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Conservative sees free trade as threat to manufacturing
Chicago Sun-Times ^ | July 12, 2003 | Thomas Roeser

Posted on 08/01/2003 3:10:33 PM PDT by RockyMtnMan

John E. Jones is my kind of conservative. The white-haired, vigorous banker is a fierce defender of capitalism and believes that only through hard work and a vigorous spiritual life (he's a devout evangelical) can one truly be fulfilled. At the same time, he is a devastating critic of some multinational corporations which, he says, have given us ''free trade,'' and a crusader for legislation to protect American manufacturing. In fact, free trade to him means America with its guard down; it's a threat to our economy and to the security of the nation.

And Jones has the facts to prove it. More than 56,000 U.S. manufacturing jobs were lost in June, the 35th straight month of losses due largely to foreign competition--particularly from China, where goods can be made at a fraction of the cost and sold cheaply on our market. Forty-nine states have shared in the loss of more than 2 million manufacturing jobs since July 2000. Illinois' record is devastating. In 1974, it had 1,345,000 manufacturing jobs, or 30 percent of all state jobs. By 2001, it was down to 907,000, only 15 percent of state jobs. By 2002, we were down to 870,000, and we're still dropping. This state has lost one of every 12 manufacturing jobs since July 2000, he says.

''Don't forget that the rule of thumb for each new manufacturing job is that it creates 1.6 jobs in other manufacturing and service industries. Also the loss of one manufacturing job will cause the loss of 0.8 jobs in service industries.''

Jones knows whereof he speaks; he is a manufacturer as well as a banker. His Cummins Allison Corp. is, because of its patented technology, the only U.S.-owned company that manufactures coin and currency processing equipment. His competitors have withered away to foreign ownership. Cummins Allison is now engaged in litigation to save its many patents. This could be a national security issue, Jones says. Cummins' equipment ''helps protect against the possible flooding of the world with fraudulent currency and the tracking of drug and terrorist money.''

As Jones sees it, when the U.S. economy was protected by high tariffs, effective anti-trust, anti-dumping, minimum wage and patent laws, it flourished on a relatively level playing field with world competitors.

But after World War II, ''the 'free trade, free market' doctrine was embraced . . . and by 1971, the United States became an open, unprotected economy.''

If free trade worked as touted, Jones says, ''incomes for the poor, the middle class and rich should be significantly greater . . . the growth rates of gross domestic product, per capita income and real wages per worker would all have substantially increased. This has not happened.

"Instead, growth rates for GDP and per capita income have declined and real wages per worker have turned negative. Our nation is now a net debtor rather than a net creditor as it was when protected. Over 45 percent of U.S. government treasury notes, 35 percent of U.S. corporate bonds and 13 percent of the U.S. equity market are foreign-owned, and 9 percent of U.S. corporations are subsidiaries of foreign companies. Our balance of payments deficits for 2002 was over $500 billion. We now have 6.5 million citizens looking for jobs, 2.7 million who have lost hope and stopped looking, and 4.8 million only working part-time. The real unemployment rate is probably over 10 percent--not the 6 percent reported by the government.''

Jones levels blame on segments of big business for making ''free trade sacred doctrine.'' Some ''large U.S. multinational corporations see it as a way to break the power of the unions and reduce the wages of their workers. They believe that manufacturing in poverty wage level countries will enable them to compete with high-tech and large-scale manufactured products dumped here from high-wage countries like Germany and Japan that protect their domestic markets. But this is not working. U.S. multinationals are still losing the trade war, even with access to labor that is paid at poverty-level wages.''

The answer is a return to a protected economy, Jones says. He was just getting warmed up. More of his blunt analyses next week.


