So I'm at the gym this morning, with Bloomberg radio playing into my earbuds. The morning newsflash troubled me greatly.
Right then, my good friend---I'll call him Mike, because that's his name---approaches: Mike says "how's it going?" I say "I'm very troubled", he says "what's up?" I say "if you have a minute and promise to hear me out, I'm going to try and change your mind about buying only American made stuff" (he made that declaration to me a few weeks ago, and I promised then to take every opportunity to disabuse him of his ill-conceived commitment). He says "go for it."
I say to Mike "I just heard that Marriott has decided that going forward every towel in every Marriott hotel the world over will be made in America, and that the cotton used will be grown by only American farmers." I went on to explain how Marriott executives have made the conscious decision to screw the American consumer, the American exporter and the American investor. That Marriott's faux patriotism is in no way a display of a willingness to take a hit to its profit margin in the interest of the country. That the willful increase in its business expense will be passed along to the traveler through a marginally higher bill, to the employee through a subtly smaller, if any, pay raise and/or benefits package and less desirable working conditions, to the American exporter who exists to capture back those U.S. dollars that were spent on non-U.S.-made towels, and to the investor who will see smaller gains as assets (stocks, for example) suffer under less liquid conditions (as fewer dollars look to find their way home to U.S. assets). I could even add the American borrower as interest rates rise against less liquidity flowing back to the U.S credit markets...
I say "you get what I mean?" Mike noncommittally says "I understand what you're saying." I say "well, I'm going to keep it up until you totally agree with me!"
Here's Milton Friedman and a couple from me. And, by the way, while video number 2 singles out Donald Trump, he has in no way cornered the market on protectionist rhetoric (from either side) this election season. He's just the most outspoken:
If you've taken the time to take in the debates, watch the interviews and/or read the pundits, you owe yourself---your desire to truly understand this issue---the 20 minutes (in total) it'll take to take in these five presentations...