American imports.

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by alleyyooper, Feb 1, 2010.

  1. indypartridge

    indypartridge New Member

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    Interesting thread. Let me add a few disjointed thoughts...

    Two generations ago (1940), the average American family spent 30% of their family budget on food. Today it's around 10% Mass production of food by mega-farms has dramatically reduced food prices. That's good, right? Maybe not.

    For example, a gallon of milk in 1940 cost 34 cents. In today's dollars, that's $5.25. Last week I bought a gallon of milk at WalMart for $1.99. While that may be good for the consumer, it's not good for the producer. In 1940, a dairy farm with 80 to 100 head of cows would provide enough income to support a family. Today, a farmer with 100 cows would be a sideliner with a full-time, off-farm job.

    Prior to WWII, the average tax burden on American families was around 10%. Now it's around 30% (local, state, federal).

    So we pay much less for food, but much more for government.

    At my local library, there's an old book about how a guy sent his three kids to a private college with the income from his 12 beehives.

    When I went to college and majored in computer science (back in the punch card days), everyone told me that computers were "jobs of the future" and I'd never have to worry about having a job. Today I manage a group of engineers in India to whom my company has outsourced much of our software work. The Indians worry that we might drop them for low cost Chinese programmers....
     
  2. sqkcrk

    sqkcrk New Member

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    Yeah, I know a guy who worked for Alcoa all his life and put his three kids through college w/ his bees. Those days are gone.
     

  3. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    >>>>Prior to WWII, the average tax burden on American families was around 10%. Now it's around 30% (local, state, federal)<<<<

    I don't know about the other percentages mentioned, but today's tax burden is much more than 30%. There is 17.5 approx. for ss, 15 minimum, more likely 28, federal income tax, many state income taxes, NC being 7%. Then approx. .50 tax on each gallon of gas, sales tax, property tax, auto tax, ETC. You can rest assured, if you counted all the taxes you pay today, it will easily go past 50% of your gross income.
     
  4. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    indy writes:
    Prior to WWII, the average tax burden on American families was around 10%. Now it's around 30% (local, state, federal).

    So we pay much less for food, but much more for government.

    tecumseh:
    prior to WWII corporations actually paid taxes.... now they pay almost nothing in taxes and receive large $ check from the government (local, ståte and federal). I think kevin phillips (wealth and democracy) tracks the tax burden over the era for corporation from about 1/3 of total taxes collected to the current level of less than 10% . I seem to also recall he calculated the current tax burden for individuals at about 30%. there are of course certain taxes that would be difficult to capture in such a calculation (for example property taxes for individuals).

    prior to WWII we also spent almost nothing on 'national defense'.
     
  5. sqkcrk

    sqkcrk New Member

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    Hammer meets nail there tecumseh.
     
  6. Sundance

    Sundance New Member

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    There is the black hole indeed. An obscene waste of $$$.
     
  7. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    that's called a nice clean coup (koo) sqkcrk.

    national defense is most of the time an oxymoron I would guess. which is to directly suggest that 'national defense' may sometimes may mean defending isreal or making a show of military strength for an individuals political gain or to enhance some vice president private sector portfolio <not that I have anyone particular in mind here.

    ps... to indy remarks in regards to price. defining 'a basket of goods' (and thereby relative price) has also changed a great deal in the era you indicated. now there is little in 'a basket of goods' that are actually necessities for sustaining life.

    I don't wish to suggest here that Iddee remarks are without merit. I would suggest that by and large when taxes are low there is little incentive to cheat. I suspect (guessing for certain) that the current level of ss/fica taxes is a significant incentive to cheat (somewhat verified here locally in the employment of illegal labor). I also suspect the the current level of sale tax collect for the state of Texas is bounding upon the same limitation.
     
  8. CentralPAGuy

    CentralPAGuy New Member

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    Question for where the rubber hits the road.

    How many of us are shopping at Walmart for anything? If we are, it means that the dollars that we spend there are likely going to China... Yes??? where they can buy more of our debt. Yes???
     
  9. Hobie

    Hobie New Member

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    I think some of this can be addressed by encouraging the "buy local" trend, which saves the fuel cost and carbon impact of shipping, and may encourage people who avoid the political side.

    Unfortunately, to change the whole trend required a sea change in attitude of the American people... a willingness to say "No, that's enough" even when their wallets are thin. And, sadly, I just don't see that happening.

    The sad part is that I heard recently that countries in Europe, who mobiilized a decade ago to reduce carbon emissions,have not only reduced oil dependence and exceeded their carbon reduction goals with advances in technology, they also have more people employed in the energy technology and alternative energy fields than they did in the coal-based industry. The US was sleeping when that wagon went by.
     
  10. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    OK, Wal-mart bashers, please start a list here of big name stores that don't sell china made products. I won't hold my breath, but will shop there if you can give me the list.
     
  11. BjornBee

    BjornBee New Member

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    Are we bashing walmart or the people who buy there?

