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gleninAZ 11-18-2004 05:30 AM

Sam Walton sold America.
Anyone see the Frontline story on PBS about Walmart and China?? Very in depth analysis of the evolution of Walton's plan from starting out with buy in USA all products to support the American worker. He then began taking trips to the far east and meeting with the Chinese, ordered a lot of cheap products to start the relationship then began pushing American manufacturers to build factories in China. Rubbermaid took a price increase and refused to go offshore and Walmart discontinued their line and took them from America's most admired company in the early 90s to bankruptcy. It showed the auction of Rubbermaids plants and said the chinese bought the heavy production equiptment.

In comes Bill Clinton announcing his big trade deal with China and saying it will open a huge market for the US and create jobs. It then showed the head of the port of Long Beach today. She said we import 36 billion dollars a year from China into Long Beach and export 3 billion a year of scrap metal and scrap paper. How many of you make a living on scraps?? It said the average factory wage in US dollars in Sheng Ching factories is 50 cents and some are as low as 25 cents an hour. The bottom line is that a visionary capitalist decided to force American manufacturers to move production offshore so his company could sell cheap and run his competition out of business. He knew that we would line up like lemmings to save a few bucks. He got his Arkansas buddy the President to help him out with a wide open trade deal.

My grandson will never see the quality job opportunities we all grew up with unless we put embargos and trade restrictions in to play. Either way our economy has been hijacked by a foreign country and we can thank our own people for doing it. Sad days IMO.

badshotbob 11-18-2004 07:22 AM

RE: Sam Walton sold America.
Glen, I couldn't agree more. It is sad. I pointed this out over on the Kmart/Sears thread - they too will follow in Chinamart's footsteps in order to stay competitive, which will only drive jobs away, close plants, and contribute to the eventual collapse of this economy.

Speaking of Klintoon.... his library opened up today (what a waste of 30 acres!). I heard on the radio this morning (C-Span) a spokesman being interviewed - he said the drive behind Bill's intentions for this place was to promote a "One-America - One- World" philosophy. Hmmm........

I believe this country is in for some interesting times ahead.

vc1111 11-18-2004 07:33 AM

RE: Sam Walton sold America.

My grandson will never see the quality job opportunities we all grew up with unless we put embargos and trade restrictions in to play.
Really? Details please.

chipmunk 11-18-2004 07:33 AM

RE: Sam Walton sold America.
Many American companies are only concerned with the bottom long as they can give their shareholders and CEO's big money they don't care who they have to screw to do it. The people at the top get richer and the working class continue to get the shaft.

I remember when I worked in Banking, one year no one "in the trenches" got a raise, but the CEO got a 2.5 million dollar addition to his 3 million/year salary and his stock options. Made me sick!

The government should make it harder for American companies to move their production and jobs overseas and be more selective about what it imports. IMHO

gleninAZ 11-18-2004 08:14 AM

RE: Sam Walton sold America.
VC-Did you see the documentary? Rubbermaid was the first company Walton drove out of business. 1000 high paying jobs in Wooster, Mass factory alone. The systematic leverage from Walmart to move manufacturing to Shen Cheng alone created a huge metropolis there where there were only rice paddys 20 years ago. The 36 billion a year from China is just into Long Beach so is a small percentage of the total impact. The 3 billion in export was primarily scrap metal to make tools for the US market and scrap paper for packaging. We don't have too many people earning 20 bucks an hour on either one.

I spent 35 years in the food industry and understand Walmart very well. They take over the majority of sales in a category then start the blackmail against the manufacturer to drive all costs out of the system. It does make the final cost on products much better but not necessarily to the consumer. They set their price below the lowest competitor but keep the majority of the savings for their bottom line. It is truly a free market economy at work but the highest cost of production in my factory now is labor. Cutting labor costs by exporting all of our manufacturing jobs---


vc1111 11-18-2004 08:21 AM

RE: Sam Walton sold America.
Glen, good post, but it does not address the question. How do you legislate the inability to hire labor and buy products from abroad?

