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The hidden cost of free trade
THE WASHINGTON TIMES ^ | September 18, 2005 | Jeffrey Sparshott

Posted on 09/18/2005 9:19:51 AM PDT by Willie Green

Angel Mills worked at GST AutoLeather in Williamsport, Md., most of her adult life. She cut, inspected, packed and shipped leather upholstery until she was laid off in June 2003 as the company scaled back local operations and shifted production to Mexico.

"It's sad. It's scary. I've been a factory worker all my life, and I didn't know what I wanted to do," said Ms. Mills, a 38-year-old Williamsport resident with a teenage son.

But by March 2004 she was taking a half-year course to become a state-licensed massage therapist. A federal program that helps workers who lose jobs owing to foreign competition paid for her training and offered extended unemployment benefits.

In July, she started working at Venetian Salon and Spa in Hagerstown, Md.

~~~SNIP~~~

Mr. Thomas said that for all trade adjustment program workers passing through the consortium, the average wage was $14.36 an hour before the layoffs, while after retraining it was $11.87 an hour, a decline that is common for factory workers who have to restart their lives.

U.S. Labor Department figures indicate that among the retrained, those that find new jobs end up making only 70 percent to 80 percent of their old wages on average.

(Excerpt) Read more at washtimes.com ...


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; Foreign Affairs; Government
KEYWORDS: cafta; corporatism; freetrade; freetraitors; globalism; nafta; offshoring; protectmeplease; racetothebottom; thebusheconomy; wagesandbenefits
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To: RFT1
The so called mainstream conservative movment is every bit as bankrupt as liberalism was by the late 70s

Exactly why this country needs a right wing wacko fringe demagogue like Pat Buchanan to straighten things out!

The fact "free" traders can not follow though on simple logic, much less have any sense of history shows me their ideas are bankrupt.

That's rich. The only ones supplying facts and employing logic here are the proponents of freer trade. I don't suppose you'd have any facts you'd like to share with us that support, in any way, your claims that free trade has bankrupted our economy. I'm sure you can find a study somewhere that proves that the amount of prosperity and wealth a country experiences is directly correlated to the amount government control exercised over the economy.

451 posted on 09/21/2005 3:58:19 PM PDT by Mase
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To: Mase
One of the problems is the Chomsky problem. Facts are communicate by words... and was said repeatedly at the Dem Natl Convention... "Kerry has his own truth".

Buchanan, in true Chomsky fashion, is clever with the words to build his own truth.

"There is a mess in Washington..... and it's all the fault of the illegal immigrants." Summary of Buchanan logic of year 2000 election season.

The fact is that we have the facts on our side. When we can play on our home turf, we win. But when we play on the Chomsky turf, we will always be out-maneuvered by people who are not distracted from their agenda by the facts.

452 posted on 09/21/2005 4:06:38 PM PDT by NormalGuy
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To: superiorslots
1. Kenya is a coastal country; Mombasa is a seaport. Whether or not a seaport becomes prosperous is a function of the trade going in and out of it. If you restrict trade, then obviously there is less prosperity in the seaport. QED.

2. Both of you are making circular arguments. I point out that Hong Kong is more prosperous because of a free economy and international trade rather than government control as in Kenya (which has far greater natural resources), and the argument is that you can't compare a place with international trade to one without it???

3. I never said that Kenya and HK were "exactly the same place"--merely that they had similar economic outlooks when they gained independence. The basis for prosperity in HK is trade and a relatively free economy; the basis for lack thereof in Kenya is a controlled economy and poor governance.

453 posted on 09/21/2005 4:34:40 PM PDT by austinTparty
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To: Mase

Facts are funny thing, they at times can be twisted, such as calling tariffs govrenmnet control over the economy. Fact is before the new deal when the US govrenmnet was libertarian in nature, tariffs were used, in the period of 45-70, when productivity gains were far higher than even today, tariffs were used, and it certainly did not hurt the bottom line of big or small business'.

When free trade is practiced between nations of similar ability, such as US and Europe, and when both side trade fairly, it does benifit both sides, when "free" tracde is practiced between nations of the same ability, but one side has various tariffs that prevent entry into a market, such as the way the US trades between Japan and Korea(this lopsided policy was a result of cold war policy that allowed Japan and Korea dump products into the US in exchange for use of bases), the result is a nations wealth being traded to another nation. When it is practiced the way it is in regaurd to China and India, where US workers and intellectual property are at a servere disadvantage, it is insanity, that hurts the US economicaly long term, and paves the way for greater socialism.

With GW Bush leading a government that spends more and more, there is more and more govrenment control over the economy.


454 posted on 09/21/2005 4:42:56 PM PDT by RFT1
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To: austinTparty
I never said that Kenya and HK were "exactly the same place"--merely that they had similar economic outlooks when they gained independence.

Mainland China develops very fast with Communist government in charge. The main difference between Kenya and HK is between tribal Africans who got contacts with civilization in XIX century and Chinese who have thousands years of high civilization.

In addition HK was the key center for British trade for more than hundred years (starting with being center of forced opium imports to mainland China).

BTW, British introduced democracy in HK at the last moment before transferring control to China. Somehow Brits did not like democracy in HK before.

455 posted on 09/21/2005 4:44:12 PM PDT by A. Pole (Gov.Gumpas:"But that would be putting the clock back, have you no idea of progress, of development?")
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To: RFT1
The fact "free" traders can not follow though on simple logic, much less have any sense of history shows me their ideas are bankrupt.

The fact that, in your entire reply, you couldn't find a single example of anyone's faulty logic leads me to believe that either you have no idea, or are too thick to figure it out yourself.

456 posted on 09/21/2005 4:46:17 PM PDT by 1rudeboy
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To: superiorslots

You get an 'A' in Inability to Comprehend the English language.


