Unemployed? Worried? Read This.
Guest column by Carl F. Worden
|UNEMPLOYED? WORRIED? READ THIS.
By Carl F. Worden
Now that at least 6% of you are unemployed in the United States and have more free time to read, perhaps youd like to know why you no longer have a job, why your job-finding prospects are bleak, why our trade deficit is off the charts and even more importantly, who did this to you.
In order for you to fully grasp what Im about to write, well need to review what worked to make this nation the most wealthy and powerful nation ever to grace the face of this earth.
First, we need to remember how wealth is created. The average high school graduate comes out thinking that if they get more of the money others have, then thats the way to create wealth. They dont have a clue about wealth creation, because in most cases, the schools dont teach it, and most of the kids parents dont know either -- so herewith is a refresher course.
In the most perfect scenario, and one that the United States of America just happened to follow, this nation was established on a continent that was blessed with magnificent amounts of raw materials, like wood and metals, and an agricultural breadbasket that could produce far more food than the domestic population could possibly eat. Add to that potent mix a population with a strong work ethic, solid moral integrity and the freedom to be as personally successful as they want to be, and the Founding Fathers just let human nature take its course.
Those raw materials are mined and harvested, then manufactured into items of quality and desirability that the entire world wants to purchase. That is how wealth is created. The same goes for a vigorous agricultural program: You plant a seed and water it, it grows and produces whatever, you sell it, and voila! Youve created wealth.
In the meantime, people need to be employed in order to manufacture and grow things, and if you employ someone, you have to pay them for their contribution to your efforts. As time goes by, more and more of your domestic population becomes employed, which means they are making money and able to purchase land, homes, cars and other things themselves.
Over time, our growing domestic population became this nations largest consumer of U.S. manufactured goods. Because of our Constitution and our Republican form of government, our people were free to explore and invent with little or no government intervention. This led to technological advances that produced goods of such fine quality and craftsmanship that no other nation could compete with us at the same level. The world could buy cheaper goods of lower quality made in Japan, for example, but if you wanted quality that would last, you bought American. As a result, wealth poured into this nation, creating more millionaires per capita than any other nation on earth.
As our population came to earn more and more money in salaries and wages, our domestic manufacturers employing those workers had to charge more and more for their goods at the wholesale level in order to maintain a profit and stay healthy.
The workers employed in other nations earned far less than our workers, so in theory, they could produce manufactured goods at a lower cost than our domestic manufacturers could. The problem is that they generally lacked the raw materials we had in such abundance, and they also lacked our superior manufacturing technology, making foreign-made goods generally inferior.
Even so, the United States maintained tariffs and trade restrictions that forced the shelf price of imported manufactured goods high enough to keep their price comparable to the goods produced by American manufacturers
As a result, the American standard of living kept climbing and outpacing that of the rest of the world by leaps and bounds.
Later on, foreign manufacturers managed to steal a great deal of our technology, but the tariffs and trade restrictions still kept doing their intended duty of protecting American jobs.
That is what made America the most wealthy and powerful nation on the face of this earth, and all that changed with the passage of NAFTA and GATT in 1994. We are now hemorrhaging jobs and wealth to other nations, particularly China, at such an astonishing rate that there is no foreseeable way to stop the carnage. The North American Free Trade Agreement and the General Agreement on Trade and Tariffs quite literally slashed Americas economic throat. NAFTA/GATT were pushed through by the Republicans, and signed into law by President Bill Clinton over the strenuous objections of his fellow Democrats.
NAFTA/GATT removed our last line of defense against unfair foreign competition by manufacturers who now use cheap labor, equal manufacturing technology and even our own raw materials to compete with American manufacturers in a so-called free market. NAFTA/GATT were international treaties requiring a 2/3 Senate approval votes they didnt have so they just passed them as regular legislation. Incredibly, when American labor unions challenged the passage of NAFTA/GATT as unconstitutional, the Supreme Court let them stand!
So what I want you to understand here is that all legal means for ridding ourselves of those treasonous acts have been exhausted. Our elected representatives show no signs of wanting to end our participation in NAFTA/GATT, therefore nothing short of a bloody and violent revolution to take this government back will have any chance of stopping our economic nosedive. This slide will not, and indeed, cannot end until our wages and our standard of living have equalized with the rest of the world.
Ross Perot held the public forum during his presidential campaign, and screamed from the rooftops that if NAFTA/GATT were passed, wed hear this giant sucking sound of American manufacturing jobs going to other nations, remember that? He was out-shouted by that truth-impaired radio talk show host, Rush Limbaugh, who assured us all that NAFTA/GATT were a good thing for America and would enable American consumers to buy manufactured and other goods at substantially lower prices.
Where it comes to basic math and economics, Rush Limbaugh is definitely not the guy to ask. You have to have a job to buy manufactured goods and foodstuffs, no matter what the price, right? And if American manufacturers close their plants in America and start manufacturing in China and elsewhere, as they had to do in order to stay competitive and viable, doesnt that mean those high-paying American manufacturing jobs are now held by slave-laborers in China? Is this treason starting to sink in yet? You didnt seem to care when you had a job, right? Well, Ill bet you do now.
Oh, and what about those lowered prices for foreign-made goods we were promised ala Limbaugh? Seen any lately? No?? And why? Because the formerly American and foreign manufacturers now in China and Taiwan didnt have to lower them! All they had to do was lower their price a buck or two under what the American manufacturer had to sell the same product for here.
You see, it doesnt matter that it only costs them pennies on the dollar to make the same item an American manufacturer does. They have no obligation whatsoever to pass those savings on to you and me if they dont have to and under NAFTA/GATT they dont have to! The whole idea is to make the highest possible profit while remaining competitive, right? Well, if thats the case, then prices wont drop until Americans have lost so many family-wage paying jobs that they simply cannot afford to pay the higher prices anymore.
I wish I could end this article with a ray of hope for our economy, but I cannot. If we are to have free trade with other nations, then the inevitable result will have to be our parity in living standards with the rest of the global community, and because we have a comparatively high standard of living, it naturally follows that our standard of living will have to decline. This is Math 101, and theres no way around it.
I just read an interesting Associated Press article at (http://www.msnbc.com/news/937578.asp?0cv=BB10&cp1=1)
If you have been paying attention to this mess, youll recall that President Bush slapped a 30% tariff of foreign steel imported to the United States. At the time he did it, I couldnt figure out where NAFTA/GATT allowed him to do it, but if they did, why dont we just slap tariffs on all imported foreign goods to protect our remaining domestic manufacturers who are too stupid to close up and move to China?
Well, I just got my answer: The World Trade Organization, whose rules we agreed to abide by under NAFTA/GATT, just ruled Bushs tariff violates global trade rules. If the American appeal fails, we taxpayers will pay a stiff fine and thousands more American steel manufacturing jobs will be lost.
Would you like to hear some good news? I thought so. Here goes:
I just read somewhere that China was being lauded for having reduced its poverty level by more than half. I wonder how they did it, and where they got the money?
- Carl F. Worden
Posted Sunday, July 13, 2003
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