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The Betrayal of the American Dream
Old 08-15-2012, 07:57 PM   #1
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The Betrayal of the American Dream

Just went and listened to one of the authors of this book, James Steele, speak on this topic.

Anyone read it? He's a great writer, and an even more engaging speaker. He used to write for our local paper, and now writes for Vanity Fair. Very interesting, and also incredibly depressing...
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Old 08-15-2012, 08:45 PM   #2
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Some quick observations....yes we have more of a service economy nowadays so our imports will be higher than exports. The authors seem like they are into erecting trade barriers and using "protectionism" of industries. Historically, countries that raise trade barriers and tariffs on imports have the same thing done to them with their exports in retailiation and it becomes a zero sum game. I am not sure exactly what they mean by "unfair competition"....

Modern economics states that the country that can do the work most efficiently should do so...because of the clear benefit for all in the worldwide market. Consumers get the lowest prices on the best quality products.... The preferred country for manufacturing may change once in awhile; i think lately it's Vietnam and Malaysia that are favored.

Interestingly enough, some US companies are finding that went taking into account the "cost of quality" it is cheaper to bring manufacturing back to the states.
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Old 08-15-2012, 09:11 PM   #3
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Modern economics states that the country that can do the work most efficiently should do so...because of the clear benefit for all in the worldwide market. Consumers get the lowest prices on the best quality products.... The preferred country for manufacturing may change once in awhile; i think lately it's Vietnam and Malaysia that are favored.
true beyond doubt. This is why i believe that modern world encompassing market economies are incompatible with universal suffrage.

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Old 08-16-2012, 03:40 AM   #4
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Modern economics states that the country that can do the work most efficiently should do so...because of the clear benefit for all in the worldwide market. Consumers get the lowest prices on the best quality products.... The preferred country for manufacturing may change once in awhile; i think lately it's Vietnam and Malaysia that are favored.
You have to watch out for carrying an idea like Ricaridan comparative advantage too far. In the fiftes the IMF and World Bank foresaw a future of limited, low quality manufacturing for both Japan and Korea. However, in both cases their governments ignored that advice and protected infant industries. In Japan MITI supported Toyota as it lost money every year for seventeen straight years. In Korea there were companies like POSCO, an iron and steel manufacturer, that lost money for about that long too. In both cases the countries involved lacked their own sources of raw materials and yet both became world leaders. So, protectionism is not always a case of keeping zombie companies alive.

It is worth remembering too that when the US was a developing country in the 19th century it flaunted the intellectual property laws of Europe and protected its own infant industries behind tariffs, which were a contributing cause of the Civil War because of the disparate effects on the industrial North and agrarian South. Similarly, the UK, currently a champion of free trade, forcibly de-industrialized both India and Egypt in the 19th century.

Also, although the US now claims to support free trade, in fact, there are some restrictions so severe that they are not even discussed, for instance, free trade in medical skills. During all the discussion of necessary health care reform I never read an op-ed piece about offering green cards to foreign doctors who can pass a US medical test. In this case, protectionism of the highest medical costs in the world is really just economic rent-seeking.

So, it's a lot more complicated than comparative advantage will solve the world's economic problems.
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Old 08-16-2012, 01:12 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by web_diva
Some quick observations....yes we have more of a service economy nowadays so our imports will be higher than exports. The authors seem like they are into erecting trade barriers and using "protectionism" of industries. Historically, countries that raise trade barriers and tariffs on imports have the same thing done to them with their exports in retailiation and it becomes a zero sum game. I am not sure exactly what they mean by "unfair competition"....

Modern economics states that the country that can do the work most efficiently should do so...because of the clear benefit for all in the worldwide market. Consumers get the lowest prices on the best quality products.... The preferred country for manufacturing may change once in awhile; i think lately it's Vietnam and Malaysia that are favored.

Interestingly enough, some US companies are finding that went taking into account the "cost of quality" it is cheaper to bring manufacturing back to the states.
Concerning manufacturing, I read yesterday in the newspaper that the Canadian automotive companies were complaining about the high cost of labor in their industry. They quoted an hourly amount that was substantially above the US cost. I did not realize that hourly costs were higher to the north than what US workers get.
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Old 08-16-2012, 01:35 PM   #6
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I skimmed through the Amazon website and review of the book.

Although the author does a good job documenting what the problems are I don't see this country going back to a 1950s-like economy any time soon. Companies have to operate in the world as it is not as some would like it to be. We can't wall off the rest of the world.

And the soak the rich discussion just makes the problems worse.
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Old 08-16-2012, 02:40 PM   #7
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Yep, tariffs are the answer...yawn.
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Old 08-17-2012, 01:35 PM   #8
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Some higher up at a major US manufacturer that I can't remember was talking on CNBC about manufacturers bringing work back to the US. Reasons included cultural and language barriers, time difference, lead time, fuel and transportation costs...

