July 17, 2012

"No Apologies: Why Mitt Romney Should Own His Rapaciousness."

That's the headline provided by email from The New Republic for this article by Timothy Noah, which, at the page, is headlined "Mitt Romney, Crybaby Capitalist."

I know, Noah is irritating if you're not rooting against Romney, but isn't there something to this point? It's something David Gregory kept trying to bring out on "Meet the Press" last Sunday. First, he was talking to Ed Gillespie (Senior Adviser, Romney 2012 Campaign/Former Chair, Republican National Committee), and I'll just ignore Gillespie's evasions. Here's Gregory, spliced together:
[Does Romney] stand by business decisions that were made by the firm he created?... But, so he-- he stands beside-- behind decisions the company has made… about call centers or about... outsourcing which in the lot of circles is considered good business.... Does Mitt Romney believe that outsourcing is a legitimate decision for companies to make, to make them stronger companies more efficient companies?...

I mean, you know, outsourcing is a tough political topic. But if you are a business man there’s a real need for outsourcing jobs.... Mitt Romney is somebody who’s-- who is in the private sector who understands it. So would-- would he not stand by the practice of outsourcing?...

All right. So just one more try at this. Does he believe that outsourcing is a legitimate business practice?... In the creation of a healthy economy?...

But clearly he’s sensitive about the outsourcing issue because it’s a politically-charged issue. In that same vein, does he have a problem as somebody who ran the Olympics before with Olympic uniforms not being made in America, being manufactured in China, Congress is taking this up now, it seems to be a bipartisan sense of outrage. Where is Mitt Romney on this?
Gillespie won't say what is obvious, that sewing fabric together is a job that ought to be done in China, and we've got lots of incredibly cheap clothing that we all benefit from because it's made in China. What do you think your clothes would cost if they weren't made in China? Imagine if we suddenly had to start buying American-made — "Look for the union label" — clothes! All Gillespie (and others, who got the talking points) will say is we shouldn't politicize the Olympics.

Later, Gregory was talking to Senator Jon Kyl (R-AZ/Assistant Republican Leader) and he continued to push for a serious acknowledgement of how business works:
Do you consider [outsourcing] a legitimate business practice that should not be politicized?
Even later, with his "roundtable" guests, Gregory said:
But the reality is that in politics everything gets politicized in all these decisions. And Bob Woodward, the idea of when he was at Bain, when he left Bain is perhaps less material than whether, you know, somebody who was in private equity will or will not stand behind some of, you know, decisions that are made in the global economy including outsourcing as much as it gets uncomfortable in political campaign....

Would he do better to say, look, I am very wealthy, it is complex, there are a lot of investments. Have a look at all of this and now we can get back to-- to talking about jobs?
Should Romney and his people be less coy about what business is?

ADDED: "Rapacious" is a great word, with powerful associations to "rape" and "raptor." Here's the etymology from the OED:
< classical Latin rapāci-, rapāx predatory, inordinately greedy ( < rapere to seize (see rape v.2) + -āx : see -acious suffix) + -ous suffix. Compare Middle French, French rapace (c1310 in Old French), Occitan rapace, rapaço, Catalan rapaç (15th cent.), Spanish rapaz (c1140), Portuguese rapaz (1253), Italian rapace (1313).
With sense 2 compare French rapaces (plural noun) birds of prey (1768), scientific Latin Rapaces (alternative to Raptores Raptores n.), and their etymon classical Latin rapaces beasts of prey.
Obviously, Romney shouldn't admit to rapaciousness.

75 comments:

Dan in Philly said...

There is something to his point and more to the way in which he says it of course. In a similar way, we could say Obama should own his own American Imperial Socialism, which is clearly his cheif innovation and legacy.

traditionalguy said...

Partial disclosure, much less full disclosure,isnot a Romney skill. He wants to control the message and remain inscrutable while he is only judged by the results.

That politcal inexperience may make this a close election.

Richard Dolan said...

"Should Romney and his people be less coy about what business is?"

The truth will set you free. But it may not get you elected. Have you noticed that most successful politicians have, at best, a dialectical approach to the truth? (Clinton famously had a situational approach.)

Sloanasaurus said...

Romney is smart not to make comments about outsourcing or to debate why outsurcing may or may not be a good good thing, because anything he says will be taken out of context and repeated to make it seem like Romney if elected will move jobs overseas. That is the news story the media wants to repeat.

The media is so biased against Romney that you cannot count on them to be honest about his business career or about why business decisions are made. That is why Romney should stick to talking about his business career as experience, and that he was successful. And that Obama is clueless about business and that is why America is failing and why no jobs are being created and why more people have signed up for disability insurance in the last three years than jobs have been created.

