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April 23, 2012

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That's it in a nutshell.

Well done, Emil.

If America were a person, you just outlined a roadmap of how to have that person walk himself right into debtor prison.

If you were to gather, at random, any 100 persons anywhere in the country, and ask them how to right this ship, you would get 50 people going one way and 50 people going the other way. Thus, you have gridlock in lockstep right to hell.

Again, a great commentary.

I can feel Mick's veins about to pop. I can't wait to hear his comments.

What are your proposed remedies for the trade imbalances you identify? Protective trade actions taken by the US against developing countries such as China will be met in kind.

The US is a huge exporter of many things including agricultural products, coal and various technologies. Those exports would greatly suffer if a trade protective war between countries ensues.

jmav,

In my opinion, there are no short term remedies.

The current crop of politicians and the current US population doesn't have what it takes to make the painful choices to fix the situation.

I hope, for the sake of the next generations, that they have what it takes. They may have no other choice, since we are driving them to rock bottom. And you know what they say about rock bottom..............after that, there is only UP.

Awesome post, Emil.

My veins popped long ago.

THERE ARE NO JOBS, and Emil did a great job of explaining a huge part of it.

How to fix?

Think about this.

Should the United States even have any trade at all with a nation that uses slave labor?

How can an American worker compete with Chinese prison labor? The Chinese do use prison labor sometimes.

The Chinese also use workers that barely receive enough food to maintain life; who live in concrete dormitories, who accumulate almost no wealth, and whose life expectancy is short.

American workers are told to compete on wage rates with workers like that.

The United States shouldn't even be trading (much) with China. The trade is now forced because China is our banker.

Solutions? We should not be trading with China.

In the near term, what should we do? That part is obvious.

Cut the borrowing and debt by getting out of Afghanistan and reversing the Bush tax cuts.

Impose outsourcing taxes on those who outsource jobs so that the profit is taken away from owners and managers.

Don't forget, China spies on the United States, attempts to steal our technology, and ignores our patent and copyright laws (mostly). China fosters terrorists and pays them cash, too.

China is a hostile country. Don't forget it.

The US is not a huge exporter to China, relative to what China buys from the United States. It's very one-sided trade.

We give the Chinese our jobs in exchange for loans. That is how it really works.

Sorry, it is early on the east coast and I worked part of last night.

Don't forget the environmental damage that China causes.

Trade agreements during the Bush administration often waived environmental rules, so that the sourcing country (China) would not be bound by any US rules, and there would be no tariffs resulting from such.

China is a huge polluter.

Want to get serious about fixing our country?

Restore incremental tax rates to what they were in the 1960's - on high incomes.

Read this twice, hoping it would permeate my thick skull . . but I'm left with one question:
How do we re-engineer our sorry feather-bedded education system to produce graduates and businesses who can compete in the new global economy?

morecleanir,

that's a very big "how"?

As I mentioned above, there are solutions, however, even on this board, 50% feel one way, 50% feel the other way and there is no compromise.

Nice post Emil. I come away with this -- its up to the consumer to buy products made in the USA. Buy from small local businesses. That's how we fix this. The US buys too much crap as it is.

AZReb: For me, I'm more than willing to compromise but haven't seen anything resembling a digest of the master plan. We deal in pieces.

Manunkind can kiss my progress.
No such thing as progress,
just reorganization of existing atoms.
But the fact train rolls on!
Man has no permanent answer for "the problem" !!!
The forces of the galaxies hold the cards in this deal.
Just hang around. Industry and agriculture will vanish
and the few that are left on the planet earth will be called "hunter gatherers."

From a place far far away in another galaxy
I offer my ancient wisdom.
Factoid de loco

Great job, Emil. As for "what do we do now," I recommend the blog by the great Clyde Prestowitz:

http://prestowitz.foreignpolicy.com/

China is a tremendous polluter and the environmental damage they are causing (via heavy metals) will come back to haunt them in a generation. We may be exporting medical technologies and know-how to them soon enough to help combat those medical issues.

The pollution in China is also caused in large part by American corporations that have moved there because of lax regulatory oversight. And Electicdog is correct, we aren't going to change the way large corporations operate until the consumer demands it.

Thanks for popping Mr. Pulsifer up under the banner for this exhaustive post, Mr. Talton. Lots of chewy talking points for the rest of us in there (your diligence is appreciated as well, Emil.)

