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Fixing Our Economy Through Trade: Left of Center View

One red paperclip traded for a fish pen, traded for a doorknob, traded for a camp stove, traded for a generator, traded for an ďinstant partyĒ, traded for a snowmobile, traded for a trip to Canada, traded for a van, traded for a recording contract, traded for a yearís rent, traded for an afternoon with Alice Cooper, traded for a KISS motorized snow globe, traded for a film role, traded for a house. This is a true story. Happened to a guy named Kyle MacDonald over the course of a year. This guy basically traded a paperclip for a house and became known worldwide for his experience.

We could learn something from this guy. America needs to start gathering her figurative paperclips and get to trading. There are things we do well and make that other people need outside of America so why are we buying all their stuff but not selling them ours? It seems like a pretty simple thing. You buy stuff from them and they buy stuff from you. Thatís how things work. You have to sell stuff to have the money to buy stuff. Lately all weíre doing is buying and what has it done for us? Well, letís see, oh yeah, weíre broke and owe China a ton of money.

Somehow weíve gotten so dependent on cheap junk from Wal-Mart that we stopped looking at labels and at some point we just stopped buying stuff made here. The rest of the world seems to have the same thing going on so things we make here go unsold until the factories close and there are no jobs left. Could it maybe be time to think about making different stuff or finding other things to trade with the rest of the world? Times change and if people donít change with them they just become part of history. In other words, if we donít get with the times and find new paperclips to trade weíre history folks.

The answer might be in green technology or stem cell research or kelp harvesting for all we know but the truth is that the future is not making gas guzzling SUVís that nobody can afford to drive. Nobody wants old ideas that donít work well. Instead of talking about giving billions of dollars to failed businesses that turn around and waste it on corporate bonuses it might be a good idea to invest in new ideas that actually make life better for the people who are intended to use them. We need to stop thinking in terms of the big score and start looking at the small deal that leads to the bigger deal and grow our economy in a sustainable way.

It may seem silly to talk about trading a paperclip for a house but when you look at things in terms of little steps to achieve a larger goal it becomes a much more manageable idea. We donít need one solution to fix everything. We need a bunch of solutions to fix a bunch of little problems that made the bigger problem happen. The economy didnít collapse because of the banks or the stock market or outsourcing alone. Each of those things happened and led to their own problems. When all of it came together our economy began to collapse. Each thing caused its own part of the bigger problem and each thing will need to be fixed in some way. Sometimes it is the little stuff you need to fix to get to the big solution.


Kyle Pesonen - Staff Writer | E-mail Comments on this column. | Click icon to Digg this article

Got a liberal viewpoint? We want to know what you think.

Next week's subject: Unions, Immigrants and the Failing U.S. Economy

Send in your view from the Left to be our featured Left of Center View for the week.

Click here to submit your article.

Last Week's View from the Left:
American Manufacturing for a Global Marketplace

Previous Weeks Views from the Left:
Amnesty vs. Equity for Undocumented Immigrants
America - Under New Management
The American Dream
The Election and Public Policy
Should Americans Be Allowed To Buy Cheaper Canadian Drugs?
With Our Economy Failing, Will America Become the World's Next Cheap Labor Source?
What Does Trillions of Dollars in Debt to China Mean for Our Future?
Could the Bailout of Wall Street Lead to More Foreign Investment in America?
Could Open Borders Ever Be A Viable Option For America?
How Should American Immigration Policy Be Reformed?
What Would The American Economy Look Like Without Undocumented Workers?
Can International Trade Save American Jobs?
Would Harsher Sentences for Undocumented Criminals Lower Crime?
Will There Ever Be Comprehensive Immigration Reform in America?
Do Undocumented Immigrants Pose a Health Risk for Americans?
How Will the Oil Crisis Impact Foreign Policy?
What is a Fair Path to Citizenship for Undocumented Workers?
Which of the Presidential Candidates Will Bring the Best Immigration Policy Into Office?
Outsourcing, Bad Trade Policy and Recessions
Is America Capable of Breaking Free from Foreign Oil Dependency?
What Does the Globalization of Big Business Mean for America?
Are American Car Makers Ready for the Oil Crisis or Will Japan Reign Supreme Once Again?
Does Dependency on Foreign Oil Endanger America?
What is a "Real" American?
Racial Profiling - Is It Ever OK?
Archives by Date




Fixing Our Economy Through Trade: Right of Center View

In our ever-changing world there is one constant in business. If businesses donít expand their markets they cannot sustain growth. As growth is the engine that drives the economy it is logical to assume that we need to look beyond our borders to keep growing our economy. One thing that has hampered our economic health over the last few years is a poor focus on trade to other nations. In the interests of making businesses more profitable American companies have created an imbalance of trade by buying far more from foreign companies than we have been selling to foreign or domestic consumers.

Moving forward America needs to invest in trade to other nations. Bringing prestige back to ďMade in AmericaĒ is vital to the long term health of our nationís economy. As long as Americans buy more foreign goods than we can sell to the rest of the world we will be damaging our own economy. We need to begin to convince people around the world that American products are of superior quality and make them at an affordable price to compete with countries like China who produce mass quantities of cheap, poor quality products. This will require a change in business strategy and an adjustment of government policies when it comes to labor and wages.