The real outsourcer of American jobs is Obama. He is the one that has created a poor business environment with all his taxes and cruel regulations and his warped idea that redistributing wealth will improve the lives of the average American. American jobs are being outsourced because of Obama's Communistic views that individuals only succeed because the state is there to help them. What international business person wants to invest in America in this kind of envornment. The only game in America is gettng $$ from the government. If you want to make real money and create real jobs, go to Asia.

edutcher said...

The issue is outsourcing happened because the Demos and Lefties thought they could tax and regulate business endlessly and they had nowhere to go.

However, O'Really did a piece last night on Little Zero's favoritism toward GE and the fact they have more outsourced jobs than ones in this country.

And, of course, GM decided to reverse some of its outsourcing a whole week ago.

traditionalguy said...

Partial disclosure, much less full disclosure,isnot a Romney skill. He wants to control the message and remain inscrutable while he is only judged by the results.

That politcal inexperience may make this a close election.


Wishful thinking notwithstanding, there's a piece on Breitbart making the point the Romster is moving up in all those swing state polls, so it may not be that close, after all.

Shanna said...

If he didn't personally outsource anything, i don't see why he should take the political heat.

However, there is an argument to be made about why it's cheaper to have things made elsewhere and the things we could do, he could do, to make the environment in the US more business friendly. That would fit right in with his messaging, right?

SteveR said...

A real evaluation of the situation is that its Obama (meaning him, his campaign and media friends) that not being honest. Of course they don't really care about the truth.

edutcher said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Joaquin said...

The question that Romney should be posing is: Why are businesses outsourcing jobs? Why are they looking outside the US? Why?

edutcher said...

Shanna said...

If he didn't personally outsource anything, i don't see why he should take the political heat.

However, there is an argument to be made about why it's cheaper to have things made elsewhere and the things we could do, he could do, to make the environment in the US more business friendly. That would fit right in with his messaging, right?


Good point.

The Zeroes want people to believe that, since jobs in MA were outsourced while he was MA Governor, he was directly responsible.

Either these people don't know where a governor's authority ends or they really do wish they could run this country like it was Red China.

Colonel Angus said...

So if I understand the Obama campaign position, outsourcing to foreigners is bad but unfettered importation of foreigners to take jobs here is ok.

Michael K said...

What Romney needs to do, and the timing is more the issue right now, is to do a whole series on why capitalism and Bain Capital, as an example, is what makes this country work. The Obama gambit is not moving the polls so Romney has time. He has a trip to the middle east coming up, then I expect, he will go on to a series of speeches and ads explaining in a positive way, how business works and why Obama doesn't understand it.

One link might be the willingness of Democrats to threaten the economy with the nonsense of class warfare like Patty Murray (the grandmother in tennis shoes) did the other day. This creates the uncertainty that keeps investment down. Now, they have guaranteed that nothing will happen until the election. I don't think that is good for Obama but he seems to prefer ignorance.

The news media are so hostile to Republicans that they will keep the Bain Capital story alive. It's all they have.

MayBee said...

Why aren't we asking if Obama should be less coy about what business is?
Do we assume he doesn't know.

I remember two things about Obama. The first is when his campaign wrote something about Hillary Clinton (D-Bangalore).

The other thing, and I can't find it, is when Obama got into office and admitted some things should be made in other countries. Does anybody have any better search skills?

MayBee said...

I'm not talking about the time Obama told Brazil he wanted to be their customer for oil and gas.

It was earlier than that. Maybe when Singh was visiting?

AllenS said...

Create the ideal business climate in this country, and the clothes will be made here. Robots will be doing the sewing with American workers tending to the robots. Where will the robots be made? Crease the ideal business climate...

TMink said...

Is Romney more thin skinned as our current president?

Yes? Then it is an issue.

No? Then it is still an issue, but not for Romney.

Trey

traditionalguy said...

Romney has an insider's knowledge of why American Jobs went to China and India. I doubt that he will share it. But as President he may quit making it worse on purpose like the Destroyer-in-Chief Obama.

The Pax Americana made world trade the hot item in the 1990s.

Capitalists could get suddenly a 30% return on investments in booming China. So they sent their money to build plants in China.

The Dot Com Bubble masked the hollowing out of American industrial plant and skills. When that fizzled, the Real Estate Bubble was put into action by the Dems and the Bush Family.

Now all our masking bubbles are gone except the Higher Education scam on borrowed money and the Government Bureaucracy Bubble.

What can any American President do next? So far Romney is keeping his cards close. The only answer is Energy production at full bore and the end of Regulation strangulation. Otherwise the current Great Depression will eliminate our way of life.