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; Extended News; Foreign Affairs; Government
KEYWORDS: freetrade; manufacturing; offshoring
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Yet another one for discussion.
1 posted on 08/01/2003 3:10:33 PM PDT by RockyMtnMan
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To: RockyMtnMan
My kind of Rightist. I totally agree. And we shall be proven correct by future events.
2 posted on 08/01/2003 3:13:04 PM PDT by GOP_1900AD (Un-PC even to "Conservatives!" - Right makes right)
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To: RockyMtnMan
Part II of this column.
3 posted on 08/01/2003 3:16:04 PM PDT by RockyMtnMan
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To: RockyMtnMan
So the pre-WWII Great Depression economy is this guy's idea of how things ought to be? Protectionism and isolationism are great ways to let the rest of the world leapfrog over you in terms of growth and economic activity.
4 posted on 08/01/2003 3:17:21 PM PDT by JohnnyZ (Bumper sticker: "Keep honking -- I'm reloading")
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To: harpseal; sarcasm; hedgetrimmer; crazykatz; A. Pole; MelBelle; Willie Green; autoresponder
Another good Conservative ping.
5 posted on 08/01/2003 3:18:12 PM PDT by LibertyAndJusticeForAll
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To: belmont_mark
It burns me up when people claim "Free Trade" is a conservative plank. I think people are beginning to confuse conservatism with Republicanism.
6 posted on 08/01/2003 3:18:25 PM PDT by RockyMtnMan
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To: RockyMtnMan
Where's this guy been the last 15-20 years while everyone else has been devastated by the free traitors. Sounds like his ox is due to be gored and now he's found religion.
7 posted on 08/01/2003 3:19:25 PM PDT by american spirit (ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION = NATIONAL SUICIDE)
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To: RockyMtnMan
This state has lost one of every 12 manufacturing jobs since July 2000

That's not bad in amongst itself as it could be due to advance in technology, making each worker more productive. But in this case it isn't as all the work is being offshored to China. Just wanted to bring that up in case someone said "If you want full employment have people shovel snow with spoons instead of shovels" (loosed quoted from an ex-Soviet leader).
8 posted on 08/01/2003 3:23:21 PM PDT by lelio
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To: RockyMtnMan
In the 1970s, General Motors and all other domestic automakers were able to get away with making shoddy cars because there were no alternatives.

In the 1980s, General Motors and the other domestic automakers quite rightly got their behinds smacked thanks to foreign companies that made better products cheaper.

To me, going back to protectionism is going back to the nasty 1970s, when manufacturered products were shoddy and poor.

There are no easy answers to all this. There's no question that you can manufacturer things cheaper in China, take customer service calls cheaper in the Phillipines, and write software cheaper in India.

I went to Rio last month, and you can imagine my surprise to find out that I could live in a major tourist destination for much cheaper than I could in the US. Restaurants, bus fares and so on were about 1/3 what they cost in the US, and food was of equal or better quality. (Bus service was much better). In general, the quality of life per dollar in Brazil beats the US by a mile -- and I was in a major tourist area where prices are high!

So how can we combat this? I'm not sure. Personally, I'm thinking of leaving the country, but I know that's not a solution for the less adventurous of us. There's definitely something wrong when the cheapest house in my middle class neighborhood costs $400,000, and my greatest aspiration after the end of a successful life would be to own a tract house that used to sell for $24,000.

If we retreated to protectionism, employment and wages in the US would go up. But the prices of goods would go up even faster, and I'm convinced that on the whole we would be a lot worse off than we are now.

So in conclusion, I agree our country has problems with competitiveness, but I'm not convinced that protectionism would give us a better life in the end. I think we'd have less good stuff, and it would be a lot more expensive than it is today.

D
9 posted on 08/01/2003 3:24:18 PM PDT by daviddennis
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To: daviddennis
Prices will go up anyway as people begin to lose their jobs. Companies will have to get more dollar per widget to make up for the lack of demand. Taxes will also have to be raised to support new welfare programs and tax short-falls from high income earners becoming low income earners, further increasing prices. As long as foreign countries apply tariffs to our exports prices will go up.

