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Not Really 'Made in China' [TRADE DEFICITS DON'T MATTER]
Wall Street Journal ^ | DECEMBER 15, 2010 | ANDREW BATSON

Posted on 12/17/2010 3:35:41 AM PST by expat_panama

[snip]
"A distorted picture" is the result, they say, one that exaggerates trade imbalances between nations.

Trade statistics in both countries consider the iPhone a Chinese export to the U.S., even though it is entirely designed and owned by a U.S. company, and is made largely of parts produced in several Asian and European countries. China's contribution is the last step—assembling and shipping the phones.

So the entire $178.96 estimated wholesale cost of the shipped phone is credited to China, even though the value of the work performed by the Chinese workers at Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. accounts for just 3.6%, or $6.50, of the total, the researchers calculated in a report published this month.

[snip]

If China was credited with producing only its portion of the value of an iPhone, its exports to the U.S. for the same amount of iPhones would be a U.S. trade surplus of $48.1 million, after accounting for the parts U.S. firms contribute.

Other economists say some aspects of the researchers methodology may have led them to overstate their case. The study, for example, assumes that companies such as Toshiba Corp. and Samsung Electronics Co. that make components for the iPhone wholly assembled them in their home countries.

[snip]

(Excerpt) Read more at online.wsj.com ...


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Editorial; Government; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: protection; tariffs; trade
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1 posted on 12/17/2010 3:35:46 AM PST by expat_panama
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To: expat_panama

Good article. The entire concept of a “trade deficit” is single entry accounting and a statist’s dream.


2 posted on 12/17/2010 3:39:51 AM PST by 1010RD (First Do No Harm)
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To: Gene Eric; ex-snook; 1rudeboy; Mase; dennisw; SAJ; anglian; Toddsterpatriot; RegulatorCountry; ...

People make so much noise about their silly ‘trade deficit’ and have no idea what they’re honking about.


3 posted on 12/17/2010 3:40:04 AM PST by expat_panama
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To: 1010RD

Bingo. I sell a $10 million design to China, get paid in gold, and the trade deficit goes down another $10 million.


4 posted on 12/17/2010 3:43:10 AM PST by expat_panama
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To: expat_panama

Get your “free trade” kool-aid here!


5 posted on 12/17/2010 3:47:35 AM PST by Cringing Negativism Network (McCarthy Was Right)
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To: 1010RD

“Good article. The entire concept of a “trade deficit” is single entry accounting and a statist’s dream.”

-

Of course.

That would explain why we now owe China trillions, and our children will owe them even more.

Wake up.


6 posted on 12/17/2010 3:49:57 AM PST by Cringing Negativism Network (McCarthy Was Right)
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To: expat_panama

I have ‘trade deficits’ with my grocery store, Walmart, Bushmaster, Smith & Wessen, Cabelas, Rush 24/7, etc. etc.


7 posted on 12/17/2010 3:56:44 AM PST by Kent C
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To: expat_panama

A mortgage they can pay is the only legitimate debt a family should have. Do you run your own household economy at a deficit? Are you in hock to credit cards companies to the tune of $300,000?

Perhaps you are.Perhaps you are a credit junkie as you issue your inane “free traitor” commentary from Panama. Where you bugged out to. You don’t even live here. Lots of offshore banks in your new homeland where American tax dodgers deposit money


8 posted on 12/17/2010 3:58:18 AM PST by dennisw (- - - -He who does not economize will have to agonize - - - - - Confucius)
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To: expat_panama
"A distorted picture" is the result, they say, one that exaggerates trade imbalances between nations.

This is a strawman. It isn't the inaccurate accounting of trade imbalances between the US and specific countries that's the problem. The problem is the total trade imbalance itself, which is real. Just because one country doesn't make 100% of the iPhone does not mean it's not an import.

9 posted on 12/17/2010 3:58:26 AM PST by Reeses
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To: expat_panama
Bingo. I sell a $10 million design to China, get paid in gold, and the trade deficit goes down another $10 million.

