Bring back jobs Big Business sent overseas
To soothe an irate public, politicians offer up pipe dreams of creating "new" jobs. Instead, they should bring back those good, steady, manufacturing jobs sent overseas.
Look in the mirror. Everything you are wearing comes from distant shores. I just built a house. All appliances bore the logo "Sears" but carried the label "Made in Mexico."
In 1889, President Benjamin Harrison resorted to high tariffs to protect against products produced overseas by cheap labor. While his effort succeeded for a short time, it ultimately failed when Big Business took advantage of the high tariffs to raise prices to just below those of the imports.
Manufacturers today love cheap overseas labor producing large profits, but a minor compromise is possible. Let American manufacturers continue to ship jobs overseas, let them take advantage of the low wages paid there and let them sell their overseas products to every country in the world. But if they wish to sell those products in the U.S., impose an importation tax so high it would make better financial sense for manufacturers to produce those products in the U.S.
Some jobs shipped overseas could be brought back home, the government would collect additional income taxes from the newly employed domestic workers and the deficit would be somewhat reduced by the increase in revenues.
But, will our politicians pursue the plan? You can bet your toupee they will not. It would offend Big Business, scuttle their financial supporters and cost them their cherished jobs as our representatives in Congress.
Improve cable TV
I'm writing in anger and disgust regarding the lack of any regulation of the cable business.
I have a notice from Insight that its 2011 basic programming will stay the same, $12.66 per month. But add the deluxe to basic, and it will increase again by $3 per month.
After speaking with an Insight "executive" (who talked around and around every question I asked with no specific answers), I learned most channels ask the cable company to carry their progamming. Each expects to be paid by the cable company for their shows. Cable has no say on what each channel supplies. So, as cable customers, we pay dearly for the service, or rather lack of entertainment.
I decided to speak up and show how displeased I am about this disparity. I'm a shut-in. I rely on television as a way to keep up with life. I'm probably wasting my time. But if I do nothing, I can expect no improvement.
Federal Reserve monetary policies of easy money were the principal cause of speculative bubbles in the dot-com, real estate, commodities markets, etc., and the subsequent crash.
Recent easy money policies of the Federal Reserve, including zero percent interest for big banks, have caused a new trading bubble on Wall Street, with counterproductive results for the cash-starved entrepreneurs.
Initial quantitative easing policies of the Federal Reserve (Jan. 2009-March 2010) were purchases of $1.7 trillion of government and mortgage bonds mainly from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, with dubious results.
A second round of quantitative easing (QE II) was announced by the Federal Reserve on Nov. 3. QE II will provide $600 billion in reserves to big banks by buying bank holdings of long-term government bonds, with the disposition of potentially enhanced bank financing (a multiple of reserves) to be determined by Wall Street barons.
Repetitious policy failures reflect an obstinate intransigence by the Federal Reserve, which will engender an enabling environment for more speculative bubbles. A basic tenet of capitalism is that failed institutions proceed into bankruptcy and dissolution, replaced by institutions with a salubrious impact on the economy. Any other course leads to stagnation.
The economy is overly awash in liquidity and the problem is misdirection. The dinosaurs on Wall Street should have dispersed years ago and are a drag on economic recovery. Spendthrift policies have generated the greatest national debt in the world's history, which may be approaching a point of no return with ruinous hyperinflation the ultimate consequence.
Iowa City, Iowa
Bad deal on Israel
Regarding the Nov. 21 report by Ian Deitch of the Associated Press, "U.S. offers Israel a guarantee": Under the proposed agreement, if Israel initiates hostile action against a sovereign nation or even a segment of its own population or responds in excess to hostile action or a perceived threat in violation of the United Nations charter, the U.S. representative to the U.N. is bound to veto any resolution critical of or condemning such action.
I find being bound to such an agreement reprehensible. This is a proposed agreement that will give Israel a free hand in dealing with the population under its control and the rest of the Middle East without concern for criticism, censure, suspension of aid or boycotts from anyone.
Second, the sale of F-35 Stealth fighters to the Israelis when they are not yet available to our own forces follows a pattern of placating the Israeli government at the expense of our own military.
Does anyone really believe there will be any positive results from the resumption of the Middle East peace talks under these conditions? The Israeli government does not have to do anything but show up for 90 days and make proposals they know the Palestinians can't accept, then resume settlement construction. We will be right back where we are now except we will be bound to veto any U.N. resolution critical of the Israeli government and stuck selling F-35 Stealth Fighters to Israel while our own troops have to wait.
Treat that cough
With the approach of cold and flu season, cough, particulary troublesome cough, may significantly disrupt quality of life. A recent recommendation from the American Academy of Pediatrics stated that cough and cold medicines are no more effective than a placebo and, "with a lack of benefit," may have no role in treating these symptoms.
The recommendation was based on the results of studies in children up to 18 years of age that by design, after scientific scrutiny, were doomed for failure. Even though these studies may show a trend for improvement in treatment versus placebos, the number of participants was too small to meet statistical significance. To the contrary, studies with adults have shown a role for cough and cold medicines in treating these symptoms.
The reality is that for the past 40 to 50 years, we have carried out this clinical experiment in our own homes, dosing children with cold and cough medicine at bedtime and then repeating a dose through the night. Our own collective experience does not meet the test of a double-blinded, placebo-controlled, statistically significant trial. However the sheer body of individual experience does trump the inadequate evidence-based medicine. Until the definitive study is completed, common sense and experience prevail over poor design and statistical significance.
Michael W. Simon, M.D.