I don’t like to get too political on here, but sometimes I just can’t resist so here goes.
This morning the boys over on the Moldy Chums pointed us to an article posted by the AFFTA in response to some of the flack the AFFTA received surounding the presentation of Senator Mike Enzi with the Jim Range Legislator of the Year Award. Having no personal knowledge of either Senator Enzi or Jim Range I can’t speak to that, it is what is, they can do what they want, who cares right?
Well skimming the AFFTA’s response something caught my eye.
…Senator Enzi has either sponsored or co-sponsored includes:
• United States Optimal Use of Trade to Develop Outerwear and Outdoor Recreation – S. 704
“Optimal Use of Trade” sent MY bull-shit-o-meter in to the red.
So I did some looking and found the full text of this bill over here – Full Text of Bill.
Basically what this Bill is designed to do is lower the tarifs on imported outerwear and sports gear from the third world factories that make this stuff. EXACTLY what we don’t want!
As a country we are like crack addicts for cheap gear, and its bullshit. Our gear should NOT be made by girls who are chained to sewing machines, live in squalid dorms and paid a pittance which won’t even buy them a train ticket home. We made laws to outlaw this stuff at the turn of the century. (More gruel please sir?) This kind of crap won’t stop until we as a society decide that we want people, even in developing countries like China, India, Pakistan to make a living wage, because contrary to popular opinion gas and food costs about the same in the developing world as it does in the good old US of A.
Another little known fact about the cheap stuff coming from China is that the Chinese government subsidises the purchase of equipment every year. If you want to open a factory in China the Government will buy your equipment and you can make cheap stuff for a year. But then the next year your subsidy is up and suddenly it ain’t so cheap to make your products anymore. So they close that “old” factory and start the process all over again, sounds sustainable enough (right!). As a free democratic society we can’t compete with that, because they are using the entire country’s sovereign war chest to out compete everyone else in the private sector, again bullshit!
So what do the morons on Capitol Hill want to do? Drop the floor out of the taxes on this stuff to make it easier for the big companies to make an even bigger killing off the backs of the people in the third world. Of course the AFFTA thinks that a great idea, because why wouldn’t we want the yeah-whoos like Tim Boyle of Columbia making MORE money, and sticking it in ETFs, the next ticking financial time bomb. If you want to hear why Tim Boyle thinks WE (the developed world) CAN”T MAKE THIS STUFF ANYMORE, go listen to his interview on Zach Matthew’s Itinerant Angler podcast.
Yeah I like the part where he says AMERICA DOESN”T HAVE THE INVESTMENT IN INFRASTRUCTURE. There are plenty of idle sewing machines for sale, more than enough to make his crap thats for sure and 9% of the U.S. population is unemployed! Again, Bullshit!
Its a good interview, I’m a big fan of the the podcast in general and at first I thought Mr. Boyle’s assertions were pretty reasonable. But then I realized, Mr. Boyle is totally full of shit. This is why. Right now the apparel industry is in the same position as Detroit was ten years ago, tied to one way of doing things like making stuff in the third world, and if something changes, like oh I don’t know, the price of gas soars, China stops subsidising things, exchange rates go hay wire, shipping becomes more expensive, or the third world decides they just don’t feel like making stuff for us anymore, the companies like Columbia are screwed like a porn star in a hot tub.
…at least here in our country you can go to church on Easter Sunday and not be arrested, just saying.
The funny thing is, publicly traded companies have a fiduciary responsibility to put share holder value as a top priority, which means making money and growing the business’s bottom line or else. Chasing profit growth is what lead companies to whore themselves out and move all their manufacturing over seas . They can’t move the production to mars, and they can’t squeeze any more growth out of third world because of inflation and unpredictable exchange rates. So what’s the last place they can find value growth? OH YEAH, TARIFS!
If you read the bill they claim that there are tarifs of 28% on sportswear, although most have probably figured a way around paying them. So apprently the only way to squeeze more profits is the last ditch efforts to get the tarrifs torn down, reduce federal revenue, and again whore ourselves out and feed the crack addiction, for both cheap gear and shareholder value!
I’m not saying that I’m some huge advocate for protectionist tarifs, but just that maybe now isn’t the right time to be conceding defeat, and throwing in the towel under the guise of “getting more people into the outdoors.”