You live in Panama outside of US tax jurisdiction. You are not in the US Dollar eco-system. Anything you sell to China is counted in Panama's trade numbers if they keep any that are reliable. Which I doubt.

10 posted on 12/17/2010 4:03:54 AM PST by dennisw (- - - -He who does not economize will have to agonize - - - - - Confucius)
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To: Reeses

“U.S. trade deficit with China—$226.88 billion, according to U.S. figures—would be cut in half.”

I don’t know but it seems like there is still quite a big gap there, but only a little more then 113 billion dollars.


11 posted on 12/17/2010 4:08:53 AM PST by jimpick
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To: Reeses
This is a strawman. It isn't the inaccurate accounting of trade imbalances between the US and specific countries that's the problem. The problem is the total trade imbalance itself, which is real. Just because one country doesn't make 100% of the iPhone does not mean it's not an import.

Correct. 99.9% of an iPhone is made in Asia.
My guess is Apple's designers plus software/hardware engineers are responsible for 33% of that contribution with the Taiwanese cell phone/laptop geniuses picking up the other 67%. The ChiComs at FoxCom with their slave army make it so should get some credit.

IOW the iPhone is mostly designed & engineered in Taiwan. Made in China. Advertised, pimped, sold, distributed by Apple and its cell phone partners

IPad is the same process except for the cell phone partners

12 posted on 12/17/2010 4:14:05 AM PST by dennisw (- - - -He who does not economize will have to agonize - - - - - Confucius)
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To: expat_panama

“So the entire $178.96 estimated wholesale cost of the shipped phone is credited to China, even though the value of the work performed by the Chinese workers at Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. accounts for just 3.6%, or $6.50, of the total, the researchers calculated in a report published this month.”

How convenient because they’ll never see the entire $178.96 after the currency moves.


13 posted on 12/17/2010 4:23:03 AM PST by MontaniSemperLiberi (Moutaineers are Always Free)
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To: Cringing Negativism Network
That would explain why we now owe China trillions, and our children will owe them even more.

Maybe I am naive, but I think we owe China so much because they have bought our country's debt. I don't begrudge them the opportunity, but I think it is naive to say that it is China's fault. They have cheap labor and production costs. They also have a lot of mouths to feed. They are making products to use, not debt.

Our national debt is huge because our politicians spend too much. The Chinese have so many dollars and nowhere else to spend them. It fuels our debt more than it fuels any "trade deficits".

It's easier to have a boogyman than to hold those truly responsible out-of-control Congresscritters accountable. I am not promotingChina. I am just not ready to damn them...

14 posted on 12/17/2010 4:24:15 AM PST by WVKayaker (Faith makes the discords of the present become the harmonies of the future - Robert Collyer)
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To: WVKayaker

It’s like being surrounded by cult members sometimes.

Or Obama supporters.

“Free trade” brainwashing is pretty much the same. The reflexive defending of the politically correct position.

The moral posturing.

Wake up. Our nation is at risk.

Serously. This is not some academic exercise.

We are losing. On every front. Economically. Technologically. Manufacturing. Jobs. Relative military strength.

All the trends are negative for America - because of what Ross Perot saw and correctly identified:

The “giant sucking sound”.


15 posted on 12/17/2010 4:28:54 AM PST by Cringing Negativism Network (McCarthy Was Right)
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To: Cringing Negativism Network

Get your “free trade” kool-aid here!


Tell me about it.

The Free Trade Communists are proof that are public schools are an abject failure.

This article shows that Free Trade Communists are scrambling and spinning to push their failed Statist agenda. If trade deficits were good.....Africa would be the economic giant of the world.

The iPod is not being made in America....and that does not help the American economy. The real wealth created is in the manufacturing of the product. Should I feel relieved that it is more than just Communist China making the iPod?

