Practice what we preach
April 2, 2013
The Democrats mentioned "Made in America" at their convention. "Buy American, I hear that a lot from folks who don't practice what they preach.
I bought a new set of tires at Walmart last year. I bought tires made in America. I shopped around. At one store when I ask why the prices were so high, a clerk said it was Obama's fault because he put a tariff on Chinese tires. That wasn't true since I was buying high end tires and the tariff was on low end tires. He did it to protect American tire manufacturers and their workers from unfair Chinese trade practices.
Patriotism may cost more. The Chinese government subsidizes tires and other goods that it wants to sell in America. They want to put American manufacturers out of business and corner the market. The Republicans who had a great deal to do with shipping our jobs to China pitch a fit every time the president tries to curtail the unfair trading practices of the Chinese. The tariffs on Chinese tires has expired, so it's up to us to buy American tires. Be patriotic.
I shop at Walmart only because they're the only merchant in town. Unfortunately many items sold at Wal-Mart are made in Asia. Some, such as clothing, are made in Asia no matter where you may buy them. The American consumers are caught between a rock and a hard place. All I can suggest is that we all buy American goods whenever we can. Buy automobiles, furniture, and all the big ticket items, made here. It will be difficult to find anything made 100 percent in America.
Here is an example of government spending waste. Why do we have so many military bases overseas? World War II is over. Need we maintain a huge military base in Germany, for example? Move that base home and spend that money here. We have a staggering 662 bases in 38 foreign countries. Most are unnecessary. We could save billions in military spending by closing them and spending some of that money right here at home, stimulating the economy and creating jobs. Let's bring those jobs home. Congress is not serious about cutting spending unless they end the costly outdated practice of having military bases all over the world!
Seems like every five minutes I hear some congressman say Americans spend their own money more wisely than does the U.S. government. Really? Estimates on what Americans spend shopping each year are all over the map. One estimate was $10.7 trillion, but $6 trillion is probably a more accurate figure. Americans spend their money whenever and on whatever they please. We shop 'til we drop.
We spend a healthy $650 billion on outdoor recreation. A lot of it — except for dangerous ATVs, RVs and assault weapons for hunting — is money well spent and will save on healthcare later.
A conservative estimate is approximately 17 percent of what Americans spend is unnecessary discretionary spending. Here are just a few examples: $144 billion on electronic entertainment equipment, $110 billion on fast foods, $90 billion for alcoholic beverages, $80 billion for tobacco, $75 billion on tickets and rental fees for entertainment, $60 billion on illegal drugs, $65 billion on soft drinks, $40 billion on lawn care, $34.6 billion gambling, $33 billion on weight loss products, $22 billion on cosmetics, $17 billion on dietary supplements, $16 billion on chocolate, $17 billion on video games, $13.4 billion on pornography and $11 billion on coffee. Speaker of the House John Boehner spent $1,500 on coffee last month. That's a
Americans spend $50 billion yearly on our pets, $300 million just for Fido's Halloween costumes. All told we spend $10.5 billion on Halloween costumes and candy. How about $2.4 billion for tattoos and another $66 million to remove them. Every year we spend $2.3 billion on air fresheners, $800 million for taxidermy, $550 million for pretzels, and $500 million for Twinkies. Finally, Americans spend $12 billion on unused gym memberships yearly. The government isn't the most offending wasteful spender, it's you and me buckaroo.
A lot of the money Americans spend is borrowed. American consumers owe $950 billion in credit card debt. That's four times what the Federal Government pays yearly in interest on the national debt.
President Obama is asking the very wealthy to cut back on unnecessary spending and pay a bit more in taxes. For one thing, we need $90 billion a year for improvements to roads, ports and bridges that we all use. That's less than we spend on booze. So, what's the problem?
Glen McAdoo, a Churchill County resident, can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.