I would only like to add that as the energy crunch ascends to ever higher prominence in the equation, the costs associated with the ridiculous non-local distribution of goods will play no small part in mollifying this particular syndrome.

Of course, we'll have bigger fish to fry at that point...

We're finally beginning to bring some balance back to the world's consumption. Prepare to live slim, America.

"Restore incremental tax rates to what they were in the 1960's - on high incomes."

Retroactively.

problem solving 2012.

This is an example of how we solve important issues facing all of us.

Step One: Throw Russell Pearce's ass out of the state senate.

Step Two: Have Russell Pearce represent all of Arizona in congressional hearings in Washington.

What could go wrong??

With this template for solving problems in 2012, bring on Global Warming. Bring on Peak oil. Bring on over-population.

No problem....For.....THE PROBLEM SOLVERS !!

No wonder I drink.

AZREBEL, Not to worry about this
"Our China Syndrome." Russell is currently working on 1070 C

And just in case you are doubting whether the white boys can handle this
Chinese problem I suggest you visit the Heard Museum for the way they solved the Indian problem.

Fix yourself another drink and put on Blade Runner.

First, thanks to Mr.Talton for the opportunity.

Second, great comments.

jmav wrote: "The US is a huge exporter of many things including agricultural products, coal and various technologies. Those exports would greatly suffer if a trade protective war between countries ensues."

Last year, U.S. GDP was about $15.1 trillion. The U.S. trade deficit with China last year was a record $295 billion. That represents about 2 percent of U.S GDP, not from exports to China, but from net imports from China.

http://www.epi.org/publication/trade-deficit-2011-china-accounted-fourths/

The ultimate in a U.S. trade war with China would entail elimination of all U.S. exports to China and all imports from China into the U.S.; that seems to imply the elimination of a transfer of about 2 percent of U.S. GDP to China via the trade deficit. If that happened, this lost 2 percent of U.S. consumer spending would have to go somewhere: to U.S. businesses and/or to imports from countries other than China. I see how this hurts China, but how does it hurt the United States?

China now accounts for more greenhouse gas emissions than any other single country, including the United States, and that will only increase as the Chinese consumer class grows. Increased global consumption not only creates more pollution as new fleets of cars are added and petroleum is used as agricultural and manufacturing inputs, but also sends energy prices up and slows economic growth in developed countries. China's exports are gamed not only by currency manipulation on a mammoth scale, and not only by comparative low-wages in a police state which bans independent unions, but also by a lack of industrial overhead resulting from the lack of environmental and worker/citizen protection laws which burden developed countries. We shouldn't be subsidizing any of this.

Almost out of Internet time tonight. I look forward to further interaction tomorrow.

I'll join both cal Lash & AzRebel for a beer at Gallo Blanco. Anytime this weekend. In the meantime, I've a few friends in the 50+ category who were laid off - and despairing of ever getting a job again!

Saw a report where we are shipping over 100 million tons of coal to China since we are using less here.

We're such good neighbors.

If we don't burn it, we're not the polluters right?

OT,

http://www.planetizen.com/node/56360

Personally, the most compelling topics on Rogue deal with the intersection of civic engagement and urban development, and specifically the the importance of journalism for a healthy city. We're not alone.

Pat L, have AZ Rebel name it, I'll be thar!
PS, Talton is signing his new book at the Poison Pen on the 17th and the Urban Bean on the 19th.

In looking over the comments, I'm particularly struck by how well-written and compelling Mick's are; and not a single reference to "holodomor" or arming ourselves with Kalishnikovs, or even excessive use of exclamation points.

Phx Planner wrote:

"...the most compelling topics on Rogue deal with the intersection of civic engagement and urban development, and specifically the the importance of journalism for a healthy city."

Unfortunately, I don't think the story you linked to qualifies: USA Today is actually a reasonably good product for what it is, often offering better in- depth analysis of national topics than, say, the Arizona Republic, which relies heavily on wire services (including syndicated USA Today stories) and far less on an in-house journalism staff than USA Today does.

(Not that the wire services don't sometimes offer fine investigative journalism or analysis, but Arizona Republic editors pick and choose, and maul, more often than not to the point of banality.)

USA Today is not responsible for the decline in local newspaper circulation, or the decline of journalistic standards at chain-owned newspapers like Gannett which see the news business as a business and not as a calling. The center-right bias of the owners and (many of) the news editors they hire is not extreme enough to satisfy the tea-party faithful, while still being sufficient to offend those looking for responsible and objective reporting and analysis.

