>I received an email the other day with a bit of humor about the ‘Economic Stimulus Payments’ we should be receiving in the near future. It went like this:
Q. What is an Economic Stimulus Payment?
A. It is money that the federal government will send to taxpayers.
Q. Where will the government get this money?
A. From the taxpayers.
Q. So the government is giving me back my own money?
A. Just a smidgen.
Q. What is the purpose of this payment?
A. The plan is that you’ll use the money to purchase an HD-TV set,
thus stimulating the economy.
Q. But isn’t that stimulating the economy of China?
A. Shut up.
I chuckled at the final line, but then I started thinking about it. Not only is China our second-largest supplier of consumer goods (13% of what hit the shelves in 2004), but China is a one of our ‘major foreign holders of US Treasury securities’ to the tune of $490.6 Billion as of March 2008 (only Japan holds more), and they’re still buying us up.
Follow that up with another email that I received and it really makes you think. Here’s how it went:
Are we Americans as dumb as we appear, or is it that we just don’t think? While the Chinese, knowingly and intentionally, export inferior products and dangerous toys and goods to be sold in American markets, the media wrings its hands and criticizes the Bush Administration for perceived errors. Yet, 70% of Americans believe that the trading privileges afforded to the Chinese should be suspended. Well, duh … why do you need the government to suspend trading privileges?
DO IT YOURSELF!!
Simply look on the bottom of every product you buy, and if it says ‘Made in China’ or ‘PRC’ (and that now includes Hong Kong), simply choose another product or none at all. You will be amazed at how dependent you are on Chinese products, however you will be equally amazed at what you can do without. Who needs plastic eggs to celebrate Easter?
If you must have eggs, use real ones and benefit some American farmer. Easter is just an example, the point is … don’t wait for the government to act.
Just go ahead and assume control on your own.
If 200 million Americans refuse to buy just $20 each of Chinese goods, that’s a billion dollar trade imbalance resolved in our favor … fast!! The downside? Some American businesses will feel a temporary pinch from having foreign stockpiles of inventory. Downside ??
Let’s give them fair warning and send our own message. We’ll not implement this UNTIL June 4, and we’ll continue it only until July 4. That’s only one month of trading losses, but it will hit the Chinese for 1/12th of the total, or 8%, of their American exports. Then they will at least have to ask themselves if the benefits were worth it.
The call to action in the latter email is a double-edged sword. It would be wonderful if everything in the world was so simple, but it’s not. We’re a nation with an unfathomable national debt and an insatiable appetite for cheap consumer goods. (The current issue of FLYP has more about problems associated with Chinese imports.)
So … are you just going to chuckle at the first email, bite a hand that’s feeding you by taking the action proposed in the second email, or more than likely, are you just going to pay down a bit of your own debt when you get that stimulus check? If you’re like me, you’re just going to pay down some of your own debt. But, you might just want to go one step further … you just might want to consider writing your elected representatives, and ask them to stop borrowing and spend significantly less as they conduct the business of our nation. Afterall, each family’s share of the national debt is now: $73,733.00. That’s a sum equal to 3 years of my gross pension income. Hello … is anybody in Congress even thinking about this?