The Stupidity of "Buy American"

The case against economic protectionism

(Page 2 of 2)

That happened after Sen. Tom Harkin of Iowa complained about sweatshops in Bangladesh. Some shops closed. Then Oxfam discovered that kids who were laid off often turned to prostitution to support themselves.

"The person who tries to get you fired is not your friend," Henderson said.

The conglomerates that hire people in poor countries usually pay more than local employers do. In Honduras, many sweatshops pay $3.10 per hour. That's low to us, but most Hondurans earn less than two dollars an hour.

Since Third World countries do not pursue free-market policies, worker opportunities are often foreclosed by self-serving politicians. So multinational sweatshops are usually people's best alternative. Humanitarians should target the politicians, not the factories that provide some hope.

Interfering with peaceful exchange is never a good idea. The great 19th-century liberal Richard Cobden was right when he praised free trade for "drawing men together, thrusting aside the antagonism of race, and creed, and language, and uniting us in the bonds of eternal peace."

John Stossel is host of Stossel on the Fox Business Network. He's the author of Give Me a Break and of Myth, Lies, and Downright Stupidity. To find out more about John Stossel, visit his site at johnstossel.com.

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  • ||

    COOTER LIKES THIS STOFFEL GUY. HE HAS LOTS OF SPACES AND MOST OF THE WORDS ARE SMALL ENOUGH FOR COOTER TO UNDERSTAN' AND HE TELLS COOTER THINGS TO THINK ON

  • ||

    Stossel wants em to take our jerbs!!!

  • HMFIC||

    Impeccable circular logic as always Mr Stossel.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    "If it's good to Buy American," Henderson said, "why isn't it good to have Buy Alabaman? And if it's good to have Buy Alabaman, why isn't it good to have Buy Montgomery, Ala.? And if it's good to have Buy Montgomery, Ala. ..."

    I only buy stuff I made myself.

  • Suki||

    The buy Alabamian thingie sounds like the whole Luddite "buy local" thing. I am sure some commie will come along and tell us how they are different.

  • $6M RoboTorso||

    John only boinks women he made himself. Right, dead Suki?

  • ||

    I've spent some time around the middle class hipster utopias that are into all that buy local stuff. The good thing
    about it for them, it really does make it possible for people to do stuff they like and get paid for it, have fun at work making a dresser all slow, then go home drink craft beers, tend garden, talk Chomsky, etc. Pretty sweet.

  • Barry Loberfeld||

    The buy Alabamian thingie sounds like the whole Luddite "buy local" thing.

    Yup, that's the Left's actual progression — buy national, buy state, buy local ... pick your own berries for food.

  • Zeb||

    What? I thought the left was a bunch of commies who wanted us all to live on collective farms or work at collective tractor factories.

  • wareagle||

    because collectivism has always worked so well.

  • Zeb||

    Just pointing out the absurdity of one day saying "the left" is marxist collectivist and another that they want us all to be self-sufficient foragers. Making sweeping generalizations about large, vaguely defined swaths of people's views is always a bad idea. Any statement saying "the left [or the right or libertarians] all think X" is a foolish, pointless overgeneralization.

  • ||

    'They' want us villagized. trapped in small areas that are vaguely suspicious of the other small areas nearby. The only overarching structure they want us to trust is the government--but trust isn't needed if normal human xenophobia can be used to keep you from joining up with the people on the other side of the hill.

  • Joe||

    And fifty lashes and taxation to any village that produces to much!

  • anon||

    "The Left" does want us all to work at collective tractor factories and work on collective farms. Locally.

  • anonymous commenter some guy||

    The left is many things.

    All of them involve telling you what to do and how to do it.

  • BradK||

    Sort of like social conservatives?

  • Patrick S.||

    liberals, social conservatives, and neocons are pretty much the same people

  • Patrick S.||

    liberals, social conservatives, and neocons are pretty much the same people

  • Joe M||

    Well I guess we can all go home now.

  • BigT||

    I only buy stuff I made myself with my right hand.

  • anon||

    Dude, why would you buy that much semen when it's free?

  • Suki||

    Said good morning to you on Morning Links.

  • Suki||

    Predicting morning links for the proles at 9:00AM.

  • Suki||

    Ding, Ding, Ding!

  • ||

    Me too. But I'm going on strike. I'm not making anything until I get a raise.

  • rather||

    Closing  sweatshops ≠ prostitution

  • rather retarded||

    My pussy odor is so strong I have to pay the customer to have sex with me.

  • WTF||

    Not enough gambol.

  • Suki||

    +1

  • Skr||

    Closing sweatshops = gamboling.

  • Patrick S.||

    what an obnoxious article

  • rather||

    Speaking of pussy

  • BUY CHINESE SLAVE LABOR SHIT||

    HELP AN AMERICAN CAPITALIST

    John Stossel say it is logical.

  • Steve Jobs||

    Don't. You will end up in hell. With me.

  • Suki||

    You know who else wore black mock turtlenecks.

  • ||

  • Suki||

    Okay, him too.

  • ||

    Gary Hart?

  • ||

    Sterling Archer?

    Ok, it's a tactical turtleneck, but still...

  • Suki||

    I was thinking that fashionable Italian from the 1920's.

  • Enzo Ferrari||

    Me?

  • ||

    Mussolini?

  • Suki||

    Are you under the impression that the "American Capitalist" waltzed into China and threatened the Red Army at gunpoint to take over the labor force?

  • CHINESE SLAVE BETTER OFF||

    IN CAPITALIST PLANTATION THAN NASTY BRUTISH SHORT VILLAGE.

    John "Southern Gentleman" Stossel say it is logical.

  • CalebT||

    Is it as stupid as picking a fight with a professional wrestler?

  • Joe M||

    Why you bringin up old shit?

  • John Stossel||

    I could have kicked his ass.

  • John Stossel||

    And yeah, it's STILL fake.

  • WTF||

  • Suki||

    Sounds like the girl who was raped and robbed. The OWS citizen's patrol is hot on the trail of that one, making sure their little hippy party does not get bad press over it.

  • No snitch rule in effect....||

    ...Rapists and robbers delight -- State helps them by banning self-defense weapons.

  • Oh, My!||

    She was obviously a threat to the Homeland and State Security walking around with no papers -- cannot have that in the New World Order.

  • ||

    I'd go out of my way to "Buy American" only under the following conditions:

    1) American manufacturers could produce it on the cheap without ridiculous subsidies,
    2) They could actually make their products last and not,
    and
    3) Didn't advertise how "American" their goods are.

  • Joe M||

    Eliminate minimum wage laws and prices for domestically-produced goods will drop.

  • Realist||

    Get rid of unions.

  • ||

    Yep, possibly, but I think the biggest problem are the government barriers to raw materials like lumber, oil, steel, etc. Even with an elimination of the price floors on labor, I don't think prices would drop enough to be competitive.

  • BelowTheRim||

    How about barriers to even possess at all materials like Hemp?

    Hemp might just be the most diverse raw material on the planet. It is also a biofuel. Nobody ever talks about Hemp...except sometimes Ron Paul

  • Metazoan||

    True, but the market wage here might still be higher...

    I agree with the 'Stache on this one.

  • Montani Semperi Liberi||

    Question: Which is more American? A Subaru made in Indiana, or a Chevy made in Mexico?

  • Suki||

    Ford F-250!

  • Matrix||

    *BARF!*

  • Zeb||

    Yeah, we get it, you drive a big truck. Now go away.

  • ||

    is this like the gaza/somewhereelse comparison?

  • Suki||

    Yes, with an optional generator.

  • ||

    a generator option can pretty much sell me anything.

  • ||

    Get heavy duty suspension and you can mount a quad 50 on that baby.

  • Mike||

    Gao- shouldn't civillians be limited to single .50 caliber automatic rifles? Anything more would be destructive, and have limited use for personal protection. Especially if they're painted black. On the plus side, you wouldn't need suspension mods.