That's if we just keep on "Free Trading".
10 posted on 08/01/2003 3:30:41 PM PDT by RockyMtnMan
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To: daviddennis
Personally, I'm thinking of leaving the country, but I know that's not a solution for the less adventurous of us. There's definitely something wrong when the cheapest house in my middle class neighborhood costs $400,000, and my greatest aspiration after the end of a successful life would be to own a tract house that used to sell for $24,000.

I had to check and make sure I wasn't logged on as "daviddennis" as I could of written the same thing. I'm I logged on now? I just got out of the shower.

You're right on that people are going to start to look to moving or importing foreign government grants here. What you saw in Rio was just scratching the surface. I'm sure if you move there you'll be taxed up the ying yang, have to hire your own private security force, etc.

What concerns me is that people are going to stay here and start asking to import more socialism as people in other countries have it easy. Free healthcare, who can argue with that?

The only thing good I can see coming out of this is that we'll have healthier small businesses from it as all the big ones shed off people, mainly as big businesses don't make the best business decisions (ie "let's ship all our IP to China, I'm sure they'll respect it").
11 posted on 08/01/2003 3:32:41 PM PDT by lelio
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To: RockyMtnMan
To all free-traders: (I have been asking this question for two weeks now and no one has answered)

What would our economy and our nation be like if we had a 500 billion dollar trade surplus or, an even trade instead of a 500 billion dollar deficit?!?!

I wait patiently for an answer.

12 posted on 08/01/2003 3:34:39 PM PDT by raybbr
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To: daviddennis
I went to Rio last month, and you can imagine my surprise to find out that I could live in a major tourist destination for much cheaper than I could in the US. Restaurants, bus fares and so on were about 1/3 what they cost in the US, and food was of equal or better quality. (Bus service was much better). In general, the quality of life per dollar in Brazil beats the US by a mile -- and I was in a major tourist area where prices are high!

Sure a cheap labor country is great if you come from a rich country. Except for the people who live there. Didn't you notice the rich people living behind fortified walls and everyone else scratching in the garbage heaps and shantytowns outside ? Don't you know how Argentines and Brazilians actually live ?

13 posted on 08/01/2003 3:38:38 PM PDT by Tokhtamish
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To: raybbr
I'm waiting for them to answer my question:

What new opportunities will come along that will be able to employ a wide array of offshored professions made up of millions of degreed professionals?

Let me know if you get yours answered.
14 posted on 08/01/2003 3:38:40 PM PDT by RockyMtnMan
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To: RockyMtnMan
No. If people lose their jobs en masse, prices for all products will sink substantially.

When there is lower demand (since everyone has lost their job and can't afford anything), and equal supply, prices go down. Eventually, they reach an equilibrium at a lower level.

Eventually, wages will have to go down to match prices companies can get for products, and when that happens companies will be able to afford to hire more people, etc.

D
15 posted on 08/01/2003 3:40:22 PM PDT by daviddennis
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To: daviddennis
You mean like Music? Low demand does not always equal lower prices, only when the producer becomes desperate to get his investment back. In the short run they tend to raise their prices because the margins are to thin to be acceptable. That's about the time they stop producing the widget altogether because there is no market for it.

You mean hire more offshore people.
16 posted on 08/01/2003 3:43:29 PM PDT by RockyMtnMan
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To: JohnnyZ
Have they ever leap frogged us in the last 200 years?
17 posted on 08/01/2003 3:44:02 PM PDT by samuel_adams_us
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To: RockyMtnMan
very good
18 posted on 08/01/2003 4:01:42 PM PDT by dennisw (G_d is at war with Amalek for all generations)
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To: raybbr
Good point.

I don't see protectionism as the answer. We need to seriously reduce the cost of doing business in this country - healthcare reform, tort reform, education reform, environmental reform, tax reform, etc. Personally I think we should eliminate any tax on any business in this country (people pay their taxes anyway). Or perhaps we should have a business tax based on the percentage of workers employed here versus overseas - the more domestic workers employed by a company the lower their business tax.