Personally, I am bored to death by whinging metrosexuals who have nothing better to do than offer trite pseudo-intellectual complaints about a newspaper like USA Today, simply because it is an icon of popular culture with high circulation that has succeeded in the industry.

AZRebel makes an excellent point re coal. China relies far more heavily on high-emissions methods of electricity generation than developed countries, and despite admirable investment in renewable resources, that isn't going to change anytime soon.

International corporations headquartered in developed countries love China because moving production there allows them to sidestep all kinds of laws, evolved by democratic civil societies over the decades for the protection of the environment, the protection of workers, and the standard of living of the general citizenry.

In short, it allows them to attend to the bottom line by escaping even elementary regulatory standards and enforcement, thus returning greater profits from revenues. If you don't have to spend money on worker's compensation, sick leave, overtime, and can spew as much junk as you like into the air and dump as much as you can into the rivers or landfills, and don't have to worry so much about those meddlers at the Food and Drug Administration, it's nearly as good as being able to repeal such regulations in your country of origin. If you can't hang all the liberals and return to the days of Wild West Capitalism, just move your manufacturing operations to a place where such standards do not in practice apply. (Never mind China's unenforced, in-theory laws and rules.)

While mask-wearing Olympic athletes, rivers of toxic sludge, toxic adulteration of food, and the hastening of global climate change are not, perhaps, as compelling a subject as finding a USA Today on your hotel doormat (horrors!) they make a reasonably good second choice for those of us with less developed perception.

Side note: there are some belated, recent replies to phxSUNSfan in the previous (Stanton) thread re the latest Arizona jobs report.

P.S. The dangling modifier about "center-right" owners and editors, etc., referred to the Arizona Republic, not to USA Today.

"cal Lash" wrote:

"I offer my ancient wisdom.
Factoid de loco"

Nostalgie de la boue.

"Nostalgie de la boue." -Emil

I think Cal is more proficient in Spanish. French escapes most of us. Let's see, what is the Spanish translation of the phrase...

La nostaglia del barro...maybe not much help?

At least the immigration part of Mick's plan seems to be working for now:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/apr/25/young-men-mexico-us-future

"Unfortunately, I don't think the story you linked to qualifies: USA Today is actually a reasonably good product for what it is, often offering better in- depth analysis of national topics than, say, the Arizona Republic, which relies heavily on wire services (including syndicated USA Today stories) and far less on an in-house journalism staff than USA Today does."

I agree. But the converse is also true, USA Today doesn't cover local topics well (or at all)

"USA Today is not responsible for the decline in local newspaper circulation, or the decline of journalistic standards at chain-owned newspapers like Gannett which see the news business as a business and not as a calling. The center-right bias of the owners and (many of) the news editors they hire is not extreme enough to satisfy the tea-party faithful, while still being sufficient to offend those looking for responsible and objective reporting and analysis."

Since USA Today is Gannett, I'm not sure what you are saying here?

Emil,
Nostalgie de la boue.

I must admit the ancient Mud Peoples produced some great art and philosophically there were cool.

The current mud people are those folks I most identify with on a daily basis. The truth stands out most emphatically in these people of the street. They are the people whose lips and body language say the same thing.

Back in the nineties when I first became aware of Jon Talton we were both in the same place we are today about urbanization. He has thoughts about planting buildings on top of what was dirt where plants grow and I want to plant plants not buildings.

The planet earth was fine with hunter gatherer humans but the big turn down hill was the advent of agriculture and industrialization. I find it hysterical that many folks don’t think that earth is overpopulated by humans.

Consequently I don’t care how many pin head conversations we have about urbanization, as when the resources run out all the talk in China will not help.
But if anyone survives it will be the people of the mud.

Cal... Dense, well built cities and the "planting of more plants" aren't mutually exclusive. Besides, the "mud people" of yore lived harsh, short and cruel lives (nature is brutal) and even less developed civilzations today wouldn't fare well in a new stone age: let's not be cruel. Modern civilization needs cities to manage the masses and if built resiliently, will benefit nature (a system that humans are a part of not excluded from).

AWinter wrote:

"At least the immigration part of Mick's plan seems to be working for now"

Tut-tut. Mick's comments above said nothing about immigration (much less from Mexico).

Emil,

In some of Mick's previous posts has demonized immigrants. In the past he has written about aggressive, mass deportation as part of an American "reemployment plan".

