« Should the Government try to Stimulate US Exports? Becker | Main | Stimulus: Pluses and Minuses—Posner »

02/21/2010

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Jack

Interesting:

"We have large trade deficits with China and other Asian countries that pursue protectionist policies, but there doesn’t seem to be anything we can do about that. We have no leverage with those countries."

Jack

Interesting:
"We have large trade deficits with China and other Asian countries that pursue protectionist policies, but there doesn’t seem to be anything we can do about that. We have no leverage with those countries."

.. Let's see, so we know they're engaging in unfair, beggar thy nation policies that were among the reasons for WWII......... but "have no leverage??" With the largest import market in the world and an economy three times that of China? Perhaps this president is not as tolerant of China growing at 8% which is causing them "growth pains" while we're at 2% or less which is bad for us.

What should be done? Rep Gephardt was "laughed off the stage" for his suggestion of a world-wide min wage and work stds and likely did a poor job of explaining his intent. But despite being hamstrung by WTO, GATT and an MFN for China most likely given away much too soon ARE we to tolerate "competing" with slave labor conditions AND currency manipulation in a nation that has a work force large enough to do ALL the work we could possibly export and have nearly an infinite supply of labor left over?

If we are to continue a model of global competition surely we should consider tariff adjustments for those blatantly violating the rules. The US and advanced nations are not the only economies to suffer as China has undercut and taken the jobs in Mexico that "should have" begun to equalize wages on the NA continent under NAFTA, instead their wages have fallen and unemployment has increased which delivers to the US the added problem of illegal immigration and yet more downward pressure on already low, low end wages.

Altereggo

So by holding US dollars, they're gambling that the US will not devalue its currency, or do they not care about hedging against a dollar devaluation?

The US line of credit currently benefits from flights to safety, but high foreign demand for US debt causes the dollar to appreciate, widening the trade imbalance.
This could be reversed quite easily, by Obama, Geithner, and Bernanke cosigning a letter to the Argentinian president, saying simply "Great job! You're our role-model."

Of course, then we'd _really_ have to do something about the deficit, because I doubt anyone would buy our treasury bonds after that...

N.E.H.

Double Exports in five years? Dream on. Increasing exports presupposes the existence of a productive capacity in order to produce goods and services to export. That capacity has been largely shut down and exported via outsourcing and offshoring to various Nations now holding our debt by virtue of our offshored productive capacity.

This clearly points to the insanity and general lack of understanding of fundamental economic principles that has developed at the Governmental, Financial, Agricultutal, and Industrial Sectors in this Nation in the last twenty to thirty years.

Once again through ignorance and indifference, we find ourselves in the position that the Congress and Nation found itself in, in 1791, when the Secretay of the Treasury, Alexander Hamilton, issued the magnum opus of his political economic work,"Report on Manufactures" to the U.S. Congress. The main tenets of which are, Stimulate the Economy, Insure the economic security of the Nation, and insure the economic independence of the fledgling Republic. Perhaps it ought to be required reading for all Senators, Congressmen, Presidents, Diplomats and Bureaucrats. Not too mention MBA's, Ceo's, American Economists and the like.

Free Market Capitalism as it has been practiced as of late, must die. If we are going to secure our Independence and our fundamental Economic security for ourselves and our posterity.

Brian Davis, Austin, TX

"[O]utsourcing and offshoring," therein lies the proposal's fallacy as a stimulus. It immediately brought to mind "domestic content" laws and rules. Our Congress enacted and authorized them for U.S. manufacturers and unions, chiefly the autos. When American employment and incomes were gaining and family wealth was expanding, Americans paid a surcharge for the "content" minted by American workers (Canada got a break, too). But it's so silly now to think 1) that our low-wage trading partners would pay it, IF it were part of an exports-subsidy package, in lieu of purchasing their own domestic output, or non-U.S. imports, more cheaply, or 2) that U.S.-based producers would bring the jobs back home if it were NOT part of the package.

Dr. Paul Craig Roberts is a clear thinker on matters of what I'll call U.S. "constitutional economics." He advised the Reagan administration in a variety of capacities. On a radio program today Dr. Roberts aptly observed that the "Whirlpool" washing machine you can buy today in the U.S. or across the globe is assembled with parts from multiple countries. It's true of thousands of manufacturers, whether they actually own foreign-sited plants or operate as relabelers. Do they need an "export" subsidy? Are they not already "subsidizing" their exports more efficiently in viable foreign markets than a government program could? If such a proposal reduces to merely another species of foreign aid for societies that aren't viable markets, we might as well call it a fee for the use of the exporter's label.