MayBee said...

I guess I'm wondering why David Gregory isn't asking why Obama doesn't say these things.

Or why he doesn't ask why Obama is making these kinds of accusations if he understands business.

Cedarford said...

Sloanasaurus said...
The real outsourcer of American jobs is Obama.
==================
edutcher said...
The issue is outsourcing happened because the Demos and Lefties thought they could tax and regulate business endlessly and they had nowhere to go.


**********************
America is in far too deep trouble to engage in fantasy games of how this Party or That did it all and if ONLY one guy from one Party is replaced --everything will be just ducky again.
The seeds of destruction go back far before Obama. LBJ. The corruption of both Parties by Ruling Elites in Banking and Wall Street Corporations that wanted Freedom! to fuck over their workers. Freedom to sell out US technology and industries to foreign competitors for short term executive bonuses over long term American prosperity.

The list includes evil bastards like Alan Greenspan.
The fools of the Reagan Administration who told us that Free Trade would result with America selling "high tech" stuff like crazy to the Chinese from booming US factories because...."By Jingo!! The US worker is the bestest most productive source of labor ever, and one Amuurrrican can outmake, out produce 100 Chinese, with higher quality."
Lies, and most of the money people behind the Republicans in the 80s and early 90s knew it.
Clinton picked up the money people and continued free trade and Globalization and pushed the surge of illegals in to supress US wages further, has the money people wanted.
Before Obama, Bush was fixated on "Evildoers" and pushing "post-high tech" bubbles, and continuing the bleeding of wealth to China as usual. And was also very much into keeping millions of illegals coming as business interests urged him to do.

Obama is just an incompetent bag-holder. And his bag of steaming shit is as much due to the Reaganite free traders and deregulators, Clinton and Bushies selling us out to China - as it is due to his own ineptitude.

MayBee said...

Remember when Steve Jobs tried to tell Obama about business?



When President Barack Obama joined Silicon Valley's top luminaries for dinner in California last February, each guest was asked to come with a question for the president.

But as Steve Jobs of Apple spoke, Obama interrupted with an inquiry of his own: What would it take to make iPhones in the United States? Not long ago, Apple boasted that its products were made in America. Today, few are. Almost all of the 70 million iPhones, 30 million iPads and 59 million other products Apple sold last year were manufactured overseas.

Why can't that work come home? Obama asked.

Jobs' reply was unambiguous. "Those jobs aren't coming back," he said, according to another dinner guest.


The press is happy to see this as an attack on Romney that Romney must explain. But it is actually a demonstration of Obama's ignorance.
He's had some of the best business leaders in the world talk to him about this, and still Obama attacks Romney.
Is he stupid or is he just such a political creature that he can not approach global business decisions honestly?

Why don't Romney and the press address it that way?

ricpic said...

"Rapaciousness" in The New Republic headline translates to wealth envy. I mean, we've got all the correct opinions and the correct cultural references and we're credentialed all to hell and that that...SQUARE is way richer than us and it's JUST NOT RIGHT!!!

ignatzk said...

Why don't Romney and the press address it that way?

Why anyone imagine the 'press' knows anything about business. They're storytellers.

Christopher in MA said...

Somewhat OT, but Romney's people ought to adapt a poster I just saw at the "Seraphic Secret" blog (seraphicpress.com): it's a picture of Little Black Jesus with his head in his hand under the caption Poor President Obama. If he gets re-elected, look at the mess he's going to inherit.

Colonel Angus said...

He's had some of the best business leaders in the world talk to him about this, and still Obama attacks Romney. Is he stupid or is he just such a political creature that he can not approach global business decisions honestly?

Some time ago, I had a discussion ok this forum regarding Obama's supposed intelligence and I'm once again confident in asserting that the man is of average intelligence. His belief that a business owner didn't create the business, they others did it for him speaks of an ignorance of a sitting President that defies belief.

Tim said...

"Romney is smart not to make comments about outsourcing or to debate why outsurcing may or may not be a good good thing, because anything he says will be taken out of context and repeated to make it seem like Romney if elected will move jobs overseas. That is the news story the media wants to repeat."

Right.

Most voters are dumb.

The fact the current occupant of the White House is even there confirms that.

Most voters have bought into the "someone, somewhere, owes me more than I have" mentality.

So, if the discussion devolves to outsourcing and off-shoring jobs, regardless of the economic sense and merit of those decisions, regardless of how much the American labor movement and official Democrats have driven up the cost of jobs in the US, Romney will be put on the defensive.

He knows this, so he dodges the question.

The political culture is sufficiently retarded as to make an intelligent discussion of this (and similar issues) impossible.