Without reform or a return to some kind of protectionism (which is a double edged sword in my opinion) the s#$t is going to hit the fan and one of the two political parties will seize the issue. I'd bet my money on the Democrats with a lot of help by the lamestream media. This could be the perfect issue for Hillary Clinton in 2008.
19 posted on 08/01/2003 4:02:39 PM PDT by DHerion (I agree)
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To: Tokhtamish
Well, if you go down to the bottom of society here in the US, there are plenty of people rooting through dumpsters and the like.

For those who have housing in the US, it's a lot plusher than what they have in Rio, although I must say I envy the destitute in Rio the stunning ocean views those Favelas can command. If you could transfer a Favela to an equivalent location in Malibu or Santa Monica, it would be worth millions from the land value alone.

You are right that going to Rio and getting a job in the local currency is probably a non-starter. But if I could somehow take my US career offshore and charge half what I do now, it could be a win-win for everyone involved.

D


20 posted on 08/01/2003 4:06:42 PM PDT by daviddennis
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To: samuel_adams_us
In the 1970s, General Motors and all other domestic automakers were able to get away with making shoddy cars because there were no alternatives.

In the 1980s, General Motors and the other domestic automakers quite rightly got their behinds smacked thanks to foreign companies that made better products cheaper.

To borrow a statement.

There are millions of skilled workers in the developing world now. To think that the US can jerk off in it's own little corner while 75 of the world is letting the free market efficiently allocate resources, more or less, is idiotic.

Protectionism would kill US competitiveness and exports and we'd have a bigger trade deficit than we have now.

21 posted on 08/01/2003 4:07:00 PM PDT by JohnnyZ (Bumper sticker: "Keep honking -- I'm reloading")
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To: RockyMtnMan
Let me know if he jumps on the horseless carriage bandwagon. Jeez, talk about being late to the party. Manufacturing? What manufacturing? It's already been decimated.
22 posted on 08/01/2003 4:10:49 PM PDT by Wolfie
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To: RockyMtnMan
Why do the same politicans who support free trade between nations oppose free trade between Americans and their employers?

I think there should be a law that states that the tariff rate cannot be lower than ANY internal tax rate levied on the American people.

23 posted on 08/01/2003 4:13:19 PM PDT by Mulder (Live Free or die)
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To: Wolfie
Gutting our intellectual capital is an order of magnitude worse than losing our manufacturing base. Farming out American ingenuity is a surefire way to create future competitors than can out-compete us.
24 posted on 08/01/2003 4:15:44 PM PDT by RockyMtnMan
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To: daviddennis
To me, going back to protectionism is going back to the nasty 1970s, when manufacturered products were shoddy and poor.

There are very few people who propose no trade whatsoever.

All we're saying is there is something incredibly wrong with a system where a communist dictator, backed by corrupt American politicians, can utilize slave labor to make products and sell them in the US with NO tariff; while products produced by Americans are doubled or even tripled in price due to taxation by corrupt American politicians.

It's the moral equivalent of robbing Americans, then using that money to buy rope to tie one arm behind their backs.

25 posted on 08/01/2003 4:17:39 PM PDT by Mulder (Live Free or die)
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To: JohnnyZ
Protectionism and isolationism are great ways to let the rest of the world leapfrog over you in terms of growth and economic activity.

Why should dictators pay a 0% tax for selling their products here while Joe Six-pack has to pay a 30% tax on his labor to generate products to compete with the importated goods.

If you really want "free trade", then great. Let's get to it. Abolish all taxes on the trade of labor in this country. All abolish all taxes on the sale of stocks, real estate, goods, and services.

But you'll never hear that from the Klinton/Bush/Gore/Dole politicians, since their "free trade" has little to do with freedom and everything to do with destroying economic barriers so that political barriers are more easily destroyed.

