60 Minutes 02/15/09: Lesley Stahl examines the "Buy American" clause in the stimulus package.
I felt the confrontational attitude towards the steel company CEO was inappropriate - reflecting the views of the "World Trade Order" brokers more than the suffering public who watch this program. To me, it sounded like thinly veiled agitprop being force-fed to the weary viewing audience.
If the US economy, and not just a thimbleful of companies like CAT (who vehemently oppose the Buy American clause), are so dependant on foreign trade that we cannot even consider "Buying American", why do we sport such monstrous trade deficits? Sure doesn’t look like China's buying much of anything from us, yet we are by far their largest consumer. Worse, according to the stats I've read, American owned factories account for 70% of the manufacturing base in China. American CEOs, en masse, have uprooted entire industries and barged them overseas where workers will work for a fraction of what US workers are paid. In return, our shores are saturated with imported products which are sold at the same price as previously US made goods, yet are of substantially poorer quality and represent nothing to the US economy save an ever increasing drain on jobs, erosion of the working class, and landfills full of broken crap. Then of course there are the higher, yet unsustainable, profit margins for the idiot Barons of Industry and their slobbering stockholders.
It's not as if potential buyers of heavy equipment will suddenly abandoned CAT in lieu of, oh say, Malaysian bulldozers. It's a fairly unique market with a handful of potential players. The world buys CAT equipment because of its reputation of serviceability - no country or world business leader is going to embrace an inferior product as retaliation - it's not good for the bottom line. And if "Free Trade" is all important, why did the departing Bush administration impart a 300% tariff increase on French Roquefort Cheese - other than as a petulant middle-digit extended towards the French over Iraq and their wholly justified desire to eat hormone free beef.
This exchange instilled a curiosity as to the attitude. A quick scan of the InterTubes with teh Googles revealed what I expected. My questions were: During CATs foreign trade "boom years", how much of its overseas sales were associated with "rebuilding Iraq" and other war efforts, and what is the political affiliation of CATs CEO. Inquiring minds and all…
FWIW, Here are two old D7s in Ramadi, Iraq.
The D9 is apparently more highly revered, at a cool million each - before battle upgrades.
Military D9 Applications
I'd be interested in seeing a breakdown of Chinese purchases vs. Iraq/Israel/et al. as well as how much CAT equipment ended up in burn pits along side SUVs and computer/office equipment due to fraudulent cost-plus contracts with GOP aligned firms such as Halliburton/KBR and Caterpillar.
CAT’s CEO James W. Owens, as I suspected:
Member of the Board of IBM (2006-)Not exactly antithetical to the drooling sycophants of the Rush Limbaugh party.
George W. Bush for President
The Business Council
Council on Foreign Relations
Institute for International Economics
The Conference Board Global Advisory Council
John McCain 2008
National Republican Senatorial Committee
World Resources Institute
I could be wrong, but I believe I've just expended more effort into investigating the backgrounds of these media players than the administration did in vetting potential appointees.
But now you know the rest of the story…
Funny, yet depressingly accurate: Big Box Mart - JibJab
Listen carefully to the lyrics - if you dare.