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Don’t ask me why but I was perusing Lou Dobbs’ book Exporting America, which is just a pile of utter nonsense on trade. An Eco 101 student could easily dissect it, so I do not wish to apply those economic arguments here. Others have done so extensively and admirably. Instead I’d love to focus on this quote:

I don’t think helping consumers save a few cents on trinkets and T-shirts is worth the loss of American jobs.”

Well, at least he expresses that as his opinion rather than as some fact. But let’s think about the implications of the tone of this sentence. In it, Mr. Dobbs is implying that trinkets are worthless trash, and that T-shirts are low-value goods as well. So what Mr. Dobbs is saying is that we should expend energy and resources to make sure Americans can work in jobs that have little value, and produce goods which Mr. Dobbs himself clearly has contempt for. If he were to apply this logic consistently, then Mr. Dobbs ought to demand that trinkets become illegal. That way, American jobs that are worthless could be entirely eliminated, and replaced by the more highly valued jobs which will replace it. After all, if Americans are forbidden from wasting money on trinkets, then they can spent it on goods for which Mr. Dobbs finds it more appropriate to spend money on.

2 Responses to “Trinkets and T-Shirts”

  1. Harry says:

    Well written, Wintercow.

    At four thirty this afternoon my brother and I were discussing the same subject, minus Lou Dobbs, freezing ourselves on a local golf course.

    The subject arose because my brother expressed his relief that Joe Sestak lost, and Toomey won. Our conversation did not touch on any pleasure we felt over the rue Nancy Pelosi must feel, but rather about how free trade won.

    Fortunately we did not bother to discuss the contemptuous attitudes of the defenders of the domestic producers. Last time I thought of Lou Dobbs was a few seasons ago, when he jumped to another network with Katie Couric.

    Because your comment is contemporary, it will not live with the timeless words of Bastiat, but it is up to Bastiat’s standards, even in the English translation. You got to the point about that ass and his trinkets.

    Right on, Wintercow!

  2. Harry says:

    Most learned Wintercow, I am sick about the folks wno talk about uncertainty, as if that is the big problem. Two minutes ago Dan Coats, a newly elected senator from Indiana, whom I respect, was talking about uncertainty.

    You have dealt with this question before, but it is worth a few more essays.

    Suppose there were an asteroid approaching us, and someone got up to assure us that all we need is certainty to fix our problem with the unemployment rate, and Chairman Ben announced another quantitative easing? I would be going to higher ground.

    Certainty does not move me, unless it is in the right direction. Certainty of being like France or Germany or Greece, or anywhere else does not move me.

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