go to Wal-mart, look at the sources on the apple juice---it's hard to find some that is even partially sourced from USA. There are plenty of source countries.

  4. I don't watch NASCAR, I get bored watching people drive around in circles for hours, but my Explorer was built in Lexington, KY. And your sisters Saturn was built in Tennessee.

    I agree that anything coming in from China at this time is suspect. Except maybe the toys you buy at Walmart. After the lead paint debacle last fall HO is having every toy tested by an independent company, if it's on the toy counter at Walmart it's in compliance with US standards for lead paint.

    Melamine is not poison, but it is deadly if you consume it. You've forgotten the salmonella tainted tomatoes from Mexico, btw.

    You can't expect a third world country to comply to our standards if you don't first educate them then pressure their governments into compliance. "China’s Ministry of Health has already apprehended two brothers and two other men, who had put melamine in their milk products after Sanlu had rejected the initial offerings." They added the melamine to boost the milks protein levels in tests. Sanlu, the Chinese company buying the milk, should have tested the milk for purity before buying the milk to sell to so many other companies, but who would have suspected that someone would start putting melamine in milk for human consumption. In this case, the Chinese should have since there had already been a lot of trouble over melamine in dog food last year.

    The pressure needs to be put on the foreign governments to make sure this kind of thing doesn't happen. Charging Mattel to have everything inspected is only going to end up hurting the American consumer.

  5. What would be the definition of poison if not something that kills you if you consume it?

    The fact is that these are not third-world country production systems. They are factories and facilities constructed and overseen by American corporations. Mattel wants to make Barbie overseas, so be it, but Mattel is responsible for her. Not China or Taiwan. And what hurts the American consumer? That they can't afford to buy every piece of pink stuff? That's not pain.
    Pain is what families in North Carolina felt when the textile factories shut down. Not the corporations...they still exist, and are making clothing, just overseas now. And did the prices we pay go down? No, the profits went up, and into CEO pockets.
    Pain is what Ford, Chevy, Dodge in Michigan felt when they started making many of those vehicles in Canada or Mexico, and now build new facilities in other states rather than rehire the people they laid off.
    Economic pressure can go on the corporations rather than the country. If you pressure China, they can move the company somewhere else. You pressure the company, they change.
    Again, how can expecting a company to verify its materials be a bad thing? Or did you not have a problem with Ford shipping Explorers with tires that were inadequate? Would it have hurt the consumer for Ford to insist the tire manufacturer fix it?

  6. I think we're missing each other, here.

    I'm all for the corporations moving manufacturing back to the states. The economic growth created with the return of the new jobs would help offset the rise in cost. But you aren't going to force them to move the factories back to the states with economic pressure. Economic pressure is going to force them to move the factories to countries where they care even less about quality and not killing consumers, Afghanistan, anyone?

    If you want them to bring the factories back home you are going to have to offer an incentive that keeps them in the black. For they are evil mega-corps and the only way to get them to do what you want them to do is to make their bottom line look good. Until such time, you would have to pressure foreign markets to enforce better standards.

    And as for this:

    "And what hurts the American consumer? That they can't afford to buy every piece of pink stuff? That's not pain.
    Pain is what families in North Carolina felt when the textile factories shut down."

    There are a lot of other peoples jobs that depend on little girls that crave all the little pink stuff. Mine for one. My associates, that's three more, my Mattel rep, who is the sole source of income for her family of four because her husbands health has gotten so bad that he can't even manage to work part-time anymore, there are half a dozen other reps as well. All of our jobs hinge on kids getting toys. There are around 3,000 Walmart stores in the states, that's roughly 12,000 people who depend on toys for their livelihood. So no, it might not be "pain" to each individual family that can't afford to buy a new Barbie for little Jane, but it certainly is for the 9,000 or so toys sales associates that aren't going to have jobs anymore because the departments sales don't warrant having that many people on the payroll. There's also Target to consider. Toys R Us is already in decline and they've been steadily closing stores over the last few years, that's more people without jobs. They may not be great jobs but they pay the rent, put groceries in the fridge, and buy little Jane a Barbie every once in a while.

    If the retailers have to start cutting back where are the people who lost their jobs in the mills going to go to work then?

  7. Except that retail doesn't pay anything at like manufacturing. That's been one of the problems. The manufacturing jobs leave, and take double-digit per hour with benefits, and are replaced with retail and service sector, which doesn't pay near as much.

    At some point, something has to give. We have lost too many of the higher paying jobs out of this country. That's why NAFTA finally became an issue this year, the realization that you can't run an economy solely on selling things that are made elsewehere.


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Sermon Recap for June 9 2024

 Good morning! Here is yesterday's sermon from Mt. Olive Baptist Church