  • ||

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11.....ss&emc=rss

    Lenore McAllister, 30, arrived from Danville, about 22 miles east, with her three children, ages 4, 3 and 1. Her 4-year-old daughter held a sign that read, “Toddlers are the 99 percent and even we share.”

    Her children thought they were at a parade, Ms. McAllister said. “I support the Occupy Oakland movement,” she added. “I’m here to teach my children to share by teaching the banks to share.”

  • Suki||

    The banks do share when you buy their stock.

  • Matrix||

    Well, when you deposit money into the bank, they share by paying interest on your deposit. but interest rates are so low that deposits' yield on interest is really low. So, at this time, it is a waste of money to 'save'.

  • Suki||

    Then buy the stock instead of making a deposit and see how that works out for you.

  • anonymous commenter some guy||

    Pro tip: Only buy stock in the really big banks because they are the only ones guaranteed to get bailed out next time.

  • KDN||

    True story, my mother tried to get my brother, sister, and I to donate some of our toys to charity when we were kids (9, 3, and 6 respectively) and we completely refused, although we had no problems letting our friends borrow our stuff or sharing amongst each other (unless one of us was using the toy the other wanted). Children also don't take kindly to forced sharing.

    Looking back on it, it was kind of silly that she wanted us to donate anything to "the poor" then since we were on the cusp of being so.

  • ||

    it was kind of silly that she wanted us to donate anything to "the poor" then since we were on the cusp of being so.

    She was hoping you wouldn't notice when you got the toys back next Xmas.

  • Suki||

    +10 ROFL

  • KDN||

    Heh. Probably. She is Jewish, after all.

  • ||

    Good idea! Thanks.

  • Suki||

    Did she make you call her "Mommy Dearest?"

  • Joe||

    I think it's great, 'she tried to get...' she didn't force you to. It would be another thing if she decided what you were going to do with your toys and then tried to get you on board. I can tell you donating to charity can bring you happiness, but if I force you to do it, it will have the opposite effect, and you will probably start hoarding your toys. That's why redistribution embitters societies, just ask West Germany who get taxed a unification tax on each paycheck.

  • JohnD||

    This woman is too stupid to have children. Someone call DFACS

  • wareagle||

    where is child protective services when really needed? What this woman is teaching her young is just as abusive as that fool TX judge with his belt.

  • ||

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11.....ss&emc=rss

    Lenore McAllister, 30, arrived from Danville, about 22 miles east, with her three children, ages 4, 3 and 1. Her 4-year-old daughter held a sign that read, “Toddlers are the 99 percent and even we share.”

    Her children thought they were at a parade, Ms. McAllister said. “I support the Occupy Oakland movement,” she added. “I’m here to teach my children to share by teaching the banks to share.”

  • WTF||

    “I’m here to teach my children to share by teaching the banks to share.”

    Holy shit, that's some first class stupid.

  • Suki||

    +69

  • Matrix||

    Maybe if the government slashed corporate taxes and got rid of many of the stringent regulations imposed on companies, that would free up a lot of capital that could be invested in hiring American workers.

    However, poor people in other countries need jobs as much or more than unemployed Americans. What's with all this hate for people living in other countries by both conservatives and liberals?

  • Sam||

    American conservatives and liberals don't get votes from foreigners.

  • Suki||

    American conservatives and liberals don't get votes from foreigners.
    FTFY

  • ||

    Tough shit. That is not America or its government's problem. I am all for free trade. But that is because it is in this country's best interest not because it is good for anyone else.

  • NotSure||

    People should have a right to buy America if they want. I just don't see your typical left or right wing protectionist wanting to pay double for the same computer just because it was made in America.

  • Suki||

    But the typical leftie advocates paying 4x for a "local" tomato.

  • ||

    My wife and I have a business idea. Washington DC is full of squirels and racoons. There is pretty much an endless supply of both in Rock Creek Park. So I would like to get the city to let me take my varmint rifle and start hunting them. And then we can sell the meat at about $8 a pound to local yuppies as "local, sustainable, free range, organic" meat.

  • Suki||

    Use tree snares and don't tell anybody where you are getting the organic goodies :)

  • ||

    *hilarity ensues*

  • Sam||

    hilarity's my fav

  • anon||

    While you're at it get me one of those 500 or so local varmint running around DC creating laws nobody wants.

  • Mike||

    Just one?

  • JMW||

    The sad part is they'd probably buy it if they didn't know what animal it came from.

    You'd have to make up something catchy to keep people from finding out they're dining on Ranger Rick.

  • ||

    I went to a gun show in Texas one time. And there was a group trying to sell nutria meat. A nutria is a giant rat from South America that has invaded Lousiana. Naturalists are trying to get them hunted out because they are very damaging to the local flora and fauna. They sold the meat as "a South American game animal".

  • WWNGD||

    What do you have against marketing?

  • Juice||

    Actually nutria is pretty decent (and I don't mind them, they don't bother me).

  • l0b0t||

    A large portion of the blame for the nutria problem can be laid at the feet of Old Man Mcllhenny (maker of Tobasco sauce). He imported them in the early 20th century in a fruitless attempt to become a major player in the fur industry. They have done a tremendous amount of damage in Louisiana so the state pays a bounty of $5.00 per tail and they are fun varmints to hunt with the .22 round.

  • ||

    "creek veal"
    "swamp oysters"
    "rock creek ribs"

    that's all i got

  • FlyoverCountry||

    "Creek Veal" gets my vote. Folksy and classy at the same time.

  • Mike||

    "Dupont cutlet"
    "Tofoon"
    Or, the highly marketable, "Sustainable, local,organic protein product."

  • Suki||

    Some ancient B&W movie had POWs selling rat meat to officers. Seemed plausible.

  • JMW||

    Might not work these days.

    Not just "Ew! Gross!" but also "Did I just contract rabies?"

  • ||

    Thorough cooking doesn't eliminate the rabies?

  • JMW||

    I wouldn't know - I haven't [knowingly] eaten raccoon.

  • Suki||

    The POWs did not reveal that it was rat. They called it something else.

  • JMW||

    "New York rabbit"?

  • anon||

    Squirrels are basically rats with tails. I imagine they taste about the same.

  • ||

    King Rat.

  • Cliché Bandit||

    squab is pigeon...so that means you can charge more.

  • ||

    And not bad.

  • Zeb||

    Tomatoes are a special exception. You cannot buy a good tomato at the grocery store for any price.

  • l0b0t||

    ^^THIS^^
    However, purchasing expensive heirloom tomatoes seems silly to me as tomatoes are (along with cannabis and bean sprouts) about the easiest plants to grow at home.

  • Zeb||

    Depends on where you live. A lot of the heirloom varieties ripen pretty late.

  • Brandon||

    Pretty much. When they are bred for bruise resistance and easy transportation, they seem to lose a great deal of the "tomato" flavor.

  • Zeb||

    They are also generally picked before they are fully ripe, which means that even though they may change color, they still are not properly ripened.

  • anon||

    Not entirely true, different try a different grocery store. I've learned that my local Kroger seems to get their freshest veggies on Tuesday.

  • anon||

    Then again, I live in central NC. Probably a lot quicker trip from the farm to the grocery store here.

  • FartsMcGee||

    Have you actually been to a Farmers Market? I go regularly and I am not a "typical leftie." Quite the opposite, in fact. And I can tell you that it's not necessarily true that local produce is more expensive. Sure, some of it is. But I don't buy the expensive stuff.

    Hyperbole aside, there are certainly many goods that would be absurdly and pointlessly expensive to source within the US. However, there *are* certain goods that make more sense to purchase locally or "American." Depending on where you live, I think food is one of them. When presented with the option of buying, say, apples from Chile or apples from the state of Washington (or, better yet, my own state), I will choose the latter every time.

  • l0b0t||

    We are having a brouhaha here in NYC right now as it has been revealed that the city is importing apples from China for school/institutional use even though NY is second only to WA in apple production.

