May 5, 2016

The U.S. Is NOT a Victim

Mr. Trump, several months ago, opened his candidacy enraged at Mexico and China and all the countries that were taking advantage of us, painting the United States as a victim.  My response was, “Seriously?  From what legion of tortured numbers did you get this idea or is it just a figment of your affluenza-afflicted imagination?”  With Mr. Trump now the only candidate the Republican Party offers, I feel compelled to speak up

First of all, America is the top consumer in the world according to United Nations Statistics Division1.  The average American household spends almost four times more in goods and services than the second place finisher, China.  The cost of living differences does have something to do with the difference, but not as much as you would think.  Costs in the U.S. are only 1.5 times greater overall than in China, based on one website source,2 which would bring our spending to be roughly 2.5 times that of China.   The average monthly wage3 in America is $3, 263 per month, $656 for China and $609 for Mexico.  The GDP for America is $17 trillion USD vs. $10 trillion for China and $1.2 trillion for Mexico4.  Another source states that the United States is the fourth largest generator of waste in the world5, which was actually surprising to me because I thought we would be higher.  We have so much that we are the top country for obesity in the world.6  We have been third in water consumption7, second in electricity consumption, and  first in oil consumption9.  Yet China, who hovers near us in these statistics, has four times as many people, making them quite a bit more efficient that we are.

What is my point in quoting these statistics, which, as I have stated before, if tortured long enough can confess to anything?  The numbers indicate that we have so much extra, we can generate a huge amount of waste in our country.  Even without actual numbers we have visual evidence through our grocery stores that are filled with food from all over the world so that we can enjoy strawberries at any time in the year, even if they are not in season.  And we see evidence from that horn of plenty when we go out and see so many people overweight in this country.  We see this when we go to clothing stores filled with clothes and products created by many nations of the world that is so cheap we can fill our closets with the latest fashions and discard those fashions when new ones are introduced.  We see it every time we go to the mall and see cheap electronics and goods that are made overseas so that we can buy stuff we don't even need.  We have ample evidence that we are an over-consumer of the world's resources which negates the victim card we are trying to play.  Furthermore, if Mexico and China are taking advantage of us, then why aren’t they benefitting from it in terms of average pay, which is roughly 18% to 25% of what the average American is paid?  I am sure this fact is not entirely the fault of the United States, though I believe that we are conspirators, some unwitting and some totally witting. 

No, Mr. Trump, I do not believe that as the world’s over-consumer, we are being victimized by China or any other country.  The American public demands cheap food, clothing and “toys.”  The only way we can accomplish this is by importing things from other countries who use slave labor10, or prison labor, which has a similar pay scale.  If anything through our greed and miserliness, we are encouraging a system of world-wide slave labor that only empowers the already powerful.  The fact that American workers are also hurt by lost manufacturing jobs to slave labor is a natural consequence of our greed and therefore fully merited.
Please don’t read into this any political suggestions for moving to socialism or communism.  This is merely a response to Mr. Trump’s message, which is wrong in so many ways and dangerously feeding our national overdeveloped sense of entitlement.  If anything, I would encourage folks to investigate buying products from fair trade sources as I am starting to do and be content with less as part of the anti-Trump movement. 



Jane Hoppe said...

You gather interesting statistics and ask good questions, Kris. I often wonder: If our greed created this whole "losing jobs to other countries" problem with the resulting U.S. unemployment and third-world-country slave labor, how do we and/or government bodies fix it? You've proposed some ways individuals can help. It seems to me that our admitting our greed has to come before any solutions.

tandemingtroll said...

I love the idea that we need to confess our greed. I have been trying to work on my own greed issues regarding food, but I am inconsistent. I also appreciate your perspective about losing jobs because of greed. I think that would qualify us as being hoisted by our own petard, right?