In the end, it's the voters fault, of course. They respond to this shit without even thinking.

Widmerpool said...

It is beyond laughable to believe that David Gregory or Tim Noah is asking that question in good faith, which would be the precondition for Romney or his representatives to respond honestly. The latest Bain discussion has been conducted on a typically bad-faith basis by the press. Does anyone really believe Romeny "owned" Bain as the reports breathlessly suggest? If so, why did he walk away with just a puny couple hundred million. The answer is easy to obtain, but Gregory and Noah and their colleagues have no interest in pursuing. Best to deal with the media as adversaries, and use campaign funds to make your case directly.

MayBee said...

Why anyone imagine the 'press' knows anything about business. They're storytellers.

True, but David Gregory and Tim Noah understand the situation enough to say Mitt Romney should be honest about what business does.
There's no reason to exclude Obama from that responsibility.

Even Althouse writes about this as if it is Romney who understands business and Romney who should explain.
What is Obama? Chopped liver?

Henry said...

Remember when the song of the labor left was L'Internationale?

Why does the left hate the workers of the world so much?

* * *

Any legitimate inquiry into the world economy points to global capitalism as being a huge success. Billions of people are being lifted out of poverty by open markets and transcontinental exchange.

Go to Gapminder and watch the Wealth and Health of Nations animation.

Notice the general improvements among all nations.

Notice that all first world countries are pretty much in the same boat and follow the same trajectory. Intramural policy fights aren't driving this change.

Another thing -- Watch India from independence until about 1980. That was when India was a socialist Autarky. Thanks to modern medicine life expectancy went up, but income per person stagnated. Then watch India from 1980 to the present.

* * *

Outsourcing outrage is just the Know-Nothings all over again. It's bipartisan nativism. I wish Romney could channel Bastiat and explain the unseen benefits of productivity; I wish he could channel David Ricardo -- or even just Bill Clinton -- to explain comparative advantage; I wish he could stand up for the poorest of the world's poor; but I don't think reason can be heard above the whining of the mob.

The Godfather said...

Presidential candidates aren't generally in the business of educating the voting public about policy issues. The candidate pretty much has to take the public as it is, and then try to show them that he/she is the one to do what the public thinks it wants done. For Romney to start talking about outsourcing and offshoring now is bound to sound defensive. Better he should launch an effective attack on another one of Obama's failures.

SunnyJ said...

The irony of the left, who love the global environment, global gun laws, global immigration rights, global control of the seas, global ecomonmies, global currency and the grand global tour by Obama to bow and scrape and declare that the US is not exceptional and we need everyone else,

is now worried about outsourcing? ROFLMAO

Disingenous? Intellectually dishonest?

The millions Obama has made have been on our dime and our time and 30% of his income since 2009 has been from foreign sources.

Obama has commited the greates fraud upon this country...it will take years to undue the damage.

Cedarford said...

I wish he could channel David Ricardo -- or even just Bill Clinton -- to explain comparative advantage.

----------------
Globalism, the ability to transfer capital and technology to the lowest cost source of labor (the 2 billion 3rd Worlders) while keeping the consumer markets in more prosperous countries and their unemployed workers buying stuff "under comparable advantage".....
Lasts only as long as debt, credit, and government transfers to people in prosperous countries ....lasts.

Ricardo was long, long ago. In the modern world his free trade theory that all boats lift as the magic of comparative advantage plays out is as full of shit as Marxism or the "prudent banker theory" - that banks run best free of oversight and regulation.
Reagan's idiot belief tax cuts create jobs, lowers debt, and trickles down? That theory has also proved to be Voodoo shit, in only 30 years under Bush II and Obama.

Rusty said...

traditionalguy said...
Romney has an insider's knowledge of why American Jobs went to China and India. I doubt that he will share it.



You don't have to be an insider. Look at those industries that are the most heavily regulated or unionized. Corporations exist to maximize profits and minimize risk.

It takes $150,000 to make an injection molding die for a 33 gallon garbage can in a factory here in the US. You can get the die in Korea for $25,000. Order three. Take the best one and rework it to specs and you still come out ahead.

MayBee said...

Another question:

Why is outsourcing worse than sending billions of dollars earned by US citizens to countries like Pakistan and Egypt?

It's money out of the pockets of US workers, right?

machine said...

"...want people to believe that, since jobs in MA were outsourced while he was MA Governor, he was directly responsible."

So President Obama is personally responsible for EVERYTHING that is wrong in this world, but Governor Romney is only responsible for the things he personally had a hand in...

Nice bubble you live in, saboteurs...

machine said...

When repubs can go around shouting that the President hates America, and that he needs to learn how to be an American, then Romney has nothing to complain about...