  • ||

    Better yet, free from my parents' back yard.

  • dj kumquat||

    i could probably be accused of being a right leaning libertarian at the ballot box and a progressive when it comes to some spending habits. i've been to plenty of farmer's markets and never seen this magical 4x tomato. i prefer local and organic because it almost always tastes better (freshness counts) and poison does have a health care cost. so does shipping stuff across the globe (fuel = war and pollution, etc...). not only that, but a lot of the locals selling their produce are pretty small time. so the man isn't interested in taxing them for the few hundred extra dollars they make. more than happy to support that free market. as for fair trade coffee, that premium for green beans isn't being passed on to the american consumer. a quick scan of the bulk aisle in my area shows that it's far cheaper than the non fair trade hipster coffees and about the same as starbucks and the old-school players. folgers is awful, and there's no low quality fair trade players out there that i know of, so the comparison doesn't work. but compare equal exchange (employee owned co-op) to starbucks to stumptown to green mountain (all corporate, and bogus fair trade). even if fair trade were more, consider the premium a voluntary form of charity. no one's imposing you pay extra. like choosing to work in a private school over a more lucrative public school career, there's more to the economic equation for these sorts of decisions than another one of stossel's simple minded columns make it seem. really wish reason would dump him. he dumbs everything down. cheers!

  • Professional Critic||

    I pay more for local tomatoes because they taste better generally. But that's a function of tomatoes and ripening, not some overarching economic philosophy.

    I won't buy a local apple, for example, for twice the price, because they store well and Washington state does a fine job growing them.

  • ||

    "But the typical leftie advocates paying 4x for a "local" tomato."

    You can't put a price on sanctimony.

  • KDN||

    I recall a fun table from the textbook of my International Trade class that the deadweight cost was about $250k for every textile job that existed in America in 2000. I'd really like someone to explain how that's actually good for the country or the world.

  • Suki||

    A lot of that came from over-regulation of American mills to the point that they could no longer compete on price or quality. I recall something about "brown lung" here in the US.

  • ||

    And Unions of course. Norma Rae was great until the mill closed and everyone lost their jobs.

  • Suki||

    Was sort of including the unions in that. They are always calling for legislated and contracted rules that make things more expensive.

  • ||

    And then protectionism when the businesses can no longer compete.

  • JMW||

    It's not just Americans who think Buy Local is patriotic. Even us Canucks are in on it.

  • ||

    John's economic analysis is spot on, of course, but my concern with buying products made in China goes beyond economics. By doing so are we not helping to support a brutal regime? I would not buy products from my local supermarket if I knew the owner beat his wife, why should I buy from China if I know the government abuses its citizens? Also, the "sweatshop" idea, while true that many are voluntary jobs that the workers wouldn't have any better option, in some cases the "sweatshops" are worked by slave labour - as in people who are actual slaves and unable to choose. I cannot morally support such a business.

  • Juice||

    Trade will eventually turn the brutal regime into something less brutal. Eventually. It's been a 60 year mistake to cut off all trade with Cuba. Castro would have been gone long ago if the people of Cuba had the means. With few exceptions (Saudi Arabia) oppressive regimes don't stick around very long when the people are relatively well off and can afford to depose them. On the flip side, if the people get so poor that the only thing they have to lose is their life, an oppressive regime won't stick around too long either (Egyptian, French and Russian Revolutions).

  • ||

    if the people get so poor that the only thing they have to lose is their life

    Hence Cuba's highquality free healthcare.

  • Suki||

    That was the old conventional wisdom. It is not looking like giving the slaves a choice for toothpaste disarms the slave masters.

  • anon||

    Trade has already turned Communist China into a more capitalist economic system than our own.

  • ||

    It's not the economic communism I object to; they are free to organize themselves as they see fit. It's the fact that China murders its own citizens who exercise political dissent and has no accountability for its myriad human rights abuses.

  • BradK||

    Like the way the Oakland PD thugs regard the Occupy Oakland kiddies?

    I say this not out of any solidarity with OWS and whatever their demands-of-the-moment happen to be but I do support their right to speak their minds, misdirected as they may be.

    The irony of course is that these kids are asking for MORE government intervention in their lives and in the economy, MORE programs, MORE regulations, MORE bureaucracy...all the while getting their heads beaten in by agents of the state.

  • Concerned Citizen||

    Aren't the OWSers breaking windows in Oakland? Violating others' private property rights deserves a good thumping.

  • BradK||

    Vandalism is not the same as protesting.

    I didn't quite follow last night's goings on at the port, but the police action last week at the park could have occurred in Tienanmen square. They waited until the middle of the night when most people were asleep then marched in with riot gear, tear gas and flash grenades, the whole riot police fun pack.

    And since this "action" involved not just OPD but those from surrounding municipalities as well, they all got to deny any wrongdoing on the part of their own agency and blamestorm the other agencies.

    This is just the sort of over-the-top reactionary approach that could create empathy for the occupiers, potentially moving them from a fringe element to more mass acceptance.

    I don't want OWS running the country but neither do I want to live in a police state (any more that the one we have now).

  • BelowTheRim||

    BradK and Concerned citizen...

    Good discourse and logical. If I was Suki I would say:

    +1 for each of you...or +40 or something like that.

  • ||

    Many of us are glad you don't work for ABC anymore, John. You're much easier to avoid now.

    PS - Your grammar could use some serious attention. Consider using an editor.

  • Arcaster||

    Apparently not easy enough.

  • Muad' Dib||

    I am an exponent of the free market, and I don't see how 'price is the only measuring stick' is a valid argument. Consumers in a free market can assign value howsoever they choose. For instance, I brew my own beer and purchase craft beer at premium prices because I place a premium value on taste. I could buy so called national brands (I realize that they are no longer American owned)which are indisputably cheaper, but I am not in the market for flavorless beer. I don't dispute the fallacy of the buy American argument, only that I should not be told how to buy anything. The message should be that you are free to buy whatever you like.

  • NeonCat||

    I agree. One ought to include quality in one's decision making process as well. Maybe the Pointer Brand jeans made in Tennessee are better than what's been sewn in Guangzhou, maybe not.

    I was flipping through a trade publication (my company is in the logistics business) the other day that said by the middle part of this decade they estimate that the costs of manufacturing something in the South or Mid-South would only be about 10-15% more expensive than manufacturing in China. If true, it starts to make a lot more sense to buy American at that point.

  • Ray Pew||

    I don't dispute the fallacy of the buy American argument, only that I should not be told how to buy anything. The message should be that you are free to buy whatever you like.

    Agreed, but the "Buy American" ideal is well established in the conservative mindset and perpetuates the false idea that we are destroying ourselves by not imposing tariffs, taxes on outsourced companies, and every other trade barrier they can contrive. Stossel's article is unfortunately easy to construe as an attack on American made goods.

  • FartsMcGee||

    Finally! You really have to scroll through Reason comments for what seems like an eternity to reach some sort of sensible discussion.

    I agree entirely with you. For most consumers, factors other than price come into play when making purchasing decisions. We have varying standards of value and purchase accordingly. This is why I prefer to shop at farmers markets (i.e., the loonie leftist socialist hippie fair) and local farms for most of my dairy, produce and meat. I place a premium value on the taste, quality, and manner in which my food is sourced. As a consumer, it is my right to make that choice.

  • Metazoan||

    Yes! Exactly. I love shopping at farmers markets... I actually end up paying less for what I believe are higher-quality goods. It's also a pleasant experience for me. Everyone has the right to buy whatever food they want, but that means that if I place a value on organic, locally grown foods (I'm allergic to several pesticides), I am fully entitled to buy organic, locally grown foods.

  • dj kumquat||

    fartsmcgee, you're speaking my language.

  • ||

    Ummm..buying the cheapest stuff so we can buy more cheap stuff is hardly a great argument. Its not just about stimulating the economy and corporations. We have too much crap, we spend our money on too much crap, and we dump it in landfills. Environmental issues are economic issues as well.

