A friend of the blog writes:

I have friends on all political sides. Most have always focused on tabloid style topics rather than policy, but these days the tabloid talk is even more hyped.

Currently, my liberal friends are busy talking about Nike, and how they pay “slave labor” and that is where the outrage should be. (Nike’s wages in developing countries is not new, so why the outrage now versus three days ago?)

On the other hand, my conservative friends aren’t really talking about politics right now, but those that are fierce supporters of Trump are continuing to sing his praises for his skill of distracting the media.

To both, I try to point to the recent NAFTA negotiations.

Part of the current deal includes regulations that would require 40-45% of auto parts to be made by workers earning $16 per hour. Another part of the deal requires 75% of auto content to be made in NAFTA region. This is up from 62% under the old deal. Both of these changes, if adopted, will have real impact on labor and consumer markets. I can see positives and negatives.

I ask my liberal friends, is this what bipartisanship can look like? I mean, they are constantly campaigning for $15 per hour minimum wages.

I ask my Trump supporting friends if this will actually have the effect of bringing back jobs to the US, as Trump promised? I mean, most countries that are currently producing auto parts may not be able to guarantee $16 per hour wages. But, if auto makers move plants back here, who will buy the new cars at the prices sold needed to support those wages? Seems like used car sales will go up, at least in the short term.

I have always been a believer in businesses operating efficiently, and when they do, it helps the consumer, which in turn keeps the economy going. I am not convinced the government knows how to keep business efficient and positively affect the consumer at the same time.

My liberal friends certainly aren’t going to note anything about Trump is positive or that he may be close to them ideologically at times, so they won’t comment. My Trump friends see him as a businessman who gets things done, so they don’t have a problem. But, some of his foreign policy ideas give me pause. But, by all means, let’s get back to Nike and other distractions.

On the one hand, there are a lot of very substantial things going on under the Trump administration.

The obsessive focus on tabloid news is giving a cover to an off a lot of that. Some of it’s good, and some of it is probably stuff that deserve some attention. And it’s not getting it. Again, for better or worse.

The problem with the government is, even if you like the way things start out, if you don’t pay attention to it for long enough, bad things start to happen.

14 thoughts on “Distractions

  1. Most can continue to deny the obvious. Trump lacks the general characteristics of a President. Most real leaders dislike liars — if you lie about minor issues you’ll definitely lie about the significant ones; good leaders don’t degrade their staff; and most uninformed leaders listen more than they talk — then speak with an informed perspective. This isn’t political but stop lying to yourselves.

  2. A family friend spent her career at a manufacturing plant in St. Cloud making freezers. After NAFTA, the corporation shifted some operations to Mexico to save money and some of her friends went along to supervise the new crews. They came back a few years ago. Seems the Chinese offered the corporation even cheaper labor so Minnesota jobs that originally went to Mexico, later went to China.

    Trump’s NAFTA deal might bring those jobs back to our hemisphere, at least. Providing better jobs for Mexicans reduces their need to illegally immigrate to take American jobs. Reducing China’s foreign income might slow its military build-up, making the world marginally safer. None of these are silver bullets. All of them are positive steps.

    America has been sliding into the hole for decades. If Trump can’t pull us out, at least he’s stopped digging.

  3. I’ve worked where those NAFTA-like games were played. We outsourced the fundamental part for our product to Taiwan, where we paid 5 cents/hour. We were paying $20/hour for the same work here in the US. The difference was that in Taiwan, using hand tools, a good worker could make 1 piece per minute. In the US, with the productivity of capital investment, that one operator produced 20 pieces/ second, for 1200:1 productivity. 1200 * $0.05 = $60/hour we could pay and still make money.

  4. Every President in my adult lifetime has lied. Lied prior to getting into office, lied while in office. Lied about what they were going to do, most, lied about their core beliefs. Just saying, Emery.

  5. Trump’s base problem is that he lies. He lies about big things, little things and then he lies about lying.

    I and much of the world do not believe a word that comes out of his mouth. And this will be his downfall.

  6. Funny how that projection angle Mitch referenced a few days ago has become so helpful in analyzing the comments of the resident trolls.

  7. Most real leaders dislike liars

    “I did not have sexual relations with that woman…”
    “If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor…”
    “Since our founding, the United States has been a nation that respects all faiths. We reject all efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others. But there is absolutely no justification for this type of senseless violence.” – Pres. Obama, implicitly blaming a video for instigating an attack on the U.S. facilities in Benghazi, Libya that just happened to occur on the anniversary of 9/11 and had all the hallmarks of an attack weeks or months in planning.

  8. Look yourself in the mirror and ask yourself: Does Donald Trump speak for me?” If the answer is yes go get a new mirror and a new moral compass.

  9. On which basis is it that leftists justify their oh-so superior morality such that they can judge others?

  10. Joe, I actually almost interviewed at that plant! Since it’s closing next year, maybe I’m glad I didn’t. That noted, it’s struck me since I was a young pup that it was rather odd that we didn’t have any significant taxes on imported goods, but those of us already here were taxed up the wazoo.

    I’m all for reduced taxes, and I’m all for freer trade, but Trump does speak for me when he mirrors my point that I ought not be taxed to pay for things like our armed forces to keep sea lanes clear so someone in China or wherever can benefit.

  11. Why Emery, you closet racist, mysoginistic loser!

    You have shown your true self and prove that you don’t like more blacks, Hispanics, Asians and women working, with less of them on welfare than ever.

    You also must like paying higher taxes that your left wing heroes want to foist upon you to pay for their follies.

    When are you hosting your next antifa meeting?

  12. “The larger the mob, the harder the test. In small areas, before small electorates, a first-rate man occasionally fights his way through, carrying even the mob with him by the force of his personality. But when the field is nationwide, and the fight must be waged chiefly at second and third hand, and the force of personality cannot so readily make itself felt, then all the odds are on the man who is, intrinsically, the most devious and mediocre—the man who can most adeptly disperse the notion that his mind is a virtual vacuum. 

    The Presidency tends, year by year, to go to such men. As democracy is perfected, the office represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. We move toward a lofty ideal. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.” ~ HL Mencken published those words in a column in “The Evening Sun” of Baltimore titled “Bayard vs. Lionheart” in 1920

  13. JDM: Its a new day in America. Trolls can do stuff now — heck, they can be elected President!

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