Jack

Alterego asks:

"So by holding US dollars, they're gambling that the US will not devalue its currency, or do they not care about hedging against a dollar devaluation?"

Alter: It seems Posner, Becker and most economists see our economy and that of China as being codependent. My take on the above is that China's gambling on devaluation takes a distant second seat to supporting the strength of the dollar and the weakness of the yuan in order to keep the game viable. Just as for individuals or companies earning wages or gross income is far more important for most, than fluctuations in one's investment account. ie. China just has to take a chance on us rather than trying to save pennies in a perhaps higher yielding currency.

It's fairly interesting to look at the mix of US/China imports and exports:

http://www.uschina.org/statistics/tradetable.html

It's interesting that the top two categories are the same but below that China's is skewed toward nation building while our more mature economy skews toward cheap consumer goods as we'd expect.

But! that brings up the question of, despite America's advanced development, are we perhaps still an underdeveloped country?

I think we are. Consider that we've some $2 trillion in neglected infrastructure maintenance and needed upgrades. We're far too dependent on (and wasteful of) imported fossil fuels and it costs us much more fuel/GDP than is the case in Europe and other nations. The build out of broadband and cable is much more costly in the US and lags behind that of many other nations both in speed and availability..... there IS a cost for lower income folk not being able to pay $50 for broadband and rural folk not having access at all. And, we've too few jobs to put our whole team to the task of "competing" in a global economy where we seem to have lost our edge.

Despite being left bankrupt it seems the task of government is at least that of providing incentives for the bold strokes of conserving non-renewable energy and regaining our leadership in financially rewarding technical sectors.

N.E.H.

Simple subsidies to stimulate exports? The program is not so simple minded as to not take into account the Globalized- Multinational aspect of some types of production these days such as "Whirlpool". It's not like the old days of the Duty Free Shop at the airport.

It's all about Duties and Tariffs or lack thereof on both exported and imported goods and services. In fact, if handled correctly, we could not only get our trade balance straightened out, but could possibly if not actually, pay down the National Deficit and Debt without raising income taxes.

You do know that prior to the advent of Income Taxes, Government programs and operations were paid for by Duties and Tariffs. Not too mention, stimulating and bolstering the domestic economy against a powerful and aggressive Mercantilist world economy similiar too that we now operate in. Free Trade and Free Markets in opposition to full blown Mercantilist policies - doomed to failure and economic collapse. In our own interests and well being, we need to begin to play, "CYA"

Steve Craven

Fine macro analysis, but not the whole story of what can be done. The majority of U.S. exporters (by absolute number of companies, not volume or value) are small and medium-sized businesses. Most of these companies only export to one customer in one market, usually Canada or Mexico. It won't double our exports in five years, but you can see the potential for doubling the foreign customer base of these small companies, the very companies that produce the largest growth of new employment for the country. It takes export education and considerable hand-holding to get these small companies moving into new markets. Obama's budget proposal makes a modest step in that direction by restoring funds cut from export promotion agencies over the past decade.

For those who say that assistance to exporters is futile because our competitors will respond with more assistance for their companies, remember that our competition faces budget issues, too, and that their assistance programs already substantially exceed ours in many cases.

My major quarrel with Obama's announcement of his export goal (and with this analysis) is that exports of services were not mentioned. We have a substantial positive balance in services trade, and the potential for increased service exports is immense. We could be doing so much more to enhance visitor arrivals, educational services, architectural and engineering services, and much more. These have the same impact on the balance of payments as traditional goods exports - and can have a profound impact on employment.

Jack

Steve -- You'll be pleased to note the Admin putting forth a private/public matching fund to promote travel to the US. Not a bad idea IMO to offset some of the concerns about increased security inconveniences.

http://www.usatoday.com/travel/news/2009-10-11-us-travel-tax_N.htm

Ha! I had to look through two pages of slams from today's fairly-wierd-right to find even news reportage. Apparently those who seem to unanimously refuse to learn anything about the capitalist principles they claim to revere "fear" that a ten buck entrance fee for those estimated to spend an average of $4,500 per visit would shift the supply-demand equilibrium to a disadvantage for the US. I wonder if they are unaware of every tourism based business, state and city finding it worthwhile to charge slightly more in order to advertise their wares far and wide?