  • Britt||

    You watched that retarded YouTube video, didn't you?

  • Skr||

    That's not the argument. If there are two goods that are identical except for origin and price you should buy the least expensive regardless of origin. Those goods could be crap or they could be awesome. The article makes no distinction either way. Since most people don't have unlimited funds, they are always going to have goods that they cannot afford but wish to purchase. Those desired goods may be crap or may be awesome.

  • ||

    Maybe, if your only choice is crap, you don't buy the crap and save even more money.

  • sevo||

    "We have too much crap, we spend our money on too much crap, and we dump it in landfills."
    We? Got a mouse in your pocket?
    ------------------------------
    "Environmental issues are economic issues as well."
    Put a market price on landfills and we'll talk.

  • JMW||

    We have too much crap, we spend our money on too much crap, and we dump it in landfills

    Lefty almost makes it sound as though the second-hand market [like thrift stores] just doesn't exist.

  • anon||

    I, for one, do not have "too much crap."

  • ||

    There's no such thing as "too much crap."
    And anyway, who will feed the bums and seagulls if we stop dumping in landfills?

  • ||

    Have you not seen the television show Hoarders?

  • JMW||

    Are you implying that because we live in a society that has abundant material wealth that we're somehow to blame for the problems of hoarders, and that if we all cut back on our material wealth they'd get better?

    Tell me that's not what you meant.

  • Yet another Dave||

    You wouldn't get very good stuff if everything you bought came Montgomery, Ala.

    I'm wondering if there's a lot of really offended workers in Montgomery now.

    To the real point, though - "Buy American" campaigns have always bothered me because I've always felt that if American workers could build me a product I actually want at a price I'm willing to pay for it, I'll buy it. Instead of investing their time in process improvement and quality assurance, American companies invest in slick ad campaigns designed to play on my heartstrings, trying to make me feel like I'm less of an American because I don't make a big deal about looking for the "Made in USA" labels when I'm at Walmart.

    I've had friends that have given me crap because I drive a Honda. Never mind that my Accord was built in Marysville, Ohio by American factory workers, and many Ford, GM and Chrysler products are shipped in from Japan, Germany and Mexico, it's got that big "H" on the hood and I apparently should be ashamed. I'm not. Honda builds the cars I want and sells them for a price I'm willing to pay. The fact that they have factories here in the USA and the Hondas I've owned have come off of those assembly lines is merely a bonus.

    "Buy American" makes workers lazy. It guarantees that there will be at least a certain segment of the market out there ready to buy whatever overpriced crap American companies churn out simply because it's "our patriotic duty" to do so.

    If the government wants to do anything to help the situation, then just ensure that any other country that sells products here is playing by the rules, i.e., products not produced by slave labor, etc. Keep the playing field level that way, and then make the American companies step up their game to ensure they're competitive. Then everyone wins.

  • plusafdotcom||

    spot on! reminded me of the time my ex "home town" tried to push a "buy local"... ie, buy from "our town's vendors" policy.

    problem was for me: i needed a new car at the time and the best car to meet my needs was made by a company which didn't have a dealership in "my town," so i had to drive about three miles from my house to get the car i wanted.

    what these people don't realize IS the utter stupidity of all the Buy Local stuff.

    unfortunately, my new "home town" is in North Carolina and i love to have an orange or two at breakfast, and there just aren't too damned many orange farmers in North Carolina.

    the obvious solution, according to them, is "do without or change your tastes, wants, desires or diet."

    thank you SO much, all of you, for that wonderful suggestion.

    but they just don't get it.

    you're spot on. once you say Buy Local, you have to lines around your neighborhood, town or city, county or parrish, state AND country, and if, by then, the stupidity of the idea hasn't hit you, it never will.

    for them, it never will.

    great post!

  • Arcaster||

    If the government wants to do anything to help the situation, then just ensure that any other country that sells products here is playing by the rules, i.e., products not produced by slave labor, etc. Keep the playing field level that way, and then make the American companies step up their game to ensure they're competitive. Then everyone wins.

    How would the government go about enforcing this? Tariffs on imports from such countries? Why punish American consumers?

  • Yet another Dave||

    The government bans products from coming into this country all the time, why not ensure that any manufactured goods allowed to enter the country were produced on the up-and-up?

    All I'm saying is that the American workers deserve a level playing field. If other countries are using underhanded methods like sweatshop labor to keep the prices of their products artificially low, that's not a fair labor practice. If, however, the problem is that American workers are too lazy or greedy to produce a superior (or at least equal) product at a superior (or at least equal) price, then that's on their heads, and I do agree with Stossel in the regard that they shouldn't be trying to make me feel un-American for my unwillingness to be an overpriced, inferior product.

  • Arcaster||

    The squirrels can go fuck themselves.

    1) What right does anyone have to prohibit me and another adult from freely trading the products of our labor?

    2) How are you going to level the playing field? Export the EPA and OSHA?

    Sure, it sucks that some American workers temporarily lose jobs, but they also lose jobs to new technologies. Should we ban new innovations in an effort to protect jobs? Should we force one company that uses computers and robots to produce things quicker and cheaper to charge the same as a company that doesn't?

    Basically, any government meddling in trade makes people poorer. It might not be the people in the immediate vicinity, but fucking with trade does harm more people than it helps.

  • anon||

    ATMS ARE KILLING ALL OUR JERBS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!11111111111111111111111one

  • Ray Pew||

    All I'm saying is that the American workers deserve a level playing field.

    No. You are arguing for hamstringing everyone else, and thereby forcing all consumers to pay more, so that American workers can exist in a field where they do not have a comparative advantage.

  • plusafdotcom||

    :) yep, true.

    and i guess he never saw any video or article about how "eliminating slave labor and child labor" results in kids NOT being able to hold those jobs, so they must turn to their only alternative employment in order to bring in some more money to the family... prostitution.

    law of unintended consequences strikes again...

  • ##||

    Then it becomes an enforcement problem. How do we know exactly what underhanded practices a foreign country is using? Do we require them to allow us to inspect every company and their entire manufacturing infrastructure before we can do business? What happens if a few companies are underhanded but most aren't? Do we then ban products from the entire country until they can prove that every business is in compliance? We can't even guarantee that here much less in another country. What sounds good in theory is often impossible to put into practice.

  • Tony||

    I love the "we should celebrate sweatshop child labor because otherwise they'd go into prostitution" argument. Talk about aiming high. It could just as easily be "we shouldn't care about child prostitution, because they'd just be working in sweatshops otherwise." They're both bad right?

    I don't expect consumers to apply morality to their consumption, but they should at least realize that the reason they don't have a job is because they are competing with low-wage Asian children.

    The borderless moral universalism of this argument is precious, but I really don't think people who constantly argue for American workers to accept lower standards for themselves (yep, for the common good) really care all that much about the welfare of foreigners. I think the business interests these ideas align with just like making more money.

  • Skr||

    Those children could be perennially on the verge of starvation through subsistence farming while performing back breaking labor every day until they die. Yeah that's definitely better.

  • sevo||

    "...they are competing with low-wage Asian children."
    No, shithead. Only you are stupid enough to take a job which can be done by low-wage Asian children.

  • anon||

    Not to mention the fact that those "low-wage Asian children" are learning the value of supporting yourself.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Tony the Pederast,

    I love the "we should celebrate sweatshop child labor because otherwise they'd go into prostitution"


    That's because you want them for yourself.

    You louse.

  • ||

    John Stossel is an idiot. I realized that when I saw him open his mouth on TV, and now I see it in his writing. Several things this jerk doesn’t understand; Buying local IS a good idea. It keeps your neighbors employed and able to buy whatever it is you make/sell. Each locality makes only a very few things. You simply can’t go through your whole life buying only things made in Birmingham, Alabama, because Birmingham doesn’t make everything you need. You have to reach out for many things. But, as far as you can keep your money local, do so.
    Also, protectionism is the best way we know of to counteract being flooded with foreign made goods that are subsidized by other governments. Many, many foreign governments offer heavy perks and direct subsidies to their manufacturers to generate positive foreign trade. If the foreign goods carried the full price of their manufacture and shipping, local and national firms here would be much better equipped to compete on price.
    And, did he really just say it’s better to abuse children in sweatshops than to close the sweatshops, because then the kids become whores? He didn’t did he?
    Like I said ... a moron.