(By the way....Free Traders are “Statists”...they are the ones who started and run the World Trade Organization, NAFTA, EU, UN..etc....all these organizations are statist.....people need to learn what “statism” means)


16 posted on 12/17/2010 4:44:25 AM PST by UCFRoadWarrior (Whenever something is "Global"...it means its bad for America)
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To: Reeses
"...problem is the total trade imbalance itself, which is real. "

The colors of the flag of Lithuania are real too but I don't loose any sleep over it --and I sure as hell don't think it's worth raising everyone's import taxes. 

17 posted on 12/17/2010 4:45:23 AM PST by expat_panama
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To: Kent C; Cringing Negativism Network; dennisw; UCFRoadWarrior
"...‘trade deficits’ with my grocery store, Walmart, Bushmaster, Smith & Wessen,"

--and you're not bursting into tears?  Amazing!

18 posted on 12/17/2010 4:46:58 AM PST by expat_panama
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To: Kent C

I have ‘trade deficits’ with my grocery store, Walmart, Bushmaster, Smith & Wessen, Cabelas, Rush 24/7, etc. etc.


Gosh...not the idiot Free Trader Communist “I have a deficit with the grocery store” nonsense.

Unless you gave the store $500 and got nothing in return...you do not have a deficit with a retailer. A

At least my grocer gives me equal exchange of merchandise for the money I spend...and I get to keep my job. Unlike Free Trade with Communist China...or Free Trade with anyone else


19 posted on 12/17/2010 4:48:44 AM PST by UCFRoadWarrior (Whenever something is "Global"...it means its bad for America)
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To: expat_panama

Here in America that’s spelled “lose”... :)

So what do you do in Panama, if you don’t mind sharing?

Sell stuff into the American market, which is made in China? Or perhaps made in Latin America?

Do you in any way, do anything, which actually supports the American economy in any way?


20 posted on 12/17/2010 4:49:04 AM PST by Cringing Negativism Network (McCarthy Was Right)
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To: Reeses

This is a strawman. It isn’t the inaccurate accounting of trade imbalances between the US and specific countries that’s the problem. The problem is the total trade imbalance itself, which is real. Just because one country doesn’t make 100% of the iPhone does not mean it’s not an import.


Exactly. I wish I could explain it as clearly. Thank You


21 posted on 12/17/2010 4:50:25 AM PST by UCFRoadWarrior (Whenever something is "Global"...it means its bad for America)
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To: MontaniSemperLiberi
never see the entire $178.96 after the currency moves.

That's another way people don't understand trade deficits, they think a weak dollar can bring it down.  That's stupid because exchange rates don't affect the trade deficit.

The usually ignored fact is that when Americans buy things from foreigners, they have to exchange dollars for foreign money first before they buy.  Foreigners then have to use those same dollars to buy American stuff, so it always balances.  The only way we can have a deficit in goods'n'services is when it's paid by a surplus in capital goods like stocks 'n bonds. 

22 posted on 12/17/2010 4:58:23 AM PST by expat_panama
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To: Reeses
This is a strawman. It isn't the inaccurate accounting of trade imbalances between the US and specific countries that's the problem. The problem is the total trade imbalance itself, which is real. Just because one country doesn't make 100% of the iPhone does not mean it's not an import.

Thank you for your post.

23 posted on 12/17/2010 5:04:03 AM PST by LowOiL (War Damn Eagle ! Playing for the National Championship game this year.)
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To: Reeses
This is a strawman. It isn't the inaccurate accounting of trade imbalances between the US and specific countries that's the problem. The problem is the total trade imbalance itself, which is real. Just because one country doesn't make 100% of the iPhone does not mean it's not an import.

Thank you for your post.

24 posted on 12/17/2010 5:04:15 AM PST by LowOiL (War Damn Eagle ! Playing for the National Championship game this year.)
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To: WVKayaker

Maybe I am naive, but I think we owe China so much because they have bought our country’s debt. I don’t begrudge them the opportunity, but I think it is naive to say that it is China’s fault. They have cheap labor and production costs. They also have a lot of mouths to feed. They are making products to use, not debt.