    Hobie,
    My sister in law is a buyer for the design/clothing fashion industry in Denmark. Her number one trip location.....China. Everything is made there. Even in Europe, they have the same problems as us.

    However, my family from Denmark comes here to shop for cloths. As example, a pair of Levi's 501 here...$40. In Denmark....$150. And think about it....even at $150 dollars, no company can make a profit or stay in business in Denmark. Hmmmm. They import in Levi's jeans, but not from us, but through the makers in China.

    Yes, the carbon footprint is smaller today in Europe. At a per person rate, so also is it here. We have come a long way since the 60's or 70's in many environmental areas.

    In Europe, it just is a bit different. 28 nuc power plants in the past 25 years really helps. Then there is the near stagnant population growth in some areas of Europe. The dead economy and lack of manufacturing and productivity, coupled with decades of 10% plus unemployment also helps. The U.S. is getting ready to add 13 million illegal folks, and factoring in the 25 more million that will ride the coattails of those that become citizens, then of course our carbon footprint is growing. Factor in our inability to build new nuc power plants, and other factors, it is not as if we just sat around doing nothing. Our cars run better, river systems are being restored, and we are in much better shape today than in the past.

    Yes, there are wind farms in Denmark. And many hold them up as examples of what we should do. But that stuff is expensive. Electricity rates in Europe are at least double compared to here. Gas is also double the price.

    It is hard to hold up a single item such as carbon while comparing one country to another, and not also realize the many side attached issues that come along with it.

    We did not miss the wagon. We are just on a different wagon, on a different street, with different peoples, different dynamics, and a different outcome. You can not compare apples to oranges, and try to make the apple into an orange. You try to harvest both, while growing them the best each grower can, while being happy that we are not all just one fruit.

    Having lived in Europe, having family there, and having spent every vacation there in the past 15 years, I can say there are many good things from Europe. But lets keep it in perspective. They have serious issues, taxes, unemployment through over regulation, and many other problems. And if those wagons ever did meet on the same street, I think many here would not jump to the other wagon so quickly if you could actually see what shape that other wagon was in.... ;)
     
  12. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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  13. CentralPAGuy

    CentralPAGuy New Member

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    wal-mart bashers?? I don't think that there are any large stores that don't sell china made products.
    It is just indicative how pervasive, the china imports have become and that we shop at Walmart to get the best deal, while shooting ourselves in our foot in getting that deal.
     
  14. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    Although you are right, you also have to remember..... No store reorders merchandise we don't buy. It all falls back on the consumer. If we only buy non-chinese, they will only stock non-chinese.
     
  15. Charles

    Charles New Member

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    That's a good point, but it's gotten to the point that there are very few, if any American made alternatives to the cheap Chinese made products...
     
  16. BjornBee

    BjornBee New Member

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    Good points Charles and iddee.

    I see the problem even deeper than just availability of goods.

    I'll take the bee industry as example. Mention promoting just U.S. made products on some bee forums is seen as a negative. It's the "We all are in this together", or "We all should support each other" type attitude. The forums are promoted as an "International community", where such promotion and discussion are seen as "bashing" others by suggesting beekeepers here, not buy from beekeepers over there. I've heard it by mentioning mega-bee as a Canadian firm, or Swienty as Scandinavian built, etc. Seems bashing one country, China to be exact, is somewhat ok. But beyond that, people jeer at the idea that promoting U.S. made products, and doing so is politically incorrect. In some circles, even mentioning your questioning of importing plane loads of foreign bees will get you blacklisted and bashed.

    One of the principle goals of National Honey Bee Day is the promotion of U.S. Beekeeping, U.S. Honey, and U.S. products. I can't even begin to list the comments made by others that this should be a "global" day, that this is somehow negative to only have a "National Day". And those comments have carried over to this years slogan, recently selected by general vote of those participating. "Local Honey, Good for bees, You, and the Environment". And of course, some who benefit from the taxation from the assessed fees (tax) on imported honey, see this as way out of line.

    Bottom line, is that we produce about 30% of the honey we consume in this country. So the bee industry can improve in this area. It takes public education, and beekeepers willing to get involved. But I certainly can not bash Wal-Mart, those who shop there, or any other industry, when we in the bee industry do such a lousy job ourselves.

    In Pennsylvania we spend an enormous amount of money raised through the state bee association here for our "Honey Queen" program. What does it say on the application if you would like her to attend a local event? "Requests should be for "Honey" promotion only". Yet we are not the "Pennsylvania state honey producers association". We are the Pennsylvania State Beekeepers Association". She runs around the state handing out national honey board promotional material, directing people to a website that promotes mainly, those who import and sell foreign honey. She does not promote "local" agriculture in any manner. Yes, she probably promotes beekeeping. But the number one goal, and the handouts she gives to the public is "Honey". She is there for that sole purpose as stated on her application request. If we fail to support, promote, and strengthen something as simple as farm fresh produce and agriculture, how are we supposed to change other much harder industries, and the consumers mindset?