Christopher in MA said...

So President Obama is personally responsible for EVERYTHING that is wrong in this world. . .

Nope. He's not responsible for the Sudanese problem. Or that Madonna really shouldn't be showing off her breasts and thong at her age. But keep on fucking that strawman, machine. The exercise will do you good.

Nice bubble you live in, saboteurs.

My, my. Whatever happened to "don't question my patriotism," little boy?

Cedarford said...

Romney has an insider's knowledge of why American Jobs went to China and India. I doubt that he will share it.



Rusty - You don't have to be an insider. Look at those industries that are the most heavily regulated or unionized. Corporations exist to maximize profits and minimize risk.

Sorry Rusty, you are full of shit. Same with most ignorant as dirt conservatives that say gummint regulations and "damn unions" are the prime reason why we have lost most of our goods production in 30 major industries to Asia.

As if hiring an equally good CHinese worker making 8 dollars a day vs. the good US worker has nothing to do with it.

The hemhorrhage has been led by non-unionized lightly regulated industries like high tech (computer, plasma screen, fiber optics, cellual communications, R&D work in pharma) or traditional but "union-free" plants in the South that once made steel, textiles, made clothes.

"Whah, all them jobs would come back if it wasn't for them unions and government folks messing around"?

Dirt ignorant.
America was basically sold out by the Ruling Elites for short term profit by giving them the ability to move technology and capital to make goods for the US domestic market under lying mantras that free trade would benefit everyone.

And lies and all the US needed was more education, less gummint, and new miracle high tech factories.

Colonel Angus said...

So President Obama is personally responsible for EVERYTHING that is wrong in this world,..

I wouldn't go that far but he has certainly made a bad situation worse in this corner of it.

Colonel Angus said...

Nice bubble you live in, saboteurs...

I can't speak for you but my loyalty is to the United States, not Barrack Obama.

Cedarford said...

MayBee said...
Another question:

Why is outsourcing worse than sending billions of dollars earned by US citizens to countries like Pakistan and Egypt?

It's money out of the pockets of US workers, right?

=============
Both are bad.
Pissing trillions away to give Freedom!! to backstabbing Muslims by never-ending wars of neocon nation building or just giving them money outright is bad.

But less harmful than trillions of US wealth and millions of lost jobs going overseas.
On the theory that wars end and lots of the money ends up in the pockets of US defense contractors or essentially useless American "Heroes with boots on the ground" doing little except be in foreign lands to take casualties and build playgrounds and roads for locals that hate them.

Calypso Facto said...

Artificial intelligence, on display here today as a "machine" proves it can learn.

Last week:
machine said...
War liars, torturers, and sabotagers...how proud you are...

7/12/12 12:05 PM
Rusty said...
machine said...
War liars, torturers, and sabotagers...how proud you are.


You're smart enough to know you're stupid, right?

7/12/12 12:21 PM
Original Mike said...
You're smart enough to know you're stupid, right?"

I wouldn't bet on it. The word he's looking for is saboteurs.

This week:
machine said...
Nice bubble you live in, saboteurs...



Progress! Now that spelling is coming along, perhaps we could go on to expanding the vocabulary beyond "saboteurs!" and work on strawman recognition...

machine said...

How about sabotageurs...

MaggotAtBroad&Wall said...

I'm amazed how confused people are about what outsourcing is.

Outsourcing simply means that a firm has chosen to contract for services that it could do internally. For example, a firm can either employ a janitor directly or it can contract with a janitorial cleaning service. It can put a receptionist on the payroll or it can contract with a firm to supply a temporary worker. And so on.

Firms compete for employees a number of ways. Salary, benefits, quality of work, etc. If a firm offers a Cadillac fringe benefit plan in order to attract the highly skilled employees it needs, and by Cadillac I mean a comprehensive benefit plan that may include full healthcare, dental, vision, pension, partial or full tuition reimbursement, etc., then it is easy to see that those fringe benefits really drive up the cost to the firm to hire an employee. So the firm may decide to contract out for the menial, unskilled jobs such as a janitor rather than hire the janitor directly. This enables the firm to concentrate on what it does best and not use scarce resources on the firm's non-core competencies.

The bottom line is that outsourcing is not a dirty word and it does not necessarily mean that the outsourced jobs are done by foreign firms overseas.

Gabriel Hanna said...

It doesn't matter why outsourcing is more profitable. The point is Americans can buy things cheaper than they could with out it, and have money left over for other things, and their standard of living rises.

Arguments against outsourcing are arguments against any sort of increase in productivity whatever. No matter what innovation it is, if it is more productive it costs someone his job, by definition.

