“Ok, Lucy, ‘splain me!” — Desi Arnaz as Ricky Ricardo
One of capitalism’s core foundations is that business maximizes profits by keeping the cost of production as low as possible while selling a product at a price the market will bear. Shareholders then reap the dividends, and customers get what they want at a price they are willing to pay.
For example: A Nike shoe made in a Chinese sweatshop for $X sells for $Y in a shoe store in the U.S. We buy the shoe because it’s the one we want and it’s priced at what we’re willing to spend. Clearly, if that shoe were manufactured in this country, it would cost $XXX or more and would then have to be sold for $YYYY or more. That would open the company to competition it probably could not fight, and Nike would have to do something besides sell shoes “Made in the USA.”
So what’s with all the China bashing? China didn’t kidnap Nike and force them to open plants in that country. And China didn’t snatch any other American companies in the dead of night and make them move their operations to the other side of the Pacific. Mitt Romney didn’t “send jobs” to China or India or anywhere else. Barack Obama certainly didn’t either, yet each tars the other for such repugnant behavior.
Nike and all the others went to China and India and Pakistan and wherever long before Mitt Romney and Barack Obama got into the national spotlight. Why? Because it’s much more profitable than doing the same work here. Period. So why do we blame China or India or Pakistan or wherever? I think we should blame Nike and the others — and ourselves for being so hungry for their products that we really don’t care where they are made or at what cost — and we want them as cheap as we can get them. If we don’t want to send China a bunch of our money, then we should quit buying Nikes and Apples and all the other stuff being made in China.
Charges of currency manipulation and other foul play by China are little more than a smokescreen to obscure the fact that American firms and those from lots of other countries do business in China because it’s way more profitable. If it weren’t, would they all be manufacturing in China? Not a chance. If you’re concerned about Chinese currency manipulation, quit doing business in China.
If you don’t like playing with people who don’t play by the rules, go play with someone who does.
“Now ‘splain me this, Lucy!”
What are people who declare themselves to be undecided in the presidential race waiting for? It’s unbelievable to me that anyone hasn’t made up his or her mind by now. The so-called undecideds who populated the auditorium for the debate the other night seemed like pretty regular folks. Some of their questions were incisive and thought-provoking and some were kind of dopey.
The first question from Jeremy was in the latter category, by my lights.
“I’m in college, am I going to be able to get a job after I graduate?” Jeremy asked. The predictable answer from both candidates assured Jeremy that yes, as long as he were elected or re-elected there would be a job for the young man.
I answered the question too. I just yelled at the TV screen. “Jeremy. I don’t know you. I don’t know what you’re majoring in or how good or bad a student you might be. I don’t know what you’re good at. You seem kind of unsure of yourself and I’d be concerned about how you would come across in a real job interview.
“Why not do a little career research to see what the future looks like in your field of study? If it doesn’t look so good, you might think about changing your field of study. Everyone who ever went to college worried that there might not be a job for them at the other end. You’re asking for a guarantee. Ain’t no guarantees kiddo. But hey, good luck.”
The woman who asked Gov. Romney to describe the differences between himself and George Bush seemed pretty sharp. It was an interesting question. I saw her interviewed on CNN Wednesday morning. She said she still couldn’t be sure which man she would ultimately support. She said nice things about each, generally.
“Lady, what is it you’re not getting and what will it take to push you one way or the other?” I asked her, knowing full well that she couldn’t hear me and probably wouldn’t answer even if she could. She wanted to hear specifics but didn’t really want too many and she wanted everyone to be nicer to each other. That’s how I interpreted it.
Several more of those attendees were on the Piers Morgan program Wednesday night. Jeremy said he was leaning slightly toward the president. The woman who asked about gun control said the same, sort of. The fellow who asked the big Libya question said he was still completely undecided, because he didn’t like how either candidate answered his particular question. Libya wasn’t even on the radar four years ago, so how did he decide then? And the woman who asked the president why he should be re-elected didn’t like his answer either, so she’s still completely undecided, she said.
They have to have a broader range of concerns upon which to base their decision, don’t they?
Is this some people’s idea of the old “15 Minutes of Fame?” I’m beginning to think so, except I’d change it to “15 Minutes of Lame.”
Chris Daley is a staff writer and columnist for the Mountain Democrat. His column appears each Friday.