It has become clear that some of the factors hampering our economic growth are artificially inflated wages, exploding health care costs and a mandatory minimum wage standard not set on skill levels, cost of living for an area or job difficulty but rather on an arbitrary standard set by politicians. These issues need to be addressed at a core level if we are to regain our status as an economic leader in the world. We can find ways to lower health care costs by reexamining what factors drive costs and what merits there are to the health care systems in other nations that make their businesses more competitive than American companies burdened by high insurance costs. We can look at comprehensive wage and labor reform to determine if unions are still viable in their present form and if minimum wage laws need to be adjusted to account for local economic factors and employment of people not responsible for their own living expenses or who are non U.S. residents who have an inherently lower cost of living.

These ideas will likely incense some liberals and conservatives alike but we donít have the luxury of letting ideology overwhelm logic. Our economy is in crisis and we need to look at doing things fundamentally differently than we have done them in the past because the ways of the past, frankly, arenít working. We know that our economy has suffered in part due to the policy decisions of the past from both Democrats and Republicans. This is not to say we need to gut labor laws and safety standards to make people richer but we do need to look at what the impact of the laws on the greater economy are and if they need to be changed. We need to be competitive on the world stage and we need to increase the number of products going out of American ports to other nations from American workers in American factories if we are to ever climb out of this economic hole we find ourselves in now.

The Realist - Patriot at Large | E-mail Comments on this column. | Click icon to Digg this article

Got a conservative viewpoint? We want to know what you think.

Next week's subject: Unions, Immigrants and the Failing U.S. Economy

Send in your view from the Right to be our featured Right of Center View for the week.

Click here to submit your article.

Last Week's View from the Right:
American Manufacturing for a Global Marketplace

Previous Weeks Views from the Right:
Amnesty vs. Equity for Undocumented Immigrants
America - Under New Management
The American Dream
The Election and Public Policy
Should Americans Be Allowed To Buy Cheaper Canadian Drugs?
With Our Economy Failing, Will America Become the World's Next Cheap Labor Source?
What Does Trillions of Dollars in Debt to China Mean for Our Future?
Could the Bailout of Wall Street Lead to More Foreign Investment in America?
Could Open Borders Ever Be A Viable Option For America?
How Should American Immigration Policy Be Reformed?
What Would The American Economy Look Like Without Undocumented Workers?
Can International Trade Save American Jobs?
How Much Impact Will Our Faltering Economy Have on Illegal Immigration?
Would Harsher Sentences for Undocumented Criminals Lower Crime?
Will There Ever Be Comprehensive Immigration Reform in America?
Do Undocumented Immigrants Pose a Health Risk for Americans?
How Will the Oil Crisis Impact Foreign Policy?
What is a Fair Path to Citizenship for Undocumented Workers?
Which of the Presidential Candidates Will Bring the Best Immigration Policy Into Office?
Outsourcing, Bad Trade Policy and Recessions
Is America Capable of Breaking Free from Foreign Oil Dependency?
What Does the Globalization of Big Business Mean for America?
Are American Car Makers Ready for the Oil Crisis or Will Japan Reign Supreme Once Again?
Does Dependency on Foreign Oil Endanger America?
What is a "Real" American?
Racial Profiling - Is It Ever OK?
Archives by Date

A Legal Immigrantís Perspective

If you are not a Native American, you are an immigrant, so am I. I came legally to this country at the age of five with my parents who worked hard, paid taxes (even Jesus paid taxes), lived by the rules of this great nation and never took or accepted a penny from the government. We came seeking FREEDOM from a communist country. It was months before we were able to enter the US legally. I remember us getting medical exams, shots (small pox), background check, references, and going through numerous interviews once we arrived. I also remembered people coming to the US from all over the world who waited years since it was based on "Quotas". Read more...

Solving Our Immigration Problem

The major problem our country is facing with illegal immigrants today is because of the exploitation of these immigrants. We believe the solution to this problem is two-fold. First, we should allow more immigrants in this country to cut down on the number of illegal ones. Second, all immigrants should be educated about their rights at the expense of the government. Below, you will find an in-depth look at our suggested reforms.

Reforms for immigration limitations:

-New immigrants can't equal more than 1% of the US population in a given year (the population being from the last recorded census). That 1% will be further divided up to allow only a certain number of immigrants each month.
-Each country of origin for immigrants will be allowed a certain percentage of that 1%. No country could receive more than 10% of the total amount and no country can receive less than .1% of it. The left over percentage will be divided up between all countries as follows: Read more...

Do Elements Within the La Raza Movement Pose a Threat to America?

La Raza means literally ďThe RaceĒ in Spanish. The movement was formed in 1968 to promote the interests of the Mexican-American community. Like the NAACP and other affirmative-action minded organizations, La Raza has many members that are interested in being part of America and promoting equality for all Americans. The fundamental goals as stated by the movement are benign and represent the ideals of American diversity and cultural pride.

There is another movement affiliated with La Raza that has historically been more militant and still maintains documents within their organization that point to isolationistic views Read More

A Plan

The one major thing that seems to be lacking in the immigration debate is a real plan that addresses the legitimate concerns with illegal immigration. There are strong opinions on both sides and a lot of rhetoric but there isnít really any solid plan being promoted to address the illegal immigration issue in a way that is both fair and logical.

So, that being said here is my idea:Read More

Trucking Cross Borders

This is mainly a concern for the trucking business. If we allow these people to come into our country, bringing cargo that we in America have, and can supply, then we are saying that the American working people are not needed, and have lost all say to legally enforced DOT (Department of Transportation) laws.Read More



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