Our national debt is huge because our politicians spend too much. The Chinese have so many dollars and nowhere else to spend them. It fuels our debt more than it fuels any “trade deficits”.

It’s easier to have a boogyman than to hold those truly responsible out-of-control Congresscritters accountable. I am not promotingChina. I am just not ready to damn them.


You raise some good points

Yes, part of the problem with Free Trade is that politicians in both parties (Al Gore, George W Bush, Obama, The Clintons, Tom DeLay, Bob Dole, etc, etc) all have pushed and/or passed these bad Free Trade deals. The American politcians have been complicit with Communist China in this problem.

However Communist China does share blame. They devalue their currency to artificially lower the prices of their products...while artificially raising the prices of American goods in their country. Other countries do this too....especially with the VAT tax rebates (European Union)

The ChiComs end up having to loan the US money to keep the US buying Communist Chinese goods. It is a wicked game for both sides.

However, when the USA must borrow to purchase foreign made goods...it does not bode well for the future of the US economy. And, by doing this, means that Free Trade does not work.


25 posted on 12/17/2010 5:07:32 AM PST by UCFRoadWarrior (Whenever something is "Global"...it means its bad for America)
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To: expat_panama

The article contains this:

“So the entire $178.96 estimated wholesale cost of the shipped phone is credited to China, even though the value of the work performed by the Chinese workers at Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. accounts for just 3.6%, or $6.50, of the total”

That’s not a full accounting of the money flows. For example, if China imports $100 worth of parts from America for that phone then that transaction would also be on the trade balance sheet and would reduce that $178.96 to a net of $78.96.

The question is, when everything is put on the balance sheet, what are the net flows.

I didn’t get much from the article.


26 posted on 12/17/2010 5:09:06 AM PST by frposty (I'm a simpleton)
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To: UCFRoadWarrior
The ChiComs end up having to loan the US money to keep the US buying Communist Chinese goods.

???

I do not see the link you state. We buy Christmas decorations and iPods made in China. Our politicians borrow money (or just print it) and spend it to support unConstitutional expenditures. Where do you find any mention of a Dept of Ed or Energy? How did we get Health and Human Services? That is where the debt arises. China was just smart enough to hand us the rope. They probably made it...


27 posted on 12/17/2010 5:14:49 AM PST by WVKayaker (Faith makes the discords of the present become the harmonies of the future - Robert Collyer)
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To: frposty
"..what are the net flows."

That would depend on what we're talking about, do you mean say, total dollars per Iphone?

28 posted on 12/17/2010 5:20:07 AM PST by expat_panama
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To: frposty

That’s not a full accounting of the money flows. For example, if China imports $100 worth of parts from America for that phone then that transaction would also be on the trade balance sheet and would reduce that $178.96 to a net of $78.96.


I doubt that any of the component parts were made in the USA. Most of that type of production was shipped to Communist China and other countries many years ago


29 posted on 12/17/2010 5:20:47 AM PST by UCFRoadWarrior (Whenever something is "Global"...it means its bad for America)
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To: frposty

That’s not a full accounting of the money flows. For example, if China imports $100 worth of parts from America for that phone then that transaction would also be on the trade balance sheet and would reduce that $178.96 to a net of $78.96.


I doubt that any of the component parts were made in the USA. Most of that type of production was shipped to Communist China and other countries many years ago


30 posted on 12/17/2010 5:20:51 AM PST by UCFRoadWarrior (Whenever something is "Global"...it means its bad for America)
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To: UCFRoadWarrior

> Unless you gave the store $500 and got nothing in return...you do not have a deficit with a retailer.

uhh.. That was my point. There is no such thing as a ‘trade deficit’ in the way it is used.


31 posted on 12/17/2010 5:22:41 AM PST by Kent C
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To: expat_panama

> “...‘trade deficits’ with my grocery store, Walmart, Bushmaster, Smith & Wessen,”
—and you’re not bursting into tears? Amazing!