457 posted on 09/21/2005 4:47:30 PM PDT by 1rudeboy
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To: Sam the Sham
Frankly, that made no rational sense whatsoever. If the car loan has to be stretched because the consumer can no longer afford to buy a new car in 3 years,

Oh please. A car loan is a tool like any other tool. It can be misused. You can still get a 3, 4 or 5 year car loan. You can still get over leveraged with a 20% down payment 30 year mortgage.

Did you ever find a source which showed what % of car loans are actually 7 years? Or have you just been whining about something that's only 10% of the market?

and the price of the car is the same adjusted for inflation, obviously the buying power of the purchaser has dropped considerable from 1970.

Maybe consumers are using this extra cash flow to buy a larger house. That doesn't mean their buying power has dropped, just that their buying power is being used for something else.

458 posted on 09/21/2005 4:49:30 PM PDT by Toddsterpatriot (If you agree with Marx, the AFL-CIO and E.P.I. please stop calling yourself a conservative!!)
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To: Nowhere Man

My educated guess is that there will be a breaking point where political winds will change rapidly, and the GOP/mainstream conservatives will be caught off gaurd. They seem to forget that it is social, not economic issues that has given the GOP majority party status for the time being, but as more or more people, especially blue collar white males are put though economic stress, both though job outsourcing and legal and illegal immigration, I suspect a Democrat that is both though on illegal immigration and though on "free" trade would gain much headway in the next presidential election.

Of course with a Democratic takeover of the govrenmnet will come a whole new slew of taxes, and I suspect, especially since even some in big business now want it because they say they are at a disadvantage with foreign companies, a govrenment takeover in health care.


459 posted on 09/21/2005 4:50:17 PM PDT by RFT1 ("I wont destroy you, but I dont have to save you")
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To: superiorslots; A. Pole; RFT1
Speaking of logic, RFT1, reply #446 is a classic strawman . . . . Being the expert, perhaps you could help slots along?

As for you, slots, do you actually think you can win when all you can do is put words on other people's mouths? What's hilarious is that you are foolish enough to embed a quote in your reply that defeats your assertion.

460 posted on 09/21/2005 4:53:55 PM PDT by 1rudeboy
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To: RFT1
(this lopsided policy was a result of cold war policy that allowed Japan and Korea dump products into the US in exchange for use of bases), the result is a nations wealth being traded to another nation.

Yes, dumping trades one nations wealth to another. What do you expect when you sell for less the the cost of production? The buyers gets the sellers wealth. But that's not what you meant, is it?

461 posted on 09/21/2005 4:58:23 PM PDT by Toddsterpatriot (If you agree with Marx, the AFL-CIO and E.P.I. please stop calling yourself a conservative!!)
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To: A. Pole
Poetry can be a better tool of understanding than tedious scribblings of winners of the Noble Prize in Economics.

Here, here!!! That's the most intelligent piece of commentary I've read on Free Republic this past week. Good job A. Pole.

P.S. Check out my new tag line:

462 posted on 09/21/2005 5:16:30 PM PDT by Ronzo (Poetry can be a better tool of understanding than tedious scribblings of winners of the Noble Prize)
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To: Toddsterpatriot; A. Pole
We saw what the logical consequences of Marx's theory were. Gulags, misery and poverty. We see the logical consequences of the free market have been much higher standards of living in those countries which have freer markets as compared to those that have less free markets.

Exactly. Just like Communist China as compared to Communist North Korea. Of course, somebody forgot to tell China that they need to forfiet the gulags, the misery and poverty....

Oops....doen't look like a free market (or, in China's case, a "free-er" market) guarentees an end to these things, does it????

Think you best double-think those "communist" labels you enjoy throwing around there Toddster, and take a long, hard look at reality. A pure "free-market" economy can be just as bad--if not worse--than communism in terms of it's effects on a population. Either you're being oppressed by the political class, or being oppressed by the robber-barrons. When you're on the short-end of the stick, it doesn't matter how you label the system.

463 posted on 09/21/2005 5:38:15 PM PDT by Ronzo (Poetry can be a better tool of understanding than tedious scribblings of winners of the Noble Prize)
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To: A. Pole; v. crow
Let's say for the sake of argument that you are correct, and that free-trade is bad and that government control of the economy is good. And let's ignore that prices would skyrocket, plummeting purchasing power into the toilet, causing massive reductions in the American standard of living. And let's ignore that the economy would stagnate, putting people out of work permanently becuase the economy would not be able to create new jobs to absorb them (unlike Schumpeterian creative destruction that occurs in a relatively unrestricted economy). Let's ignore logic and economics, in other words, but let's get down to the central point of your desire: a government-controlled economy. You'd also have to get rid of the stock market, because you've erased the market and thus any rational explanation for the stock market's existence. And then: How does the government maintain control of the economy? Controlling the means of production and the prices (which heretofore, as I explained, were set by the market which would now no longer exist). Then you'd have to determine your methods of distribution, because without market pricing, there is no mechanism to decide this except for a central planning committee--which is merely whittling the market down to a few people who cannot possibly have as much information to put into the calculus as the entire market would. Where have you ended up? On the Road to Serfdom.

And incidentally, what authority gives you the right to claim control over me and the fruits of MY labor: my right to sell my goods to whomever wants to buy them, and my right to use that profit to buy from whomever I want to buy from? How you claim this somehow in the name of God is what I find most offensive. Theocratic communism, therefore? Sucking at the teat of Marx while clutching a crucifix--just like the "liberation" theologists of South America. You and your ilk are merely cultural statists and collective economists; using Orwellian speak to claim that allowing the government to control the economy is "liberty".