26 posted on 08/01/2003 4:21:54 PM PDT by Mulder (Live Free or die)
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To: daviddennis
If manufacturing in foriegn countries is against national intertests, should Toyota shut down their plants in the US? And BMW?
27 posted on 08/01/2003 4:31:21 PM PDT by MonroeDNA (No longshoremen were used to produce this tagline.)
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To: RockyMtnMan
Should Toyota and BMW shut down their plants in the US?
28 posted on 08/01/2003 4:32:42 PM PDT by MonroeDNA (No longshoremen were used to produce this tagline.)
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To: MonroeDNA
Considering they employ Americans at the prevailing wage and they both reside in 1st world countries, no.
29 posted on 08/01/2003 4:36:09 PM PDT by RockyMtnMan
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To: RockyMtnMan
Are you in favor of a "prevailing wage?"

If so, what is a prevailing wage, and why does anyone deserve it?
30 posted on 08/01/2003 4:51:16 PM PDT by MonroeDNA (No longshoremen were used to produce this tagline.)
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To: RockyMtnMan
Tin roofed shacks and sewers running down the middle of the street. That's how we can compete with Communist China. I didn't see that anyone is asking for protectionism. Could it be that fair tariff would might be what we need?
It's clear a stuffed suit world order internationalist might be for free trade but how does a pro-American conservative fall for such a weakening of our national economic health?
31 posted on 08/01/2003 5:00:14 PM PDT by em2vn
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To: Mulder
But you'll never hear that from the Klinton/Bush/Gore/Dole politicians, since their "free trade" has little to do with freedom and everything to do with destroying economic barriers so that political barriers are more easily destroyed.

So you've realized that Dubya is part of the conspiracy to make Bill Clinton head of the world government!

Keep digging, Mulder . . . the truth is out there.

32 posted on 08/01/2003 5:09:18 PM PDT by JohnnyZ (Bumper sticker: "Keep honking -- I'm reloading")
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To: MonroeDNA
http://www.fivecities.com/strider/commentary/strider9.html

Wonder how many of these protectionists were sharing the stage with the communists, eco terrorists and union thugs in Seattle during the WTO riots.
33 posted on 08/01/2003 5:18:24 PM PDT by KDD
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To: RockyMtnMan
Can you answer?
34 posted on 08/01/2003 5:40:36 PM PDT by MonroeDNA (No longshoremen (who make an average of $120k per year) were used to produce this tagline.)
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To: RockyMtnMan
Well it's killing my shop and I am A conservative. So I agree I do not think I know!!!!
35 posted on 08/01/2003 5:42:35 PM PDT by Brimack34
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To: MonroeDNA
The "prevailing wage" is determined by a competitive market. It's the governments responsiblity to maintain a "level playing field" to foster competition. Competition is the hallmark of capitalism because it drives prices down and improves product quality.

How does one become competitive with third world wages? The constitution gave our legislature explicit authority and it's signers encouranged the protection of American industry. Free Trade is lingo for Globalism and is a new concept. In my opinion Globalism is highly anti-American.
36 posted on 08/01/2003 5:47:08 PM PDT by RockyMtnMan
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To: RockyMtnMan
Why is it the government's responsibility?

What part of the constitution said that?

37 posted on 08/01/2003 5:50:30 PM PDT by MonroeDNA (No longshoremen (who make an average of $120k per year) were used to produce this tagline.)
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To: JohnnyZ
Go to my question in #12. I would like to hear your answer.
38 posted on 08/01/2003 5:51:35 PM PDT by raybbr
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To: MonroeDNA
Article I

Read it yourself, I've read it many times.

