Just two days after 9/11, I learned from Congressional staffers that Republicans on Capitol Hill were already exploiting the atrocity, trying to use it to push through tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy. ... We now know that from the very beginning, the Bush administration and its allies in Congress saw the terrorist threat not as a problem to be solved, but as a political opportunity to be exploited. The story of the latest terror plot makes the administration's fecklessness and cynicism on terrorism clearer than ever. -Hoping for Fear, by Paul Krugman, Using Fear Commentary, NY TimesThere are big profits in the death business. Go to Texas and consult the CEO of Murder, Inc. , otherwise known as DynCorp.
The war in Iraq has boosted DynCorp's revenues, responsible for about $400 million of the company's nearly $2 billion in sales. And while the company didn't specify how much the effort has added to profits, there has certainly been an upside, Lagana said, although he added that profit margins are lower than in other private industry -- often below 10 percent. For government contractors and other US-based businesses that are doing work in Iraq, the war there has continued to provide opportunity and benefits, although experts and companies alike say they are difficult to quantify. To be sure, security businesses, oil producers and defense contractors are among the biggest winners. Those who manufacture key products, from bulletproof vests to bullets themselves, and, more recently, those involved in reconstruction, have reaped the benefits, too. --Businesses find benefits, costs in war workMoney is not the soiled and over-designed scraps of paper that we carry around and pass off in exchange for "things". Money is, at last, mere faith. China, especially, had "faith" that their confidence in the almighty buck would be repaid by US willingness to buy all sorts of cheap Chinese crap at Wal-Mart and other blights on the American urban landscape. The Chinese would get it all back as long as the rest of the world was willing to wink and nod. The result is that Shanghai and other cities have out-Americaed, America. They have taller and uglier buildings and worse traffic amid the worst air pollution on the planet. Houston and LA look green by comparison. China is a ecological blight on the planet. The lesson one hopes China has learned is that there is price to be paid for having partnered with Satan. Wal-Mart makes a killing putting people out of work, depressing local economies, and lowering wages but it is globalization --an unholy alliance with GOP "trickle down" policies --that spawned Wal-Mart and sounded a death knell for the futures of American workers. Most recently, Wal-Mart's Chinese imports have displaced nearly 200,000 US jobs
China's entry into the World Trade Organization (WTO) was supposed to improve the US trade deficit with China and create good jobs in the United States. But those promises have gone unfulfilled: the total US trade deficit with China reached $235 billion in 2006. Between 2001 and 2006, this growing deficit eliminated 1.8 million US jobs (Scott 2007). The world's biggest retailer, US-based Wal-Mart was responsible for $27 billion in US imports from China in 2006 and 11% of the growth of the total US trade deficit with China between 2001 and 2006. Wal-Mart's trade deficit with China alone eliminated nearly 200,000 US jobs in this period. Robert E. Scott, The Wal-Mart effectThe Wal-Mart effect on US workers and manufacturing is typified by the effects seen in clothing --low-cost goods with a hidden higher price: lower wages, lost jobs. Underlying every sector, however, are unsupportable US trade deficits which benefit American consumers but only so long as they have jobs themselves. As has been the trend at least since the regime of Ronald Reagan, manufacturing suffers most as Wal-Mart grows more intrusive, exploiting the trade deficit with its own undervalued currency. In effect, American consumers have financed China's economic boom. Of some 133,000 manufacturing jobs lost in the US, sixty-eight percent were the direct result of Wal-Mart's "partnership" with China. The effect is devastating to US workers and the US economy overall. Manufacturing jobs, after all, have generally paid higher wages and provided better benefits. The US-China trade deficits amount to more than $1 trillion in US Treasury bills and growing. It is fair to say that China has done this deliberately to rehabilitate its own economy on US backs. It has had the effect of lowering the cost of its exports to the United States and other countries.
The relationship between the dollar and the yen has been affected primarily by the adverse trade balance that we have with Japan. At the last summit meeting in London, for instance, we discussed the very high positive trade balance that Japan enjoyed then. The goal established by your own leaders was that this trade balance would be reduced. Instead, it's continued to go up. I think, as the economic market leaders have recognized, the high export of Japanese goods and the relatively low imports into Japan of other goods, the yen has strengthened in comparison to other currencies, including, of course, the American dollar.What a foolhardy game of brinkmanship this has become! It is tempting to write that China has more to lose by a collapsing buck than does the US. Certainly Bush concluded thus as he parked the US Fifth Fleet in the Persian Gulf, where it is tracked undetected by Chinese subs. Money is whatever people will accept as payment for goods and services. As long as the rest of the world was confident that they could pass along their bucks or exchange them equitably, the US was not overly concerned about "fundamentals". I am now told in Europe that the strength of the dollar abroad is inexorably linked to Bush's credibility abroad. We are, therefore, screwed. Bush has no credibility. And most Americans don't have the luxury of demanding that they be paid in some other currency.
- President Jimmy Carter, Interview with Western European and Japanese Reporters, July 11th, 1978- Advertisement -