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Forum Post: The US economy = only imports

Posted 1 year ago on May 1, 2012, 5:05 p.m. EST by arturo (3169) from Shanghai, Shanghai
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

CONSUMER NECESSITIES—Today, nearly all general household merchandise in use in the U.S. is made in China. Garments have more varied origins, from Bangladesh to Vietnam, as well as China, India and Ibero-America.

Wal-Mart is the largest retailer in the U.S. and worldwide, and more than 80 percent of the merchandise it sells in the U.S. is made in China. Target, another big chain, obtains 60 percent of its merchandise in China, for sale in the U.S. Add in the "Dollar Stores" of all kinds, and the near-total extent of imports on this line is clear. In the self-reinforcing process, U.S. manufacturers, facing Wal-Mart as their principal wholesale buyer, went off-shore, for ultra-cheap labor and operations. In Ohio, for example, the process was documented in detail in the 2005 report, AFL-CIO Wal-Mart Campaign, in which brand-name companies quit the U.S.: Sunbeam/Mr. Coffee appliances, Husky bicycles, RCA TV (Thomson Consumer Electronics) and many more.

INDUSTRIAL GOODS—The same process has resulted in the U.S. now completely dependent on imports, from nails, to electricity transformers, to lathes and machine tools.

FOOD. Food imports are huge in all categories, except bulk wheat, corn, soy, pork, beef and poultry. From 15 to 20 percent of U.S. food is now imported (USDA, Economic Research Service). For example, 85 percent of U.S. seafood consumption is imported (from tilapia in China, to shrimp from Peru and Thailand). Dairy products are increasingly re-constituted from imported casein and other milk constituents. As of 2010, the import share of U.S. consumption of fruits and nuts was nearly 45 percent; vegetables, 16 percent; beverages over 40 percent.

WATER. Water shortages are now acute for residential, commercial and what remains of industrial usage, in many regions, due to the decades of non-development of expanded sources. This is occurring despite that fact that water usage overall in the U.S. has declined in absolute volume, as of 1980. It went from 482 million acre-feet that year, down to 459 mafy in 2005. (The Obama Administration announced that it has delayed the issuance of an estimate for 2010 water usage, until an unspecified future date).

Use of water for irrigation in the U.S. has been in decline for several years. The U.S. is importing vast quantities of "virtual water" in the form of food, and merchandise.

POWER. De-powering is underway of the national electricity system, resulting from not going-nuclear, and having no redundancy. Electricity generation and transmission capacity are not even adequate to the reduced, present-day low usage, given the shutdown of industry, but even so, trade-offs and outages are the order of the day.

One example makes the point. In California, it was announced April 27, that a deal is pending for the U.S. Navy to curb its use of electricity this Summer, at its several bases in San Diego, so that San Diego users will not have outages. In other places, large and/or commercial users are into similar 'use-less' agreements with electric suppliers.

Even the means to upgrade the transmission grid are missing. Execs of the national electricity transmission association, who met in Texas April 25, stressed two things: 1) the shortage of skilled youth, or even of ones who like "to hold a wrench," and also enjoy staying on a job; and 2) shortage of materials. If a builder is using a product manufactured "100 miles away, there's certainty about the delivery and timing. If you're getting it from halfway across the world...."

TRANSPORTATION. The Army Corps of Engineers, under the Obama/GOP regime, is poised to go beyond neglect, and into actual phase out of parts of the inland navigation system. In July, for example, the dredging and maintenance of the Ouachita River system—in the Lower Mississippi Basin—is to be cut from 24 hours, to below 18 hours a day, which will initiate the reversion of the river to non-navigability.


What is the solution? Not to go into competition with these other countries, trying to produce low priced consumer goods. Instead, we should provide what's needed in the market but not otherwise provided. That is, the high tech goods that only a few countries outside of the US are capable of producing.

These goods are mainly infrastructural. That means when they are installed in a country, the economy of that country will improve. We can provide these products to developing countries on credit witch will provide a cash flow to the developing country and to the US in repayment for our credit.



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