As for the American Dream, I feel it's been bastardized. To achieve the American Dream required hard work, schooling, willingness to invest, risk-taking, and perhaps some luck. Now it's considered an entitlement...
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Old 08-17-2012, 03:06 PM   #9
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As for the American Dream, I feel it's been bastardized. To achieve the American Dream required hard work, schooling, willingness to invest, risk-taking, and perhaps some luck. Now it's considered an entitlement...
And I thought the statistics said the middle and lower classes were stagnating for the last 30 years as we evolved into a McJobs economy. I must have missed the part where the minimum wage was quadrupled and the graphs on lower tercile wages made a hockey stick turn upward.
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Old 08-17-2012, 03:18 PM   #10
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This is a serious decline in our standard of living. Efficiencies in the worldwide work place will affect us all. Even the previously exempt govt employees are now faced with a tier system for new hires.
Our kids are left footing the bill. This one reason why I am now reconsidering my retirement plans. It may be that I am living on easy street while my children will suffer. No easy answers.
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Old 08-21-2012, 03:10 PM   #11
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And I thought the statistics said the middle and lower classes were stagnating for the last 30 years as we evolved into a McJobs economy. I must have missed the part where the minimum wage was quadrupled and the graphs on lower tercile wages made a hockey stick turn upward.
Certainly, many of the jobs like my dad had, in a factory with union-type benefits, are gone, and, let's face it, they may not come back. So, what to do? Some buy a beater pickup, some mowers or power tools, and they start a landscaping or remodeling business. Others manage to buy a quicky mart or a restaurant. The whole family works there, and they all live in one apartment or home.

Get a plumber's license, or a real estate license, or an electrician's license. Learn carpentry. Start a catering business or food truck. Being a painter requires what, some rollers, brushes, and a ladder.

Granted, it ain't glamorous, fun, or easy, but I know a number of self-made business folks, who didn't go to college, but worked their butts off, and are now making much more than me, with all my "education" and corporate slavery bennies.

I realize that's easier said than done, but wishing it wasn't that way isn't going to put food on the table. I'm not a "let 'em eat cake" kind of guy, but waiting around for someone to "give" you an eight-hour-a-day with benefits job is too passive for the times. Government, or the jobs fairy, might change that someday, but I wouldn't count on it.
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Old 08-21-2012, 05:11 PM   #12
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Its all the dadgum gummint regulations. Just simplify and get rid of some of the excess, like the minimum wage, the meddling Occupational Health and Safety Administration, the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, and pretty soon the fourteen year olds will be hard at work in our steel and textile mills, the economy will be booming, and we'll all be in the One Percent living the Good Life in Galts Gulch. Yepper!

(Lunch at a Political Event... I can't believe what some people think makes a good platform. I'm going to have to wash out my head now, maybe reregister independent...)
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Old 08-21-2012, 06:49 PM   #13
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I have three friends (ladies) who are recently graduated or are back in school - nursing.

Us ER's aren't gonna stay young forever - except me.

heh heh heh -
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Old 08-21-2012, 08:46 PM   #14
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I have three friends (ladies) who are recently graduated or are back in school - nursing.

Us ER's aren't gonna stay young forever - except me.

heh heh heh -
That's a job with some security. Can't send it to China or India and us old pharts are gettin' old so there will be lots of demand for their services.

Oh, and I do believe you will stay young forever Uncle.

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Old 08-21-2012, 08:50 PM   #15
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(Lunch at a Political Event...
Couldn't you find something more redeeming than that, like an EIA lunch?
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Old 08-22-2012, 08:15 AM   #16
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Our kids are left footing the bill. This one reason why I am now reconsidering my retirement plans. It may be that I am living on easy street while my children will suffer. No easy answers.
+1 my biggest concern is that my children will not have the same opportunities for advancement available to them that I did. The table has been turned against the young who are now entering the workforce and their chance for prosperity has been diminished versus our generation.
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Old 08-22-2012, 08:17 AM   #17
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Its all the dadgum gummint regulations. Just simplify and get rid of some of the excess, like the minimum wage, the meddling Occupational Health and Safety Administration, the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, and pretty soon the fourteen year olds will be hard at work in our steel and textile mills, the economy will be booming, and we'll all be in the One Percent living the Good Life in Galts Gulch. Yepper!

(Lunch at a Political Event... I can't believe what some people think makes a good platform. I'm going to have to wash out my head now, maybe reregister independent...)
More importantly, was the food any good?
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Old 08-22-2012, 06:30 PM   #18
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More importantly, was the food any good?
It was a good local place. "Lunch with Your City Council Candidates". At least one person was working on his very own American Dream... or nightmare... Thank goodness there are more candidates than open seats. I'm voting the "Anybody but him" ticket...
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Old 08-23-2012, 08:39 AM   #19
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Lunch at a Political Event...
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...EIA lunch?
Proof positive that there really is no free lunch...
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