  • Arcaster||

    So the U.S. government should punish U.S. consumers because a foreign government economically harms its citizens?

    http://cafehayek.com/2010/10/i.....-wars.html

    Also, protectionism is the best way we know of to counteract being flooded with foreign made goods that are subsidized by other governments.

    Holy shit! They're trying to sell us things we want for low prices! We can't have that!

    Also, what part of taking away the best of a few bad options harming those that do must choose between those options do you not understand?

    http://www.jewishworldreview.c.....52610.php3

    Willfully ignorant people like you harm so many more people than you help.

  • Apatheist||

    "Also, protectionism is the best way we know of to counteract being flooded with foreign made goods that are subsidized by other governments."

    Why is this a problem? A foreign government subsidizes a product so I can buy it cheaper, wonderful!

    Also why do your neighbors deserve the business over someone from China? Are you saying Chinese people are inferior? I buy local all the time when there is a business I want to support but if they produce shitty overpriced goods I'll go to walmart and get something better for cheaper (a walmart that is managed by and employs your neighbors that you are so worried about).

  • ||

    Cuz dem er stealin our jerbs!!!

  • ##||

    "If the foreign goods carried the full price of their manufacture and shipping, local and national firms here would be much better equipped to compete on price."

    I don't think you realize what you're asking. I work for an electronics manufacturer. We try to make and buy as much as we can in the US but the chassis for one of our major products costs roughly $100 including shipping from China. The best we could find on a locally produced chassis was $300. Look at every Chinese product that you buy and ask yourself if you could afford to pay 2 to 3 times as much for it. Yes, protectionism would make US firms better able to compete in a market where people can no longer afford their product. This helps how?

  • sevo||

    Big Dave brought big stupid with *that* post.
    Hey, Big Dave! Try something other than Scrooge McDuck for econ studies.

  • anon||

    Then simply don't buy anything not made within 50 miles of wherever you live. Go ahead.

    You'll find you're going to have to learn to do with a -lot- of stuff. Like your computer.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Big Dave,

    Buying local IS a good idea. It keeps your neighbors employed and able to buy whatever it is you make/sell.


    You're an idiot, BD. Unless your community happens to be on the very Moon, it makes no sense to buy local everything. The poster child of economic autarky [which is what you advocate] is North Korea - EVERYTHING there is local, even the starvation.

  • Pinker: MARXIST Nonesense ||

    According to Gray, Pinker’s book ‘testifies to our enduring need for faith’, but ‘the result is no more credible than the efforts of Marxists to show the scientific necessity of socialism’.

    Delusions of peace
    John Gray
    21st September 2011 — Prospect Issue 187
    Stephen Pinker argues that we are becoming less violent. Nonsense, says John Gray
    http://www.prospectmagazine.co.....ce-review/

  • oops, wrong article||

  • ||

    Most of the time I agree with Reason, but I disagree with this one. When ever possible I try to buy as local as possible. It pumps money into the place you live and work. I don't mind paying 5-10% more for a product if it is locally made. As for buying your home town, why not if you can? You are more than likely to have a relationship with the actual owner of the company vs someone who does not know your needs.

    As for manufacturing overseas in 3rd world countries, do it at your own risk. You risk a greater chance of patents being stolen and technology being duplicated. You do not have as much direct oversight. I will leave with a quote from Jim Jannard from about a month ago. (He is the founder of the sunglass company Oakley, and camera company RED.)

    "Where things are made matters. Every company also needs accounting, legal, support, etc. Businesses put people to work in a number of ways. If everything is made outside the country, it won't be long before brands are built where stuff is made. You can already see brands springing up in China.

    Japan began building stuff for American companies (brands)... then quickly started building brands themselves before taking over the world of business as it related to electronics. Companies that manufacture in Asia are inadvertently helping them get started.

    We are empowering China to build the future. It doesn't have to be so. If companies don't get back to inventing, engineering and producing in the US, we are likely to become solely a service and distribution country... which is OK if that is all we aspire to be. But it certainly would disappoint me.

    Americans have a history of being brave, ingenious and entrepreneurial. "

    http://reduser.net/forum/showt......../page23

  • Arcaster||

    When ever possible I try to buy as local as possible.

    If that's what you want to do, I'm glad you're able to do that. I prefer getting the best deal for my dollar. The problem is when the guys with guns force me to buy local by either banning or artificially raising prices of products produced somewhere else.

  • ||

    I completely agree. You should not be forced to, and I am against protectionism (But for buying local). Like most things in life, I believe it is and should be a choice.

  • sevo||

    "I don't mind paying 5-10% more for a product if it is locally made."
    Goodie for you. Just don't make me do it.

  • Zeb||

    I sympathize with buy local a lot more than buy American for the same reasons. People in my local community matter to me, but I have no more affinity to a stranger living on the other side of the US than to a Chinese factory worker.

  • ##||

    "I don't mind paying 5-10% more for a product if it is locally made."

    And that's what you're not understanding. My employer has been wrestling with trying to buy locally versus China and while some things may only be 5-10% more, for manufactured goods the difference is often more like 100-200% more.

  • ||

    comparative advantage is a concept liberals are genetically incapable of grasping, in my experience. not a single one has ever understood it

  • Union member||

    Bullshit. We should go back to the 1950s, when America had 50% of the world's manufacturing. Then the companies can give in to every union demand, while foreign nations rebuild their factories, and compete against us with factories that are 70 years newer than yours. Wait, what?

  • anon||

    Don't forget those good ole' days of law-imposed rationing since we were spending all our moneys on war efforts! Man those days ROCKED!

  • Concerned Citizen||

    Actually, that wasn't bad - the Fed didn't have total control of our currency, so they had to sell war bonds to pay for the war. I have a 1942 silver certificate that entitles me to 1 dollar of silver. The words "Federal Reserve" do no appear on it.

  • ||

    Look, comparative advantage is fine in theory, but not everyone can be a white collar, high-tech lawyer. A strong, robust society has to be more diverse than that, and that is inclusive of the labor force. Some people are better at working in factories, some want to build cabinets, some excel in designing electronic circuits on silicon, and some are bes suited to run companies. It's the way it all works. You wouldn't ask your foot to pick up your cup of coffee or swing your hammer would you? Comparative advantage concept has been taken too far.

  • BelowTheRim||

    Illini you clown. You just described part of comparative advantage. Trade is good, diverse trade is even better. If you can't compete...do something else. It is that simple

  • ||

    "That frees up more of our resources to buy other things, and other Americans get jobs producing those things.""

    Except what happens when it doesn't? What happens when it just frees up more money to buy other foreign stuff. Then people lose their jobs because no one is buying their stuff, and eventually hardly anybody is working? Well at least until our wages drop down to compete.

  • sevo||

    "Well at least until our wages drop down to compete."
    Yeah, just like our wages dropped when the Japanese started importing stuff, right?

  • anon||

    I have to dispute the central premise of this argument just because it seems so fashionable recently:

    When we buy stuff from other countries, we pay them with USD. Those dollars have to come back to the US eventually, in some fashion. It's why the Dollar is pretty much the reserve currency of every nation; because every nation needs to buy stuff from America.

    Damnit, lunch break is over, someone else can take this over, but essentially EVERY US dollar out there comes back to America eventually. It's kind of a zero sum game with foreign trade (albeit long-term), simply due to the law of comparative advantage.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Kroneborge,

    Except what happens when it doesn't? What happens when it just frees up more money to buy other foreign stuff.