And should you wish to quote on liberty, you might try quoting someone who actually believed in it:

“Free trade is not based on utility but on justice.” –Edmund Burke

and “The moment that government appears at market, the principles of the market will be subverted.” –Edmund Burke

“If goods can't cross borders armies will.” –Frederic Bastiat

"No nation was ever ruined by trade, even seemingly the most disadvantageous." -- Benjamin Franklin, Principles of Trade, 1774

"Were we directed from Washington when to sow, and when to reap, we should soon want bread." -- Thomas Jefferson, Autobiography, 1821

AND especially:
"To take from one, because it is thought his own industry and that of his fathers has acquired too much, in order to spare to others, who, or whose fathers, have not exercised equal industry and skill, is to violate arbitrarily the first principle of association, the guarantee to everyone the free exercise of his industry and the fruits acquired by it." -- Thomas Jefferson, letter to Joseph Milligan, April 6, 1816

464 posted on 09/21/2005 5:47:18 PM PDT by austinTparty
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To: Ronzo
Oops....doen't look like a free market (or, in China's case, a "free-er" market) guarentees an end to these things, does it????

The Chinese people today are struggling with having to use code words to discuss democracy on their Yahoo blogs. It's not really a free society yet, but personal liberty has increased with economic liberty there. The two go hand in hand, just as limiting economic freedom means limiting personal freedom. The state of liberty in China today doesn't even compare to that in North Korea or what it was 50 years ago. Your argument is asinine.

I continue to be utterly astonished at the statists crawling out of the woodwork. How can you actually say life in a "pure" free market is worse than under communism? That is ridiculous.

465 posted on 09/21/2005 6:38:22 PM PDT by v. crow
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To: 1rudeboy

Rude I did what you are learning to master in snake school as slight sarcasm. Thought you would have figured that out. Guess not.
BTW: I was replying to your comment to Willie that you are not concerned about having american companies bought out by the red chinese and therefore they may no longer be available for us to convert to wartime production which you said you doubt would ever happen again.

Why are you always behind?


466 posted on 09/21/2005 7:13:20 PM PDT by superiorslots (Free Traitors are communist China's modern day "Useful Idiots" and "Pillow Biters")
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To: v. crow
I continue to be utterly astonished at the statists crawling out of the woodwork. How can you actually say life in a "pure" free market is worse than under communism? That is ridiculous.

How quickly one forgets the soup lines of the 1930's and the misery that was Victorian England. Also all those who worked for, and were owned by, the "company" while digging coal out of the hills of West Virginia, Kentucky, and other places in Appalachia. And these weren't even under pure free market conditions.

The ONLY thing that got us out of the Great Depression was the massive deficit spending that FDR initiated on behalf of World War II. Just about every economist of every political stripe credits GOVERNMENT intervention on ending the Great Depression. It wasn't the free market that was paying for all those tanks, ships and planes.

My point is this: either extreme, communisim (central planning) or totally free markets are both undesirable. As you correctly noted, free-er than normal markets, like those in China, do allow for a tiny increase in liberty, when you're not locked in the factory during your eighty-hour work week. However, there is still CONSIDERABLE control exerted by the Chinese government, they just don't try to control everything anymore, just simple, unimportant things like politics and religion.

But the reverse is also true. You cannot have a truly "free" market without near anarchy. No controls means no controls. If you have well disciplined population that can maintain itself, fine. But as recent current events deomonstrate, that type of self-control simply does not exist, at least not anymore. Just look what happened to New Orleans within 24 hrs. of Katrina!!!

Lord help the man who lives at the mercy of the FREE MARKET. The reason we don't have one, is because we once did, and no one liked it--with the exception of a few rich folks who had the morals and ethics of the devil himself.

Just look at how the people cried for Uncle Sam to save them after Katrina struck New Orleans a glancing blow. Everyone cries to be free, until it's time to pick-up the check...then they can't have too much "help" from the government.

As some in this thread have been pointing out, free markets work very well in theory; in "controlled" environments; but once they collide with human nature, those benefits dry up very quickly. That's why human beings have always had governments of some type, and often very authoritiarian ones....because more often then not, they couldn't trust the guy standing next to them.

467 posted on 09/21/2005 7:17:03 PM PDT by Ronzo (Poetry can be a better tool of understanding than tedious scribblings of winners of the Noble Prize)
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To: v. crow
How can you actually say life in a "pure" free market is worse than under communism? That is ridiculous.

I lived under Communism and I assure you that life was much better than in free market Dickensian England.

468 posted on 09/21/2005 7:31:43 PM PDT by A. Pole (For today's Democrats abortion and "gay marriage" are more important that the whole New Deal legacy.)
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To: Ronzo
Exactly. Just like Communist China as compared to Communist North Korea.

Are you saying Marx's theories did not lead to Gulags, misery and poverty in China and North Korea?

Oops....doen't look like a free market (or, in China's case, a "free-er" market) guarentees an end to these things, does it????

You really need to reread my post: We see the logical consequences of the free market have been much higher standards of living in those countries which have freer markets as compared to those that have less free markets. I didn't say freer markets guaranteed an end to those things. Are you denying that the freer market activities in China have increased the standard of living?

Think you best double-think those "communist" labels you enjoy throwing around there Toddster, and take a long, hard look at reality.

You first. I was calling A. Pole, who grew up under Communism and who still seems to think it is somehow superior to capitalism, a communist. Wouldn't you call someone who believes in the superiority of communism a communist? If not, what would you call him?

. A pure "free-market" economy can be just as bad--if not worse--than communism in terms of it's effects on a population.

A laughable assertion, but let's examine it. How many millions were put into camps and killed by the robber barons?

Either you're being oppressed by the political class, or being oppressed by the robber-barrons.

Again, laughable. The Chinese communists killed what, 50 million? The Russians another 20 million. The Cambodians, a million or two. How many millions did the robber barons in the US kill again?

469 posted on 09/21/2005 7:45:19 PM PDT by Toddsterpatriot (If you agree with Marx, the AFL-CIO and E.P.I. please stop calling yourself a conservative!!)