Yeah, I’m not Pat Buchanan or Ross Perot. lol


32 posted on 12/17/2010 5:27:15 AM PST by Kent C
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To: Kent C

Time is proving both Pat Buchanan and Ross Perot, right.

Open your eyes.

Everything they said, is coming true around us. All of it.


33 posted on 12/17/2010 5:31:24 AM PST by Cringing Negativism Network (McCarthy Was Right)
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To: expat_panama

>> I sell a $10 million design to China, get paid in gold, and the trade deficit goes down another $10 million.

The Chinese have mastered low-cost manufacturing whereas we have largely forgotten how to do it.

To truly master low-cost manufacturing requires combining stringent quality control with relentless downward pressure on manufacturing cost. It is not an empty exercise best left to uneducated third-world countries. It is one “skill engine” that drives an economy.

The country that focuses on manufacturing excellence will soon have an educated population that is motivated to excel at design, also.

The country that abandons manufacturing as unworthy of its talents? Not so much.

Congratulations on selling your ten million dollar design to China. Save a portion of it against the day when the Chinese design their OWN products. It’s coming.


34 posted on 12/17/2010 5:35:11 AM PST by Nervous Tick (Trust in God, but row away from the rocks!)
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To: Cringing Negativism Network

I’ve got my eyes open - economic isolationism doesn’t work. Never has historically. Ask the Brits.


35 posted on 12/17/2010 5:35:50 AM PST by Kent C
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To: expat_panama; Nervous Tick

Oh, and by the way —

I’m a “level playing field” free trader. I’m not in favor of controlling imports via tariffs and such unless they are required to punish a country that is not playing on a level field. Like other freedoms, free trade should not be a suicide pact.

I am very MUCH in favor of improving the manufacturing situation in this country by removing the insane government restrictions that choke it off.

But I’m also not in favor of “whistling past the graveyard”, which is what this article is essentially doing. It is ignoring the real problems in our economy just as much as the protectionists tend to.


36 posted on 12/17/2010 5:40:00 AM PST by Nervous Tick (Trust in God, but row away from the rocks!)
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To: Nervous Tick

China is the land of ‘quality fade’ that puts plastic in baby formula and pet food, antifreeze in toothpaste and cough syrup, and large amounts of lead and cadmium in children’s toys and jewelry.

In addition they have access to ‘disposable’ workers, and are not constrained at all by minimal safety or environmental standards.


37 posted on 12/17/2010 5:43:16 AM PST by algernonpj (He who pays the piper . . .)
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To: expat_panama

Came to see protectionists’ tears. Left satisfied.


38 posted on 12/17/2010 5:43:50 AM PST by 1rudeboy
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To: Cringing Negativism Network
That would explain why we now owe China trillions, and our children will owe them even more.

Wake up.

No, you wake up. If our government didn't run trillion dollar deficits, the Chinese central bank wouldn't have trillions of dollars of debt to buy.

You protectionazis would rather put restrictions on where American citizens can spend their own money rather than focus on the federal government and the Fed that have both created the problem.

Trade deficits in and of themselves are completely harmless. Budget deficits and inflationary monetary policy are a different matter. You really should get your priorities straight.

39 posted on 12/17/2010 5:56:31 AM PST by BfloGuy (It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker, that we can expect . . .)
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To: Cringing Negativism Network
...we now owe China trillions... of United States Dollars.

That's the beauty of it. China's made our lives better by selling us real things in exchange for paper promises to pay.

We buy material goods and they buy our cash flow. Then they have to spend that "deficit" on our bonds.

That we owe the Chinese our debt is a wholly domestic spending problem. There is no trade deficit. It's imaginary.

There is a budget deficit and that's real, but it is an American problem, not a trade problem. Stop the government spending and it just gets better for us.