    Besides the fact that people can do whatever they please with their own FUCKING money and you can wipe your ass with yours if you so wish, is the fact that people can do whatever they wish with their own FUCKING money and you can go fuck yourself. How about that, K?

    YOU and the other mercantilists are NOBODY to tell ME what to do with MY FUCKING MONEY. Got that?

  • ||

    See my comment above about liberals being incapable of understanding the concept of comparative advantage...

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Califronian,

    See my comment above about liberals being incapable of understanding the concept of comparative advantage...


    Are you kidding me? Not only liberals - take a peek at Stossel's article in Townhall and read the comments. Conservatives are just as clueless and stupid when it comes to economics as their liberal counterparts. They're both sides of the same ugly-ass pig.

  • Arcaster||

    Sad but true. I was most glad to see Stossel getting a show on Fox Business because I thought he might enlighten some of the conservatives.

  • ||

    Yeah, by "liberals" I mean non-libertarians usually.

  • ||

    Hey OM suck a dick bitch.

    Nowhere did I state anything about telling you what to do with your money. Maybe next time you should do a bit more reading before running for fucking mouth.

    It's quite clear from our trade deficits over the last 40 years, that things have not evened out. Note I didn't advocate any particular government policy. But if people want to buy American, or buy local, there's nothing wrong with that.

    In fact, I often times buy from local business even when I can get it cheaper online because I like having an actual store I can go to. And I like keeping some of that money in the local community.

  • Arcaster||

    You know what a trade deficit means? Hint: It's not what you think.

    http://cafehayek.com/2011/10/o.....erica.html

    You're right that there's nothing wrong with people buying American or local if they want to, but some people have a bad habit of trying to force their preferences on others.

  • JMW||

    Are you kidding me? Not only liberals - take a peek at Stossel's article in Townhall and read the comments. Conservatives are just as clueless and stupid when it comes to economics as their liberal counterparts. They're both sides of the same ugly-ass pig.

    I just did look, and it's just like the OWS narrative, only with "jobs" switched in for "wealth".

    "The rich got wealthy by making people poor! Now the 99% is saddled with a debt they can't pay off because of the greedy 1%!"

    "Americans lost their jobs to foreigners so we could have cheap junk! Now they'll never work again and make money to be able to afford all that stuff!"

  • GW||

    This is a concept I *still* have a tough time wrapping my head around.

    I understand that buying the cheapest products is best for the entire market. But me being the asshole I am, I don't want what's best for the market as a whole, I want what is best for my portion of the market. So while buying the cheapest goods does create the most jobs, those jobs may not be here.

    And manufacturers moving production to cheaper countries doesn't really ensure that prices will be lower, because the price is determined by the market. GM could move ALL vehicle production to Mexico, but that doesn't mean the price of their vehicles will drop. It may just mean more profits for GM. Competition doesn't always mean lower prices and better service. Look at banks. For decades, banks were ONLY open during normal business hours, and closed every holiday they could conceive of. Why did it take YEARS for someone to figure out that they could get more business by staying open until 7 pm and being open on Saturdays? Interesting enough, with ATMs and online banking, that level of service is largely unneeded now. 30 years ago it would have been nice, and no one was doing it.

    Anyway, I digress. But that lower cost of production may not translate into a lower price on a car but instead those dollars wind up in the pockets of GM shareholders, but I can't make the connection as to how I, the consumer, benefits from that.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: GW,

    I understand that buying the cheapest products is best for the entire market.


    Buying the product that represents the greater VALUE for the buyer is what's best for the buyer. The market benefits from freedom to trade and contract; cheaper prices benefit the consumer and the producer.

    I don't want what's best for the market as a whole, I want what is best for my portion of the market.


    So does everybody else. Again, that's irrelevant. What's relevant is freedom, and if being an asshole includes HOBBLING my freedom to trade and contract, you will soon find yourself being a DEAD asshole - how about that?

  • ||

    It's like you don't know what competition is.

  • ||

    You make an excellent point. Cheaper products may mean more jobs, but not for us here in the US. Furthermore, what good are cheaper products if you don't have a job or wages to support your consumer habits. Stossel is an idiot!

  • Concerned Citizen||

    It isn't 1955 any more, and it won't be again. Adapt or die.

  • ||

    Don't know about the 50's, man...way before my time. I think you are still living in the 90's dude. You adhere to trade ideology from a decade and a half ago. Look around, man. The ivy league intellectuals on the left and the right sold you and everyone else a bill of goods that free trade and comparative advantage were all you needed. They told you that blue collar jobs were for losers and anyone who wanted to study a craft or take shop class was unmotivated. Now we have no skilled workers; just a bunch of iPOD using iDiots who think because they can surf the internet, they deserve a white collar job because that's their "comparative advantage", and let the "losers" in China sweat and make all the shit. Problem is we gave away the farm. Wake up, dude.

  • BelowTheRim||

    No Illini you are the idiot. It's about freedom. You choose what to buy and encounter the consequences.

    If the government didn't overtax and over regulate every industry Americans would start more businesses here. Most Americans I know prefer to live in America and sourcing jobs overseas would be more expensive.

    Sheesh. You make so many foolish points I can only assume you are a Chicago native bleeding heart who attends UI.

    I do know some smart Chicago people but you are not likely one of them.

  • ||

    I think you went off in the weeds. We're not debating consumer choice, we are debating the wisdom of outsourcing jobs. I agree with you that our industries are overtaxed and over regulated, but the driver behind outsource-mania is mostly the result of a different government policy, and that is a plethora of unfair trade treaties passed over the last two decades without Congress' approval.

    You're insight is partially correct, except that I've never lived in Chicago, am a life member of the NRA, and think gay people should go back into the closet. Not sure that qualifies me as lib, do you? Might be something of a Luddite, however. Do your opinions and views only fall into one of two categories: right or left? How sad for you if that is true. Open your eyes, for there is a whole new world out there where you are free to choose your own views and ideology. You can actually think for yourself and not have to be spoon fed all of your opinions. This might keep you from making foolish comments in public about people's political leanings that have nothing to do with the exchange.

  • DLM||

    GM could move ALL vehicle production to Mexico, but that doesn't mean the price of their vehicles will drop. It may just mean more profits for GM.

    It would if GM had no competition.

  • Arcaster||

    Without competition GM still wouldn't be able to charge more than what people are willing to pay.

  • GW||

    No, it doesn't mean anything. Only in markets with TONS of sellers and tons of buyers does an item reach commodity status - the cheapest product wins because the value is roughly the same for all of them.

    There simply aren't enough manufacturers of say, full size trucks, for moving production to Mexico to automatically trigger a price reduction.

    The profits on many of the retail goods you buy are insane, and the sellers could still make a very reasonable profit if they drastically lowered prices. So then why don't they? Because they don't have to.

    If people are willing to pay the higher price, why sell it cheaper?

  • ||

    Article: "We should buy things where they're cheapest. That frees up more of our resources to buy other things, and other Americans get jobs producing those things."

    .....Or we'll just buy MORE cheap stuff imported from China and make our trade deficit worse.

  • GW||

    See that's another thing I don't get. The trade deficit. Does it matter? So what if we buy way more stuff from them than they buy from us.

  • ||

    John, you are a complete and total moron. In case you haven't noticed, "NOT buying American" is what we've been doing for the last 30 years along with all the backroom trade deals pushed thru by the corporate lobby which have led to a plethora of one-sided trade agreements putting American workers at a disadvantage. Your logic of using Alabama as an example doesn't hold water either. It is generally good to buy local, but local has to have the resources and advantages to offer good products at a good value. America has that but the unfair trade treaties stacked the deck in favor of producing across both ponds and way down South across the border. John, if buy American is so stupid perhaps you should move to China so you buy more "non-American" goods. Oh, and go ahead and tout your support for Gay Marriage while your there. I'm sure they'd love to have you. Go away, John.

    P.S. What happened to you? I used to respect you.

