Tariff discussions are about the most boring subjects in the room. Just for fun the other evening at our church’s valentine dinner I trotted out the subject of tariffs and most people got up from the table and went to get seconds. My wife gave me a sharp elbow as a warning to knock it off.
Tariffs can be like a bad wheel bearing. You don’t notice until the wheel falls off.
President Trump is right about the need to try and get to balanced trade. He is wrong about trade wars being good and he is very very wrong about how easy they are to win.
Tariffs on specific products should only be used to protect vital defense industries. You can make a case that the president is doing just that. Our defense systems need steel as well as electronics. If China makes all our chips we will be easy pickins.
The other use of tariffs is to try and balance foreign trade. Today we have around a 500 billion dollar negative trade annual imbalance. We buy a lot more stuff from other countries than they buy from us. We have been doing that for years and years. The total imbalance is so big nobody can count that high. That is why many of the good paying manufacturing jobs have left the country. The good pay and benefits went with those jobs.
If left unchecked, it will ruin our currency. The free traders, the very wealthy, and the one government globalizers are happy with the way trade has been done for years. They have made a pile of money. The rest of the US people, not so much.
Free trade is a myth. Fair and balanced trade is the goal. It has been very very wrong to sacrifice the average American to try and make the world a better place based upon a New Age idea of globalization.
The best solution is to have “creeping tariffs.” On a country by country basis add a 1% tariff each year to those countries that have a negative current account balance with the USA. Slowly and over time, trade will begin to equalize and the current account balance will head to zero. World trade will not undergo a shock.
At least President Trump is trying to do something about trade.
We're spending one point seven million dollars to upgrade our high school football field. That is great. The trouble is that many of our high school students can not tell you that a quarter and a nickel is the proper amount of change for two dollars when your purchase price is one point seven dollars without using some electronic device. Many of today's youth simply can't make change for a dollar.
Some time back, the pretty young girl behind the cash register informed me that my purchase came to $16.04. I handed her a twenty dollar bill and a nickel. She reached for her calculator. We're not talking rocket science here. Four dollars and 4 pennies. “I'm not good at math,” she said, I'm good at history. “What grade are you in,” I asked. Chest out, shoulders back, she proclaimed with a smile, “I'm a senior!”
If this were a rare occurrence, we could just laugh it off. But it seems to be the norm. Some years ago, I mentioned this lack of basic math skill to a retired teacher. “We don' t teach that (making change),” was her reply. Why not? What can be more important than basic coming-in-out-of-the-rain sense when it comes to arithmetic?
I don't believe the problem lies with the teachers. I am acquainted with some of our local teachers and staff. They are highly intelligent and hard working. But someone is responsible with this collective ignorance in our youth.Is it the local school board? Is it the fault of the State Board of Education? Or does this come from the federal government? Did the “No Child Left Behind” act cause all children to be left behind? Or is “Common Core” the culprit. This is a serious problem that should be easy to fix.
When I was in grammar school, we took a day or two out to handle play money and use it to make change. Especially if the cashier is young, I calculate the amount of change due me in my head. Most of today's youth cannot do this. This does not mean that I am smarter. It means that they are less well educated.
I see no problem with spending money on a football field. But today's youth deserve a better education in basic arithmetic.
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