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To: A. Pole
I lived under Communism and I assure you that life was much better than in free market Dickensian England.

How many English perished in the Dickensian gulags?

470 posted on 09/21/2005 7:47:19 PM PDT by Toddsterpatriot (If you agree with Marx, the AFL-CIO and E.P.I. please stop calling yourself a conservative!!)
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To: superiorslots
Why are you always behind?

Because I'm trying to drag you forward. I asked Willie what sort of national security implications the failed deal between Haier and Maytag would involve, and the best he could come up with is that the Chinese might have gained access to technology that allows us to distinguish between whites, colors, and delicates.

471 posted on 09/21/2005 7:47:22 PM PDT by 1rudeboy
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To: superiorslots

Btw, I didn't appreciate the comment about snake school. God help you when you actually need one. I'll bet you'll keep your mouth shut then.


472 posted on 09/21/2005 7:51:22 PM PDT by 1rudeboy
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To: Toddsterpatriot
I was calling A. Pole, who grew up under Communism and who still seems to think it is somehow superior to capitalism, a communist.

You are twisting what I said. I said that life in Communist Poland was better for the majority of people than life in Dickensian England and especially Ireland.

I think that capitalism with human face is better than socialism, but socialism with human face is better than capitalism without human face. Do you understand?

473 posted on 09/21/2005 8:00:09 PM PDT by A. Pole (For today's Democrats abortion and "gay marriage" are more important that the whole New Deal legacy.)
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To: A. Pole
I think that capitalism with human face is better than socialism, but socialism with human face is better than capitalism without human face.

Where is there capitalism without human face? China?

474 posted on 09/21/2005 8:02:59 PM PDT by Toddsterpatriot (If you agree with Marx, the AFL-CIO and E.P.I. please stop calling yourself a conservative!!)
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To: Toddsterpatriot
How many English perished in the Dickensian gulags?

I did not live in Soviet Union under Stalin, Stalin's Russia was worse than Dickensian England indeed. But is it reason to brag for the free-marketeers that their beloved England of Dickens time was better than the Gulag? You set very low standard for yourself!

To repeat, the life in Communist Poland was better for the majority of people than in Dickensian England and especially Ireland.

I think that capitalism with human face is better than socialism, but socialism with human face is better than capitalism without human face. Do you understand?

475 posted on 09/21/2005 8:05:07 PM PDT by A. Pole (For today's Democrats abortion and "gay marriage" are more important that the whole New Deal legacy.)
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To: A. Pole
But is it reason to brag for the free-marketeers that their beloved England of Dickens time was better than the Gulag?

I don't remember any free-marketeers saying that England during Dickens time was perfect. What about America during Dickens time. Was that better? Is England now better than Poland under Communism?

476 posted on 09/21/2005 8:07:59 PM PDT by Toddsterpatriot (If you agree with Marx, the AFL-CIO and E.P.I. please stop calling yourself a conservative!!)
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To: Toddsterpatriot
Where is there capitalism without human face? China?

It was in Dickensian England, especially in Ireland. Fortunately you cannot find free market capitalism today, maybe with the exception of some African or Central American countries. You should move there.

477 posted on 09/21/2005 8:08:14 PM PDT by A. Pole (For today's Democrats abortion and "gay marriage" are more important that the whole New Deal legacy.)
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To: A. Pole
Where is there capitalism without human face today?

Fortunately you cannot find free market capitalism today, maybe with the exception of some African or Central American countries.

Which ones?

478 posted on 09/21/2005 8:10:17 PM PDT by Toddsterpatriot (If you agree with Marx, the AFL-CIO and E.P.I. please stop calling yourself a conservative!!)
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To: Toddsterpatriot
I don't remember any free-marketeers saying that England during Dickens time was perfect.

We should be thankful for that.

What about America during Dickens time. Was that better?

Yes. That is why Irish fled to USA.

Is England now better than Poland under Communism?

Yes, it is.

479 posted on 09/21/2005 8:10:23 PM PDT by A. Pole (For today's Democrats abortion and "gay marriage" are more important that the whole New Deal legacy.)
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To: Toddsterpatriot
Fortunately you cannot find free market capitalism today, maybe with the exception of some African or Central American countries.

Which ones?

Will you get a ticket?

480 posted on 09/21/2005 8:11:25 PM PDT by A. Pole (For today's Democrats abortion and "gay marriage" are more important that the whole New Deal legacy.)
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To: A. Pole

Sure. You show me an African country that practices free market capitalism today and I'll get a ticket. If you'll get a ticket when you can't show me one.


481 posted on 09/21/2005 8:13:49 PM PDT by Toddsterpatriot (If you agree with Marx, the AFL-CIO and E.P.I. please stop calling yourself a conservative!!)
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To: Willie Green
"It's sad. It's scary. I've been a factory worker all my life, and I didn't know what I wanted to do," said Ms. Mills, a 38-year-old Williamsport resident with a teenage son.

She sat back and continued relying on an industry that was losing jobs left and right, hoping and praying that her job would be safe.....instead of preparing for the inevitable years ago by acquiring other skills. Exactly why is she surprised?

482 posted on 09/21/2005 8:14:01 PM PDT by SALChamps03
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To: bobbdobbs

>>>>Free trade is not free. It comes at a heavy price for those who can least afford it.<<<<

>>Yeah, we need socialism!!!!<<

Are you implying our Founding Fathers, who supported tariffs, were Socialists?


483 posted on 09/21/2005 8:24:22 PM PDT by PhilipFreneau ("Resist the devil, and he will flee from you." -- James 4:7)
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To: RFT1
Facts are funny thing, they at times can be twisted

Of course, that would require some be posted here in the first place.

calling tariffs govrenmnet control over the economy.