Steve Craven

Good points, Jack. I am part of an informal cabal here in Honolulu to get Hawaii's tourism marketing people to market in non-traditional markets. The vast bulk of Hawaii's visitors come from the US west coast, US east coast, Canada, Japan and some from Australia. Hawaii's marketing dollars go almost entirely to those areas, plus the state has seen the light about putting money into attracting Chinese and Korean tourists. The Chinese are now limited by visa policies and a paucity of direct flights.

The rest of the world is virtually ignored, though I expect we could attract a fair number of well-heeled visitors from SE Asia, India, the Middle East, Latin America and Europe. The state doesn't even exhibit at the world's top visitor industry trade shows, such as ITB in Berlin. Sigh ...

Jim

Fatuous is putting it kindly. Just what is it that we make that other countries want or need other than perhaps the third world; Steel? cars? shoes? clothing? electronics? television? textiles? optics? Wood products?

Maybe we can export government jobs.

With the dollar weak and under more pressure, a mountain of debt, the only jobs possible to create are low paying ones if we want to be competitive in the international market. Let's see if the unions will go along with that.

N.E.H.

Better Government jobs than no jobs at all. Exports? corn, soybeans, wheat, rice, oats, rye, potatoes, meat, etc., etc.. Water! We can pump down the Great Lakes to supply the Third World and the rest of the world with our fresh water supplies, not too mention pump down the Ogalala Aquifer for export supply (never mind the fact it will probably wipe out our Ag. production). As for Industrial export, that's going to be a little difficult. Since the "Finance Wizards" have pretty much given it away, by disassembling our light and heavy industrial process and shipped them overseas. Or allowed the World to buy them up at firesale prices and then disassembled them and shipped them overseas.

Strange isn't it. We started as an Ag. based economy, moved to an Industrial based economy by Governmental stimulation, then along came the Free Traders/Marketers who forced us back into an Ag.based economy. This is Progress? No wonder we're in such dire need of Government jobs.

Jack

Jim? "Kindly?" or defeatist?

https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/rankorder/2078rank.html

...... Seems that as has been the case for the US for decades that while our exports and imports are a small percentage of our huge GDP that we tend to forget that we are among the top exporters.

http://import-export.suite101.com/article.cfm/top_american_exports_in_2007

N.E.H might be surprised to learn that the top dozen exports in terms of value do not include farm products but largely still things we make. Farm products are, however, among the fastest growing sectors. (Accidental pun ............ maybe)

http://www.census.gov/foreign-trade/statistics/highlights/top/top0912yr.html

........ and a list of our largest trading partners.

To the issue of "doubling" our exports it does seam unlikely, but I wonder why they used such an aggressive figure. Since we export a trillion and our trade deficit is in the range of half a trillion it would seem a more modest goal of 30-40% increase coupled with a rational energy plan that would chip away at the $250 billion or so that we spend on imported oil and LNG would put us in fairly good shape.

Oh, wait! While the above would be fine for trade balance, problem is we could do that w/o sopping up all of our unemployed.

Jack

Steve! Thanks, and it does seem wise for HA to diversify. I'm in Anchorage and on a per capita basis we must be one of your best customers. Once in a hotel parking lot in Kehei (sp) I asked for directions. He turned out to be a fellow Alaskan/casual acquaintance.. We joke about Maui being our third largest city in January.

Best of luck and DO NOT fall for the proposed gambling scheme!

N.E.H.

Jack, Of course there are other products that outstrip Ag. products in terms of export dollar value, but still the basic issue is the negative trade deficit and the trend away from light and heavy Industrial products towards Ag. products. As for employment, there is only so many low wage jobs for legal and illegal aliens that the Ag. industry can employ. Try and pay your mortgage, car payment, various insurances (btw, the Health Industry is increasing its premiums by 39% this year alone, 250% over the last ten years), utility bills, child care costs, etc., etc. on the minimum wages payed farm workers and laborers. As for energy costs, the purchase of foreign feedstocks constitutes 70% of our energy costs. Clearly pointing to the need to develop our own feedstocks.

The development and protection of light and heavy industry in the past created the Middle Class as we knew it. Torpedo it and you have essentially torpedoed your Middle Class. Which goes far in explaining the widening chasm between rich and poor in this Nation.

Jack

Weird software test

Jack

NEH -- Some agreement, but we're in a changed world in which we've far less control of our destiny than in the post WWII era.