39 posted on 08/01/2003 5:54:10 PM PDT by RockyMtnMan
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To: raybbr
Two words: domestic growth
40 posted on 08/01/2003 5:56:35 PM PDT by RockyMtnMan
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To: daviddennis
Apples and Oranges. GM and others had direct competition with other companies, not other Countries! They didnt fight against comunist governments that prop up their industries, like we have to face now with China.
41 posted on 08/01/2003 6:00:28 PM PDT by RaceBannon
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To: RockyMtnMan
"It's the governments responsiblity to maintain a "level playing field" to foster competition"...

That is not in the link you posted.

Government is a necressary evil, to secure our borders, and not much else. Certainly not to level a playing field.

42 posted on 08/01/2003 6:53:20 PM PDT by MonroeDNA (No longshoremen (who make an average of $120k per year) were used to produce this tagline.)
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To: RockyMtnMan
"How does one become competitive with third world wages?

Compete.

43 posted on 08/01/2003 6:55:26 PM PDT by MonroeDNA (No longshoremen (who make an average of $120k per year) were used to produce this tagline.)
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To: MonroeDNA
"artificial heart-pumps"

And when some coolie making 10 cents an hour, starts making these, Jose will sell you his mud hut...

44 posted on 08/01/2003 7:14:27 PM PDT by alphadog (die commie scum)
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To: MonroeDNA
The government has created an environment that prohibits me from competing on a wage for wage basis. Therefore the government must fix that environment until I can compete dollar for rupee.

Do you not grasp the concept that our government's role is to ensure a market that is fair for all to compete? The constitution spells it out in black and white yet you continue on with this ridiculous notion that no industry is worth protecting?
45 posted on 08/01/2003 7:22:29 PM PDT by RockyMtnMan
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To: MonroeDNA
Section 8. The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States; but all duties, imposts and excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;

Not the general welfare of India.

To regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the several states, and with the Indian tribes;

Regulation implies negotiating favorable trading conditions with a foreign power. Many of our founders also talk about protecting industry from nations that would capitalize on our economic weeknesses. Free Trade is a new concept tariffs and excises are not.

46 posted on 08/01/2003 7:30:42 PM PDT by RockyMtnMan
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To: RockyMtnMan
Farming out American ingenuity is a surefire way to create future competitors than can out-compete us.

You just reminded me of how, in the crinton years, the Chinese gained access to our patent office and it's files.

I'm going to have to re-search for the information but I'm pretty sure they and the Russians were given the keys to the place.

47 posted on 08/01/2003 7:44:06 PM PDT by ohmage
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To: RockyMtnMan
"The government has created an environment that prohibits me from competing on a wage for wage basis...."

No, you chose a field where you cannot compete with the world. I feel sorry for you, but it was your chice.

"Therefore the government must fix that environment until I can compete dollar for rupee."

So taxpayers must pay more for goods because of your poor choices?

Are you proud of your demands? You should be ashamed.

48 posted on 08/02/2003 4:23:01 PM PDT by MonroeDNA (No longshoremen were injured to produce this tagline.)
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To: alphadog
"And when some coolie making 10 cents an hour, starts making these, Jose will sell you his mud hut..."

Lol! Let them try. Unlike the whiney union folks on this thread, who demand job protection because they are not smart enough to compete, We applaud competition.

Why? We are Americans, and innovate, and create new things. We are paid for our brains, and our innovation. We compete on a worldwide scale, and fear no one.

If some company comes along that is smarter than us, and eats our lunch, God Bless them. We will think of something else. We are not afraid to compete, world wide, on our own talents. Because we are Americans. And we don't whine.

49 posted on 08/02/2003 4:36:11 PM PDT by MonroeDNA (No longshoremen were injured to produce this tagline.)
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To: MonroeDNA
Ok, what about accountants, finance analysts, para-legals, etc.

It doesn't just affect IT, the implications are far more reaching than you realize.

What field is a good field to compete with slave wages in?

I'm actually quite secure with my skills, as a matter a fact the 90's boom can be attributed to my skills, so your welcome.
50 posted on 08/02/2003 4:43:11 PM PDT by RockyMtnMan
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