Tariffs are taxes that absolutely give government more influence over the economy by protecting inefficient businesses, that happen to be well connected or politically powerful, who obtain favors at the expense of consumers. A regulated economy produces masses of corruption because it empowers bureaucrats. No need to look any further than the welfare paid to the American sugar cartel for a prime example of this process in action.

tariffs were used, in the period of 45-70, when productivity gains were far higher than even today

Yeah, the good old days after WWII when we were the only country left with an industrial base. Lack of competition was responsible for the good times we experienced during those years and all of that ended when the rest of the world caught up with us. Many of our industries were fat and inefficient, thanks in part to the unions who controlled the labor our growing economy required. By time we got our act together, we had lost a large portion of our auto and electronics industry. American consumers decided they no longer had to buy crappy construction and outdated technology.

You should probably choose examples that support your assertions. I would also think twice before accusing others of using faulty logic or criticizing their sense of history.

such as US and Europe, and when both side trade fairly

I have yet to see anyone adequately define what fair trade means. Fair to whom? In the name of fairness, different groups advocate different protections for their specific industries and call the comparative advantage of other countries "unfair."What could be more fair than willing buyers and sellers coming together without government interference?

Do you think the EU trades fairly? Do they not aggressively protect their industries and workers? Many of their member states rank fairly low on the index of economic freedom and have the unemployment and moribund GDP growth to prove it. Is this the model you suggest we follow? Hey, at least Germany has a trade surplus! As a matter of fact, the German economy is run almost exactly by the ideal Paleo model.

It is focused on high-value-added manufactured goods, has high tariffs and protectionism, runs a strong trade surplus, has a strong currency, an invasive system of social insurance, low immigration (much lower than the US, UK or France), avoids military interventionism, etc. Pat Buchanan would be proud of this.

China and India, where US workers and intellectual property are at a servere disadvantage, it is insanity, that hurts the US economicaly long term, and paves the way for greater socialism.

Yes, they steal our intellectual property. This has been going on for a long time yet we still lead the world in just about every area of technology. No other country innovates and commercializes technology better than the U.S. Please show us, with facts, how this has hurt us long term and how this has paved the way to greater socialism.

With GW Bush leading a government that spends more and more, there is more and more govrenment control over the economy

I'm not happy about the spending either but he has a plan to control the biggest of the entitlement programs and that's a start. Entitlements are the problem but they have nothing to do with free trade.

484 posted on 09/21/2005 8:24:29 PM PDT by Mase
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To: Toddsterpatriot; A. Pole
I lived under Communism and I assure you that life was much better than in free market Dickensian England.

How many English perished in the Dickensian gulags?

How fundamentally ignorant of history you are, Toddster ! Anybody in Eastern Europe twixt 1945 and 1989 lived better than the slums of Dickens East End or the company towns of the coal country. The forced eviction of the peasantry caused by enclosure (when the noble lords decided that sheep herding was more profitable than agriculture) was no different from what Stalin did to the Crimean Tatars.

And as for using basic common sense on your part, try this. Once upon a time the auto industry was rich selling plenty of cars with no more than three year loans. Now, a troubled auto industry must sell cars with seven year loans and employee discounts. What does that tell you ?

485 posted on 09/21/2005 8:25:46 PM PDT by Sam the Sham (A conservative party tough on illegal immigration could carry California in 2008)
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To: Mase

I read somewhere in a election-related (theirs) piece that Germany's economy has been growing at 0% annually for at least three years. I wonder if there are people at a forum called FreiRepublik.de complaining about a "race to the bottom?" (Geschlect den Boden erreichen?)


486 posted on 09/21/2005 8:32:48 PM PDT by 1rudeboy
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To: Toddsterpatriot; A. Pole
Again, laughable. The Chinese communists killed what, 50 million? The Russians another 20 million. The Cambodians, a million or two. How many millions did the robber barons in the US kill again?

Those millions who were killed by the Russians and the Chinese (amongst a host of other commies) were killed for POLITICAL reasons, not ECONOMIC. Hence, not comparable.

But what we are comparing are standards of living. In that realm, communists are not that far behind the industrialists of the 19th century, with the exception of North Korea. In some cases, communism could even be preferable to the squalor and misery of life in 19th century industrial Europe. Just ask the Irish.

Has the free-er market of China helped raise the standard of living? Yes, to a certian extent...but not for everyone in China, probably not even for a majority. But it's difficult to determine given that the Chinese aren't exactly forth-coming with all sorts of untainted economic data. However, China is still a long, long, long way from having anything resembling free markets as you define them.

As for the superiority of communism to capitalism, I don't see ANYONE on these threads singing the praises of Communism, not even A.Pole. What is being said is that unrestrained free markets aren't the bag 'o gold that many here on these threads think they are. Labor unions didn't come about in free-market economies because they had nothing better to do....it was a direct result of the oppression they felt--and felt in a painful fashion--from the nice free-market capitalists in charge of their sweat-shops. There's a reason Marxism was born out of 19th century free-market Europe...

I am now, and have always been a Christian capitalist, never a Marxist nor very sympathetic towards Marxist ideology.

The reason I say Christian capitalist and not just "capitalist" is that capitalism, in order to work, must have the highest moral and ethical principles, and I haven't found any higher outside the realm of Christianity. Mix a moral, benevolent people with free markets and for the most part things will work, as they have in the West up to the 19th century. When Christianity began it's long, slow march towards marginalization after the Reformation, the ethical and moral limits on economic power started to decline as well...not that they were ever all that strong to begin with.

Absent strong ethics, morals or government control, a truly free-market, industrail based economy will exploit it's workers, no if's and's or but's. History is filled with examples. China is no better. And those on the short-end of the stick are the poor, working class who lack the MBA's and political connections to get out of the trap they are in. (I know, they should just go to college...like everyone else...)