  • Concerned Citizen||

    Buy American is okay as an advertising slogan. It sucks as gov't policy. See Smoot Hawley Tarriff.

  • ||

    Tariffs are not the same as free market choices. That is a completely different subject.

  • ||

    The problem with this whole article is that John is himself only looking at one aspect of this, to the exclusion of other factors that could prove him wrong. He needs to stop looking at this problem from such a narrow viewpoint, if he wants to maintain credibility.

    For example, by now it is indisputable that outsourcing of labor to foreign countries has done a great deal of damage to our own economy. So maybe you save 30% on a cheaply-built (and often low quality) widget... but that 30% is removed from our domestic economy and now resides overseas. In essence what you do each time you make a purchase from goods manufactured through labor outsourcing, is selling a tiny chunk of America to another country.

    John's example of Montgomery actually doesn't work the way he claims. GIVEN A CHOICE, the people of Montgomery would indeed be wise to purchase goods from local producers, rather than buy somewhere else, because the money remains in their own community. You are guilty here of improperly switching scales here, John. It doesn't make a difference to the overall economy of the United States, but it very much DOES make a difference to the economy of Montgomery, and of Alabama. And outsourcing might not make much difference to the overall global economy, but it DOES matter to the U.S. economy.

    So if, hypothetically, a Montgomery factory makes air conditioners, and a Detroit company makes air conditioners which are approximately similar, keeping the money in the local economy might be worth paying a slightly higher price than for the Detroit model.

    This of course assumes similar goods.

    I have seen this effect in action, in my own local economy. The largest employer in the area also happened to be owned by a corporation in a different state. That company tended to dominate local politics and economy because the scale of its operation was perceived to be so large. But when an analysis was done of how the money actually flowed, when you took into account the cost in local resources, and the fact that the profits went elsewhere, it turned out that the company actually was not bringing money into our local economy. If anything, it was draining us.

    That situation is very similar to outsourcing: if money is flowing to someplace else, and is no longer in your local economy, in the long run you might not be better off buying that cheaper item after all. Like the Montgomery example: it is turning out that we might want to re-think buying that cheaper item made in China, because saving those extra few cents HAS BEEN hurting the local (U.S.) economy.

    When you trade non-renewable resources outside your community, eventually you will run out of those resources. And John, as a Libertarian (and presumably open to Austrian arguments), you should know that money is NOT a renewable resource, unless you want to end up like this: http://articles.cnn.com/2009-0.....s=PM:WORLD

    There are strong macroeconomic reasons that argue against outsourcing and I could go on for hours to prove the point, but this is not an appropriate forum for writing a book.

    Don't let your Libertarian free-market bias fool you on this one, John. I am a Libertarian too. But even Adam Smith recognized that a strictly price-driven free market is not always right.

  • ||

    "GIVEN A CHOICE, the people of Montgomery would indeed be wise to purchase goods from local producers, rather than buy somewhere else, because the money remains in their own community."

    I'm going to reverse this, and I think its the point.

    "GIVEN A CHOICE, the producers of Montgomery would indeed be wise to produce goods for non-local consumers, rather than sell products locally, because the money imported sustains and expands economic opportunity in their own community."

    Case in point. I have some discretionary income. Not through hard work, with luck and persistence I have managed to reach my 30s with no dependents. A child is supposed to cost 200,000 over 20 years. Average number of children is 2.4? Figure two dependents. 20,000 dollars a year I'm saving by not procreating. I should have a Ferrari in the driveway. I don't. I do buy three or four things a year that I don't need.

    I'm going to buy a hat. Not a Stetson, and not a classic cowboy hat. My hatsize is 8, and in any westerny hat shop theres going one hat that will fit me. Fortunately its the 21 century.

    Shop the net for a while, find The Last Best West. Any kind of hat, if you have a picture they can make it. Beaver fur is apparently a component in hats, for 250 bucks you can get a hat with some beaver and mostly rabbit hair, or for 650 bucks you can get a hat with all beaver hair. And from their website, beaver hair is great.

    So I am about to send 650 dollars to somewhere in the world. Someone in Calgary is about to bring 650 dollars into their community.

    What do they make in Montgomery?

  • ||

    Um, you didn't actually "reverse" anything. In fact I don't think you understood my point.

    If somebody in YOUR TOWN made beaver hats, you might be better off in the long run to buy it from there, even if it is a little more expensive, than to buy it from Calgary, because the money stays local and your community becomes that much more prosperous.

    Obviously this doesn't hold if you want to buy something that nobody in your area makes. In fact I stated twice that my point presumed that I was referring to situations in which similar goods are being sold. Which was what John was referring to as well. At least that is what was implied.

  • ||

    Sometimes you don't even know where you're buying from. I am NOT making this up, it should be in a comedy. A couple of years ago I walked into a Wal-Mart. At the very front of the store were some racks of T-shirts with big eagle and flag tags (about 6 x 4 inches)on them. In huge letters were the words "Made in the USA". I looked at the tag on the shirt and it said "Made in Indonesia". I was puzzled for a second and figured I'd look at the tag again. The TAG was made in the USA! By US Tag company, I forget their address, it was on the tag. What a scam.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Pompeo!

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    In the midst of a depression, you're going to get rid of an economic development agency? Sounds risky.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Maybe I'll apply for a grant from the economic development administration before it goes tits up.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Holy shit, where did Erica come from? Was she sitting there the whole time?

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    "Erica sounds appealing on my face."

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    The Libya action was a kinetic energy project that needed subsidized by the government.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Won't somebody think of the windmill birds?

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    If they file for bankruptcy, someone still has paid.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    "Everybody has a right to a free higher education."

    Luckily every teacher doesn't have a right to a payday.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Ellis needs to go after the messenger.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Henican's idea for student loans: Do something.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    So Stossel wants college only to be available to smart people? Give me a break!

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Ellis isn't hearing what John is saying. Subsidizing higher education increases costs, and the flip side of that not subsidizing it will bring the cost back down to an affordable level.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    I don't want a President Cain if it means Henican's mouth will be open more.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Birds gotta fly, fish gotta swim, regulators gotta regulate, baby.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    I was almost killed by my Angry Birds app.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Regulation favors big money? Say it ain't so!

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Stossel needs to borrow that phone Beck challenges people to call on. (Beck does that, right?)

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    What if your business is helping businesses deal with regulators and tax collectors?

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    ILLEGAL STOSSEL! GET HIM!

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    There are street vendors selling bricks and mortar?

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    "Trust me."

    Yeah, you look trustworthy.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Ha, there's a difference between government allowing an advantage and creating one.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    I'm afraid of China. I'm afraid of China peeing on my rug.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    LifeLock put a lock on the men's room?

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Leeb versus Boudreaux, the smackdown.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    OMG, we're running out of food? When did that happen?

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Stephen Leeb: I am the 99%.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Leeb doesn't want to live like a Chinese.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    I have to admit, I have no idea what Leeb was trying to push there.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    That lone Tiananmen Square student caused a traffic jam that probably caused all those tank drivers to be late for work.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    The regulation fort. Death by a thousand paper cuts.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Sounds like a free speech zone.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    That kid's costume mustache was probably just as toxic as Stossel's.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Holy eff, Pens 2 Sharks 0 already? Three minutes into the game?

  • ||

    Maybe the author can't tell particle board from boxwood burl. Maybe he just likes watching the Apple getting voted the world's worst polluter the same year as the Gulf disaster and the wave of suicides there (at the Apple factory) simultaneously. Maybe he likes pop-out products vs. handmade. Maybe he likes people like me who were career craftsmen that came up with new innovative products having to switch to new careers like nursing just to keep food in my kids mouth. Whatever the logic outside of the typewritten circle above - I'm sure he'd be making a stink if Chinese journalism was taking food off of his table. Come to think of it, there are a lot of other writers out there looking for work right now.