If we're collectively spending less money on something produced overseas, we will collectively have more money to spend on things that we were spending less on that aren't made overseas. Things we couldn't afford as much of before. Somebody will have a new job that didn't exist before.

There might be more pro sports teams, or more mathematicians, or performance artists, who can say? But it makes no sense to argue against productivity. You have to focus solely on the people who lose by it and not those who gain.

Bastiat rolls over in his grave.

Cedarford said...

Gabriel Hanna said...

It doesn't matter why outsourcing is more profitable. The point is Americans can buy things cheaper than they could with out it, and have money left over for other things, and their standard of living rises.

Only if wages and net number of holders of productive private sector jobs remains constant. All evidence is they have not.

There is also the problem of punishing a localized population in an integrated economy. And thinking the prosperity of Manhattanites in "financial services" buying cheaper Chinese shoes and cloth apparal makes up for Southern cities now gutted of jobs in those fields.

Some Americans love the situation..the ones in other places in America with destroyed factories, joblessness becoming hopelessness - do not. And when the numbers of the dispossed reaches critical levels - cities burn and the losers want a chunk of what the winners have...especially if the winners are a smaller and smaller and wealthier and wealthier part of the population.

Arguments against outsourcing are arguments against any sort of increase in productivity whatever. No matter what innovation it is, if it is more productive it costs someone his job, by definition.

Populations will support productivity if the loss of jobs is met by opportunities for new jobs...not by all the wealth from those productivity gains going to a few who see themselves as gentry in a sea of poverty and joblessness. The original "saboteurs" were those that saw new industrial technology give no gain to the masses, only to a few owners.

If we're collectively spending less money on something produced overseas, we will collectively have more money to spend on things that we were spending less on that aren't made overseas. Things we couldn't afford as much of before. Somebody will have a new job that didn't exist before.

Somebody in China will have a job that didn't exist before.
If you have a 5 thousand bundle of goods in 1980 that was 85% made by Americans...and in 2012 that bundle is 90% by Chinese and other foreign labor but you can buy twice as much, you can buy a similarly sized bundle of Chinastuff with the savings.

But nothing replaces the jobs lost here.

Henry said...

@Cedarford -- The facts don't support your assertion.

Go to Gapminder and watch the Wealth and Health of Nations animation.

Poor countries, those that open themselves to global markets, grow quickly, grow quickly. Rich countries grow slowly, but stay rich. People all around the world live longer and enjoy more wealth. This is a story of stunning success.

Gabriel Hanna said...

@Cedarford:But nothing replaces the jobs lost here.

Not those EXACT SAME JOBS. Other jobs.

If your argument were correct, we'd have starved to death, what with trade and the Industrial Revolution and all the jobs computers do that humans used to do. Instead, our standard of living goes up and up.

You are arguing that if we all pay more money for less stuff, we'll be richer. You have to use a lot of verbiage to disguise it.

Cedarford, why can't we make ourselves richer by buying only clothes made with needle and thread? More jobs, right? There was a time when that was true, and most people could not afford more than a cuple set of clothes. All the tailors are out of work!!!ELEVENTY!!

What is magic and life-destroying about foreign trade that is not true of any other sort of gain in productivity?

You got nuthin. Bastiat was way ahead of you. Let's ban windows so the candlemakers will have more business.

rehajm said...

There is something to be said for Romney refraining from trying to explain. Try explaining 'comparative advantage' to voters. Eyes roll to the back of the head.

You stopped reading this at 'comparative advantage' didn't you?

Michael K said...

"America was basically sold out by the Ruling Elites for short term profit by giving them the ability to move technology and capital to make goods for the US domestic market under lying mantras that free trade would benefit everyone. "

Yes, and the Smoot-Hawley tariff ensured prosperity for America for, what ?, 6 months ?

There is this thing called a world economy. To escape it, you can move to North Korea. Otherwise, it's everywhere and you have to deal with it. Some jobs, like back office help centers, go to other countries and, if they don't do a good job, they come back here again.

Low skill jobs tend to go to low skill places. One major error we are making is this everybody goes to college thing. Why not apprenticeships for good paying skilled jobs that can't be offshored (the correct term)?

Unions are more concerned with political clout than with apprenticeships. My nephew has a BA and did a three year apprenticeship with the elevator maintenance union. Now, he is working for a company that installs and services elevators. Nobody is going to send those jobs to China.

Your reasoning is why it took three years to get those free trade treaties signed. While we waited US jobs disappeared.

SunnyJ said...