Alsatian 11-18-2004 08:39 AM

RE: Sam Walton sold America.

Good post. I think I understand your point but don't necessarily agree with your solution. Also, I don't know what the solution is. I'm a software engineer who no longer works as a software engineer at least in part, I believe, because so many companies are doing their software work offshore with cheaper Indian and Chinese software engineering labor, so I'm not speaking as someone without an interest or a few chips in the game.

There is a flip side to this issue. True, Americans suffer because jobs go offshore, but you have forgotten to also address the fact that Americans thereby purchase goods at lower prices -- thus raising their standard of living. If we are compelled to buy the American products at higher prices, this is a subsidy for the factory worker extracted from all of the consumers. I personally don't think I support that. While the free market system has its problems -- such as offshoring and loss of jobs -- we moved towards a more free market system from a more protectionist orientation and price regulation system because the old way wasn't working. Inefficiencies were locked into the system and caused problems. So far I haven't been convinced that return to a situation in which business is highly regulated by government and domestic markets are protected with high import tariffs is the best solution, even though I personally suffer from the export of software jobs.

Maybe a path of attacking my position (and I don't have any personal loyalty or committment to my position, I'm just thinking out loud as it were) is to ask where does the saved money go? What if 10% of the saved money goes to the consumer by way of lower prices and 90% of the saved money goes to higher profits for the retailer, Wal-Mart? In this case the consumer really is a very minor beneficiary and the true beneficiary is the stock owning classes. Who owns 75% of the stocks or 80% of the stocks? If this critical mass of assets resides in the 401Ks and IRAs and pension funds that the mass of Americans depend upon for their retirements, then again the consumer can be viewed as the beneficiary. If this critical mass of stocks is owned by the wealthy elite of America, the upper 10% of our population, then something else is afoot. I don't know the story on this, but it might be a fruitful path of investigation or analysis.

gleninAZ 11-18-2004 09:00 AM

RE: Sam Walton sold America.
Al-See your point but then how will the average consumer afford to buy these attractively priced products if they are unemployed? My point is that a lot of jobs were exported in the 90s and the new ones you read about are nowhere near as high paying. I think we have been dumbed down into rolling over for execs and politicians. Isolating is not the answer so maybe we just need to get used to living in trailers and eating mac and cheese. I hope you young guys can afford to pay my social security payments but I know we are going to wreck soon due to us boomers getting old and losing our pensions and jobs. Who is going to pay? I just feel sorry for my grandson as he will have a tough time paying for our excess and greed.

Surly Old Man 11-18-2004 09:01 AM

RE: Sam Walton sold America.
"True, Americans suffer because jobs go offshore, but you have forgotten to also address the fact that Americans thereby purchase goods at lower prices -- thus raising their standard of living."

Alsatian, i'm new to the board, don't know any of you but thought I'd jump in here (havnt figured out that quote thing yet either)

I may be able to see your point you made but think other things overtake the standard of living increase. Like the cost of bigger ticket items - cars, houses, property tax, gas tax, gas, heating oil, these kinds of things. I'm not saying cheaper goods doesn't make it easier to live and stretch the old paycheck, but I don't think there is that much of an offset to help us out. Cost of living is right on up there these days.

gleninAZ 11-18-2004 11:42 AM

RE: Sam Walton sold America.
Old man(bet I'm older:D)-I agree that we are enjoying a higher standard of living with more stuff at lower prices. I also have lived through my entire industry going away like the dinosaurs due to Walmart and I bet we all know men in their 50s who are facing the loss of their careers before they planned or saved enough for that to happen. I was fortunate to have enough to buy a business so I can still earn a living but many are not that lucky and are working for low wages and suffering. We spent a generation working our butts off and believing the loyalty pitch that had the promise of lifetime employment and a decent retirement in return. Well we were sold a bill of goods and even though we are more efficient we have lost the security our fathers had. Also how many jobs are left in those Walmart and Home Depot towns working for the local hardware, fabric, clothing etc stores. None because there are none left in business. The Chinese helped Sam to git 'er done.

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