Why do you think it was a Republican, Teddy Roosevelt, who was so much in favor of anti-trust regulation? Was it just that he got tired of creating national parks and needed a new hobby? Or maybe it was because he was responding to a national outrage as to the way the rich were consolidating their power, ala' Marx's prediction?

487 posted on 09/21/2005 8:35:45 PM PDT by Ronzo (Poetry can be a better tool of understanding than tedious scribblings of winners of the Noble Prize)
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To: Sam the Sham
Now, a troubled auto industry must sell cars with seven year loans and employee discounts. What does that tell you?

That they are facing falling demand? Incidentally, how are the Toyota, Hyundai, and Honda plants in the U.S. doing? Are they offering employee discounts? Don't think so. They're probably running flat-out producing Corollas, Tundras, and Civics.

488 posted on 09/21/2005 8:36:21 PM PDT by 1rudeboy
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To: 1rudeboy
I wonder if there are people at a forum called FreiRepublik.de complaining about a "race to the bottom?"

LOL!

If so, they'd have something genuine to complain about - unlike so many here. I've read that along with no GDP growth, their real unemployment rate is more than 12%. Himmel herr gott!

At least they have that trade surplus.

489 posted on 09/21/2005 8:51:32 PM PDT by Mase
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To: Sam the Sham
And as for using basic common sense on your part, try this. Once upon a time the auto industry was rich selling plenty of cars with no more than three year loans. Now, a troubled auto industry must sell cars with seven year loans and employee discounts. What does that tell you ?

So, no actual stats on 7 year loans? I just went to the Honda USA website, 60 month max terms. Toyota USA, 72 months. Mercedes, 60 month. VW, 60 month. Maybe the only way Ford and GM can compete is to offer 7 year loans to marginal buyers. I guess these poor credit risks would be better off if they walked to work? Or took the bus?

490 posted on 09/21/2005 9:10:52 PM PDT by Toddsterpatriot (If you agree with Marx, the AFL-CIO and E.P.I. please stop calling yourself a conservative!!)
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To: Ronzo
The ONLY thing that got us out of the Great Depression was the massive deficit spending that FDR initiated on behalf of World War II. Just about every economist of every political stripe credits GOVERNMENT intervention on ending the Great Depression.

. . . uh, if you say so. That is a whole can of worms in itself and I'm not going to comment further than saying I disagree.

Look, in very simple terms, I object to protective, selective taxes on any particular products that I may want to import. If I'm an aerospace manufacturer, it personally hurts me to have a 30% steel tariff. I do not want to support a domestic steel industry that is so outrageously inefficient that even the gargantuan American advantage in capital and technology cannot allow it to be competitive. The tariff arbitrarily increases my steel material costs by 30% than what I could otherwise get. All of the tax money raised is non-productive and most of it is wasted on illegitimate government programs.

An industry that requires a tariff is pathetic indeed. It's like a marathon runner asking for a headstart against a paraplegic. I don't care how cheap Mexicans work. Technology amplifies the productive potential of a skilled worker thousands of times. In order words, you can have a thousand or a million slave labor packing coal on their backs from place to place, but I couldn't care less, because I have a damn railroad, with an engineer, conductor, and mechanics. The skilled workers who aren't necessary to meet the profitable demand of a product are gainfully employed in the production of other, often new products.

This is why capitalism raises all boats and why the working poor of America live better than the nobility of Europe did 500 years. Capitalism allows, nay, demands the efficient and profitable deployment of technology and innovation. When people are economically free to trade and are protected by the Rule of Law, this we call capitalism and population numbers multiply until people just don't even care to have any more kids. When a select and powerful group of men have a monopoly on force and use it to control the economic liberty of people, this we call socialism, and populations shrink from famine and mass murder.

It is outright absurd that I am defending free markets on Free Republic! Back to your regularly scheduled program of tariffs illegitimately protecting favored workers.

America, through her history as a free and prosperous nation, has gained the lead, by an unbelievable margin, in capital accumulation and technological know-how. This know-how means the skill, education, and innovation to maximize the production of the individual American worker.

We have here an illiterate, uneducated, and unskilled foreigner who does not even speak English, and who works in a factory in a foreign country with a sub-standard infrastructure and legal system. If he is able to outproduce an American manufacturer, than that slothful manufacturer does not deserve to stay in business because he is not competitive -- wasteful and inefficient and worse, unproductive -- and he sure has hell does not deserve a subsidy in the form of a tax on my trade with his better competition. Hell no!

I for one recognize the gigantic advantage I gain simply by living in America and having access to enormous capital, knowledge, and the world's finest legal system. This is available to every single penniless American with nothing going for him but a sound mind and good health. If you're born into privilege of any sort you have that much more of a headstart. If you're so pathetic that you cannot use this to make something of yourself in America of all places than you merit no more or less than to be replaced by the foreigner who is productive despite his inferior circumstances. I view idleness as a sin and stupidity as a worse sin. I will strive with all of my might to succeed and the worst failure which is possible for me is to wind up with merely providing adequately for me and mine. You only impede my success by obstacles to free trade, and prolong your own failure.

As Americans, our rightful place is at the forefront of production, but only because we have earned it by being first and being most successful. As the rest of the world catches on, we continue improving. It's a race to the top, and we have a 200-year headstart that has made some folks complacent.

Gentlemen, this is the important point I want you to take away from all this: 50 and 100 years ago, American factory workers sure as hell did not have the opportunity for massage therapy. Today they do, because they are individually more productive. The marginal ones lobby for tariffs. The real wages of productive individuals (not a stagnant industry refusing to change) rise in proportion to their productivity. This is eminently obvious when you think of labor as a commodity in a market. They rise because each individual's labor is more valuable as he becomes more productive. The marginal workers, the ones who aren't as productive, are laid off and they persue other productive employment.

Angel Mills decided to persue massage therapy. Good on her. Shame on you for suggesting that instead the price of leather should increase 30% and the leather industry should stagnate until it's incompetent even at a 30% advantage.