For the US I see hope in the increasing export value of AG product. Some of the increased income is surely due to other nations having the income to spend on food, some as commodities are bid up, and more as our farmers respond to the increased demand for production. Some is likely that of value added for example in our Alaskan fishing biz we're exporting more premium fillets and less frozen, whole fish and low priced canned product.

You're right to point out the futility of trying to live, either on our eroded min wage (Purch power 1980 about $10 and after a doubling of US productivity it's only $7.50) or for that matter sagging middle class incomes that have neither kept up with productivity increase nor the burdens of H/C, Energy, and until recently, kited housing prices and costs. Much of the split between "rich and poor" can be attributed to the loss of collective bargaining power that forced those industries to share their productivity gains with those doing the work. Consider Walmart with the fattest bottom line in history paying it's million workers so poorly that they collect over a billion in welfare transfer programs every year with the industries of the past in which collective bargaining played a strong role in wages, working and safety conditions. Aren't "WE" ginning up yet another problem when, twenty years from now these working folk have neither a retirement program nor savings from their hand-to-mouth existence?

As for light or heavy industry, in my school age years I worked in shipbuilding, an industry that's all but gone except for "Jones Act" ships that ply two US ports and by law have to be US bottoms, and the few military ships and subs that often border on or are well over the line of being pork. I kinda hated to see it go and even our national security is compromised by our no longer having a fleet of US flagged cargo ships, but in a labor intensive industry how are we to compete with S. Korea?

"Feedstocks" too seem "history". I live in Alaska where we all benefit from US oil addiction, but consider, if the much discussed ANWR were opened and came in big it could again fill the AK pipeline with a million bbls per day, but that's all it can handle. A million bbls a day is about 5% of US consumption and an amount that could more easily be gained, first, by conservation efforts, and by cleaner alternatives. In the short run as energy costs ARE choking our industry and is a major factor in the recession and folks losing their homes, we SHOULD be looking into what is SURELY a manipulated "market" fueled both by sovereign funds of those who'd benefit from yet higher oil prices, and/or the the PILES of "hot money" the world over looking for a safe harbor and high returns.

Consider: Alaska has $30 or more billions that (by our law) must be invested diversely under "prudent man" concept, but suppose instead we "invested" it in oil futures. That would tend to drive up oil prices earning us more with which to further drive up oil prices and keep them about where they are today ie. probably twice what a non-manipulated market would indicate but low enough that the US sucker who consumes 25% of world production doesn't revolt or dramatically alter its wasteful habits.

Conclusions? Ha! we're now "strangers in a strange land" with no directions home. We need, as in H/C, improvements in efficiency and cost containment, but those "savings" are the jobs of someone else and there are few places for them to go be there "re-education" or not. Somehow there will have to be a RE "redistribution" as the "all for the wealthy few percent" and the WS thieves whose gleanings are largely from "deals" with negative consequences for American working folk is NOT working. There is NO "biz plan" that works with too few of our people having a buck to spend as is the case today.

So it seems on a warm sunny day at 65 degrees north! Jack

Jim

I still don't see what jobs are going to be created by public money which will maintain any satisfactory standard of living and allow for satisfactory productivity in the economy unless we go to a completely planned economic model ala socialism or communism. We all know that such a model will get rid of the "rich-poor" dichotomy and make everyone poor. And how many ag workers do we need anyway? The politicians wishing to stay in office forever allowed industry to send our economy overseas to avoid inflation and now we are stuck with that. I doubt that Americans are willing to pay $125.00 for that pair of $20.00 Chinese sneakers that we have grown used to, unless of course the sneakers made in the USA also cost $20.00 and the American worker who made them would be willing to take $2.00 per day in wages. If we were to suddenly raise tariffs sufficient to bring manufacturing back to the USA, the inflation would destroy the economy back to the middle ages. If I were king, I would tell my subjects to live small, learn to cook, have one or no cars, don't travel, have one or two pair of shoes, don't own a home with a mortgage, etc. If real wages are on the decline with essentially zero inflation now, what will real wages be if we "re-industrialize"?

Jack

Jim: I'll give these a try:

I still don't see what jobs are going to be created by public money which will maintain any satisfactory standard of living and allow for satisfactory productivity in the economy unless we go to a completely planned economic model ala socialism or communism.

............. Well, in the current mess what's being discussed and done are temporary measures. But! what better time than a virtual depression to begin tackling some $2 trillion in delayed infrastructure maintenance and needed upgrades? We'll get tighter bids than during a boom era and a lot better to pay guys to work than pay em to collect various forms of doles, eh?