@Cedarford appears to be of the blame America first mindset. Seriously, leave your home and go out and look around. On our worst day we make the global family look pathetic. Why do you think they are working so hard to attach themselves to our wealth...because we don't have any? Because we're so bad off here that they want to give it back to us in foreign trade? There are no lines to "get in" to other countries...much less that you can cross into any of the other countries in the world and be welcomed, fed, clothed, given healthcare, drivers license all while being illegal. Try that in Moscow...or Mexico for that matter.

American free enterprise beats heck out of any other system going..even with its flaws and openings for abuse like cronyism. Hey, we're not perfect but neither is anyone else...or you and your critiques of others work. But, that's OK you can take credit for anything under Obama's new definition of success...call it the Cedarford curve if you like and just take credit...oh wait, do we share the blame too?

Michael K said...

"Cedarford, why can't we make ourselves richer by buying only clothes made with needle and thread? More jobs, right? There was a time when that was true, and most people could not afford more than a cuple set of clothes. All the tailors are out of work!!!ELEVENTY!!"

Great comment. About 25 years ago, the Mexicans built a whole condo development next to the Las Hadas Hotel in Manzanillo. They did the whole project with pick and shovel labor. Lots of jobs !

garage mahal said...

Some Americans love the situation..the ones in other places in America with destroyed factories, joblessness becoming hopelessness - do not.

Those people will get some of those jobs back when countries start outsourcing more jobs on their own, to us, so they don't have to pay good wages back home. It's already happening, from India!

Experts said that the phenomenon, which could become more widespread in the coming years, is partly due to Indian workers demanding higher wages and higher living standards.
‘The U.S. became the fastest-growing location for us last year. We expect that to continue this year,’ Genpact chief executive V.N. ‘Tiger’ Tyagarajan said.
Joseph Vafi, an analyst at Jefferies & Co. in San Francisco told the Washington Post: ‘What you have going on in India are salary hikes. As these companies get larger and larger, it just makes sense for them to do some hiring in the States.’


IKEA workers in Sweden get $15 an hour, allows them to unionize, and gives them five weeks of paid vacation days. Here they make minimum wage and get none of the benefits their Swedish counterparts receive.

Germany makes twice as many cars as the U.S. and pays their workers twice as much.

USA! USA!

Gabriel Hanna said...

@Michael K:They did the whole project with pick and shovel labor. Lots of jobs !

They should have used teaspoons and toothbrushes, and got even more jobs, according to Cedarford.

phx said...
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misterbunn said...

I thought the New Republic went under years ago. Wasn't it found to have a bunch of plagiarists writing for it? Why would anyone take it seriously now?

rehajm said...

I thought the New Republic went under years ago. Wasn't it found to have a bunch of plagiarists writing for it? Why would anyone take it seriously now?

The same could be asked of The New York Times, for the same reasons

Colonel Angus said...

IKEA workers in Sweden get $15 an hour,

That's about $31,000 per year as a full time worker.

Colonel Angus said...

Germany makes twice as many cars as the U.S. and pays their workers twice as much.

From the article it sounds like the German union members are more reasonable in negotiating than their American counterparts.

Peter said...

"What do you think your clothes would cost if they weren't made in China?"

And the answer is, "Not as much as you think." Because if they were made here, our higher labor costs would force a much higher level of automation.

[Assuming you mean, "If they were made in the USA." They'd be just about as inexpensive if they were made in Vietnam.]

In any case, the role of businessman if very different from the role of a candidate. Businessmen have little choice in the matter, since a company that can't meed "the China price" will, with few exceptions, find itself unable to sell its goods.

Should Romney own up to that? Of course not. Americans expect UAW wages and Wal-Mart prices. And he's surely not going to win if he tells them they can't have both.

Colonel Angus said...

It's also interesting that German automakers pay the American workers IKEA level wages, yet produce the same product as their $67 per hour German counterparts.

It would seem German workers are grossly overpaid. Assuming of course you subscribe to the theory that your wage equals the value of your labor.

garage mahal said...

It's also interesting that German automakers pay the American workers IKEA level wages, yet produce the same product as their $67 per hour German counterparts

They do it because they can.

Colonel Angus said...

They do it because they can.

Well that makes perfect business sense.

Henry said...

Garage makes a very strong point in favor of Bain and the global economy.

Many of the tasks that U.S. and Multi-national corporations offshore they offshore from one first-world country to another. In the U.S. corporations outsource from one state to another.

What makes an industry competitive is a multi-variate problem. It is not simply a case of pursuing the cheapest workforce.

Workforce education, local infrastructure, distance to markets, distance to suppliers, local tax and legal structure -- all these are important and all create the variations that create comparative advantage.

A cheap workforce is an advantage for impoverished countries, and thank god it is, because otherwise countries like Vietnam and Haiti would have no way to attract investment.

carrie said...