  • ||

    And this is what is asked to be forwarded from newsgroups

    Asked to forward message below

    Date: 9 November, 2011 6:35:26 PM EST
    To: 
    Subject: Re: [doghealth2] Re: OT:  Fwd: Christmas 2011 - Birth of a New Tradition
    Reply-To: doghealth2@yahoogroups.com

    This was MY fault, in a hurry, misread the statement by Janice and approved 
    the message. Topic over.
    Lona

    Why 'should' the Holiday Season be very important parts of our lives?

    Date: 9 November, 2011 6:02:37 PM EST
    To: "doghealth2@yahoogroups.com"
    Subject: Re: [doghealth2] Re: OT:  Fwd: Christmas 2011 - Birth of a New Tradition

    Why 'should' the Holiday Season be very important parts of our lives?

    On 2011-11-09, at 2:03 PM, wrote:

    Actually, if you read the entire e-mail you will see that it has a lot to
    do with dogs and the Holiday Season - both of which are or should be very
    important parts of our lives.

    Jean Townsend - List Owner

    In a message dated 11/9/2011 1:25:52 P.M. Eastern Standard Time,

    And this has WHAT to do with Dogs?

    --- In _doghealth2@yahoogroups.com_ (mailto:doghealth2@yahoogroups.com) ,
    LuSwinton@... wrote:
    >
    > I forward with pleasure and anticipation of this Christmas - giving All
    > Made In America gifts! Yes We Can!!! Here's one local suggestion in the
    > Charleston, S.C. Area:
    >
    > __http://www.holidaycraftshow.com/__ (http://www.holidaycraftshow.com/_)
    (_http://www.holidaycraftshow.com/_ (http://www.holidaycraftshow.com/) )
    >
    > I and several of my friends (from S.C., Louisiana, and Vermont) are
    > "gifting" one another by making a contribution to our favorite
    charities!
    > Also, this year, the money I would have spent on sending Christmas Cards
    will
    > also be donated to some of my favorite animal shelters.
    >
    > May we all be blessed with a wonderful Holiday Season - an early Happy
    > Thanksgiving, Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year to all.
    >
    > Sincerely,
    >
    > Jean Townsend - Johns Island, SC - List Owner
    > (Always for George - Always for the Rimadyl dogs)
    > _________________________________
    > To: Undisclosed-Recipient:;
    > Sent: 11/5/2011 3:53:47 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time
    > Subj: Christmas 2011 - Birth of a New Tradition
    >
    > : Christmas 2011 - Birth of a New Tradition
    >
    > As the holidays approach, the giant Asian factories are kicking into
    > high gear to provide Americans with monstrous piles of cheaply
    > produced goods -- merchandise that has been produced at the expense of
    > American labor. This year will be different. This year Americans will
    > give the gift of genuine concern for other Americans. There is no
    > longer an excuse that, at gift giving time, nothing can be found that
    > is produced by American hands. Yes there is!
    >
    > It's time to think outside the box, people. Who says a gift needs to
    > fit in a shirt box, wrapped in Chinese produced wrapping paper?
    > Everyone -- yes EVERYONE gets their hair cut. How about gift
    > certificates from your local American hair salon or barber? Gym
    > membership? It's appropriate for all ages who are thinking about some
    > health improvement.
    >
    > Who wouldn't appreciate getting their car detailed? Small, American
    > owned detail shops and car washes would love to sell you a gift
    > certificate or a book of gift certificates.
    >
    > Are you one of those extravagant givers who think nothing of plunking
    > down the Benjamins on a Chinese made flat-screen? Perhaps that
    > grateful gift receiver would like his driveway sealed, or lawn mowed
    > for the summer, or driveway plowed all winter, or games at the local
    > golf course.
    >
    > There are a bazillion owner-run restaurants -- all offering gift
    > certificates. And, if your intended isn't the fancy eatery sort, what
    > about a half dozen breakfasts at the local breakfast joint. Remember,
    > folks this isn't about big National chains -- this is about supporting
    > your home town Americans with their financial lives on the line to
    > keep their doors open.
    >
    > How many people couldn't use an oil change for their car, truck or
    > motorcycle, done at a shop run by the American working guy?
    >
    > Thinking about a heartfelt gift for mom? Mom would LOVE the services
    > of a local cleaning lady for a day.
    >
    > My computer could use a tune-up, and I KNOW I can find some young guy
    > who is struggling to get his repair business up and running.
    >
    > OK, you were looking for something more personal. Local crafts people
    > spin their own wool and knit them into scarves. They make jewelry, and
    > pottery and beautiful wooden boxes.
    >
    > Plan your holiday outings at local, owner operated restaurants and
    > leave your server a nice tip. And, how about going out to see a play
    > or ballet at your hometown theatre? Musicians need love too, so find a
    > venue showcasing local bands.
    >
    > Honestly, people, do you REALLY need to buy another ten thousand
    > Chinese lights for the house? When you buy a five dollar string of
    > light, about fifty cents stays in the community. If you have those
    > kinds of bucks to burn, leave the mailman, trash guy or babysitter a
    > nice BIG tip.
    >
    > You see, Christmas is no longer about draining American pockets so
    > that China can build another glittering city. Christmas is now about
    > caring about US, encouraging American small businesses to keep
    > plugging away to follow their dreams. And, when we care about other
    > Americans, we care about our communities, and the benefits come back
    > to us in ways we couldn't imagine. THIS is the new American Christmas
    > tradition.
    >
    > Forward this to everyone on your mailing list -- post it to discussion
    > groups -- throw up a post on Craigslist in the Rants and Raves section
    > in your city -- send it to the editor of your local paper and radio
    > stations, and TV news departments. This is a revolution of caring
    > about each other, and isn't that what Christmas is about?
    >
    > Blessings, and MERRY CHRISTMAS¦..

  • ||

    I agree with Mr. Stossel - it's dumb to buy American.

    Which is why we should outsource Stossel's job to a Messican. Even if he doesn't speak English, he'll make as much sense to most of us as Stossel does. And even your average Messican can grow a much awesomer mustache than an American Galtian superman like Stossel.

  • ||

    One wonders when Murdoch will see the wisdom of Stossel's POV & replace him & his fellow Hairdo Delivery Systems with much cheaper immigrant labor?

    What kind of crazed lunatics would advocate buying locally? SO much better to kill the domestic industrial base that made the US great so you can go into debt buying poorly-made Chinese goods on credit! Meanwhile, perfectly good crops rot in the fields the moment illegal Mexican labor is banned, because Americans can't hack the hellish workload that "lazy" Mexicans have been putting up with for years.

    Yes indeed: far better for those Third World kids to be worked to death for $3.15/hour than for a measly two bucks - the Magic Of Teh Marketplace wins yet again!

    That "Third World countries do not pursue free-market policies" is simply given as an article of faith, despite the long legacy of people like Ferdinand Marcos perpetually saying, "Just tell us what laws you want, we'll write them up just the way you like them" to foreign business interests. Good thing people in places like Indonesia or Columbia aren't still being regularly terrorized or killed for the vile crime of trying to organize workers ... oh, wait.

  • Scott Martin||

    What a pile of crap John! You must be on the Communist Chinese payroll. Oh, so if we go out and buy cheap imports that will put Americans back to work? Well maybe a few that move it around the country and the ones who sell it at Walmart. This guys brain wound fit in a thimble. I am a conservative not a liberal and I do not know what are other than a idiot. We need to make things and export things or this country or we will just get poorer and poorer. We can not create wealth by buying cheap crap from China or creating more government jobs. Sure if you look at it on a purely economic scale it is best to buy the cheapest products you can so you can buy more cheap products. That I am not going to disagree with that but we must look at the cost of doing this in the long run, not the moment. Maybe if he is going to write articles like this his job should be outsourced to China!

  • ||

    I am not for "Buy American", we are terrible at certain things these days, such as building cars whereas the Germans are much better. I am however heavily pushing "Not Made in China" for various political and quality reasons. They are terrible at manufacturing all things. So don't confuse "Buy American" with "Not Made in China".

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