We all know that such a model will get rid of the "rich-poor" dichotomy and make everyone poor.

......... I'll skip this one for being politically driven hyperbole, OK?

And how many ag workers do we need anyway?

................. ahhh! a better question than you might think! Truth is increased production and higher export values may NOT create a lot of farm employment, but! it's not a well-paid sector to begin with so perhaps as in other sectors the issue is more that of "wealth generation" than "jobs". Either will be quite helpful.

The politicians wishing to stay in office forever allowed industry to send our economy overseas to avoid inflation and now we are stuck with that.

................. Too broad for now and seemingly more pol driven "stuff"


I doubt that Americans are willing to pay $125.00 for that pair of $20.00 Chinese sneakers that we have grown used to, unless of course the sneakers made in the USA also cost $20.00 and the American worker who made them would be willing to take $2.00 per day in wages.

.............. come on you are brighter than that! If it's labor intensive stuff like that it IS going to be done in low labor cost venues. DO keep in mind that it's all QUITE profitable for Nike and that sports heroes get more for their name on the thing than does the child labor sewing them up. SHALL we consider tariffs that compensate for miserable working conditions and pay?

If we were to suddenly raise tariffs sufficient to bring manufacturing back to the USA,

............. forget it, ain't gonna happen!

the inflation would destroy the economy back to the middle ages.

............ probably not. We did quite well with shoes were expensive -- just didn't have 40 pairs and toss em when they get a few smudges on them. But! no there is no future for the US to go back to hand sewing. You'll recall that biz left New England half a century ago and NE is still there and prospering fairly nicely with hi-tech and other.

If I were king, I would tell my subjects to live small, learn to cook, have one or no cars, don't travel, have one or two pair of shoes, don't own a home with a mortgage, etc.

................ Hmmmm, maybe get em all a hair shirt too? BTW......... how much had YOU saved up for a home when you bought?

If real wages are on the decline with essentially zero inflation now, what will real wages be if we "re-industrialize"?

............ for starters, study the 2nd graph down. Closely!

http://lanekenworthy.net/2008/03/09/the-best-inequality-graph/

and note that productivity AND AVERAGE wages have doubled since the late '70's. Trouble is MEDIAN and lower incomes have been stagnant or even fallen. Give you any ideas?

Jim

Thanks Jack. Srikes me that some of the lower line folks "jumped" lines over the years and that the lower lines may represent an income segment with new members coming in continuously. Also, I might quibble with you re the idea that economics and politics can be explained one without the other. If it could, we would certainly be drilling for more oil in your home stste.

Jim

Once again, Jack, I am a big fan of Joel Best 0n statistical literacy and just for fun you might want to read his brief address on social construction in developing numbers and graphs at
http://www.statlit.org/pdf/2002BestAugsburg.pdf

N.E.H.

Duties and Tariffs not going to happen? We'll have to wait and see on this one. There doesn't seem to be any other viable and workable plan available. The current industrial powerhouses of 2010 don't seem to be eliminating their duties and tariffs and hence cementing their own economic position and hegemony. The U.S. is no longer in the position to be able to sustain World wide economic growth and stability at it's own expense without destroying the Nation.

So the issue becomes, due we allow ourselves to be destroyed in the interest of someone else by a misplaced economic ideology? Or do we take the necessary economic actions to protect ourselves and our posterity?

Steve Craven

N.E.H., I'd love to see our agricultural exports grow, but I can't get excited about it. Hawaii has been pushing Kona coffee, mac nuts, tropical flowers for years, but all are either dwindling or subject to severe supply issues. Sugar and pineapple have largely disappeared. Non-traditional products are growing, such as honey, lavender products, specialty fruits - and water has become Hawaii's top physical export. But it is tough going.

From the national perspective, ag exports now make up only 9% of U.S. exports and they are not growing. For many, many years, though, the Department of Agriculture has received about 90% of the federal export promotion budget. Let's see: 9% gets 90% of the money, while 91% gets 10% of the money. What's wrong with this picture? We could get a far larger surge in exports if we pitch industrial products and services.

N.E.H.

