Monday, November 28, 2011

Greco-American Style "Belt-Tightening"

The Europeans (i.e., The Germans) are trying to bail out the Greeks. It won't work. The Greeks will not meet their European partners halfway.

For this bailout to work, the Greeks must begin to practice that which innately they cannot stomach - the very utterance of the word to them is hateful. I will spell it: A-U-S-T-E-R-I-T-Y. It simply means, tighten your belt, fool.

The problem with these descendants of Aristotle is they thing they know it all. Americans are not much better. We, too, cringe at the mention of "belt-tightening." We figure there must be an easier way.

Not long ago, Whirlpool, the iconic American appliance-maker, pulled up stakes in Evansville, Indiana and moved their operations to Mexico. Over a thousand people in Evansville lost their jobs. The upside: Because Whirlpool can now build their product at a lower cost, they can sell it at a lower price. Add to that: Money saved on production now goes to research and development. Whirlpool refrigerators are not only less expensive, but according to customers, they are now better.

Zenith, too, has moved to Mexico. One customer said of the new Zenith televisions, "Now, I can buy two."

The lesson is simple: Jobs leave America because Americans want more money than their labor is actually worth.

Doesn't it seem obvious that if you will accept less salary, the product you make will cost less, which ultimately means your product will be more competitive on the global market?

People complain about China taking America jobs. Yet, those same people do not complain when they go into a store and find a pair of jeans for $35 that ten years ago $75.

The free enterprise system works. Americans seem to think that because it no longer works for them, it must be broken. It is not broken; we are. Our work ethic broken. We want more for less.

Many people excoriated NAFTA - that free-trade agreement signed in 1993 during the Clinton administration. Said it would cost American jobs. And so it did. But it also afforded Americans access to lower priced goods.

Americans could still be making those products. They simply do not want to. They do not believe it is worth their while to make televisions ans shoes and paper plates. But what is the alternative - stand around with your hands out (like the Greeks) and expect to be paid simply because you are better than everyone else? See how close that gets you to the American dream.

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