Gallo Blanco this Sat. 4/28 at 2PM.

Will that work for eveyone?

Phx Planner wrote:

"Since USA Today is Gannett, I'm not sure what you are saying here?"

The newspaper was founded by Al Neuharth, who not only ran it for years but who had considerable influence for some time afterwards, as a result both of Neuharth's personal involvement and post-retirement activity, as well as from the chain of hirings which originated in staffing that existed at the time of his retirement. My understanding is that it stood alone among Gannett's assets in this respect and also that Neuharth's vision for the paper differed considerably from that of later Gannett executives, especially after his connections and indirect influence faded.

From a 2010 letter complaining of new trends blurring the line between advertising and news:

". . . If I had been Editor John Hillkirk (who is not among those I’ve heard from) I would have led the entire news staff walking out in protest. If such a stupid decision is ever made again, I hope that will be the result.

"That would leave those who apparently don’t understand what a newspaper is to try to put one out without a news staff.

"Sadly,

"Al Neuharth"

http://mediadecoder.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/08/30/not-on-his-watch-usa-today-founder-says/

phxSUNSfan wrote:

"In some of Mick's previous posts has demonized immigrants. In the past he has written about aggressive, mass deportation as part of an American "reemployment plan". "

Yeah, I know: I've been highly critical of them in some past threads where they've occurred. However, since Mick said nothing of the sort above, I wanted to make certain that my laudatory remarks about his comments weren't being smeared by false association.

As long as we're posting nifty but off-topic links, here's something interesting from a recent issue of The Nation:

When President Gerald Ford nominated him in 1975, Justice John Paul Stevens occupied the ideological center of the Supreme Court. By the time he retired in 2010, he was the Court’s most liberal member. Over those thirty-five years, the Court changed far more than Stevens did. “What was once on the extreme right is now merely conservative,” wrote University of Chicago constitutional law professor Cass Sunstein. “What was once conservative is now centrist. What was centrist is now left wing. What was once on the left no longer exists.”

According to a study using Martin-Quinn scores, “the current court is the most conservative since at least the 1930s,” wrote Nate Silver of the New York Times recently. Of the ten most conservative members of the Court from 1937 to 2006, five are serving today: Clarence Thomas (1), Antonin Scalia (3), John Roberts (4), Samuel Alito (5) and Anthony Kennedy (10). The fact that Kennedy is now regarded as a moderate swing vote underscores how far to the right the Court has moved. (Only Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg makes the most liberal list, at number 10.)

That rightward shift of the Roberts Court is especially pronounced today, in the wake of the ghastly 2010 Citizens United decision...

. . . These high stakes add significance to the 2012 election. Regardless of what happens with healthcare reform, the Court should be a major issue in November. A 6-3 conservative Court under a President Romney would be nothing like a 5-4 moderate-to-liberal Court under President Obama. “There’s no overlap between the people Obama would appoint to the Court and the people Romney would appoint,” says Pam Karlan, co-director of Stanford University’s Supreme Court Litigation Clinic. “There’s more than just daylight.”

Four justices are now in their 70s: Ginsburg (79), Scalia (76), Kennedy (75) and Breyer (73). If Romney wins, he could shore up the right flank of the Court; if Obama wins, he could tip the balance of power back to the center. “Citizens United would have never been put into law and America would never have been sold to the highest bidder had Al Gore won in 2000,” says former DNC chair Howard Dean. “Obama, if he wins, is going to appoint maybe one or two more Supreme Court justices. That could make all the difference.” At the Conservative Political Action Committee convention in February, Wayne LaPierre, head of the NRA, warned conservatives about an Obama second term. “If Obama wins re-election, he will likely appoint one—and perhaps three—more Supreme Court justices,” LaPierre said. “It’ll be the end of our freedom forever.”

http://www.thenation.com/article/167350/why-supreme-court-matters

AZREBEL it works for me

Awhile back I somehow managed to overlook The Nation while making suggestions to AzRebel for a Left alternative to the stodgy London Review of Books.

Here are a couple of other interesting items from the same issue:

http://www.thenation.com/article/167353/age-american-shadow-power

http://www.thenation.com/article/167355/federal-reserve-turns-left

Watching the current 1070 circus reminds me that the actions of this SCOTUS will be a key part of George W Bush's legacy . . . not as devastating (maybe) as Afghanistan and Iraq but perhaps even longer lasting.

Bradley Manning.

Bradly Manning brought information to the light of day that needed to be in the light of day.

