Yes, there are Winners and Losers–but I’m a double loser!

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But don’t smile, you are too.  Let’s get to the good losing first.  This time of year, there will be many hopeful losers, as membership at Jenny Craig and health clubs will be on the rise.  But that’s not the only way one can be a loser and be happy about it.  I’m a real loser because I got to eat some of the most amazing grapes ever last week.  These grapes had thin but firm skin, and they absolutely exploded in your mouth with sweet juice as you bit into them.   They were amazingly delicious, but I’m a loser because I was able to buy them in January, when the Ohio grapes are just not in season.  I had to buy these grapes from Walmart, who arranged for Peruvian growers to meet my desires.  If I could just have bought them from Yellow Springs here in Ohio, or even Texas or California, then I too could have been a winner.  But because I bought them from Peru, I lost.  I know this sounds kind of odd, but perhaps that great economic mind–you know, the one who is “like, really smart” and “a stable genius” can help you understand.  When we engage in trade with other countries, we lose.  If we only buy from ourselves, then we can win.  Just consider how strong North Korea is.  Have you lost lately too?  Let us know your favorite losing moments over the holidays in the comments!

In my other losing moment, I’m not nearly so sanguine.  Mr. Trump promised me I’d get tired of winning, but I’m not tired yet.  Despite his campaign rhetoric and the Republican’s talk against Crony Capitalism, somehow electric vehicle subsidies survived.  Yes,  American taxpayers, you will continue to give Mr. Musk (and all the other electric car crony capitalists) $7500 for every one of these electric cars sold, since Mr. Trump just signed this into the law. Count me as not yet weary.  Remember Milton Friedman’s maxim:  There is nothing so permanent as a temporary government program.

 

15 thoughts on “Yes, there are Winners and Losers–but I’m a double loser!”

  1. It is interesting how so many politicians seem to ignore the idea of comparative advantage when instituting policy.
    I understand that free trade between countries is mutually advantageous for each country as a whole, but is it worse for certain groups within an country? For example, is free trade between the USA and China giving potential USA low-skill jobs to China, in order to make both countries more efficient? And if so, to what extent is free trade actually beneficial, considering that it may be harmful to certain groups within a nation, even though it is beneficial to the country as a whole?

    1. Why should we subsidize failing industries? If Chinese labour can be more efficient, then shouldn’t we let them do so, and transition our economy to other things? If the Japanese make better cheaper cars, shouldn’t we let them? We can make other things instead. That is usually the counterargument. Of course it’s not fun in the short term, but we’re all better off in the long term.

      1. I thought in the long-run we’re all dead? No, no, I kid, of course. You’re right, Theophilus. In fact, a lot of data shows that running a trade deficit tends to actually help employment. So, if Mr. Trump really wants to help the economy on trade, I’d recommend he takes his eyes off of one silly number and concentrate on the larger benefits at hand.

      2. Not sure he can help it, even if he wanted to. He’s more or less abandoned conservative ideology, especially with the economy. And his base is opposed to free trade, too. Not much incentive to change course here.

  2. Dr. Haymond, I’m sure you’ll be pleased (or jealous) that I got to lose some of my Michigan dollars to purchase an In-n-Out Burger this weekend. Without that company losing some American dollars to other parts of the world, nothing they do would be affordable. Construction materials were likely produced all over the world to make the building. In California, it’s possible that the construction itself was done by immigrant workers. The cash register was made likely in China. My phone that I used to find the place was made by a Korean company. This list goes on for ages.

    1. It’s amazing how integrated the world economy is. It certainly helps the American consumer out a lot.

      I believe that access to proper education and training that will equip American workers to be the most productive in the future American and Global economies is the most important asset that we should advocate for as Americans.

  3. The sad part is, many do not understand that if Walmart only sold items made in Ohio, there would only be one employee at Walmart. Hundreds have jobs because those grape, and products like them, are available from other places.
    My other comment is, my dad constantly harasses me about my Japanese cars (one, my Pathfinder, made in America). My comment to him is always, “If it weren’t for those Japanese cars, we would still be driving crappy K-cars”. American cars today are way better products because of competition.
    He also rails about “bailing out GM”. I argue, much to my disgust, we had to bail out GM because we forced them to build low value, high cost vehicles to meet CAFE standards. Let countries that specialize in high mileage, low value cars build them so our manufacturers can concentrate on higher value products.

  4. If you actually believed for even half a second that Republicans were going to end or even curtail crony capitalism, then we can safely say that you are NOT a winner, lol.

    1. Not just any republican, Jeff. A billionaire who has admitted that he paid for influence in government. He’s got a YUUUGE incentive to turn all of his investments worthless by limiting the government he paid for.

      I’m joking, if that’s not clear.

      I think the hope is that the big names that have a better record (Ryan comes to mind) will push for it. And he is implementing a blanket ‘deregulation’ agenda that people seem to like.

      1. In honor of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday, which is STILL apparently not celebrated as a holiday at the ‘Ville, here is one nugget of wisdom: “This country has socialism for the rich, rugged individualism for the poor.”

      2. Jeff, every year I was at Cedarville MLK day had a special chapel as well as events throughout the day. Unless you were actually there and can say otherwise don’t treat your own assumptions as facts. A simple look at the CU calendar showed an MLK Leadership lunch last Monday, a special chapel, and similar events during the day. What are they supposed to do in your opinion to give him proper homage?

  5. Now that I am thinking about winning and losing in this way I quickly realize that I am losing on almost a daily basis. The Nike shoes I just ordered are coming from China. The phone I will be buying this week is made in Korea. Many of the groceries that I bought yesterday are not home grown. Americans are often so cheap and frugal as long as they get the best deal they don’t care where it comes from.

  6. As Americans, should we consider it our civil duty to purchase our goods from local providers? If have to support a family and money is tight, should we make the well-being of our family the highest priority and seek the lowest prices/cheapest deals regardless of where the product comes from, or should we always keep supporting American business as the highest priority?

    1. Michael–
      This is a false choice. If you buy imports, those dollars spent on (in my case) grapes must be returned to America. They will be spent on other American goods. The number of U.S. jobs is, if anything, likely to increase but it certainly won’t decrease. With free trade, the pattern of jobs may change, but not the number. Rather than the U.S. inefficiently producing say grapes, the $$ you spend on grapes will come back to the U.S. and support U.S. production of say, hogs.

  7. Looking at the world, and considering the “losing” we do when we are not buying American goods and keeping the money in, isn’t it beneficial to trade as it benefits everyone? Thinking about the grape scenario, if Walmart purchases the grapes from Peru at I’m sure a low cost and then charges the Americans more to buy it, isn’t that “winning” because the American made a profit overall?

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