491 posted on 09/21/2005 9:11:54 PM PDT by v. crow
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To: v. crow

But, but, what about national security? [chuckle]


492 posted on 09/21/2005 9:14:20 PM PDT by 1rudeboy
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To: Ronzo
Those millions who were killed by the Russians and the Chinese (amongst a host of other commies) were killed for POLITICAL reasons, not ECONOMIC. Hence, not comparable.

So when you said the following....
Either you're being oppressed by the political class, or being oppressed by the robber-barrons. When you're on the short-end of the stick, it doesn't matter how you label the system.

....you were wrong?

In that realm, communists are not that far behind the industrialists of the 19th century, with the exception of North Korea.

But I thought we were talking about the 21st century.

In some cases, communism could even be preferable to the squalor and misery of life in 19th century industrial Europe. Just ask the Irish.

How many millions in the Gulag were allowed to leave Eastern Europe in the 1950s as compared to Irish who were allowed to leave in the 1850s?

What is being said is that unrestrained free markets aren't the bag 'o gold that many here on these threads think they are.

Are you saying we've been within light years of unrestrained free markets in the US in the last 100 years? Are you saying we're too free now and could use more regulations now instead of fewer?

493 posted on 09/21/2005 9:20:28 PM PDT by Toddsterpatriot (If you agree with Marx, the AFL-CIO and E.P.I. please stop calling yourself a conservative!!)
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To: A. Pole
Fortunately you cannot find free market capitalism today, maybe with the exception of some African or Central American countries. You should move there.

Yes, that must be why those countries are all at the very bottom of the ranking in economic freedom, in an annual report whose name escapes me.

Even you must accept the ridiculousness of your statement.

Pure, extreme, unfettered capitalism is anarcho-capitalism. Zero government control of the economy. The capital of violence is owned by individuals. In a free market supported by the Rule of Law, the government has a de jure monopoly on violence and by extension, the courts, police, and military.

494 posted on 09/21/2005 9:31:41 PM PDT by v. crow
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To: v. crow
Gentlemen, this is the important point I want you to take away from all this: 50 and 100 years ago, American factory workers sure as hell did not have the opportunity for massage therapy. Today they do, because they are individually more productive. The marginal ones lobby for tariffs. The real wages of productive individuals (not a stagnant industry refusing to change) rise in proportion to their productivity. This is eminently obvious when you think of labor as a commodity in a market. They rise because each individual's labor is more valuable as he becomes more productive. The marginal workers, the ones who aren't as productive, are laid off and they persue other productive employment.

It's not always a lack of productivity that causes a worker to be laid-off...sometimes it's just that they are in the wrong place, at the wrong time. No matter how productive they were, they now have nothing. The smart ones, energetic ones get into new jobs and careers, but at what cost? Looking at it in net terms, the worker with a new carrer will have to work a very, very long time... probably years, maybe a decade or two, before the recoop the cost of all that was lost during retraining, plus come back to a place where their wages equalled the amount they were being paid when they were laid-off. In terms of intangibles, like health care, those will probably never be as good for the worker. But in the meantime, inflation increases, prices increase, and the real buying power of our heroic worker DECREASES. Even if they can get back to their previous level of wages within five years, it's very likely prices have increased 10 to 15% in that time, still making for a net loss in purchasing power. Overall, decreasing wages are very, very unhealthy from an economic standpoint. We are seeing wages fall or stagnate all over the United States these past five years, which means that eventually the steam in our economic engine will be spent, and the economy will head south faster than Jesse Jackson to a television camera.

Angel Mills decided to persue massage therapy. Good on her. Shame on you for suggesting that instead the price of leather should increase 30% and the leather industry should stagnate until it's incompetent even at a 30% advantage.

I'm sorry, I did not suggest the price of leather should be increased, and it's not always a matter of the prices of goods or materials that's a factor, but rather the price of LABOR.

Labor prices are, for various reasons that I won't go into, very, very rigid. They go up easily, but not down. So when costs go up, or earnings go down, people are let go, rather than wages reduced. Right now we are in a situation as a nation where cheap labor is in vast supply overseas, and it's cheaper to do just about anything anywhere else than it is in the USA, with some exceptions. So companies are tripping over themselves moving production, engineering, information technology, and just about anything else not nailed down to overseas locations.

So, explain to me, if you could, how does this create a net benefit to the United States of America? Unless you own a company involved in import/export, where does one go to make a decent buck?

Other than healthcare, what field should I tell my children to get into so that they can enjoy at least a middle-class existance? What industry or career field is growing, looking for more people to fill it's ranks? Massage therapy?

495 posted on 09/21/2005 9:35:40 PM PDT by Ronzo (Poetry can be a better tool of understanding than tedious scribblings of winners of the Noble Prize)
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To: v. crow
. . . in an annual report whose name escapes me.

The Heritage's Foundation (garlic to our collectivist vampires) Index of Economic Freedom show a clear correlation between economic freedom, political liberty, and per capita income. The higher one is, the higher the others.

496 posted on 09/21/2005 9:40:57 PM PDT by 1rudeboy
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To: Ronzo
Other than healthcare, what field should I tell my children to get into so that they can enjoy at least a middle-class existance?

Engineering, for starters (if your kids are willing to work for their undergraduate degree). As for "healthcare," if you mean medicine or dentistry, you are well behind the times. The Feds have already sunk their claws into those two fields so deeply that they're simply not worth the time, money, and effort.

497 posted on 09/21/2005 9:48:13 PM PDT by 1rudeboy
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To: Toddsterpatriot; A. Pole; Willie Green
Are you saying we've been within light years of unrestrained free markets in the US in the last 100 years? Are you saying we're too free now and could use more regulations now instead of fewer?

This is where things get interesting.

Let me just say that we're too free with trade, much too free, and it will end up hurting us rather badly in the long run. No if's and's or but's about it.

