Letters to the Editor For January 2008

Dec. 16, 2007
In debt to the company store; Free trade isn't free

Wake Up, Manufacturers!

"Just In Time -- Is Anybody Listening To Us?" Dec. 2007

The idea that our elected officials do not listen to the voters is well founded. However, you need to extend it to the CEOs and board of directors of most companies, as well as all of the Wall Street greedy groups.

Nobody listens to or watches out for those who do all of the real work that creates value and pays the bills. The old "company store" is still alive and well. We are all in debt to the store but we just call it another name. Middle and lower class America drive the economy. Without them there is no money machine for the top dogs to get the money and influence from. As long as we don't take responsibility for our future, we are pawns for the boys at the top.

Just like that Pepsi commercial: "Wake Up!" When will we take time to run our government and our economy so we all benefit fairly? There should not be such a wide spread in compensation for those at the top and those who add value. Today the risks are the same, if not more, for those in the middle.

Ronald J. Botts
auality manager
BSH Home Appliances Corp.
New Bern, N.C.

"Free Trade" Is Anything But Free

"Taming the Dragon," Nov. 2007

As you analyze the reason for our huge trade deficit with China, you correctly identify low costs as a factor. But you do a disservice by failing to mention our disastrously skewed trade policy as a major contributor.

Our policy is called "free trade," but it is nothing of the kind. It is highly engineered to maximize imports over exports, i.e., deliberately managed reverse mercantilism. For example, our average tariff on imports is just 1.3%, whereas our exports face an average of 40%. All the other governmentally imposed conditions of trade are similarly skewed, whether in the form of non-tariff barriers, border-adjusted taxes, subsidies, regulation, and so on.

Every Econ 101 student learns that if you tax guns at 1.3% and butter at 40%, you do not get the free-market solution, but instead too many guns and not enough butter, along with the misallocation of resources that distortion implies. It is time we recognized that our trade deficit with China (and the world) has a large self-inflicted component.

George W. Shuster
chairman, president and CEO
Cranston Print Works Co.
Cranston, R.I.

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