Steve, I live in the midst of the Industrial Heartland of the Country, the Midwest (we're not called the "Rust Belt" for nothing), and I can tell you we would dearly love to see a surge in exports of light and heavy industrial products and services. The fact of the matter is, most of the industrial capacity we once had has been shut down, disassembled and shipped overseas. Or is so old that it has just been abandoned in place to decay and rot away. Before we can even begin to think about exporting anything, we have to rebuild the industrial base and train the necessary workers, technicians and engineers who will build, rebuild and operate it. No easy task in five years. This crisis has only been in the making for the last twenty to thirty years and we've been screaming since the first days, but it has only fallen on deaf ears in Washington and Wall Street (whose reason for existence at one time was to capitalise industrial development - I won't even mention their greater interest in exotic financial instruments and con-games). Guess where all the money and capital went?

Jack

Jim sez: "Srikes me that some of the lower line folks "jumped" lines over the years and that the lower lines may represent an income segment with new members coming in continuously."

............... yes, folks do move up, then and now, though in recent years we've fallen behind in upward mobility. But! still THE problem is that of the "rising tide of productivity" not lifting all of the boats and only the yachts while the dinghies are sinking. Doesn't matter why the wage curve is hollowed out as it still screws everything up from purchasing power to buy the excess production to less funding for SS and Medicare due to the incomes over 109K escaping the levies. Not sure why it is not discussed more but our economy will NOT work with too much at the top while the lower ranks have nothing to spend.

http://lanekenworthy.net/2008/03/09/the-best-inequality-graph/

NEH: Well, the closer you look at tariffs etc the more complex it gets. For one example, since AG is teed up, is that other nations see our massive farm subsidies in the same light we see Chinese currency manipulation and don't favor "competing" against the US Government. Neither are simple nor easy to change to our advantage.

Seems AG exports are increasing:
Top 12 U.S. Exports

The following product categories were America’s leading exports in 2007. These categories represent about 38% of total U.S. exports during the year.
Semiconductors ... US$50.2 billion (4.3% of US total Exports, down 4.3% from 2006)

Complete civilian aircraft ... $48.8 billion (4.2%, up 19.6%)

Automotive parts and accessories ... $44.2 billion (3.8%, up 2%)

New and used passenger cars ... $43.7 billion (3.8%, up 28.6%)

Other industrial machines ... $38.3 billion (3.3%, up 17.1%)

Pharmaceutical preparations ... $35 billion (3%, up 13.2%)

Telecommunications equipment ... $31.4 billion (2.7%, up 10.8%)

Organic chemicals ... $31.4 billion (2.7%, up 15.7%)

Electric apparatus ... $31.1 billion (2.7%, up 4.2%)

Computer accessories ... $29.4 billion (2.5%, down 18.7%)

Plastic materials ... $29.1 billion (2.5%, up 15.6%)

Medicinal equipment ... $23.8 billion (2.1%, up 5%).

Fastest-Growing U.S. Exports

Listed below are product categories for American exports that increased by experienced the highest percentage gains in 2007.
Business machines excluding computers ... US$5.4 billion (up 99.6% from 2006, up 179.8% from 2003)

Wheat ... $8.5 billion (up 99%, up 111.6%)

Sorghum, barley and oats ... $1.2 billion (up 74.7%, up 82.4%)

Dairy products and eggs ... 2.5 billion (up 64.2%, up 229.1%)

Oilseeds and food oils ... $2 billion (up 53.1%, up 43.4%)

Nonmonetary gold ... $13.3 billion (up 51.7%, up 178.2%)

Steelmaking materials ... $9,9 billion (up 46.2%, up 281.5%)

Soybeans ... $10.5 billion (up 43.5%, up 29.9%)

DVDs, tapes and disks ... $4.9 billion (up 39.8%, up 55.2%)

Musical instruments ... $2.1 billion (up 37.9%, up 103.7%)

Natural gas ... $3.1 billion (up 36.2%, up 118.1%)

Corn ... $11.2 billion (up 36.2%, up 94.8%).


BTW I think Wall Street has delivered even more damage than you mention due to "deals" that pump the life (and capital) out of longstanding companies, and then saddle the empty husk with crippling debt with no ability to attract new investment capital. Next step as you point out, market the salable remnants and let the rest rust.

Jim: Sorry, but from Best's article I'd say he's joined the ranks of those with a talk circuit audience pleasing gig. So what if a JAMA study is spoon fed to the press? As for the audience reaction, we, rightfully, take bullying much more seriously than when we were young. Remember the roots of the Columbine tragedy?

I hope your pointing it out was not to try to nullify the social problems created by the massive, upward, redistribution of incomes and wealth over the last half century. If that trend is not reversed the outlook for the std of living of most Americans will be bleak.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Working...
Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.

Working...

Post a comment

Become a Fan

March 2014

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
            1
2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29
30 31