Bill Clinton gave China missile technology which in the future will probably be used against us and our allies.

Who's the hero and who's the traitor?

I know the answer, do you?

More OT:

What's going on, Arizona?

An anti-sustainability bill (SB 1507)?
http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/2012/04/25/20120425arizona-tea-party-anti-sustainability-bill-advancing.html

Is this intended to make Arizona look to high tech companies like it might be competition for China?

What's next? An earth-is-flat bill?

Sat at 2pm sounds great! In the meantime, I am avoiding wal-mart and spending dollars on local Phx businesses!

doYourMath: how ironic that the anti-sustainability bill coincides with the Am Lung Assn's newest report saying that the Valley gets an "F" for ozone pollution, which is mainly from tailpipes!

Interest group spending on political advertising for the 2012 election totals $31 billion according to the latest figures. Of that, 89 percent was contributed by anti-Obama groups. Fully 91 percent of the ads were paid for by anonymous donors.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/secret-spending/2012/04/24/gIQAZylZfT_graphic.html

Tax records show that of the $76 million raised by the pro-Republican interest group Crossroads GPS through 2011, 90 percent came from donors who gave $1 million or more each, including two who gave $10 million each. Note that Crossroads GPS is not required to disclose the identities of its donors.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/most-independent-ads-for-2012-election-are-from-groups-that-dont-disclose-donors/2012/04/24/gIQACKkpfT_story.html

By my reasoning, this implies that $68 million of the $76 million in funding came from a maximum 50 donors. (90% of 76 = 68.4; now subtract $20 million from two donors giving 10 million each, 68.4 - 20 = 48.4; and since the minimum donation in the group to which this subgroup belongs is $1 million, there can be at most 48 + 2 = 50 donors.

This is plutocracy, courtesy of the currently right-leaning U.S. Supreme Court.

"Is (the anti-sustainability bill) intended to make Arizona look to high tech companies like it might be competition for China?"

I don't know which is funnier: the John Birch Society style conspiracy theories behind the anti-sustainability bill, which presumably come from hillbilly-ignorant but sincere legislators, or the latest nugget of wisdom from the Greater Phoenix Economic Council's CEO, Barry Broome:

"GPEC leaders and recent Phoenix-area locates (sic) also discussed the greatest barriers to rapid economic growth in the Phoenix area.

"According to Broome, one of those barriers is a requirement by most Phoenix-area office-building owners that new tenants put down a substantial security deposit.

"Broome said he learned during a recent trip to Silicon Valley with Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton that hefty security deposits are not required in the California technology hub, which helps smaller startup firms find suitable office space.

"Broome said he believes Phoenix-area security-deposit requirements are a more significant barrier to high-tech expansions and relocations than the perceived lack of an educated workforce."

http://www.azcentral.com/business/articles/2012/04/25/20120425gpec-touts-success-luring-jobs.html

Wow, so Phoenix is losing the business of all these high-caliber corporations because they can't afford their security deposit?

The good news:

"Scottsdale is actually kinda known as a dental mecca, believe it or not."

Incidentally, I don't believe "locates" exists in a noun-form. The same spelling appears in the print edition, so it isn't merely a data-entry error or typo: an editor had to sign-off on this obviously poor usage.

SB 1507 is pure tabloid fodder.

http://gawker.com/5905601/arizona-democrat-the-tea-party-and-conspiracy-theorists-run-the-state-now

"Yeah, go comatose for me baby!"

The time is probably right for the Arizona legislature to finish what the Indiana legislature was unable to do in 1897 (bill #246, still pending in the state Senate): declare the value of pi to be 3.2, or 3.23 or 4 exactly, depending on which formula from the bill you pick. Arizona might prefer 3.0 exactly as suggested by a reading of the Old Testament, 1 Kings 7:23 and 2 Chronicles 4:2.

Should be a slam dunk in the AZ legislature and I'll bet Gov. Jan would sign it. After all, it makes the arithmetic so much easier for the schoolchildren ... wouldn't need to spend as much on education. Think of the press. "Arizona advances mathematics into the 19th century." It would be wonderful!

So, systemically, private consumer demand decreases under outsourcing, except to the extent that credit or other bubbles (e.g., housing) offset lost worker income. Of course, the increased company profits from labor-cost savings benefit owners and executive managers, both in the form of increased profit sharing and salaries, and in the form of increased capital gains as stock values increase (reflecting increased company profits).

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