    Of course the state association, the larger national organizations, as well as other well known groups, are headed by commercial guys, those that benefit from importing honey, etc. Originally, the intention was to hand over the "national Honey Bee Day" program to the state association. And many other national associations requested taking the program and running with it. We rethought our consideration for the state association, said no to other larger bee/honey groups in the country, and decided to keep the National Honey Bee Day, an organization run by beekeepers. With a goal to use it as a grassroots effort to support local agriculture, local honey, and local beekeeping.

    So we are very proud to say we recently spent the money in forming a new non-profit association to keep this effort on track.

    If you care about such things as local agriculture, local honey, buying U.S. products, and strengthening the U.S. bee industry, then I ask you to consider getting involved with the National Honey Bee Day program. It is a day for beekeepers to come together all across the country and educate, inform, and promote the very industry we all come here to discuss.

    This years theme... 'Local Honey, Good for Bees, You, and the Environment". Imagine what you can do with that message. Support local farmers, decrease the carbon footprint by not shipping honey from half way around the world, or just the promoting of a superior tasting product produced locally.

    Quit complaining! Get involved! Do Something!

    http://www.nationalhoneybeeday.org
     
  17. Hobie

    Hobie New Member

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    Re: Bjorn's post #31... and it is a good post.

    I'm not saying Europe is a better place to live (although I do like the idea of 4 weeks of paid vacation. In 25 years of work as an engineer, I have NEVER had more than 2 weeks.) I am saying that they have had some successes that perhaps we could learn from. But the US seems to be unwilling to make any real changes, much less admit somebody else might have thought of a better idea.

    But it would probably end up being like the forgotten NUMMI - the Toyota-GM joint venture in the 90's, where Detroit needed to learn how to make an economical, high-quality car, and Toyota needed to improve its mass production capabilities. The result: Each seems to have learned the other's BAD habits.
     
  18. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    Bjorn writes:
    Of course the state association, the larger national organizations, as well as other well known groups, are headed by commercial guys, those that benefit from importing honey, etc.

    tecumseh:
    humm.... I certainly cannot follow your logic here Bjorn. How might some large commercial guy profit from reducing the price of what they sell?

    the above 'issue' is the inevitable results of shipping plants and jobs (and eventually know how) off shore in order to benefit a extremely small population here and a equally small number of folks of foreign origin. although sold to the 'uninformed and under educated' public in the language of 'free trade' (essentially a meaningless term that sounds clever but means nothing) it has fairly quickly turned what once was a free thinking people into economic slavery.
     
  19. BjornBee

    BjornBee New Member

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    Tec,
    Are you suggesting that these operations would be willing to shut off imported honey, deny themselves the 70% of the market of foreign honey they sell, and quite possibly close up shop? Am I reading this as you are possibly suggesting that nobody is profiting from imported honey, and that nobody ever sought to protect their business, etc. Imported honey is BIG business. Big Money. Who said anything about reducing the price?

    I included all the groups together although perhaps not all players are on the same level. I find it ironic that (as example) Pennsylvania, has 2800 beekeepers. 900 belong to the state association. There are 13 commercial beekeepers in Pennsylvania. Yet, you do not see any coordinated effort to promote "local" agriculture, buying local honey, etc. The state and the overall program is controlled by a few larger types, who some make money off imported honey, etc. You can relate this same model after other associations and groups. And even such an idea as a state honey queen is paid for, supported, and in part funded by the very machine (large honey associations) of those that profit and promote foreign honey sales.

    Ever see the national honey board state "Buy Local Honey"? or "Buy U.S. honey" Ever see a state association do this? Ever see any of the other associations do this?

    In today’s world of agriculture, many individuals are committed to "think globally, act locally". It has to do with sustainability, supporting local farming, and buying local produce, etc. And yet within the honey industry, this is attacked, questioned, and many will not support. It is a sad situation.

    I compete directly with a huge packer of foreign honey. They are engrained into the local bee groups, spread there money around, and influence much.

    We crap on the cheap honey crap sitting on the shelf’s of supermarkets, but many act as if the bee industry is not involved in this. And it is. And you can not hide that fact or suggest that money or other factors are not at play. Eventually someone, or many, need to start making a difference, and talking about the industry as a whole.

    I think if you answer my first question asked, perhaps finding the answer to mine would be an easier task at hand. ;)

    I'm not out to bash anyone or any group. I'm just stating the facts as I see them. It is what it is. Nothing wrong with having these issues brought to the table for discussion, although some would rather not have that done. I'm not afraid to state what I see. And I have made a commitment in backing and supporting local agriculture, local beekeeping, and buying U.S. made products. If some have an issue with this, it is not only expected, but it also is not a concern. Discussing the dynmaics, who profits, the pitfalls, and other ideas, is how you sway, educate, and change people's perspectives. This is something that needs to happen in many industries. I just happen to care most about the bee industry. And where I personally am trying to make a difference. ;)
     
  20. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    I appreciate your comments. Happy Easter... all bee safe.