And the reason it hurts us is because of another point you mentioned: governement regulation. I remember a GM exec stating that the cost of abiding the various government regulation adds about $2500 to a car. But of course this is the case for foreign car manufacturers as well, if they want to sell cars in the USA. So if someone want to make cars for the US market, the CAR must meet all of our governement regulations. Hence, we have a farily level playing field for the automotive industry, but one in which Ford and GM still can't compete. (Mainly due to poor quality products)

But what about something else, say a toy? Even toys have to meet certain regulations and standards in the USA. But if the toy can be made for less money overseas than it can be here...then why make it here? So toy production goes overseas. The TOY itself has to meet USA government regulations, but the factory it's made in, and the way it treats it workers are beyond the reach of the regulators.

So it's just not the toy that comes under government regulations, but the factory, the workers, and everything else. So if a company can avoid all those costs by locating production overseas, then why make something here?

Of course it's not just a problem of manufacturing anymore. Not only can products be made more cheaply overseas, they can also be designed and engineered more cheaply overseas. And the information processing necessary to oversee everything can be done more efficeintly overseas. Pretty soon, you just have an owner, a lawyer, an accountant, and someone who drives the forklift at the warhouse on the American side, as everything else can be done more cheaply overseas.

Of course the problem with this is that we can't all be in the import/export business, nor can we all work for the government. So where does everyone else get a job? Restaurants? Wal-Mart? A trucking company or a railroad? Wall Street? Just how many massage therapists can an economy support?

This wouldn't be so bad if there were something other than manufacturing, engineering, information technology, etc., to sustain the middle-class. But such is not the case. Jobs for the middle-class are disappearing quickly, and there's nothing else out there taking up the slack.

So just how long can this scenario go on for? How long can the middle class take a hit before the economy as a whole goes into the tank?

If history is any guide, we don't have very long at all. As wages are stagnant or declining for a majority of Americans as prices continue to increase...even at a low rate of inflation....consumption of goods will decrease, no matter where they are made or how cheap they are.

That's the situation we are in now. Free trade is only making it worse.

498 posted on 09/21/2005 10:09:35 PM PDT by Ronzo (Poetry can be a better tool of understanding than tedious scribblings of winners of the Noble Prize)
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To: Ronzo
And the reason it hurts us is because of another point you mentioned: governement regulation.

Hmmm....then why are you taking the side of A. Pole who seems to think we need more government regulation instead of taking the side of someone who wants less regulation, like me?

Jobs for the middle-class are disappearing quickly, and there's nothing else out there taking up the slack.

Anything other than your word that this is happening?

As wages are stagnant or declining for a majority of Americans

Anything other than your word that this is happening?

499 posted on 09/21/2005 10:17:13 PM PDT by Toddsterpatriot (If you agree with Marx, the AFL-CIO and E.P.I. please stop calling yourself a conservative!!)
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To: Ronzo
It's not always a lack of productivity that causes a worker to be laid-off...sometimes it's just that they are in the wrong place, at the wrong time.

That's called supply and demand? There isn't an infinite demand for shoes specifically. That's why the market will only bear so many shoe-makers before the rest have to find other demands to meet.

price of LABOR

Cheap labor is unproductive labor. If a person's labor is productive it is worth more. If I owned a farm, I would pay more for one skilled tractor and machine operator than a hundred unskilled laborers. As the owner of this farm, I would be utterly unconcerned with how cheaply foreigners hired labor because my American workers are more productive, by virtue of their greater skill and capital invested in their tools.

His individual labor is more productive, it earns me more money, so I pay more for him (because the market reality is likely that other farm owners also want the services of my skilled tractor operator). The PRICE of labor is set by supply and demand, and demand is influenced in a very large part in how productive the labor is.

Labor prices are, for various reasons that I won't go into, very, very rigid.

They're rigid because the market isn't allowed to operate freely to set the price of labor. If it's otherwise, then please enlighten me (I am ignorant).

So, explain to me, if you could, how does this create a net benefit to the United States of America?

I explained more than once how unfettered trade results in net gain due to efficiency in my first several posts in this thread. There is a chapter of Economics in One Lesson by Henry Hazlitt devoted to that very subject. The entire .pdf for the book is linked to in my about page.

Other than healthcare, what field should I tell my children to get into so that they can enjoy at least a middle-class existance? What industry or career field is growing, looking for more people to fill it's ranks? Massage therapy?

I would advise them to suck you dry for every bit of education you can afford. =) In addition, to gain practical experience and real world work experience at every single opportunity they can get it, even trading higher pay for the experience, in every useful field they can get their hand in. It is *really* nice to have the security and support of your family while you learn and gain all this useful experience. Not everyone has or had that. Then they should persue their specific field of interest. Some fields can be entered in just with higher education and common sense, while others you might have to persue on the side and support yourself with the best you can get. Once they're doing the work they love they should expand and innovate in their field. That's the American way.

I definitely would NOT advise getting a rudimentary technical education and doing the same set of mechanical motions for the next 40 years, hoping their pensions aren't allowed to lapse like has recently happened, and praying a glut of equally unskilled foreigners doesn't displace them and their high wages. That's no better than being a human robot in a factory. Why not be the one in charge of building or maintaining various robotic systems instead?

I'll give you a hint, we're not going back to the days where nailery workers cut nails by hand anytime soon, no matter how cheap Mexicans are willing to work. Specializing in a 6th grade education and a set of repetitive motions to work in the same textile mill for 40 years is just plain stupid. It shouldn't be protected by tariffs and the union bosses won't make it less stupid by pouting.

Personally, I find aerospace engineering and the future of private space exploration completely fascinating and very exciting. I will be steering my higher education in that direction while in the meantime I work, gain experience, and improve my life.

500 posted on 09/21/2005 10:24:20 PM PDT by v. crow
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