I don't think that Romney was rapacious. I don't think he was greedy, I don't think he used unscrupulouse means to obtain his goals. They want Romney to own something that he isn't. He was seeking success as well as separating the successful from the unsuccessful. There is success and failure in capitalism, and you need to deal with both.

traditionalguy said...

I remember Bush I and Clinton selling NAFTA and world trade as the magic to create world wealth for all, and solemnly promising to re-train the American workers who were fired to make it work.

I guess they forgot to re-train them in third world poverty survival skills.

They did train many of the best young men as Human Target Specialists for 11 years of running the Afghan Mountain Valley human target range for the Taliban to train on, and incidentally some military bragging rights for the same Politicians who just could not remember how to provide peace time jobs for the young men and women.

ricpic said...

I guess the word has gone out from Obama/Soros to all the machine Stalinists that the new word for wrecker is saboteur.

a psychiatrist who learned from veterans said...

'The fools of the Reagan Administration who told us that Free Trade would result with America selling "high tech" stuff like crazy to the Chinese from booming US factories because...."By Jingo!! The US worker is the bestest most productive source of labor ever, and one Amuurrrican can outmake, out produce 100 Chinese, with higher quality."
Lies, and most of the money people behind the Republicans in the 80s and early 90s knew it.'

European imperialism, as exemplified by France and VN involved a mother country that did manufacturing, i.e. higher value production, and the colony that provided basic resources and a market. After WWII the U.S. was in the position, to paraphrase the musical title, of "How to Succeed in Imperialism Without Really Trying." To keep a country as an imperial dependent country, like keeping a slave, is not something that continues by inertia however. Continual energy needs to be extended to maintain that relationship. And morally, we weren't inclined to continue to succeed at it.

hombre said...

Romney's complaining about the lying and the fact that he's been accused of a crime, not that they are looking at his record.

Here's what he should have said:

a) Why am I not surprised that Barack Obama thinks being a successful businessman ought to disqualify someone from being President, but that being a failed President ought not to.

b) I can appreciate why so many of these Chicago politicians think being called a crook is no big deal, but for those of us in the rest of America, who are not crooks, it is offensive.

machine said...

Ouch:

Asked why he chose not to go with Romney, McCain said: "Oh come on, because we thought that Sarah Palin was the better candidate."

Sick burn...

phx said...
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Pragmatist said...

My standards for Republicans is that they not be F'ing nuts. That rules out about 80% of the candidates and 100% of "the base". Mitt is not nuts. It is too bad he has to apologize for not being a knuckle dragging, racist nascar deadhead. He has money (gasp!), he does not believe the earth is flat (double gasp!!) and he does not pretend to be a regular Joe the Dumber. Total gasp. It would be nice if both sides could just judge based on ideas and not on cultural perceptions and people could quit pandering to the lowest common denominator in the blogosphere.

leslyn said...

Of course he should own his record. It's out there, take hold of it. Best defense is a good offense.

I do think he'd have a little trouble with a 15% tax rate, but it is what it is. He probably has charitable contributions that he can say "look over here!" instead.

In that vein, Althouse, I think your picture from the Wizard of Oz would have been great with this post.

Paul Zrimsek said...

It is too bad he has to apologize for not being a knuckle dragging, racist nascar deadhead.

It would be nice if both sides could just judge based on ideas and not on cultural perceptions

Folks, you just can't make up comedy gold like this.

Rusty said...

garage mahal said...
Some Americans love the situation..the ones in other places in America with destroyed factories, joblessness becoming hopelessness - do not.

Those people will get some of those jobs back when countries start outsourcing more jobs on their own, to us, so they don't have to pay good wages back home. It's already happening, from India!


Got news for ya. It's been happening for the last 30 years or so. You know those vaunted Japanese ultra precision machine tools? Most of them have all their precision components made here.


IKEA workers in Sweden get $15 an hour, allows them to unionize, and gives them five weeks of paid vacation days. Here they make minimum wage and get none of the benefits their Swedish counterparts receive.

Germany makes twice as many cars as the U.S. and pays their workers twice as much.

you see this as hopeless gring-like your job?-that the participants can never overcome. I see as an incentive to improve and not be part of the grind. Even a small ampunt of ambition gets you out of the grind.
But that takes effort so......
Stick with the ddevil you know.

Victor Erimita said...

Isn't there some point to accusing Romney of "rapaciousness?" what would that point be? That he was with a successful private equity firm and made money?Ann,, your thinking has obviously evolved in many ways, but this question seems to be a reversion to ill-defined, reactionary assumed iniquity of capitalist endeavor. Honestly, I have no idea what you mean. Do you?