40 posted on 12/17/2010 5:56:31 AM PST by 1010RD (First Do No Harm)
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To: 1010RD
The entire concept of a “trade deficit” is single entry accounting and a statist’s dream.

There is still a further conclusion to be drawn from all this, namely, that, according to the theory of the balance of trade, France has a quite simple means of doubling her capital at any moment. It suffices merely to pass its products through the customhouse, and then throw them into the sea. In that case the exports will equal the amount of her capital; imports will be nonexistent and even impossible, and we shall gain all that the ocean has swallowed up.

"You're just joking," the protectionists will say. "We couldn't possibly have been saying anything so absurd." Indeed you have, and, what is more, you are acting upon these absurd ideas and imposing them on your fellow citizens, at least as far as you can.

Frederic Bastiat, The Balance of Trade, First Series, Chapter 6, Sections 19-20.


41 posted on 12/17/2010 5:57:02 AM PST by 1rudeboy
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To: dennisw

dennisw are you confusing the trade “deficit” (imaginary) with the budget deficit and the national debt?

You know those are three separate things, right?

The annual deficit builds the national debt. Roll spending back to 2008 levels and hold it to no more than inflation plus the population growth rate and you zero out the deficit quickly, go to surplus and bring down the national debt.

Of course the analogy to individuals is like saying a guy with a $100K income has a $100K mortgage and that’s a menace to his lifestyle.

That’s ridiculous.


42 posted on 12/17/2010 6:00:41 AM PST by 1010RD (First Do No Harm)
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To: dennisw

Free “traitor”, excellent.

Nothing like an ad hominem attack to establish the bona fides of your argument.


43 posted on 12/17/2010 6:02:19 AM PST by 1010RD (First Do No Harm)
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To: WVKayaker

Good analysis. The problem isn’t our trade partners, but our free spending politicians.


44 posted on 12/17/2010 6:03:50 AM PST by 1010RD (First Do No Harm)
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To: 1010RD
I was thinking about it just yesterday: isn't it ironic that a protectionist sees a differing opinion as a crime against the state?
45 posted on 12/17/2010 6:04:20 AM PST by 1rudeboy
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To: UCFRoadWarrior
However, when the USA must borrow to purchase foreign made goods...it does not bode well for the future of the US economy.

The "USA" does not trade with China and does not borrow a red cent to buy their products. Individual Americans trade with China -- not the government. The government borrows to fund its out-of-control spending; that's a completely different topic and has nothing to do with trade.

And, by doing this, means that Free Trade does not work.

Since your premise is wrong, your conclusion is, too.

46 posted on 12/17/2010 6:05:28 AM PST by BfloGuy (It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker, that we can expect . . .)
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To: UCFRoadWarrior

What exactly is the definition of a trade deficit?

Have you ever heard of mercantilism?

Medieval economics?


47 posted on 12/17/2010 6:05:47 AM PST by 1010RD (First Do No Harm)
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To: BfloGuy

Well done and you got to him first.

People need to read and re-read Bastiat. The amount of economic confusion and ignorance on FR is astounding.

That people confuse our national debt, the imaginary trade “deficit”, and free trade stuns me.


48 posted on 12/17/2010 6:09:22 AM PST by 1010RD (First Do No Harm)
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To: Cringing Negativism Network

Time is proving both Pat Buchanan and Ross Perot, right.


The Free Traders still cling to Al Gore over Ross Perot. Who can forget that Larry King show where Al Gore was pushing Free Trade and NAFTA...while Perot was arguing against

Free Traders went with Al Gore.

Just as Al Gore was wrong on Global Warming...he is just as wrong on Free Trade


49 posted on 12/17/2010 6:10:09 AM PST by UCFRoadWarrior (Whenever something is "Global"...it means its bad for America)
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To: UCFRoadWarrior

“Free Traders went with Al Gore.”

-

Bears repeating.


50 posted on 12/17/2010 6:14:01 AM PST by Cringing Negativism Network (McCarthy Was Right)
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